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Michigan United Responds to COVID-19
Our community needs Michigan United more than ever. Our mission to build community, fight for equity, and hold the powerful to account is critical during the pandemic emergency. This memo compiles the initial steps we are taking to address the crisis.
State Advocacy & Organizing
1) All departments should consider how their policy priorities need to change in light of the crisis. How is COVID-19 impacting your constituency, and what should we fight for to help?
2) We will convene weekly statewide “Advocacy & Organizing” on Mondays at 4:00 pm. The purpose of these calls will be to manage and organize our advocacy response, which currently includes.
a) A moratorium on evictions, tax foreclosures and mortgage foreclosures. As hourly workers lose their paychecks and others are laid off, working people will quickly find themselves unable to make the rent, or pay their taxes or mortgages on time. Gov. Whitmer has the power to unilaterally halt these activities.
b) Support MI HB 5628, sponsored by Rep. Kuppa, that would restore the paid sick time
protections gutted by the legislature
c) Support Rep. Pohutsky's anti-price gouging package, HB 5669, 5670, 5671
d) Support a package of bills led by Reps Darrin Camilleri and Mari Manoogian.
e) House Bill 5629: Would require DHHS, in coordination with local health departments, to develop a model pandemic preparedness plan to assist governmental entities (Rep. Clemente)
f) House Bill 5630: Would establish coronavirus reporting requirements, definitions, and
coverage of the uninsured (Rep. Hammoud)
g) House Bill 5631: Creates the pandemic outbreak fund, which would be dedicated to
addressing costs and acting as a reinsurance to help cover wage loss (Rep. Hammoud)
h) House Bill 5632: Would require Medicaid coverage, at no out-of-pocket expense, of costs associated with the coronavirus, including treatment and testing, wage loss, medications, vaccines, and hand sanitizer and face masks (Rep. Hammoud)
i) House Bill 5633: Would require private insurance coverage, at no out-of-pocket expense, of costs associated with the coronavirus, including treatment and testing, medications, vaccines, and hand sanitizer and face masks (Rep. Camilleri)
h) House Resolution 242: Urges Congress and the Center for Disease Control to provide financial support to our state to assist us in combating the coronavirus (Rep. Manoogian)
j) Extension of unemployment benefits. This will become a battle in the legislature. The
Governor can extend from 20 to 26 weeks through an executive order, however a longer
extension will require legislative approval
k) Immigrant protections, including availability of public health information in common immigrant languages and accessibility of testing and treatment for the undocumented. This part of the agenda needs further refinement.
Samad is coordinating our legislative work. We will organize teams of volunteers to lead lobbying efforts on these bills. We will need to do a bit of work to prioritize these bills. The rural phone canvass can ask voters to call their legislators in support of these bills. Relational organizers will likely be assigned to a legislative area. A staffer needs to be assigned to take on the administrative advocacy.
Solidarity & Support
We will organize weekly “Solidarity & Support” calls every Thursday at 4:00 PM. The purpose of these calls is to provide a space for community building, resource and information sharing, and mutual aid amongst our membership.
Ideally, the Solidarity & Support calls provide a pipeline for policy ideas on the Monday calls. Many policy issues start as individual problems, but are actually systemic issues that need to be addressed through policy change.
We will work to hold regular conference calls in Spanish, Arabic, French, and other immigrant languages with public health officials and ethnic media.
Navigators will seek to continue making presentations to community groups via webinar & conference call. Navigators will be trained on basic public health information regarding COVID-19, and will integrate this into their presentations.
We will develop a regular set of public health communications and community resources to be shared through our social media channels
Taking on Trump.
The Democrats have fallen down on communicating how Trump's handling of this crisis has been totally botched. While we had time to prepare, Trump was down-playing the crisis and refusing to take action. He also dismantled the infrastructure Obama put in place to prevent this sort of thing. As a result, many will die. Unfortunately, the Democrats have not communicated this effectively, and Trump's COVID-19 performance is positive.
Therefore we will work with People's Action to begin weekly national communications work (telephonic press briefings, coordinated social media, LTE campaigns) to drive home the truth of the situation and hold Trump accountable.