Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful. Last week was a busy one in the House of Representatives, so there is a lot to share.
Upcoming Event: Virtual Coffee Hour
Please join me for a Facebook Live coffee hour Monday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. You will find the event on my Facebook page at that time. No code is needed to join. I will give a legislative update and answer any questions you may have. If you have topics or questions you would like covered, you can post them here or respond to this email. I look forward to speaking with you all soon.
State Budget Agreement for Fiscal Year 2021: School Funding Increased
Last week, the Michigan Legislature approved a budget for the next fiscal year. Despite predictions about serious revenue shortfalls, no cuts were made to K-12 schools, higher education, or local governments. Most of the highlights mentioned below are directly related to the pandemic. The other items reflect long-term commitments to improving outcomes for families and the quality of our criminal justice system.
A caveat: These are just highlights. The budget is a large, complicated document. In fact, the summary of the general fund budget (which does not include most school funding) is 97 pages long. To read more detail about the budget agreements reached last week, you can read the House Fiscal Agency analyses here.
- $95 million in flexible spending for schools (a $66 per-pupil increase in school funding)
- $66 million to schools to account for increased enrollment (using a 75/25 “super blend” based on 75% of last school year’s enrollment and 25% of this year’s enrollment)
- $53 million in hazard pay for teachers ($500 per full-time teacher) teaching in person during the pandemic
- $30 million for Michigan Reconnect to help students age 25 and older get a degree or certificate from community college and certain other students age 23 and older get a high school equivalency
- $20 million to full-time school support personnel ($250 per employee) who worked during the pandemic
- $5.4 million for mental health counselors and other support for students
- $5 million for first-year teacher retention incentives
- $2 million to intermediate school districts to support virtual learning
- $1 million to school districts to forgive student lunch debt
JOBS & THE ECONOMY
- $28.7 million for Going Pro employer-based job training programs
- $20 million in additional funding for community revitalization and business attraction
- $15 million for Pure Michigan tourism promotion
- $14 million to expand broadband to underserved areas through the Connecting Michigan Communities competitive grant program
HEALTH & PUBLIC SAFETY
- $40 million for increased wages for direct care workers
- $10 million to nursing homes for COVID-19 related costs
- $2.5 million for first responder mental health
CHILDREN & FAMILIES
- $27 million for childcare assistance, allowing more families to benefit by expanding eligibility
- $12.6 million for Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies to improve maternal and post-natal health outcomes for at-risk mothers and infants
- $36.5 million for indigent defense commission grants
- $4.2 million to implement recommendations from the joint task force on jail and pretrial incarceration
Approximately $146 million in federal CARES Act funds were used to offset payroll costs in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Corrections, and Michigan State Police. Funds from the federal CARES Act that are not spent by Dec. 31, 2020, will be deposited into the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
Movie Theaters, Other Indoor Venues Scheduled to Reopen
Gov. Whitmer signed an executive order last week that will allow performance and indoor entertainment venues to reopen statewide on Oct. 9. This includes movie theaters, indoor theaters, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities, trampoline parks, and more.
This order also increases the maximum capacity of non-residential indoor gatherings from 10 to 20 people per 1,000 square feet, or 20 percent of the seating capacity, with a limit of 500 people. Non-residential outdoor gatherings have a maximum capacity of 30 people per 1,000 square feet or 30 percent of the seating capacity, with a limit of 1,000 people.
Face Coverings to Be Required for K-5 Students
Beginning Oct. 5, students in every grade will be required to wear a face covering while in a classroom. Previous orders required students in the sixth grade and above to wear a mask, but it was not mandatory for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Make Sure to Fill out Your Census Form
Sept. 30 is the last day to be counted for the census. For every Michigander who doesn’t fill out their census, we are at risk of losing $3,000 per year in our share of federal funding per person who is not counted. This confidential survey will make sure that money stays in our communities. Return your 2020 Census today or visit 2020census.gov to fill it out online. Your information will remain private.
Last E-News Until after Nov. 3
In keeping with House Printing Guidelines, this will be the last edition of e-news until after Nov. 3. But you can keep up with what’s new in Michigan and the 67th House District on my official Twitter and Facebook accounts.
While legislative offices remain closed to the public, my team is still providing responsive service as they work from home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (517) 373-0587 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help.