My hope today is that all of you are safe and home. For our frontline workers, first responders, medical personnel and those working in essential businesses, THANK YOU. We are all deeply appreciative of the work you are doing.
These last few weeks have not been easy as we continue to stay home and stay safe. While the data show we have flattened the curve in Detroit, and the counties of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, we are still seeing large increases of cases in Kent and its surrounding counties.
We must remain vigilant and cautious as we slowly and safely re-engage our economy.
During the “Stay Home Stay Safe” order, my staff and I will not be in our Lansing office regularly. We will be in the 52nd District working to assist you and to advocate for our community’s needs. To reach out, please email me at DonnaLasinski@house.mi.gov.
Please remember to wash your hands regularly, avoid direct contact with others and if you feel ill, please contact your healthcare provider immediately.
COVID-19 Michigan Statistics
As the number of CoOVID-19 cases in the state continue to grow, we have not yet reached the “apex” or peak of infections. This disease does not respect physical lines of county, city or state.
At this time, Michigan ranks 3rd in the nation for the highest number of cases. This is a rise from 5th most infections in the nation.
State Total Confirmed Cases: 41,379
State Total Deaths: 3,789
Washtenaw County Total Confirmed Cases: 1,075
Washtenaw County Total Deaths: 61
Information is changing rapidly. We are working hard to share updates and information as quickly as possible on social media. Please take a moment to like and follow me on Facebook, as this is where information will first be shared.
On April 30, Governor Whitmer extended the state of emergency until May 28. This state of emergency is NOT the same as the “Stay Home” order. The state of emergency allows the governor to quickly act and direct the agencies of our state, and use state resources to counter the spread of COIVID-19.
The “Stay Home” order was extended until May 15, but with revisions:
Allowing Low-Risk Activities and Work
- Lawn care, pest control, landscaping operations, and working at nurseries and garden stores with enhanced social distancing rules
- Processing and fulfilling remote orders for delivery or curbside pick-up
- Performing bicycle maintenance and repair
- Maintenance and groundskeepers to maintain the safety and sanitation of places of outdoor recreation
- Moving or storage operations with enhanced social distancing rules
- Outdoor recreation, including boating and golfing
Enhanced Social Distancing for Low-Risk Activities
We still need to do our best to keep those engaged in these low-risk activities safe, that’s why the order requires these activities to:
- Prohibit gatherings of any size in which people cannot maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet from each other
- Prohibit workers from occupying the same vehicle at the same time;
- Limit in-person contact with clients as fully as possible
- Provide personal protective equipment like gloves, goggles, face shields and masks as appropriate
- Adopt protocols to limit the sharing of tools and equipment as much as possible and ensure frequent and thorough cleaning of these tools, equipment and frequently touched surfaces
Access to Elective Procedures
All hospitals, freestanding surgical outpatient facilities, dental facilities and state-operated outpatient facilities may perform elective procedures that are necessary to preserve the health and safety of a patient, determined by their licensed medical provider.
Staying Safe in Public
To keep Michiganders safe and prevent another spike of COVID-19 as we begin the transition back into public spaces, Gov. Whitmer’s order requires:
- Any individual able to medically tolerate a face covering, to wear one – including homemade masks, scarfs, or bandanas – when in any enclosed public space.
- All businesses or operations whose workers perform in-person work to provide, at minimum, non-medical grade face coverings to their employees.
- Supplies of N95 masks and surgical masks to be reserved as much as possible for health care professionals, first responders and other critical workers who interact with the public.
I Want to Hear from You
During this challenging time, I want to hear from you. What do you need? How can we help you? Please, reach out to me at DonnLasinski@house.mi.gov.
Student Loan Assistance
The Michigan Dept. of Treasury has announced that Michiganders with student loans guaranteed by the state will be eligible for state assistance. Collection activities on delinquent Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) student loans made by a financial institution and serviced by the Michigan Guaranty Agency will be halted until Sept. 30, 2020. Also, the state Treasury Department has stopped all wage garnishments and offsets to pay outstanding FFELP student loans serviced by the Michigan Guaranty Agency. Borrowers who are currently in repayment agreements will not be penalized if a payment is missed through Sept. 30, 2020. To learn more about state student finance programs, go to www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid. More information about the Michigan Guaranty Agency is available at www.michigan.gov/mgaloan.
Small Business Assistance
The federal Payment Protection Program is accepting new applications from small businesses.
These are forgivable loans for small businesses to keep their employees on the payroll.
Visit the Small Business Administration’s website to apply.
Starting Monday April 20, all self-employed, sole-proprietor, low-wage, 1099-independent contractors and gig workers will be able to apply for the federal unemployment benefits.
If you have yet to apply, please visit here to watch informational videos on how to apply or access your federal benefits application.
Visit here for the MiWAM toolkit to help you navigate the MiWAM website and properly set up your account.
If you have questions as you apply, or are unsure of what you will need to apply visit here for the UIA’s Unemployment Benefits FAQ.
For more information or to apply for unemployment benefits, visit Michigan.gov/UIA or call (866) 500-0017.
If you are concerned that your federal stimulus check has not been deposited into your bank account, or you have not received it by mail, here are some resources for information and how to check on the status of your stimulus check.
Do not worry if you have yet to receive your stimulus check as these deposits will continue to be rolled out in waves.
The IRS launched the “Get My Payment” application. This will allow you to update your direct deposit information if you did not use a direct deposit for your 2018 tax return, or that information was entered incorrectly, and you received a paper check refund. The portal also allows you to update your banking information if necessary. Visit here for more info.
If you filed your 2018 taxes and utilized direct deposit, further actions are needed at this time. But if you have specific questions regarding your individual circumstances, the IRS has developed a website to provide clarity on the many different situations you and others may be facing. Visit: here and here.
If you filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes, or are a Social Security recipient, no further action is required if the IRS has your direct deposit information.
If you are not a Social Security recipient, and you did not file, you can register for your payment here.
Faith in Action is still proudly serving the families of Western Washtenaw County. If you need food assistance, or you know someone who might need help, Faith in Action is still operating and delivering food.
They can be contacted by calling (734) 475-3305.
Their hours of operation are:
M/W: 11am-7pm Tu/Th: 9am-4pm Friday: closed
There has been some concern that the federal stimulus checks and federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) might affect your eligibility for food assistance programs under SNAP.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that the federal stimulus payments will NOT affect your eligibility for food assistance. Your stimulus checks will NOT reduce the amount of public assistance that you receive.
Your PUA benefits do count as income, and as such this WILL affect either the amount of food assistance you receive or affect your eligibility.
Your federal stimulus checks will NOT affect the amount you receive for any of these programs.
- Food Assistance Program benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Cash assistance under the Family Independence Program or Refugee Cash Assistance program.
- Healthcare coverage, including Medicaid, Healthy Michigan Plan and MIChild.
- State Emergency Relief.
- Child Development and Care (childcare reimbursement). Women, Infant and Children (WIC).
For more information, visit here.
To apply for public assistance benefits, visit here.
This is an extremely difficult time for those with mental health issues. They may not be able to see their doctors face-to-face, feelings of isolation and loneliness, or not being able to see loved may exacerbate conditions.
If you need someone to talk to, the state has launched a statewide, peer-run warmline for Michiganders living with persistent mental health conditions during this pandemic.
The warmline will operate seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. at 888-PEER-753 (888-733-7753).
It is intended to serve individuals living with persistent mental health challenges including anxiety, depression and trauma.
Individuals in crisis, including those considering suicide, are urged to contact the Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7 at 800-985-5990 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-8255.
Meals for School Age Students
Ann Arbor Public Schools
Breakfast and lunch packages are available for pickup from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. If you can’t make the pick-ups or have food allergy concerns, call the AAPS Food Service Hotline at 734-994-2265. For more information, including pickup locations, visit here.
Chelsea School District
Food Service is providing sack breakfast and lunch meals for students from 10 a.m. to noon at the Chelsea High School commons entrance. If you do not have transportation, contact the district at 734-433-2208 ext. 6082 to discuss alternative plans.
Dexter Community Schools
Drive-up pickup will be in the Mill Creek Parking Lot from 8:00-9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. Families can pick up on both Tuesdays and Fridays each week. For families who cannot come in to pick up food or have special dietary needs, we have established a hotline number to call 734-424-4186.
Manchester Community Schools
For Manchester Schools food distribution services, please visit their website and fill out the school closure meals form.
Visit michigan.gov.meetupeatup for all of the school locations providing meals. These meals are available to all children ages 0-18 at no cost.
Governor Whitmer acted to protect workers from retaliation by their employers, if they stay home because one of their close contacts has tested positive for COVID-19: Click here for post and further information.
The Attorney General’s office has created a website to help you “know your rights” as an employee if you are still required to work during this time. Click here
52nd District Resources
My office and I have created a Google Drive of resources and information regarding COVID-19 for individuals, employers and employees. Click here to access the entire drive.
You can receive continual updates from the MI Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) by clicking here.
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Tuesday Town Halls
Out of an abundance of caution, all previously scheduled coffee hours and in-district meetings are cancelled. I will instead be hosting Facebook Live Town Halls.
When: Every Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Where: My State Representative Donna Lasinski Facebook
I will be recapping events and news that happened throughout the week, and answering all of your questions. To join, visit my Facebook page on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. and you will see my live video. Click on the video to join.
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United Way of Washtenaw County Free Tax Preparation Help
As the new year begins, we also need to start preparing to file our 2019 taxes. The United Way of Washtenaw County offers free tax preparation help to those who are eligible. To see if you are eligible for their tax preparation help, please visit the website below. If you are eligible, you can schedule your appointment online or call the phone number below.
Please note that they will only be able to help with the 2019 tax filing year. Prior years will be on hold until spring 2020 (after this tax season).
Phone: (734) 677-7235
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State Representative Donna Lasinski