Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Included in this edition are important legislative and community updates, along with a few resources I hope will prove helpful. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-0144 or email at AlabasFarhat@house.mi.gov,or questions about this or any other state-level issue.
Alabas A. Farhat
State Representative, 3rd House District
Thank you so much to those who joined me at my first Coffee Hour! Please, join me for my next Coffee Hour on Monday, March 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the Biggby Coffee on Michigan Avenue.
House Bill 4276
Last week, I introduced my first bill in the Michigan House of Representatives, which would reaffirm our commitment to protecting local pharmacies. This bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to enter into contracts only with Medicaid managed organizations that reimburse small pharmacies at the national average drug acquisition cost, plus a professional dispensing fee. This bill would also prevent pharmacy benefit managers from taking home any portion of this dispensing fee, ensuring that our local pharmacies do not endure additional costs.
Repeal of “Right-To-Work”
I joined my colleagues last week in keeping our promise to repeal the anti-worker “right-to-work” by voting YES on House Bills 4004 and 4005. As the home of the modern American labor movement, we know that unions built Michigan, put the world on wheels, and helped grow Michigan’s middle-class. Working people are the backbone of our economy, and fixing our labor laws to expand workers’ rights is something Michiganders wholeheartedly support, regardless of party affiliation.
Restoring the Prevailing Wage
I am proud to have voted YES on House Bill 4007, which restored the prevailing wage in Michigan. Prevailing wage laws establish minimum wages for skilled construction workers employed on taxpayer-funded projects and protect local construction standards in the competitive low-bid process. According to research by the Economic Policy Institute, there is no evidence that the 2018 repeal of prevailing wage reduced public construction costs or benefited taxpayers. The data shows that the absence of prevailing wage laws negatively affects construction workers, businesses and communities.
- Construction worker wage growth has been between 4% and 13% slower.
- Construction worker benefits growth is between 7% and 10% slower.
- Construction worker reliance on food stamps increases by 2%.
- The construction industry’s on-the-job fatality rate is 14% higher.
Reinstating prevailing wage in Michigan means safer and higher quality construction projects completed by highly skilled workers and sets a fair competitive bidding process for contractors.
Dearborn’s Annual Memorial Day Parade Set to Return for its 97th Year on Monday, May 29
The city of Dearborn and the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council will host Michigan’s oldest Memorial Day Parade, now in its 97th year, on Monday, May 29. The parade honors veterans and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. As one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the United States, the event features over 80 regional officials, marching bands and community groups. The route has changed this year due to planned Michigan Department of Transportation construction, and the Parade Route will move westward on Michigan Avenue, beginning at Nowlin Street and ending at South Brady Street.
Public traffic will be closed on the following roads for the duration of the parade on May 29:
- Michigan Avenue (eastbound and westbound) between West Outer Drive and Evergreen Road
- South Brady Street between Michigan Avenue and Cherry Hill Road
- Garrison Place
The parade will begin at about 9:30 a.m. with a military funeral procession. The Grand Marshal and parade groups will follow. It will conclude with a Remembrance Ceremony in honor of the fallen. The Remembrance Ceremony will take place on the lawn of the Dearborn Historical Museum at noon. The public is welcome to attend. This year’s lead marching band is the “Governor’s Own” 126th Army Band of the Michigan National Guard.
How to participate: Military and veterans groups, marching bands, and community and school groups from Dearborn and the neighboring communities can apply to participate in the 97th annual parade. Applications and the Hold Harmless Agreements, included below, are to be submitted no later than Friday, April 14. Paper versions can always be picked up from the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave.
First in Series of Payments Released, Lowering Costs for More Than 600 of Michigan’s Next Generation of Teachers
Under the MI Future Educator Fellowship program, scholarship awards are given to students through colleges and universities to cover the cost of tuition and fees up to $10,000 for up to three years. Students who receive the award must commit to teaching in a Michigan classroom for at least three years after graduation.
To date, nearly $2 million in Fellowship scholarships have been awarded to 231 students. Awards are calculated as a part of a student’s overall financial aid package and vary. Over 2,000 students have applied and awards will be made on a rolling basis.
- Be working toward their first teacher certification.
- Must have earned at least 56 semester credits or 84 term credits with a cumulative 3.0 GPA.
- Begin the Education Preparation Program full time in fall 2022 or later.
- Be a Michigan resident.
The MI Future Educator Fellowship program has $25 million available for those who aspire to become teachers. To learn more about the MI Future Educator Fellowship program, go to Michigan.gov/mistudentaid.
New EV Jobs Academy Website Announced
Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity announced the launch of a new website to connect Michiganders to careers in electric vehicle industries. Michiganders should go to this website to learn more about the good-paying careers available in the automotive mobility and electrification industries. This announcement builds on the $5 million investment in the Michigan Electric Vehicle Jobs Academy.
The Michigan Electric Vehicle Jobs Academy is designed to provide Michiganders with tuition assistance and job apprenticeship with high-wage and in-demand careers. With more than 100 partners, including employers, industry stakeholders and education institutions, the EV Jobs Academy is driving the state’s advanced mobility talent development for the future.
Some of the in-demand careers the EV Jobs Academy prepares Michiganders for include assemblers, electrical engineers and technicians, information security analysts, information technology professionals, maintenance and repair workers, and software developers.
Michiganders interested in exploring new careers with excellent advancement opportunities are encouraged to go Michigan.gov/EVJobsAcademy and complete an online interest form so a local EV Jobs Academy partner can contact them and provide details about local resources available to get them connected with career resources and opportunities.
Women’s History Month
March is National Women’s History Month; it is an annual celebration and recognition of women and their role in U.S. history. This is a time to reflect and honor the contributions made by women to history and contemporary society today. Visit https://womenshistorymonth.gov/ to learn more.