Sen. Zorn votes for $880M in funding for people affected by COVID-19 crisis

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday voted to send the governor a supplemental budget bill authorizing the use of $880 million in available federal funding to help Michigan families, workers and students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The coronavirus has had an enormous impact on our state and nation. Thousands of people have lost their lives, and thousands more have lost their livelihoods,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This vital federal COVID-19 relief funding will help Michigan families affected by the crisis — starting with helping get important benefits to unemployed workers and helping our small business job providers to safely reopen and get people back to work.

“We must also thank and support our front-line workers caring for patients, our first responders keeping us safe, our local officials providing critical services and our teachers ensuring our students still receive an education that prepares them for success.”

Senate Bill 690 would provide $29 million for additional temporary workers to handle unemployment claims, $100 million for small business restart grants, $100 million in hazard pay for local first responders, $125 million to reduce child care costs by 30%, and $117 million to temporarily increase pay by $2 per hour for direct care workers — including those caring for seniors in nursing facilities.

SB 690 would also invest $200 million for local governments for public health and safety costs related to the pandemic, $25 million for testing supplies and personal protective equipment for workers like those at nursing and home health care facilities, $15 million to support farms and maintain a safe food supply, $2.5 million in assistance to hospitality workers who may not be eligible for full unemployment benefits, and $43 million to make learn-from-home devices and connectivity more affordable and cover COVID-19 costs for schools.

“While protecting our limited state resources for providing vital services, this federal relief funding is a lifeline for many families, job creators and communities struggling in response to the coronavirus outbreak,” Zorn said.