Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates on the state’s efforts to address COVID-19 as well as other news from your state government.
Upcoming Event: Virtual Coffee Hour
Please join me for a Facebook Live coffee hour this Friday, Feb. 5, from 10 to 11 a.m. You will find the event on my Facebook page at that time; no code is needed to join. I will give a legislative update and answer any questions you may have. If you have topics or questions you would like covered, you can post them here or respond to this email. I look forward to speaking with you all soon.
State Launches Michigan Reconnect Project
The Michigan Reconnect program was launched yesterday. This $30 million program will provide an opportunity for 4.1 million Michiganders aged 25 and older to earn a tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate at their in-district community college. To qualify, applicants must:
- Be at least 25 years old;
- Be a Michigan resident for at least 1 year;
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent;
- Have not yet earned an associate or bachelor’s degree; and
- Not be in default on a federal student loan
Applications open today and can be found at Michigan.gov/reconnect.
I introduced a resolution today that would require all individuals to wear a mask within the bar of the House. Staff are currently required to wear masks while in public areas of the Capitol and House Office Building. This resolution would ensure that representatives are following the same protocols set for others. We owe it to our staff members, their families, and everyone we represent to lead by example and prevent the spread at the Capitol.
COVID-19 Relief Funding
On Monday, Michigan House Democrats unveiled a plan that would provide $5 billion in federal funding for vaccine distribution, education, and the economy. Some of the highlights include:
- $90 million for vaccine distribution;
- $575 million to expand COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and lab capacity;
- $2 billion for food assistance;
- $661 million for rental and utility assistance;
- $2 billion for public schools;
- $270 million for small business relief; and
- Language that would extend unemployment assistance from 20 to 26 weeks.
I was proud to co-sponsor House Bill 4039, the supplemental appropriation bill that provides this funding.
Protect Michigan Commission Unveils COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy
The Protect Michigan Commission held their first meeting last week to unveil Michigan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy. This bipartisan commission is a diverse group of leaders from around the state established as an advisory group to Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The State of Michigan’s goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of Michiganders age 16 and older as quickly as possible, with a focus on equitable access, transparent and frequent communications, and data-based decision making. More information about the Protect Michigan Commission can be found here.
Indoor Dining Opened with Restrictions
Beginning Monday, Feb. 1, restaurants could offer indoor dining. Capacity is limited to 25 percent, not to exceed 100 people. Tables must be six feet apart, and no more than six people can sit at one table. Under these restrictions, restaurants and bars must close their dining area by 10 p.m. More information can be found here.
MI Treasury Holding Virtual Financial Aid Info Nights
The Michigan Treasury Department’s MI Student Aid team will be hosting free Virtual College Financial Aid Nights for students and their families. Sessions take place from 6:30-8 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday in February. FAFSA application information, federal and state financial aid programs, scholarship searching, and the MiSSG Student Portal Accounts will all be covered. More information and a link to register can be found here.
While legislative offices remain closed to the public, my team and I are still providing responsive service as we work from home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (517) 373-0587 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help.