Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Included in this edition 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
Clean Slate Clean Up Package
Last session, the Michigan Legislature passed a comprehensive reworking of Michigan’s expungement laws, broadening access and providing relief to hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens, affording them opportunities for better employment and dignity. As with any major initiative, there are ideas for corrections and improvements that have surfaced since the passage of these bills.
I joined several colleagues to introduce a bipartisan bill package aimed at strengthening and building on the successes of that expungement work. The following is a summary of the reforms those bills would enact:
Firearm Felony Changes
On March 10, I joined my colleague state Rep. Luke Meerman in introducing House Bills 5908 and 5909. This bipartisan package would reform the mandatory two-year consecutive sentences for a first conviction of a felony firearm charge.
The bipartisan legislation would provide a more in-depth definition for “use” of a firearm during the commission of a felony — “use” being defined as pulling the trigger, brandishing the weapon or pointing the weapon at another person. Under the proposed changes, the offense would still be punishable by a two-year mandatory consecutive sentence. For those who simply possess but do not use a firearm, are charged with a separate felony. The proposed legislation allows judges to sentence someone for up to two additional years for a first offense.
COVID-19 Updates & Resources
COVID-19 Vaccine Help
If you know someone who doesn’t have access to the internet and they’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine or are in need of help with vaccine translation services, call 2-1-1 and press ‘5’ for free, confidential assistance.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines specifically in Oakland County, go to https://www.oakgov.com/covid/Pages/default.aspx. This website also has resources for testing and FAQ about COVID-19 as well.
Expanded Access to Home Heating Credit, Free Tax Preparation Assistance Available Through MDHHS Partnership
Michiganders will have greater access to an increasing amount of Home Heating Credit benefits this year through a partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan.
MDHHS awarded the association a $1 million grant to expand the capacity of free tax preparation service providers statewide and increase access to the Home Heating Credit and other tax credits that help improve financial stability. The Home Heating Credit is available through the Michigan Department of Treasury.
State of Michigan Launches First-Ever Statewide Housing Plan
Michigan’s first-ever Statewide Housing Plan (SHP), a five-year blueprint charting priorities, goals and strategies to address the intricate and multifaceted challenges impacting housing equity, was launched to a crowd of housing industry leaders at the Building Michigan Communities Conference. Targets include:
The plan also outlines eight priority areas, each with its own set of goals, strategies and outcome measures to guide action planning in regions across the state, as well as 37 goals and 134 strategies to create more robust pathways to safe, quality, affordable housing for all Michiganders.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in Michigan are a vital and valued part of our state, making significant contributions to academia, business, medicine, law, technology, government, science, social justice and so many other areas. This month, we join in paying tribute to them and all the contributions they have made. We must recognize the steps that we need to take to ensure a more equitable society free of hate.
Armed Forces Day
Saturday, May 21, is National Armed Forces Day in the United States. In 1949, Defense Secretary Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Airforce Days. This was also done after all the U.S. Armed Forces were unified under the U.S. Department of Defense. Armed Forces Day was created as an educational program for civilians to expand the public’s understanding of what types of jobs are performed by service members and the role of the military in civilian life. It is also a day to honor and acknowledge those who serve in the Armed Forces.
May 30, the last Monday in May, is Memorial Day. This national holiday was created to honor the brave service members who gave their lives to defend our nation. It was originally observed after the Civil War and was called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags. This gave way to the tradition of the president laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. On this day, join me in thanking our veterans, in remembering those who are no longer with us, and in keeping their families and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.