Rep. Aaron Miller today voted in favor of funding to help Michigan distribute the COVID-19 vaccine and boost testing while helping those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the virus and economic shutdowns.
Miller helped lead efforts as the House approved 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.
“The best thing to do for our businesses that have been shut down by the government would be to get out of their way and let them open back up – trusting them to make good choices for their customers,” said Miller, of Sturgis. “But this bill represents our best effort in dealing with the situation at hand. My hope is that the governor’s administration will allow Michigan businesses to reopen soon.”
Highlights of the measure include:
- Unemployment benefits and additional help. 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. The measure 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.
- Restaurant and small business relief. The measure adds to grant programs for small businesses whose operations have been shut down or restricted by the governor’s latest orders. Miller said the small business survival program – supported by $55 million in this measure alone — could provide a lifeline for many job providers and families on the brink of economic collapse.
- Vaccine distribution and support for health care workers. The measure includes more than $50 million to support vaccine distribution efforts, and $22.5 million to boost virus testing efforts – with a special focus on 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.
Also included in the supplemental budget is the final construction authorization for the Glen Oaks Community College capital outlay project in Centreville that was initiated over two years ago, which calls for the total renovation of the north side of campus including the library, technical labs, art studio, business classrooms, restrooms, and replacement of the bowed exterior walls.
Senate Bill 748 is expected to soon be headed to Gov. Whitmer for her consideration.
“Requiring masks for competing athletes across the board is senseless. I would like to know what data the governor believes supports the notion that masks are necessary in athletics, especially to protect those competing in sports where athletes are already physically distanced from one another, such as golf, tennis, or cross country.
Rep. Miller, the Chair of the House Appropriations School Aid Subcommittee, speaks on the House floor Wednesday afternoon, prior to final passage of the state’s $15.5 billion budget for the state’s 2020-2021 school year. Rep. Miller says the budget, which passed with bipartisan support, is about protecting funding.
State Rep. Aaron Miller today supported a plan to rectify the governor’s fatal error that contributed to the COVID-related deaths of nearly 2,000 nursing home residents. The mandate to put COVID-19 patients into long-term care facilities alongside uninfected residents was decided by the governor alone, without any legislative input. “What Gov. Whitmer’s nursing home policy […]