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 brave folks on the front lines have stood tall against this virus and kept our state going. They deserve all of the equipment and resources they need to keep themselves safe as they continue to serve us,” said Sen. Kevin Daley, R-Lum. “We all owe a special thank you to our top-notch emergency personnel and medical workers who have been pushed to the limit yet remained strong and continued saving lives.”
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.
The legislation also includes language to provide $11 million to immediately hire an additional 300 temporary workers to the Unemployment Insurance Agency; $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.
“I have received countless calls from folks back home who are losing hope by the day as their pleas go unanswered by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency,” Daley said. “The current system was not prepared for an influx in the number of unemployment claims and people are not receiving the benefits that were promised to them. This funding will not only provide some help to the agency in the meantime, it also includes additional assistance for hardworking Michigan families.”
Daley emphasized the importance in quickly utilizing the federal funds as the Legislature works to fill what’s expected to be troublesome holes in the state budget.
“This afternoon’s action by the Senate aims to start spending the $3.8 billion in federal aid to help Michigan businesses and families fight the coronavirus,” Daley said. “It’s important that we quickly put these federal dollars to work and provide additional help to those in need.”