LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Bizon, M.D. on Tuesday was named the 2019 Legislator of the Year by the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm at a Capitol event to recognize legislators and community leaders for their work on energy issues for low-income families.
Bizon received the award for sponsoring Senate Bill 451 (now Public Act 87 of 2019), which allows the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) to continue through 2023.
“It is an honor to be recognized with this award by the Coalition to Keep Michigan Warm,” said Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “It is important we all do what we can to help those who need assistance, especially during our colder months. That is why I sponsored Senate Bill 451.”
The purpose of MEAP is to establish and administer programs statewide that provide energy assistance and self-sufficiency services to eligible low-income households. Self‐sufficiency services include assisting with paying energy bills on time; budgeting for and contributing to energy expenses; and utilizing energy services to optimize on energy efficiency.
Coalition Chairperson Patrick Leahy, of CLEAResult, said it is estimated that annually more than 600,000 Michigan households receive some type of state, private and federal funds for home heating assistance.
“No family should be cold in their own homes during a Michigan winter. Many low-income families and seniors on fixed incomes are struggling, sometimes spending 30% or more of their annual income simply for their winter energy bills,” Leahy said. “Extending the Michigan Energy Assistance Program for four years ensures families can continue to receive help with heating and electric bills, enroll in affordable payment plans and access self-sufficiency services such as energy education, financial counseling, and free home energy score assessments.”