The Michigan House today approved the Legislature’s plan, sponsored in part by Rep. Pamela Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township, to protect public health and help Michigan bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan helps struggling families and job providers, gets students back in classrooms and protects people from the virus with more resources for vaccination and testing.
“In addition to undoing the damage big government has had on families and local economies, this plan focuses on getting every kid back in school,” Hornberger said. “We’ve been stifled by this pandemic for almost a full year. People are ready to resume normalcy, getting back to where they were before executive orders turned their lives upside down.”
Highlights of the estimated $4.25 billion plan including state and federal resources:
Helping kids: The plan provides additional funding for school districts committing to restore in-person instruction by March 22 – the equivalent of about $450 per student — and funds benchmark assessments to help determine where students stand after this tumultuous year. A voluntary K-8 summer school program and a credit recovery program for high school students would be funded with $135 million. The summer school plan additionally provides $1,000 incentives for participating teachers, $250 incentives for participating staff, and up to $250 to help families cover associated costs such as transportation and tutoring.
Helping families: The plan provides $600 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding, while other investments support meals for seniors, mental health, and substance abuse prevention and treatment. Families also are eligible for rent and utility assistance, and a deposit into the unemployment benefits trust fund helps ensure those laid off because of COVID restrictions will continue to receive the benefits they’ve been promised.
Helping job providers: The plan supports businesses restricted by the governor’s COVID orders with a $426 million grant program, including help with reimbursement of liquor, health inspection and other fees. The package also includes support for property tax relief, and help for afflicted job providers who pay into the unemployment benefits system.
Fighting the virus: The plan immediately provides more support for vaccines and COVID testing, in addition to the funds that were previously approved by the Legislature in December. Direct care workers on the front lines of fighting the virus would receive an additional $2.25 per hour through September.
The plan also provides an opportunity for the governor to allow local health departments to make their own science-based decisions about whether their local schools should be open in the future – rather than leaving the entire state vulnerable to the governor’s unilateral decisions.
If signed, these measures also will give the people of Michigan – through their elected representatives in the Legislature – a voice in how long emergency health orders last beyond their original 28-day length.
House Bills 4047-9 are expected to soon advance to the governor for her consideration.