State Rep. Sarah Lightner today voted in favor of a comprehensive plan to protect public health and help Michigan bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lightner, of Springport, said the plan in the process of receiving final legislative approval helps struggling families and job providers, gets students back in classrooms and protects people from the virus with more resources for vaccination and testing.
“Struggling businesses and the families who depend on them need this funding to keep their heads above water,” Lightner said. “We must make sure no taxpayer money is wasted and that every bit of the federal relief plan is used as effectively and efficiently as possible. Our plan offers immediate relief to the Michiganders who need it most without giving the governor a blank check to spend without the proper oversight.”
The estimated $4.25 billion plan includes support for businesses restricted by the governor’s COVID orders in the form of a $426 million grant program, as well as 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.
The comprehensive plan provides additional funding for local 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.
Lightner said 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. It also fights to 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 4047-49 are expected to soon advance to the governor for her consideration.
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