Welcome to my first e-newsletter of the new year and legislative term! I’m honored and humbled to serve as our community’s voice at the Capitol in Lansing. 2020 was a year unlike any other; as we continue on into the new year and new term, rest assured the challenge families in our community and state are facing are at the top of my legislative priorities.
Included in this edition of my e-newsletter are some important legislative and COVID-19 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) 373-1788 or email at KyraBolden@house.mi.gov for questions about this or any other state-level issue.
State Representative, 35th House District
House Bill 5058 Signed into Law
Toward the end of 2019, I was proud to join with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of the Legislature to introduce a comprehensive package of bills that established an Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) in Michigan. My bill in the House’s package, HB 5058, now PA 278 of 2020, was signed into law by Gov. Whitmer, marking my third bill to become law during my first term in office.
This legislation will strengthen protections for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault by allowing survivors to keep a legal substitute address, typically through a post office box, to use when public agencies require an address. Any mail received is then forwarded from the substitute address to the survivor’s actual one, keeping their information safe and protected from their abuser. We must do all we can to truly support and protect survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and this package will take us one step closer to that goal.
AKA Founders’ Day Resolution
During the first week of legislative session, I was proud to have introduced House Resolution 9 to declare Jan. 15, 2021 as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Founders’ Day in the state of Michigan. 113 years ago, nine Howard University students joined together to pioneer an organization that was the first of its kind for Black women in higher education, which has served as an instrument for enriching campus life by promoting unity and cultivating high academic and ethical standards for more than a century.
In Michigan, there are currently more than 30 AKA chapters active on college and university campuses; with nearly 100 chapters serving the Great Lakes Region. Along with my colleague, Rep. Sarah Anthony, I am proud to be an alumna of this great organization and bring my AKA experiences to my work in the Legislature. Last week, we even saw the very first woman, African American and person of South Asian descent take her oath of office, becoming Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris; and she also happens to be a Howard University alumna and fellow member of our AKA sisterhood. I’m incredibly proud to support, recognize and celebrate such an important organization for the fabric of our state, nation and world through sponsoring HR 9.
Virtual State of the State
The governor’s State of the State Address will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. Traditionally, this speech has been given in the House Chambers during a joint session of the Legislature. However, ongoing concerns about spreading COVID-19 led to Gov. Whitmer’s decision to give a virtual address. Information on where the event can be streamed has not yet been announced, but I will be sure to keep you updated as the information becomes available.
Save Your Spot: Oakland County Vaccine Info
Oakland County has launched the “Save Your Spot” initiative for COVID-19 vaccinations, allowing you to fill out an online form to determine eligibility and a timeline. Once you submit the form and you become eligible to receive a vaccine based on state and federal guidelines, and vaccine doses are available, a representative from Oakland County will contact you. You can then make an appointment at one of their vaccine sites.
COVID-19 testing allows the Oakland County Health Division to monitor the virus in our community and keep us safe and open. For all residents ages 18 and older, with or without symptoms, testing is available at no cost. For drive-through testing, please call (800) 848-5533 to make an appointment between Monday and Thursday. For more information and for alternate testing locations, click here.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its effects have been particularly tough on families, who may be struggling to put food on the table through no fault of their own. To apply for food assistance through the state and explore various resources, please visit the MI Bridges website at michigan.gov/mibridges. Resources may also be available by calling 2-1-1, or click here to view local, Oakland County food assistance resources.
Important Upcoming Dates
International Holocaust Rememberance Day
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021 marks International Holocaust Rememberance Day, the day where Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated 76 years ago. This historic day serves as one of reflection, as we honor the lives lost, and those who suffered and survived such horrors of the Holocaust. We must always press on toward peace, and never forget the tragedy that took the lives of over 6 million people.
Black History Month
February 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month, an annual celebration of the incredible achievements made by African Americans and in recognition of the central role we’ve played in the history of our state and nation. I look forward to highlighting the important people, facts and events that have made an impact on me throughout my life throughout the month.