Senate approves funding for front-line workers, others affected by COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas’ legislation to use $524 million in available federal funding to help Michigan families, workers and schools affected by the COVID-19 health crisis.

“The coronavirus has tremendously impacted our state and our people while also putting a huge strain on our economy and critical workers,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Although the state budget will face severe impacts caused by declining revenue and the governor’s response, we can put available federal relief dollars to work to better support our front-line workers, first responders, teachers and families — while also conserving our limited state resources.”

Senate Bill 690 would provide $100 million in bonus pay for local first responders; $50 million for additional testing supplies and personal protective equipment for workers at nursing, home health and daycare facilities; $125 million to reduce child care costs for essential workers; $12 million in grants for testing, equipment and supplies at food processors; and $178 million to temporarily increase pay by $3 per hour for direct care workers — including those caring for seniors in nursing facilities.

Stamas’ bill would also provide $11 million for the Unemployment Insurance Agency to immediately hire more staff to help unemployed Michigan workers; $2.5 million in assistance to hospitality workers who may not be eligible for full unemployment benefits; and $45 million for at-home learning, summer education and assessment support for schools.

“The funding would help ensure unemployed Michigan workers receive the assistance they need and our front-line workers get the supplies and equipment necessary to enable them to safely care for patients,” Stamas said. “This will also ensure that the people who keep us safe, educate our children, provide our food, and care for our most vulnerable all have the support to continue their efforts as we fight against COVID-19 and slowly begin to safely reopen our state.”

SB 690 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorJimStamas.com/Photowire.