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UPCOMING EVENTS 

Friday, Sept. 18: Virtual Coffee Hour

At 10:30 a.m., please join me and my guest, Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem Mary Sheffield for a virtual coffee hour to share updates and answer questions and concerns. You can attend this virtual event at facebook.com/stephaniechangmi.

Monday, Sept. 28: Virtual Coffee Hour

At 4 p.m., please join me and guest Algeria Wilson, Director of Public Policy for the National Association of Social Workers – Michigan Chapter, for a virtual conversation about reimagining how we think of safety in our communities through the lens of social workers. You can attend this virtual event at facebook.com/stephaniechangmi.

ELECTION DAY POLL WORKERS NEEDED

You may have read news this week about how Michigan’s professional sports teams are giving time, money, and their space to help make November’s election run smoothly. Did you know that election workers are democracy’s “Most Valuable Players”? Democracy is a team sport and every Election Day, thousands of Michigan citizens come together to assist voters and process ballots, and you can not only join them, but get paid to be a poll worker!

In the presidential election in November, very large numbers of citizens are expected to vote by mail and at polling locations. One of the best ways you can help today is by signing up to serve as an election worker on Election Day to assist voters and count ballots. Election workers are the front lines of our democracy.

Even during a global pandemic, democracy will march on in November. Election workers are pivotal to the success of these upcoming elections and will adhere to health guidelines and best practices to keep all staff and voters safe.

If you are a registered voter in Michigan, or a 16- or 17-year-old looking to do your part in this critical moment, learn more and sign up at Michigan.gov/DemocracyMVP. If you are age 18+ and not yet registered to vote, you can register to vote online (at Michigan.gov/VoterRegistration) and then sign up to serve as an election worker. You will be paid for your time on Election Day, and you will be a crucial part of the team helping to protect and defend Michigan’s elections. Apply today and join the team. Our democracy needs you now more than ever.

CENSUS REMINDER AND NEW DEADLINE

Did you know the census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others use to provide daily services, products, and support for our community? Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data. Take 10 minutes to answer the 9 questions that will deliver 10 years of benefits to our community. Self-response options and field data will close on Sept. 30. Visit www.my2020census.gov today!

You can also complete the census over the phone by calling 844-330-2020 for English or for 844-468-2020 for Spanish.

NEW COVID-19 TESTING SITE

A new Neighborhood Testing Site has also opened in Ecorse, run by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services:

  • International Gospel Center, 375 Salliotte Road, Ecorse. Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

RECENT BILL INTRODUCTIONS AND BUDGET NEWS

This week, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill 745, which provided for additional unemployment benefits of a weekly $300 additional payment per eligible unemployed person, and that also included $3 million for flood efforts in the city of Detroit. These funds will go a long way toward flood response and mitigation in Detroit. For years, some of our most vulnerable residents — especially along the Detroit River — have been dealing with flooded basements, streets, and more. Given the persistent high-water levels, we need to do all we can to address flooding in our vulnerable areas. Past flooding has put a lot of stress on many of our residents’ household budgets, who are already struggling during this pandemic, and hampers the ability for people to get to work or even go to the store. The funds included in this week’s supplemental budget bill will go a long way to address the impact of flooding.

Recently, I introduced Senate Bill 1060 and Senate Bill 1061, which make significant changes to the use of segregation, or solitary confinement, within the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). Prisoners over 65 or under 21, and those with a mental disability or past history of psychiatric issues would be afforded greater protections under this legislation and would need to be reassessed for safety more often. The package would also create a permanent working group to oversee the use of solitary confinement and advise the department on necessary changes to eliminate the use of segregation. Solitary confinement is a human rights issue that the United Nations has recognized as a form of torture, and several states — including Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey — have enacted reforms to either ban, or significantly reduce, the practice over the past 10 years. We must never forget that people inside our prisons are people who should be treated humanely.

This week I also introduced a bill to require that a Phase I environmental assessment be conducted for any proposed school construction site and that the assessment results be made available to the public. If the study shows that the site does not meet residential standards, my bill will require that a licensed Professional Engineer attest that any planned response activity or corrective action would result in bringing the site up to residential standards before beginning construction. The purpose of this bill is to identify and eliminate environmental hazards on school grounds, for the health and safety of our students and teachers. I am proud to have worked with the Michigan School Siting Taskforce on this issue for six years. They recently released a report which you can find here.

MCLOUTH STEEL LETTER TO TRENTON CITY COUNCIL

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, I wrote a letter to the Trenton City Council to express my sincere hope that Trenton and Downriver residents can look toward a positive, brighter future along our riverfront. I have heard from many of you who have expressed genuine concerns about the proposed rezoning ordinance and the impact that a McLouth Steel site would have on the quality of life, public health, and the environment of our community. You can read my letter to the council here. I am currently working to convene a meeting of government officials to discuss the possibility of a Downriver truck routing study. I am also communicating with experts at the Port of Long Beach and others regarding green port policies, a model that we in Michigan should look to for our own ports.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS

This week my family, just like many of yours, began the back-to school-journey, virtually. Here are some resources that we have found to assist school children and their parents with this school year:

Together, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) — with DTE Energy Foundation, Quicken Loans Community Fund, the Skillman Foundation, General Motors and the Kellogg Foundation — announced their Connected Futures Project, which allows all students enrolled during the spring Membership Count (February 2020) to receive wireless tablets and six months of internet access through a $23 million investment. This initiative will enable 51,000 students and families to receive wireless tablets and internet access for in-home use. These devices include six months of subsided LTE data, immediately connecting students without wired internet connections at home, and will be the property of the student and family. For more information visit for more information and details on how to claim your child’s tablet: https://www.detroitk12.org/connectedfutures

Learning Materials

DPSCD Schools will provide physical materials including textbooks, novels, and workbooks to online students during their first week of school. Picking up materials will require wearing masks and social distancing. Parents can expect to receive details via email, text, and robocalls from your child’s school regarding these details. Visit: https://www.detroitk12.org/domain/6127 to learn more.

Michigan Home Internet Options

Visit the Michigan Department of Education website for more details and eligibility requirements on resources mentioned below:

  • Spectrum Internet Assist from Charter/Spectrum provides low-cost internet for $14.99 per month, plus taxes and fees.
  • Comcast Internet Essentials Program provides affordable Internet for $9.95 a month plus tax, with no term contract, no credit check, no installation fee, with in-home Wifi.
  • CenturyLink Internet Basics provides affordable Internet for $9.95 a month plus taxes and fees, with a 12-month contract at speeds up to 1.5Mbps.
  • Access from AT&T provides low-cost internet to qualifying households in Michigan for $5 to $10 a month, depending on available options in your area.

 

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Stephanie Chang
State Senator
1st District