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Gov. Whitmer signs bill for supplemental funding to support COVID-19 response

(WLUC)
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 5:46 PM EDT
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Wednesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 690, which appropriates nearly $880 million in federal funding to support various COVID-19 response actions across the state.

The supplemental budget includes a number of provisions that allow assist Michigan in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, help small business weather the difficult economic conditions created by COVID-19, and ensure that workers who put themselves at risk on the frontlines are fairly compensated, including:

- $2/hour increase for direct care workers

- $125 million in grant funding to reduce the cost of child care for families

- $100 million for hazard pay for local first responders and $200 million for local units of government

- $100 million in small business restart grants

- $60 million in rental assistance and eviction diversion

- $25 million for wireless hotspots and enhanced connectivity

- $18 million for health and safety grants for schools

- $10 million in MIOSHA grants for protections to keep workers safe on the job

- $14 million for food banks and domestic violence shelters

“I was pleased to sign this bill to put more federal funding to work across our state,” said Governor Whitmer. “Between the signing of this bill today and the recent agreement on the 2020 budget announced earlier this week, we have now put the full amount of the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to use so that Michiganders can reap the full benefit of our federal funding. Now, we need Congress to act later this month and provide additional aid to the states so that we can begin to address the budget shortfall in 2021.”

The budget funds a $60 million eviction diversion program developed jointly by Governor Whitmer and the Supreme Court Administrative Office. That program keeps renters in their homes by ensuring that landlords receive quick lump sum payments for back rent, while renters get a fresh start, and will be implemented in collaboration with local stakeholders and aid organizations.

"We applaud our Governor and legislators for working together to secure funding and create programming for what we believe is crucial to the health and safety of our state - keeping vulnerable Michiganders in their homes,” said Eric Hufnagel, Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness Executive Director. “With this support, our communities will keep thousands of families that have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 from the painful experience of eviction and homelessness.”

“On behalf of the 5,000 professional fire fighters in Michigan, we would like to thank Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature for their leadership in supporting SB 690 which recognizes the challenging work of our first responders during this pandemic,” said Mark Docherty, President of the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union. “Our job is to serve and protect our communities knowing that we risk our lives every time we go to work, the hazard pay included in this legislation is a reminder that our elected officials have our back when we do.”

“Before this pandemic, child care was one of the biggest expenses families in Michigan face,” said Dawne Bell, CEO of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. “This legislation does more than provide an additional investment in the early years, it sends a critical message: child care is an essential part of our economy, preparing children for the future and supporting the needs of working families,” says Dawne Bell, CEO of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has galvanized the truth about the stubborn challenge of food insecurity in Michigan. If you are hungry you only have one problem. Your mind is consumed with the toxic stress of what to eat and what to give your kids to eat,” said Dr. Phillip Knight, Executive Director, Food Bank Council of Michigan. “This bill and the relief it will bring helps take hunger off the table for Michigan families. The Governor and her team understand the first step to self-sufficiency is food security, and the FBCM is thankful for our friends in the Legislature who continue to support us and our efforts to serve. Thank you for believing in us and for trusting us with this great responsibility.”

“While the global health crisis has been difficult on us all, it has also provided additional challenges to those in domestic violence situations,” said Sarah Prout Rennie, Executive Director of the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. “We’re proud of how domestic and sexual violence organizations have stepped up across the state, and we’re grateful that our elected officials are providing much-needed funding to help support shelters that have worked hard to keep their doors open and continue to provide essential services for victims and survivors.”

SB 690 was sponsored by Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland.

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