Welcome to my e-newsletter!
I am so honored to have the privilege of representing the 19th House District, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community in Lansing in the new year and term.
In the sections below, you will find more information on my February coffee hour and a COVID-19 town hall, in addition to a legislative update regarding supplemental funding relief bills that were passed by the House last week.
If there is anything I can do to help you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my office by calling (517) 373-3920, emailing me at LauriePohutsky@house.mi.gov or by attending one of my upcoming virtual events.
State Representative, 19th House District
Upcoming Virtual Events
I will be hosting my next virtual coffee hour via Facebook Live on Monday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss recent events and legislation. To join, please visit my Facebook page (@RepPohutsky) by clicking here at the time of the event; no code or previous registration is required. I hope to see you then!
When: Monday, Feb. 15, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
How: Join via Facebook Live by visiting my page here.
I look forward to hosting a virtual town hall next week to discuss the science behind the COVID-19 vaccinations and the process of distribution in our community. Joining me as a special guest for this important event is Dr. Mouhanad Hammami from the Wayne County Health Department. This will be held over Zoom as a webinar, while being live streamed to my Facebook page (@RepPohutsky). To sign-up for this event to participate via Zoom, click here. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office for more information and with any questions you may have.
When: Thursday, Feb. 18, at 5 p.m.
COVID Relief Bills Pass House
Last week, the Michigan House of Representatives voted on three bills to distribute federal COVID-19 relief funds. Unfortunately, the bills passed last week in the Michigan House fail to use all the federal resources to which Michigan residents are entitled. This money has already been designated for Michigan via legislation signed late last year by President Trump.
- Federal Supplemental (HB 4019): A Fiscal Year 2021 supplemental appropriations bill authorizing federal funding for COVID-19 response activities. The bill authorizes $868.5 million of federal funds recently made available from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSA) for COVID-related needs, including testing and vaccinations, rent and utility assistance, and supplemental food assistance benefits.
- Business Relief Supplemental (HB 4047): A $565.5 million supplemental appropriations bill that would deposit $150 million from the General Fund into the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and provide $365.5 million in General Fund dollars for assistance grants to “afflicted businesses” to offset property taxes, unemployment taxes, liquor license fees and local health department fee obligations.
- School Aid Supplemental (HB 4048): A school aid supplemental appropriations bill proposing to spend approximately $1.8 billion of the new federal dollars that were sent to Michigan, along with $363 million available School Aid Fund dollars. The School Aid Fund dollars would only be available to districts who return to in-person instruction five days a week for the remainder of the academic year by Feb. 15, excluding only previously scheduled days when school is not in session.
The School Aid Supplemental was tie-barred to House Bill 4049, meaning that both bills would either pass or fail together. That bill would prevent the MI Department of Health and Human Services from closing schools to in-person learning or prohibiting sporting events.
My House Democratic colleagues and I attempted to bring our COVID Relief Funding Plan (House Bill 4039) up for a vote, but these efforts were shot down by the majority party. I am proud to have co-sponsored HB 4039, which would provide the full $5 billion in available federal funding for vaccine distribution, education and the economy. Some of the highlights of our plan included:
- $90 million for vaccine distribution;
- $575 million to expand COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and lab capacity;
- $2 billion for food assistance;
- $661 million for rental and utility assistance;
- $2 billion for public schools;
- $270 million for small business relief; and
- It would permanently extend unemployment assistance from 20 to 26 weeks.
House Democrats also attempted to make amendments to House Bills 4019, 4047 and 4048 that would utilize the full federal funding mentioned above. Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues rejected these efforts and left more than $1 billion in Michigan taxpayer dollars on the table in Washington, D.C., instead of bringing them back home.