LANSING – The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday approved Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Stamas’ legislation to use $880 million in available federal CARES Act funding to help Michigan families, workers and schools affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. The bill now heads to the governor to be signed.

“This measure will put nearly a billion dollars in critical federal CARES Act resources to good use to support Michigan families, students, workers, small businesses and local communities hit hard by the coronavirus,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “We’re only using federal COVID-19 funds, no state dollars. Although we’re facing a tremendous challenge to balance an unprecedented state budget deficit, we can invest these restricted federal dollars to reduce the cost of child care for working families, provide hazard pay for our front-line workers and first responders facing the virus head on, offer small businesses restart grants to help safely reopen our state, and increase Unemployment Insurance Agency staff to get needed benefits to struggling families.”

Senate Bill 690 would invest $100 million for small business restart grants, $100 million in hazard pay for local first responders, $125 million to reduce child care costs by 30 percent, $29 million for additional temporary workers to handle unemployment claims, and $117 million to temporarily increase pay by $2 per hour for direct care workers, including those caring for seniors in nursing facilities.

“This funding will also support local government public health and safety efforts, invest in COVID-19 testing supplies and personal protective equipment, support at-home learning and instructional recovery for our students and ensure our food supply remains safe and operational,” Stamas said. “This is about thanking those who risk their lives and health to protect the public and care for the sick and doing what we can to reduce the financial impact and mental strain on the Michigan people caused by this global pandemic.”

SB 690 would also invest $200 million for local governments for public health and safety costs related to the pandemic, $25 million for testing supplies and personal protective equipment for workers like those at nursing and home health care facilities, $15 million to support farms and maintain a safe food supply, $2.5 million in assistance to hospitality workers who may not be eligible for full unemployment benefits, and $43 million to make learn-from-home devices and connectivity more affordable and cover COVID-19 costs for schools.

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