Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week, the Michigan House of Representatives voted on several bills to distribute federal COVID-19 relief funding that our state received in December. On Tuesday, Gov. Whitmer signed two of those bills, House Bills 4047 and 4048. Some of the highlights of the bills include:
- $650 million for vaccine distribution, COVID-19 testing and contract tracing;
- $150 million for a $2.25 hourly pay increase for direct care workers;
- $600 million for food assistance;
- $223 million for emergency rental assistance;
- $17.4 million for substance abuse disorder services;
- $16 million for mental health services; and
- $840 million for Title 1 school funding.
The governor also vetoed several spending items in these bills:
- Moving $150 million from the General Fund to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency fund;
- $405 million in business property tax and administrative fee reimbursement;
- $10 million to partially reimburse parents for the cost of summer school for their children; and
- $86.7 million for non-public schools.
Republicans attempted to override the vetoes, but those attempts failed. The following day, House Republicans put Senate Bills 29 and 114 up for a vote. These bills included the items (listed above) that the governor vetoed just the day before. I voted no on both of these bills because they fall short of adequately addressing our state’s needs. These bills passed the House.
Senate Bill 29 allocates $86 million to private schools but fails to provide similar funding to public schools. Senate Bill 114 does not extend unemployment insurance benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks. Without this six-week extension, we become ineligible for additional federal funds to the state Unemployment Insurance Agency.
In sum, the House’s actions fail to allocate nearly $2 billion in federal funds — Michigan taxpayer dollars. Bipartisan federal action led to this vital aid, but Michigan Republicans continue their power struggle with the governor. Michigan’s families, public schools and businesses lose when leaders play these petty partisan games.
TIME CHANGE: Virtual Coffee Hour
Please join me for a Facebook Live coffee hour this Monday, March 15, from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. You will find the event on my Facebook page at that time. Or you can participate by phone using the information below.
Dial-in number: (602) 580-9214
Access code: 2493014
I will give a legislative update and answer any questions you may have. Please contact my office if you have any questions or topics you would like covered. I look forward to speaking with you all soon.
While legislative offices remain closed to the public, my team and I are still providing responsive service as we work from home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (517) 373-0587 or by email at email@example.com if we can help.