Legislator helps advance $465 million support bill to governor’s desk
State Rep. Matt Hall, of Marshall, today voted in favor of funding to help Michigan distribute COVID-19 vaccine and boost testing while helping those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the virus and burdensome economic shutdowns.
Hall’s vote helped approve a $465 million overall plan that also temporarily extends unemployment benefits while supporting the restaurant industry, small businesses and the families who depend on them.
“Michigan must have a healthy population and a healthy economy coming out of COVID-19 to ensure the state rebounds effectively,” Hall said. “That balance is essential. People have been put out of work and unable to make a living through no fault of their own by Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders and recent health directives. They must have resources available to them so they can pay bills and support their families. The support we provided today works towards that as we continue this fight.”
The measure includes $220 million to temporarily extend unemployment benefits for those who have been forced out of work by the governor’s most recent shutdown orders. It also extends benefits by six weeks through March, meaning laid-off workers are temporarily eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits. Employers are held harmless for the change. In addition, $45 million would be set aside for an employee assistance fund providing grants of up to $1,650 to replace lost wages for those employed by a business impacted by the current orders.
Grant programs for small businesses whose operations have been shut down or restricted by the governor’s latest orders would also be bolstered. The small business survival program – supported by $55 million in the approved proposal alone – will work to provide a lifeline for many job providers and families on the brink of economic collapse.
As COVID-19 vaccines begin to be distributed, the plan allocates more than $50 million to assist in those efforts statewide. It also continues to address testing needs – with $22.5 million going toward general testing and focus areas such as nursing homes. Another $42 million will support temporary staffing needs and wage increases for direct care workers who are the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.
This measure builds on the Legislature’s commitment to fight COVID-19 and its repercussions – which includes approving more than $3 billion earlier this year from state budgets, plus allocation of federal unemployment funding to surpass $6 billion overall.
Senate Bill 748 now advances to Gov. Whitmer for her consideration.
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