Sen. Zorn supports additional funding for workers affected by COVID-19 crisis

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday supported a supplemental budget bill to use $524 million in available federal funding to help Michigan families, workers and schools affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis.

“It is important to do what we can to assist our front-line workers caring for patients, our first responders keeping us safe, those who are out of work, and our students and teachers adjusting to new ways of learning during this pandemic,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This federal relief funding will help us better support struggling Michigan families and our real-life heroes facing the fight against the coronavirus head on every day.”

Senate Bill 690 would provide $11 million for the Unemployment Insurance Agency to immediately hire more staff to help unemployed Michigan workers; $2.5 million in assistance to hospitality workers who may not be eligible for full unemployment benefits; $50 million for additional testing supplies and personal protective equipment for workers at nursing, home health and daycare facilities; and $45 million for at-home learning, summer education and assessment support for schools.

“We must ensure our schools can continue to prepare Michigan students for success and help fix a broken unemployment system that has failed so many Michigan workers,” Zorn said. “As our state faces a significant budget shortfall due to the COVID-19 response, we can use this federal funding to help those affected by the crisis and still protect state tax dollars for critical services.”

SB 690 would also provide $100 million in bonus pay for local first responders, $125 million to reduce child care costs for essential workers, $12 million for food processors to ensure Michigan’s food supply remains safe and operational, and $178 million to temporarily increase pay by $3 per hour for direct care workers — including those caring for seniors in nursing facilities.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.