LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved $524 million in available COVID-19 federal funds to help families in need of financial assistance, deliver much-needed supplies to front-line workers and support critical state infrastructure.
“The coronavirus outbreak has burdened families across the state of Michigan. People have lost loved ones and are facing tremendous economic hardship as they try to care for their families as best they can,” said Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “Front-line workers and essential employees have gone above and beyond to help keep our families safe during this crisis, so it’s important we utilize the resources available to us to provide additional support for these workers so they can continue to support their families during this tough time.”
Senate Bill 690 would provide $100 million in support pay for first responders such as police officers, firefighters and EMS workers, $50 million for additional testing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line workers in hospitals and other settings, $125 million to reduce child care costs for essential workers, and $178 million to increase pay by $3 an hour for direct care workers, including those who provide care for seniors in nursing homes, disabled individuals and individuals with mental illnesses.
“We owe a great deal to the front-line workers who have remained on the job so we could get the items and care we need for our families,” Bumstead said. “This funding will help provide much-needed protection equipment and other resources for those who have risked their own lives and their families’ lives as they remained on the front lines battling this virus.”
The legislation includes language Bumstead introduced, which would provide $11 million to immediately hire an additional 300 temporary workers to the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Additionally, the bill contains $12 million for agriculture processors for testing, facility needs and PPE supplies; $45 million for at-home learning, summer education and assessment support for schools; and $2.5 million in assistance to hospitality workers who may not eligible for unemployment benefits.
“The state’s unemployment agency has been drastically overwhelmed, and my office has been contacted by hundreds of constituents who are not receiving the unemployment benefits they are entitled to,” Bumstead said. “The current system was not prepared for an influx in the number of unemployment claims, and it is unacceptable that people are still not receiving their benefits.”
Bumstead said this federal funding will help alleviate some stress on our already severely strained budget as we work to provide essential resources for workers and families in need.
“Today’s action puts federal relief dollars to work to better support our front-line workers, first responders, teachers and families while conserving state dollars for long-term needs as we prepare for the incredibly difficult budget season that’s ahead of us.”
SB 690 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.