Dear Neighbor,Welcome to my Capitol & Community Update e-newsletter! I hope you too had an opportunity to give thanks over Thanksgiving and prepare for the holiday season. As we are about to enter the second half of the term, I’m looking forward to continued communication with active and engaged constituents, as well as advocating further for our policy priorities. I am also happy to continue providing these email updates with the latest information, resources and opportunities relevant to community members.
Please encourage neighbors and friends in HD 41 to also sign up to receive these updates at kuppa.housedems.com, and let us know if you have any feedback on the newsletter or concerns about any state-level issues. As always, you can reach my office at (517) 373-1783, or by email at PadmaKuppa@house.mi.gov. Be sure to also check out the latest on my social media platforms — @PadmaKuppaMI41 (Twitter) and @MIRepPadmaKuppa (Facebook)!
House District 41
January Coffee Hour
Please join me for an in-person office hour where I will be giving a legislative update and taking your questions about the issues facing our state and our community.
When: Monday, Jan. 24 from 4:30-6 p.m.
Where: Troy Community Center (3179 Livernois Road in Troy)
Eliminated the Tampon Tax
Michigan has officially axed the tax! On Nov. 4, I attended my first bill signing as Gov. Whitmer signed into law bipartisan legislation that I championed this term. Beginning in early February 2022, tampons, pads and other menstrual products will no longer be subject to Michigan’s sales and use tax, making these products more affordable for those who need them.
I recently introduced HB 5496, which would extend privacy rights to adult survivors of abuse that are currently only reserved for minors. This bill is part of a larger package of bills sponsored by my fellow members of the Preogressive Women’s Caucus to support survivors of domestic violence. This legislation is now being considered by the House Judiciary Committee, where you can advocate for its passage!
Protecting Voting Rights of Military Personnel
My Democratic colleagues recently rolled out a package of bills that would strengthen our democracy by protecting the rights of eligible voters. My bill, HB 5514, would allow overseas military personnel and their spouses to return their ballots electronically. Those who serve in our military make so many sacrifices already. They should not be forced to sacrifice their right to vote as well.
Justice for Allie
The first piece of legislation I introduced in both of my terms so far recently received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee! This legislation, inspired by a courageous family of constituents, would protect vulnerable adults from online sexual exploitation. This session, Justice for Allie is a bipartisan duo of bills, HB 4159 and HB 4160. The bills passed their first committee unanimously and now we are awaiting a vote before the Judiciary Committee. Thank you to everyone who has continued to support these bills on their legislative journey!
House Dems Pass FY 22 Budget
I was proud to work with my House colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a budget that will make transformational investments in Michigan’s future. My House Democratic colleagues and I fought to ensure this budget works for Michigan families across our state, and I am excited that we were able to deliver critical funding for a number of my key priorities:
- A historic investment in childcare that will decrease costs for working families, expand access and support childcare providers.
- $196 million for over 100 local bridges.
- Full funding for Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners tuition scholarship programs.
- $100 million in new community revitalization grants to redevelop neighborhoods and support small businesses.
- New investments in drinking water, the great lakes, contaminated site cleanups and high-water infrastructure grants.
- $24 million for direct care worker wage increases.
This budget also includes:
- $300,000 for an I-75 sound wall study in Troy.
- $80,000 for a crosswalk signal in Clawson.
I was proud to see funding in the budget for some of the in-district projects that I have championed since taking office in 2019 based on direct input from constituents. Read my full statement here.
This budget is a far cry from the budget originally proposed by the legislature last spring, which included a 75% funding cut for most departments. House Democrats fought hard to negotiate a real budget that is good for working families, students, seniors and everyone in the district and the state.
In the wake of the worst crisis we’ve seen in our lifetime, after decades of excruciating cuts to municipal government and public schools, it’s more important than ever that we ensure everyone in our state has the support they need to not only recover, but thrive.
I look forward to continuing negotiations around the remaining federal dollars available to Michigan so that everyone has access to opportunity and we work together towards a bright and prosperous future!
Currently, all Michiganders who are at least 5 years of age are eligible to receive the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, and those 18 and up can receive their booster/third dose. Those who are eligible can visit Oakland County’s COVID-19 Vaccine Hub, Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine or the CDC’s Vaccine Finder to find local health departments and vaccine clinics that are ready to book appointments.
If you know a vaccine-eligible individual who doesn’t have access to the internet, or they need help with vaccine translation services, call 2-1-1 and press ‘5’ for free, confidential assistance. If you need additional help navigating the vaccine scheduling process, call the COVID-19 hotline at (888) 535-6136 (press 1).We all must remain vigilant and do our part to limit the spread of this virus. This includes getting vaccinated if you are able, continuing to wear masks when appropriate, physically distancing and frequently washing your hands.
COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)
COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) is a federally funded program available through MI State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to help Michigan tenants facing pandemic-related hardships avoid eviction, while also ensuring landlords can recoup owed rent. The program can provide rental and utility assistance for eligible renter households so that they retain their housing stability. The CERA program is an important resource for those who have experienced financial hardships due to the pandemic and provides peace of mind to renters by ensuring they will be able to stay in their homes.
MSHDA is currently administering the CERA Program through its statewide network of local nonprofit housing resource agencies. MSHDA estimates that 50,000 to 55,000 families will be able to receive financial assistance through CERA. For more info on who is eligible, check out the FAQ page here.
HOW TO APPLY? MSHDA has an online application portal for application intake. This is the best way to apply for those that have a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Tenants and landlords can also apply through their local service agency. Please see the CERA Contact List for the service agency in our county.
House Democrats, Gov. Whitmer Deliver Historic Investments in Child Care
On Nov. 8, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the launch of the Child Care Stabilization Grant that will distribute $350 million in grants to give every full-time child care professional a $1,000 bonus and keep childcare programs open and serving kids.
I was proud to vote YES on the historic, bipartisan budget that made a $1.5 billion investment to expand child care access and opportunities for Michigan families. We know that for our economy to continue its rebound, Michigan families need reliable access to quality and affordable childcare.
The Child Care Stabilization Grant application is open until Dec. 8, 2021. Licensed child care providers are eligible to apply and should visit www.Michigan.gov/childcare to review frequently asked questions and complete the application. Child care professionals will be awarded bonuses directly from their employer and do not need to apply. This is a non-competitive grant. Every eligible child care provider that submits a complete application will receive a grant award.
House Democrats will continue to partner with Gov. Whitmer to ensure quality care for our kids, better wages for frontline heroes like our dedicated child care providers and the stability all Michigan families deserve.