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. If you have questions about this or any other state-level issue, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-0144 or email at AlabasFarhat@house.mi.gov.
Alabas A. Farhat
State Representative, 3rd House District
Thank you so much to those who joined me at our April Coffee Hour! Please, join me for my next Coffee Hour on June 19 at 5:30 p.m. at Biggby Coffee on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn, MI 48124.
House Bill 4708
Last week, I introduced House Bill 4708, which aims to protect Michigan homeowners and businesses from exorbitant increases in their property taxes in the event they install electrical vehicle charging stations that provide direct current fast charging on their property. The legislation would prohibit these chargers from being counted towards the real cash value of the property.
House Bills 4605 and 4606
Last month, I joined Speaker Joe Tate, Rep. Nate Shannon, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Police Chief James E. White for a press conference on recently introduced House Bills 4605 and 4606. Our goal is to provide our local municipalities with needed funding to address crucial public safety and violence prevention priorities.
Across the state, local governments are struggling with unique issues that require consistent and stable funding. It is the hope that, from these bills, they are empowered to take steps to better increase the public wellbeing for residents in our state.
HB 4606 will set up the new trust fund and guidelines and restrictions for operations and eligibility. It amends the Michigan Trust Fund Act by the addition of the Public Safety and Violence Prevention Fund. The dollars from this fund would be provided to each city, village or township that provides or contracts to provide police services. Each municipality would receive monthly funding at least proportional to their average share of the violent crimes that were reported by Michigan State Police to have occurred statewide. The funds cannot be used to replace or supplant existing recurring resources used for those purposes.
Rep. Shannon introduced HB 4605, which would outline how we fund the trust fund. It amends the General Sales Tax Act to require the Department of Treasury to deposit 1.5% of the money received and collected from the tax imposed at a rate of 4% under this act into the Public Safety and Violence Prevention Trust Fund.
Ending Medicaid 5-Year Waiting Period
Last week, I introduced legislation that would end the harmful five-year waiting period for pregnant people and children to qualify for Medicaid. In 2009, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) gave states the Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA) option to waive the five-year waiting period for Medicaid and CHIP for lawfully residing children (up to 21 years old) and/or pregnant people.
Michigan is one of 14 states that has yet to waive the waiting period. If Michigan were to take up the ICHIA option for children, the state would be able to enroll thousands of eligible lawfully residing Michiganders who already meet Medicaid or CHIP residency and income requirement, yet have lived in the United States for less than five years, in these healthcare programs and receive substantial federal matching funds to do so.
This waiting period targets our most vulnerable and can lead to parents delaying care for children or themselves. This means higher costs for not only Michiganders, but for our system. Providing coverage for care earlier on would shift costs away from it being provided on an emergency basis toward primary and preventive care.
Helping Medicaid Members Keep Their Coverage
Take action to avoid a gap in coverage.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government declared a Public Health Emergency, allowing Medicaid members to keep their health care coverage. Per recent federal legislation, eligibility renewals will start again in June. Monthly renewal notifications will be sent by mail beginning in May.
Get ready to renew now. Following these steps will help determine if you still qualify:
- Make sure your contact information is up to date.
- Check mail or text messages for a letter.
- Complete your renewal form (if you get one).
If you’re a Medicaid member, learn more about how these changes may affect your health care coverage here.
Dearborn to Launch First-ever “Dearborn Classic” Car Show at Homecoming Festival
Classic cars will once again be on display as part of the festivities of the 2023 Dearborn Homecoming festival. The inaugural “Dearborn Classic” car show will be held on Friday, Aug. 4, from 3-8 p.m. on festival grounds.The “Dearborn Classic” show aims to build on the legacy of the Cruisin’ Dearborn Classic Car Cruise, which was formerly presented by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce for the past 20 years. The show, presented by the City of Dearborn, will feature a wide variety of classic cars, music and awards. Car enthusiasts with vehicles manufactured in the year 1995 or older are welcome to apply. Registration must be completed and submitted by July 24.Two items are required to participate:1. Completed registration form.2. $20 registration fee. Cash or credit payments will be due at check-in on the day of the event. Participants who have registered will receive further information via email closer to the festival, which takes place Aug. 4-6. To register and for more information, check it out.
Income Guidelines for WIC Program Increased; Additional Michigan Families May Qualify
Michigan’s income guidelines for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) have increased, and now additional families may qualify for the program.
For additional information, please visit the Michigan WIC Income Guidelines.
Individuals who are pregnant or have had a baby within the past six months; are currently breastfeeding; or are the parent or guardian of a child up to age 5, are encouraged to contact their local county health department or WIC agency to apply.
Families who receive Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families already meet the income qualifications for WIC. Families who do not qualify for these programs may still be eligible for WIC due to WIC’s higher income limits.
WIC is a federally funded United States Department of Agriculture program administered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It serves low- and moderate-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, and infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk. WIC provides nutrition education, supplemental foods, breastfeeding promotion and support and referrals to health care.
For more information, visit the Women, Infants & Children website. Contact WIC by calling (800) 942-1636.
Make it in Michigan Updates
Gov. Whitmer & Legislative Leaders Unveil ‘Make it in Michigan’ Strategy to Win Projects, Invest in People, Revitalize Places
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was joined by Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, Speaker Joe Tate, state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, state Rep. Jason Hoskins, and business and labor leaders to announce Make it in Michigan, a comprehensive economic strategy to keep winning projects, invest in people from pre-K through postsecondary, and revitalize places in every region of the state. As Michigan celebrates 18 months of strong economic development work with over $16 billion of projects and 16,000 jobs secured, the state must keep its foot on the accelerator to lead the future of advanced manufacturing, improve educational outcomes and workforce development, and improve quality of life in every region. Additional elements of the plan will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
A comprehensive strategy to make more in Michigan. From good-paying jobs; a skilled, talented workforce; vibrant places to live, work and raise a family; and powerful tools to bring manufacturing and supply chains home, Make it in Michigan will continue the state’s momentum to build a brighter future.
The strategy aims to:
- Make Michigan a top state for talent with low unemployment, higher labor force participation, more training and upskilling and stronger talent attraction.
- Make Michigan more competitive in key sectors like research and development, advanced manufacturing, and clean technology, including electric vehicles, batteries and semiconductor chips to ensure long-term economic strength.
- Make Michigan an arsenal of innovation where entrepreneurs and young companies have opportunities and resources to grow and expand.
- Make Michigan a state full of attractive, vibrant communities where people want to live, work and grow with investments to build more housing, expand access and lower the cost of child care, connect homes and businesses to high-speed internet, redevelop vacant or blighted properties, and bring new life to main streets and downtowns.
Projects, People and Places
The three pillars of Make it in Michigan are projects, people and places. Gov. Whitmer is focused on competing for and winning projects to bring manufacturing and supply chains home, investing in people so they can pursue their potential from pre-K through postsecondary and have their personal freedoms protected, and revitalizing places to make them more attractive places to live, work and invest.
Projects: Bringing Manufacturing Jobs, Advanced Facilities, and Supply Chains Home
In December 2021, Gov. Whitmer brought Republicans and Democrats and public and private sector leaders together to establish powerful new bipartisan economic development tools that would help Michigan compete for transformational projects. Since then, the state has won over $16 billion of projects and more than 16,000 good-paying jobs building electric vehicles, batteries, semiconductor chips and clean energy — all industries of the future.
To keep this momentum going, the state must continue its successful economic development strategy and expand the toolkit. Make it in Michigan proposes several new tools to strengthen the state’s ability to bring home investment, jobs, and projects.
Make it in Michigan Transformational Brownfields
Site selection is a critical factor when businesses are looking to expand. In Michigan, there are several sites that could be home to new factories but need upgrades to become shovel ready. Transformational Brownfields will help convert brownfields and other abandoned property into productive space ready for business investment.
Make it in Michigan Competitiveness Fund
After passage of the CHIPS and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act, there are billions in federal resources on the table to power domestic manufacturing, specifically in the semiconductor and clean energy sectors. The Make it in Michigan Advanced Manufacturing and Clean Tech Competitiveness Fund will help bring home more than Michigan’s fair share of federal resources from the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act so we can grow the economy and bring more projects home.
Gov. Whitmer and the Legislature will partner on and make public several more initiatives to win projects and bring manufacturing and supply chains home, announced in the coming weeks. This includes spurring more research and development in Michigan, lowering costs for businesses so they can hire more Michiganders, and land transformational projects in communities while making linked, parallel investments in local child care, housing, infrastructure and workforce programs.