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COVID-19 relief funding

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At the end of last year, I was proud to support a $465 million COVID-19 relief funding package to help deliver resources to workers and businesses struggling most as a result of the pandemic and restrictions put in place by the governor and state health department.

I was very disappointed to see the governor veto an additional $220 million in critical funding to extend unemployment benefits for Michigan workers until April.

Senate Bill 748, now Public Act 257 of 2020, invests state and federal funding to support Michigan health care workers combating the virus, increase testing capacity, make the investments necessary to ensure vaccine distribution, help hospitals and nursing homes address nursing shortages, and provide Small Business Survival Grants and other assistance to help family businesses shuttered by the governor’s orders avoid permanent closure.

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The measure also funded Employee Assistance Grants to support employees impacted by the DHHS shutdown order that took effect on Nov. 18. Eligible workers can apply at for grants up to $1,650 from Jan. 15 through Jan. 25.

The grants are not first come, first served and the application will be open for submissions for the entirety of the 10-day period. Please take the time to complete an application if you may be eligible and let others know as well.

Bills signed in 2020

I was proud to have four of my bills signed into law in 2020, including legislation to improve prescription drug safety and help local clerks process absentee ballots more efficiently.

Senate Bill 248, now Public Act 136 of 2020, requires the electronic prescribing of prescription drugs in Michigan by Oct. 1, 2021. Also called e-prescribing, electronic prescribing is the use of a technological system by prescribers to write and transmit a patient’s prescription to a participating pharmacy. Prescribers who can’t meet the electronic transmission requirements can apply for a waiver from the state.

The technology will improve patient safety and efficient access to necessary medications while also reducing the illegal supply of highly addictive drugs like opioids by greatly reducing the opportunity for fraudulent paper prescriptions.

SB 757, now PA 177 of 2020, allowed clerks of cities or townships with populations of least 25,000 people to begin certain preprocessing of absentee ballots prior to last year’s Nov. 3 election and have the ability to shift in fresh workers at absentee voter counting boards after the polls close on Election Day to reduce fatigue and improve both safety and accuracy.

This reform was designed to improve Election Day efficiency while also protecting the integrity of our elections by reducing mistakes caused by election officials working long hours. It was limited to this election so that we can review the results and determine what steps to take to improve the integrity of future elections.

SB 70, now PA 301 of 2020, created an address confidentiality program in Michigan. It is the main bill in a bipartisan legislative package to help protect victims in fear for their lives by keeping their physical addresses hidden from their offenders.

At least 37 other states have a program like this to help victims. Similar legislation had been tried the last two legislative sessions. I worked on this legislation during my time as secretary of state and am so happy to finally get it done to protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking. This will help save lives and give survivors in Michigan some peace of mind by providing them a way to reduce the risk that they will be threatened or harmed again. I also sponsored PA 303 to prohibit schools from disclosing the address of a student or their parents if they are in the program.

My reforms to allow Michigan residents to renew their driver’s licenses and state personal identification cards online or by mail for two four-year periods were included in two of the Address Confidentiality Program bills.

These bills amended the same section of law, so to avoid confusion, we combined them. The reforms will improve safety and convenience for Michigan residents by allowing them to renew their driver’s licenses and state ID cards twice before having to come into a branch office. They also help struggling branch staff, who are doing their best to keep up with the backlog of transactions caused by temporary branch closures and new safety protocols put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Human trafficking happens to children, women and men every day in our country and even here in Michigan. We have increased protections for survivors of human trafficking and continue to fight to bring this form of modern-day slavery to an end. To learn more or to get involved, visit If you see something, say something. You can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline by phone, text, or email.

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COVID-19 resources

Below is a list of resources available to you if you need any type of assistance. Additionally, you can contact my office at any time for more information.

• General information, resources, testing locations and more:
• Up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccine distribution:
• Coronavirus hotline for health-related questions: 1-888-535-6136 daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 1-800-232-4636 or
• Michigan PEER Warmline for mental health support and substance abuse challenges: 1-888-733-7753 every day from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
• National suicide prevention lifeline available 24/7: Call 1-800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit
• Small business resources: or 1-888-522-0103.


Michigan's 14th Senate District

In Genesee County, the 14th Senate District includes the cities of Davison, Fenton and Grand Blanc as well as Atlas, Davison, Grand Blanc and Mundy townships.

In Oakland County, the district includes the cities of Fenton and Lake Angelus as well as Brandon, Groveland, Highland, Holly, Rose, Springfield and Waterford townships.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the state Senate. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 14th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Ruth Johnson
7300 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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