Sen. Zorn votes for $465M in COVID-19 relief funding

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Friday voted for COVID-19 relief funding to help increase testing, ensure safe delivery of the vaccine and support workers and businesses effected by Gov. Whitmer’s repeated shutdowns.

“This critical relief funding will help both our incredible health care workers battling the virus and the thousands of Michigan workers and job providers struggling to make ends meet,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The governor’s shutdowns continue to have an enormous impact on our economy and people’s lives — with many workers losing their jobs and locally owned businesses facing the loss of their livelihoods. This funding was approved with significant bipartisan support to give them much-needed assistance, including extended unemployment benefits and survival grants for impacted small businesses.

“If signed by the governor, this support will bring the total amount of resources we have invested in combatting this virus to nearly $4 billion.”

Senate Bill 748 includes:
• $220 million to extend unemployment benefits until April 1, 2021;
• $79.1 million to expand virus testing and vaccine distribution, including funds to ramp up testing of teachers to ensure healthy school communities;
• $115.3 million to hospitals and nursing homes to address nursing shortages, including an extension of the pay increase for direct care workers;
• $45 million in Employee Assistance Grants to restaurant and other workers laid off or furloughed due to Gov. Whitmer’s shutdown orders; and
• $63.5 million in Small Business Survival Grants and other assistance to help small businesses shuttered by the governor’s orders avoid permanent closure.

The bill uses available state and federal dollars and includes a provision that federal funds will be utilized instead of state funds if Congress approves a relief bill that directs more dollars to the states.

SB 748 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. If approved by the House, it will go to the governor.