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The Latest: What You Need to Know From Lansing This Week

May 13, 2020
Senate Passes $523M Supplemental for COVID-19 Relief

On Wednesday, the Michigan Senate passed more than $500 million in federal relief funds in a supplemental appropriations bill as part of the state’s response to the new coronavirus pandemic.SB-690 was approved unanimously by the Michigan Senate and now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives for consideration. The bill is a supplemental appropriation of federal dollars from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. No state funds were spent, but some good programs will receive relief. Some of which were programs identified in Gov. Whitmer’s letter to the legislature.

The supplemental would provide appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2019-20 from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for various efforts related to Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The supplemental includes line-item appropriations of $508.7 million Gross and Federal with $0 in General Fund/General Purpose (GF/GP) funding. Table 1 summarizes the appropriations in the supplemental.

FY 2019-20 Supplemental Appropriations:

  • Agriculture & Rural Development: $12,000,000
  • Education: $135,000,000
  • Health & Human Services: $178,206,000
  • Labor and Economic Opportunity: $11,000,000
  • Treasury: $172,500,000
  • TOTAL: $508,706,000

View a full non-partisan summary of the bill

State Participation in the Work Share Program Helps Address Budget Deficit

The governor announced that the State of Michigan will save $80 million by participating in the federal Unemployment Insurance Agency Work Share program allowing the state to keep 31,000 employees, but reduce their hours between May 17 and July 25. Learn more about Work Share.

Gov. Whitmer: Let’s Work Together on Shared Priorities

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also wrote to the Michigan Legislature leadership Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, asking them to partner with her on a number of initiatives prior to the Michigan Senate passing SB-690. Many of the below initiatives she asked to partner on were addressed:

  • Offer hazard pay for local first responders.
  • Increase wages for direct care workers and nursing home employees.
  • Expand child care resources for working families and childcare providers.
  • Fund the Futures for Frontliners program to provide opportunities for postsecondary education for those working on the front lines in health care facilities, grocery stores, child care centers, and more.
  • Support MIOSHA’s efforts to keep employees safe as they return to work.

Read the full letter

Michigan Workers Provided $5.62 Billion in Unemployment Benefits

The Unemployment Insurance Agency provided an update on unemployment claims related to COVID-19 in Michigan. Since March 15 at the onset of the crisis, 1,717,555 claimants have applied for state and federal benefits, with $5.62 billion in benefits paid to 1,374,751 of workers. Roughly 92% of eligible claimants have received benefits or have been approved to receive benefits.

Following the announcement, Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah released the following statement:

“The unprecedented nature of the COVID crisis has required both public and private entities to adapt to never before seen challenges.  Nowhere has this been more evident than state unemployment systems.  The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity appears to be navigating the onslaught of UI applications better than many states, and continues to work to address needed areas.  The Chamber appreciates LEO’s responsiveness and openness to input.”

Gov.Whitmer Extends Executive Order Enhancing Hospital Capacity, Efficiency

Gov.Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-82 on Wednesday, extending a prior order temporarily lifting regulatory requirements on hospitals and care facilities to help ensure adequate personnel and facilities to serve patients during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The reissued order authorizes the Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to waive certain requirements to expedite bringing additional care facilities online as needed. The order also empowers LARA to ensure an adequate supply of care providers during the emergency by granting the department additional flexibility in its decisions about licensing, registration, and workflow requirements.

The new order is in effect until June 9 at 11:59 p.m.