LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Wednesday approved $524 million in available federal COVID-19 funds to provide financial assistance for front-line health care and public safety workers, including a nursing staff pay increase and bonus pay for local law enforcement, as well as deliver much-needed personal protective equipment to front-line workers.
“Health care workers and public safety officials have been putting in extra time at great personal risk to help ensure the health and well-being of us all during the coronavirus outbreak,” said Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. “Today we acted to help support those who are supporting us by utilizing federal funding to ensure they have enough protective equipment and to provide them some financial help to take care of themselves and their families as the battle against COVID-19 rages on.”
Senate Bill 690 would provide $100 million in support pay for first responders, such as police officers, firefighters and EMS workers; $50 million for additional testing supplies and personal protective equipment for workers at nursing, home health and day care facilities; $125 million to reduce child care costs for essential workers; and $178 million to increase pay by $3 an hour for direct care workers, including those who provide care for seniors in nursing homes, disabled individuals and individuals with mental illnesses.
“During the past several weeks, my office has heard from constituents across the district seeking additional compensation for staff in the nursing homes and local law enforcement officers,” said McBroom. “Michigan received this funding from the federal government weeks ago, but it has remained unspent by the administration. My Senate colleagues and I have been listening to our constituents’ concerns and believe spending the federal funds to help these workers who are so critical in fighting this virus every day in our local communities is appropriate.”
Additionally, SB 690 would provide $12 million for food processors to ensure Michigan’s food supply remains safe and operational, $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 are not eligible for unemployment benefits, $30 million for at-home learning and assessment support for schools, and $15 million for summer schools.
SB 690 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.