The Michigan House, led by Appropriations Chair Shane Hernandez, today approved federal funding to help the state bounce back from COVID-19.
The $880 million included in the measure will assist small businesses restarting after the COVID-19 shutdown and provide relief for front-line workers. The legislation also supports families across the state – from food banks and farms to schools, along with much-needed help navigating the unemployment benefits system.
“We led the way providing help when COVID-19 first hit, and we continue to lead the way supporting Michigan workers and families today,” said Hernandez, of Port Huron. “As we rebound and rebuild from COVID-19, this federal funding will help those affected by the pandemic in a variety of ways.
“This support will help small businesses reopen and allow more people to return to work. It will help Michigan farmers, and families needing support at food banks and with utility bills. It will help students stay connected with their classrooms. It will support the men and women who risk their lives for us every day in law enforcement and health care. It’s an important step to take as Michigan reopens after months of COVID-19 shutdown mandated by the governor’s unilateral executive orders.”
The federal assistance is designed solely to help states cover additional costs incurred by COVID-19.
Senate Bill 690 next returns to the Senate for further consideration. Highlights include:
• Support for small businesses. The measure includes $100 million for a ‘restart’ grant program to help job providers and their employees get back on their feet. Eligible businesses must have 50 or fewer workers, with assistance capped at $20,000 per business.
• Support for first responders and health care providers. The measure will help local governments continue to pay public safety and public health personnel. It also helps provide hazard pay to law enforcement, firefighters, corrections officers, emergency medical service providers and others in communities across Michigan while continuing supplemental pay for public health workers providing direct care during the pandemic. The legislation also will help health care providers and the agricultural processing industry stock up on personal protective equipment. Funding is included to conduct infection control surveys in nursing homes, where one-third of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths have occurred.
• Support for Michigan workers and families. The measure will help boost staffing and improve technology at the Unemployment Insurance Agency, which has failed Michigan workers in their time of need. It also supports family and health care needs by helping with rent and utility payments, child care providers, domestic violence shelters, food banks and other programs.
Speaking on the House floor on Thursday in his farewell speech to the Michigan House, Rep. Hernandez, the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, called for a renewed emphasis on protecting future taxpayer dollars.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Shane Hernandez and State Budget Director Chris Kolb on Monday announced they have reached agreement on the spending parameters for the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget.
Rep. Shane Hernandez – chair of the Michigan House Appropriations Committee – today led legislative approval of a new state budget overcoming the financial challenges posed by COVID-19.