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Rep Graham Filler
Rep. Filler: Funding plan provides resources needed to protect lives and livelihoods during pandemic
RELEASE|December 21, 2020
Contact: Graham Filler

State Rep. Graham Filler today voted in favor of funding to help Michigan distribute COVID-19 vaccine and boost testing while helping those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the virus and economic shutdowns.

Filler, of DeWitt, helped the House approve a $465 million overall plan that also temporarily extends unemployment benefits while supporting the restaurant industry, small businesses and the families who depend on them.

“I have been fighting to save lives and livelihoods since COVID-19 first appeared earlier this year – and while hope is on the horizon with the vaccine, our fight against this virus is not yet over,” Filler said. “People in our communities are struggling, and these funds are sorely needed to continue protecting Michigan families against the virus and help those who are suffering from the governor’s economic shutdowns.”

Highlights of Senate Bill 748 include:

  • Restaurant and small business relief. The measure adds to grant programs for small businesses whose operations have been shut down or restricted by the governor’s latest orders. Filler said the small business survival program – supported by $55 million in this measure alone – could provide a lifeline for many job providers and families on the brink of economic collapse.
  • Unemployment benefits and additional help. The measure includes $220 million to temporarily extend unemployment benefits for those who have been forced out of work by the governor’s most recent shutdown orders. Benefits are extended by six weeks through March, meaning laid-off workers are temporarily eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits. Employers are held harmless for the change. In addition, $45 million would be set aside for an employee assistance fund providing grants of up to $1,650 to replace lost wages for those employed by a business impacted by the current orders.
  • Vaccine distribution and support for health care workers. The measure includes more than $50 million to support vaccine distribution efforts, and $22.5 million to boost virus testing efforts – with a special focus on nursing homes. Another $42 million will support temporary staffing needs and wage increases for direct care workers who are the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.

Filler said the proposal builds on the Legislature’s commitment to fight COVID-19 and its repercussions – which includes approving more than $3 billion earlier this year from state budgets, plus allocation of federal unemployment funding to surpass $6 billion overall.

Senate Bill 748 will soon head to Gov. Whitmer for her consideration.

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