Welcome to the first 2022 Capitol & Community Update e-newsletter! I hope you had a safe and joyous holiday season, and I wish you peace and prosperity in the coming year.
During the second half of the term, I’m looking forward to continued communication with the active and engaged constituents of House District 41, as well as advocating further for our policy priorities. I’m 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 — Troy and Clawson — to also sign up for 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
2022 Coffee Hours
Please join me for my in-person office hours where I will be giving legislative updates and taking your questions about the issues facing our state and our community. Masks are required per the policy of the venue, and physical distancing is also strongly encouraged during the event.
This year, in order to make the schedule of constituent events more consistent, I will be holding my coffee hours on the fourth Monday of each month from 4:30-6 p.m. at the centrally located Troy Community Center. The information for my next coffee hour is as follows:
When: Monday, Jan. 24, from 4:30-6 p.m.
Where: Troy Community Center (3179 Livernois Road in Troy)
At the end of December, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) approved the final maps for our state’s new Congressional, state Senate and state House districts based on the 2020 census data. Barring any successful legal challenges, these maps will be law for the next 10 years.
This was the first cycle that the redistricting process was given back to the people. A group of bipartisan and nonpartisan individuals completed the redrawing, not the partisan Legislature . While the process will certainly need to be reviewed to identify any procedures that need to be clarified or refined going forward, the work of the MICRC was an excellent achievement in democracy and made great steps toward un-gerrymandering our state. When we un-gerrymander districts, voters can choose their politicians, as opposed to politicians choosing their voters.
For residents of HD 41, Troy and Clawson are located completely within Michigan’s new 11th Congressional District. In the state Senate, Clawson will be represented by the new 3rd and 8th districts while Troy will be represented by the new 9th district. In the state House, the new 56th district will represent Clawson and the larger, western portion of Troy and the new 57th district will represent the smaller eastern portion of Troy.
I look forward to continuing to represent the residents of Troy and Clawson, Michigan’s current 41st House District, through the end of 2022. Please note that I cannot comment on non-stateside business through stateside channels.
I-75 Sound Wall Study
One of the issues I hear about from constituents most often is the noise pollution stemming from I-75 in Troy. Over the years, we have worked with MDOT to get new segments of noise walls built and have advocated for additional remedies in areas that do not currently meet state and federal criteria for new sound wall implementation. We have also convened groups of impacted residents to share their thoughts with MDOT officials directly and have worked with state Sen. Mallory McMorrow to lay out the city of Troy’s options for constructing new walls. Together, Sen. McMorrow and I were able to secure $300,000 in the state’s budget for an updated sound study, which will hopefully determine that additional sound walls are eligible to be built in the afflicted areas. While any construction cannot begin until after the study is complete, I am committed to exploring all possible options to support the project and ensure transparency and citizen involvement in the project in the meantime.
Funding for Menstrual Products in Schools
HB 5636 was the last bill I introduced in 2021. This bill would provide funding for schools that opt to provide menstrual products in at least some of their bathrooms. Last year, Gov. Whitmer signed into law bipartisan legislation that I championed eliminating our state’s tax on menstrual products, making them more affordable for those who need them. HB 5636 was written with that same goal in mind. The idea came from a former intern of mine who worked as a school administrator and saw firsthand how period poverty — the lack of access to menstrual products and education — impacts students. Menstrual products are necessities, and those who need them should always be able to access them. This is even more true when it comes to our students.
Justice for Allie
The first piece of legislation I introduced in both of my terms so far received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee in October, but has not returned to the agenda for a vote. 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!
Currently, all Michiganders who are at least 5 years of age are eligible to receive the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, and those 12 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 needs 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 provides rental and utility assistance for eligible renter households so they can 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 Dems Deliver More Than $1 Billion in COVID-19 Relief
The Michigan House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 5523, a budget bill that contains more than $1 billion in federal funding dedicated to fighting COVID-19, some of which has been available since last December. This bill includes:
House Democrats have been fighting for nearly a year to bring these taxpayer dollars home to Michigan and put them to work in our communities. Although this relief funding is long overdue, I am proud that we delivered this critical funding to keep Michiganders safe.
House Passes Economic Development Package to Attract Industry, Create Jobs
The House of Representatives passed legislation last month to fund economic development programs that are designed to help businesses locate and expand facilities in Michigan, creating good-paying jobs for the people of the state.
In order to ensure Michigan stays competitive with other states, we need to invest in attracting growing industries. These bills will invest in site readiness and create incentives for growing industries to locate here in Michigan.
The bills also include critical safeguards to make sure that your taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. Deposits and disbursements must receive legislative approval, businesses must meet set performance metrics in order to receive funding, and, if companies don’t hold up their end of the bargain, there are penalties and clawbacks in place to ensure the state can recoup its investment.
This is only part of the work of putting Michigan back on top. We also need to invest in our aging infrastructure, continue our historic funding for public schools and make sure that everyone has clean drinking water, no matter where they live. This economic development package is one of many tools to make sure Michigan stays competitive for years to come.