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 or questions about this or any other state-level issue.
Alabas A. Farhat
State Representative, 3rd House District
Land Value Tax Presentation
Please join me at the Detroit District 1 Monthly Meeting to discuss the proposed land value tax bills before the Michigan House. The meeting will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Christ the King Church (20800 Grand River Ave., Detroit, MI 48219). I look forward to seeing you there!
Our final Coffee Hour for 2023 will be held on Friday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m. at Family Bakery in Detroit. I look forward to seeing you there!
HB 4276 Passes House
House Bill 4276 passed the state House 105-4. This bill will now move on to the state Senate, where it awaits a committee hearing. This legislation would increase access to vital medications for Michiganders by ensuring that independent pharmacists can operate and be fairly compensated for their services and care.
Introduction of HB 5183
I joined my colleague, state Rep. Denise Mentzer (D-Mt. Clemens), this week in introducing House Bill 5183, which is part of a two-bill package that seeks to add computers or other technology that allows an individual to program a key code for a motor vehicle to the state’s burglary equipment statute. This package prescribes a felony offense for individuals found to be in possession of the equipment with the intention to commit theft.
There has been a sharp increase in automobile thefts in Southeast Michigan as offenders utilize new methods to commit crimes. This legislation would provide prosecutors and law enforcement with tools to bring these bad actors to justice and deter this growing trend.
Introduction of HB 5198
This week I introduced legislation aiming to protect our children. This bill would amend the Youth Tobacco Act to ban vapor products that mimic everyday items such as highlighters and ink pens, as well as those employing branding or marketing descriptors that are appealing to minors. Violators will face fines starting at $100 for a first-time offense, escalating to $500 for a second offense and capping at $2,500 for a third violation.
Important Information from Federal Officials
In light of the tragic events unfolding overseas, our federal counterparts have asked us to pass along this information. I will continue to work with our federal representatives to keep our shared constituents up to date. As I have written, we must do everything we can to bring American citizens trapped in Gaza home.
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents with Palestinian Authority passports/IDs may not be able to reach the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem or Branch Office in Tel Aviv for emergency passport service or access Ben Gurion Airport for the scheduled assisted departure flights due to closures of checkpoints between the West Bank and Israel.
- If you are unable to enter Israel from the West Bank, you should use the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge to depart the West Bank.
- For more information about the status of the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge crossing, visit their website or call +972-02-548-2600.
- Dual national U.S citizens with expired U.S. passports may be able to cross using a valid passport from their other country of nationality and renew their U.S. passport at the U.S. Embassy in Amman.
Travel From Israel:
- If you can travel into Israel, commercial flights are still available.
- The U.S. government is also facilitating charter flight transportation for U.S. citizens; we urge those wishing to leave to take advantage of these commercial flights and charters while they are available.
- Flight departures will continue on a rolling basis from Ben Gurion International Airport, including one scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29. Please go to Ben Gurion International Airport, Terminal 3, if you wish to take advantage of assisted departure.
U.S. Embassy — Amman, Jordan:
- Al-Umawyeen 37, Amman, Jordan
- Phone number (emergencies during business hours): +962 6 590-6000
- Phone number (emergencies after business hours): +962 6 590-6500
- Contact the U.S. Citizen Services Unit
- Embassy website: https://jo.usembassy.gov/
- Register for a passport appointment here.
- You can register for the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) here.
- Here is the link for the full Security Alert from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
- You can find critical updates from the Department of State here or Congresswoman Rashida Talib’s office here.
- State Department — Consular Affairs Contact Info
- 1-833-890-9595 (toll free) and 1-606-641-0131
- U.S. citizens’ local number in Israel: +972-03-519-7426
Take action to avoid a gap in Medicaid 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 have resumed. Monthly renewal notifications resumed being sent by mail in May 2023. 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 at www.Michigan.gov/2023benefitchanges.