During this difficult time, I am working with fellow legislators, the governor, local agencies, and many others to help coordinate responses to help protect the state and our community. If you have concerns or proposals that might be helpful, I would be glad to hear them. You can get in touch with me by phone at (517) 373-2577, by email at email@example.com, or on my website, rabhi.housedems.com. Because my staff will be working remotely, you may need to leave a message; we can call you back. If you would like to unsubscribe from this e-newsletter, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yousef and You Discussion forums
I will be cancelling previously scheduled Yousef and You discussions through the end of March. However, I want to stay connected to you and respond to your questions. To this end, I will be holding virtual Yousef and You forums—please check my social media for more information to come.
With the first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, everyone must use their best judgment and proactively take the appropriate precautions to keep people safe and slow the spread of the disease.
Earlier this week, Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency to maximize the available assistance for local governments to help slow the spread of the virus. In order to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, everyone is encouraged to take the following actions to reduce the spread.
- Learn about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
- STAY HOME WHEN YOU ARE SICK, and individuals at risk of severe illness should consider staying at home to avoid others who are sick.
- Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, keyboards, cell phones and light switches.
- Use best practices for washing hands for at least 20 seconds, and covering coughs and sneezes.
- Be sure to maintain a supply of medications, food, and other essentials in your house.
- Avoid large gatherings, conferences and sporting events (e.g. events with over 100 people).
- Avoid in-person gatherings and activities, especially for organizations with individuals at risk of severe illness.
- Consider tele-learning or tele-work opportunities, where feasible.
- Limit non-essential work travel.
- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
- Limit visitors at hospitals and other facilities to only those who are absolutely necessary and implement screening of visitors for temperature and respiratory symptoms.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued a comprehensive list of interim mitigation recommendations. As information about this outbreak is changing rapidly, the latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
Budget Forecast Changes
Michigan’s budget will undoubtedly be affected by public health measures and the concomitant economic issues. The governor’s executive budget recommendation, which I summarized in my last e-news, was based on the best estimates available at the time about necessary expenditures and expected revenues. During budget deliberations, the Legislature will have to take changing circumstances into account. A second consensus revenue estimating conference is scheduled for mid-May.
US Census—Stand up and Be Counted
Getting an accurate count of every Michigander is vital to making sure our state gets its fair share of federal funding and Congressional representation. It helps everyone from policymakers to researchers to businesses make decisions based on the best information about the people of our state. The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will also rely on the Census data to complete a fair redistricting process.
This is the first time you can fill out the Census online. You should be receiving a letter in the mail soon. It will have instructions for how to do the Census online or by phone, and it may also include a paper form you can mail in instead. One person per home should answer questions about everyone who lives there. The more households that complete the Census, the fewer visits Census workers will have to make to fill in the gaps.
Help the DNR’s Frog and Toad Census
If you are looking for an interesting outdoor activity that does not involve large gatherings of people, consider participating in the Department of Natural Resources’ 25th annual Frog and Toad Survey. Participants visit wetlands after dark in early spring, spring, and summer to listen for different species of frogs and toads and record their observations. Frogs and toads are valuable indicators of wetland health.
You can learn to recognize Michigan’s 13 species of frogs and toads by their calls on the DNR website, as well as finding more information on how to participate in the survey.