Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Included in this edition are some 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 if you have questions about any state-level issue.
Alabas A. Farhat
State Representative, 3rd House District
I want to express my gratitude for those who’ve attended my regular coffee hours this year! We will not hold a coffee hour during July or August. These will resume during the month of September.
House Bills 4605 and 4606
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, along with guidelines and restrictions for operations and eligibility. It amends the Michigan Trust Fund act through 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 that occurred statewide. The funds cannot be used to replace or supplant existing recurring resources used for those purposes.
HB 4605, introduced by Rep. Shannon, would outline how we fund the trust fund. Amends the General Sales Tax Act to require the 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.
House Bill 4295
I am pleased to say that my bill, HB 4295, has passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of 105-5! This bill is a part of a larger package that seeks to ban child marriage in Michigan.
Farhat Appointed to Growing Michigan Together Council
Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) announced his choice for appointment to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Growing Michigan Together Council. The council was created by the governor to develop a statewide strategy to grow Michigan’s population, while cultivating a Michigan people want to call home. After hearing of the appointment, my office issued the following statement:
“It is an honor to be asked to serve on this new council. When my family came to Michigan, it was because this state welcomed new Americans, had neighborhoods where families wanted to raise their children and cities with world-class amenities. Now, in an increasingly competitive climate for talent, I’m excited to lend my voice as this council begins the work of shaping Michigan’s future.”
Some of the council’s priorities include: attracting and retaining talent; improving education; upgrading and modernizing transportation and infrastructure; and continuing to move Michigan’s economy forward. For more information, please view the Executive Order 2023-04.
Helping Medicaid Members Keep Their Coverage
Take action to avoid a gap in health coverage.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE), 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 by following these steps to 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 at Michigan.gov/2023benefitchanges.
June is Internet Safety Month
During the month of June, which is Internet Safety Month, the MSP Cyber Section is devoted to raising awareness of internet safety, including the rising issue of sextortion. Sextortion is a crime in which an individual is coerced or blackmailed into unwanted actions, such as sending money, under the threat of their intimate images being exposed.
If you think you’re a victim of sextortion, remember these important tips:
- Do not give in to the demands or continue making any payments.
- Cut off all contact with the perpetrator immediately.
- Take a proactive step by blocking the individual and reporting their activities to the social media platform involved.
- Preserve any communication you have had with them, as it may serve as important evidence.
- Strengthen the security of your accounts by changing passwords and considering the use of two-factor authentication.
- Inform police, as they can provide valuable assistance and support.
- Report the incident to the CyberTipline.
- For more resources, check out this fact sheet.
“Hands Free” Law Takes Effect June 30
Distracted driving is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
Starting June 30, Michigan’s new distracted driving law will make it illegal to hold and use a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle in Michigan.
The bill amends Michigan law to make it illegal to “use a mobile electronic device to do any task, including, but not limited to” the following:
- Send or receive a telephone call.
- Send, receive or read a text message.
- View, record or transmit a video.
- Access, read or post to a social networking site.
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DistractedDriving.
Six Community Partners Selected for Neighborhood Community Violence Initiative Contracts
Mayor Mike Duggan joined local leaders this week to announce six community-based organizations have been selected through a competitive bid process to conduct community violence intervention (CVI) through the new ShotStoppers program. That number is more than the three to five organizations the city originally intended, but six proposals were so strong, the mayor is asking Council to expand the original scope of the program.
Each selected group is responsible for reducing homicides and shootings in a 3.5 to 4.5 square mile area, called a CVI Zone, using its own violence prevention strategy. Applicants were empowered to propose a specific approach based on their experience, expertise and knowledge of the local community.
Contractors will receive a quarterly base budget of $175,000 to execute their prevention strategy. In any quarter the contractor’s efforts reduce serious violence by 10 percentage points more than the city as a whole, the organization will receive an additional $87,500 in prevention funding. In any quarter, the organization outperforms the rest of Detroit by 20 percentage points, it will receive an additional $175,000.
The program is funded by the American Rescue Plan. Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison, who led the program’s development, announced the six groups selected: Detroit Peoples Community; Detroit 300; New Era Community Connection; Force Detroit; Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, Denby Neighborhood Alliance, and Camp Restore; and Detroit Friends and Family.
Together, these organizations have decades of experience preventing and responding to violence – but ShotStoppers will be the first time that the City of Detroit provides funding to strengthen and expand CVI services and measure results to determine which approaches work best.
June is Youth Employment Month
Youth Employment Month is celebrated each June to highlight the number of Michigan youth who participate in the state’s labor market and help raise awareness about the importance of youth earning valuable skills in a safe environment.
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity partners with local businesses and Michigan Works! agencies to develop and promote opportunities for youth, ages 16-24. Summer youth employment opportunities are offered within many Michigan industries, including agriculture, amusement and recreation services, lodging, camping, retail, and food service.
The Department also offers programs geared toward providing equal opportunities for career-based exploration, training and employment through vocational rehabilitation services offered by their Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) — which include MRS Pre-Employment Transition Services, MRS Young Adult Services, BSBP Pre-Employment Transition Services and BSBP Youth Low Vision Services.
Learn more at Michigan.gov/YouthEmployment.
MI Fire Equipment Grant Application Deadline Approaching — July 10
Local units of government are able to apply for a grant to purchase fire equipment for part-time, on-call or volunteer firefighters through the MI Fire Equipment Grant Program. Applications are being accepted through July 10.
Grant awards may be requested by qualified local governments to reimburse for eligible fire equipment expenses incurred on or after August 1, 2022.
Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted through the State of Michigan’s eSignature Solution by July 10.
Additional information related to eligibility and application materials are available at Michigan.gov/MIFireEquipmentGrant.