Michigan Senate votes to authorize spending to combat COVID-19

LANSING—Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, today announced passage of legislation to fund efforts to combat the presence of COVID-19 in Michigan.

“We are working with our governor to direct necessary funds to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. Today’s actions make additional state dollars available to deploy across Michigan. We also voted to access federal funds to help support efforts to combat the impact of the virus on our population and protect public health,” said Shirkey.

House Bill 4729 increases state spending to combat COVID-19. The legislation authorizes $50 million for healthcare needs, $40 million for other needs, and sets aside $35 million for additional spending to be made available via legislative transfer when necessary.

The funds are in addition to $15 million in set aside funds and $10 million in readily available funds already passed and contained within SB 151. To date, the Senate has approved $150 million to address needs related to COVID-19 in Michigan.

“We continue to evaluate and anticipate the needs of our schools. We know school employees and teachers are working to feed students and find creative ways to continue education. Districts should continue to take care of the people who are working so hard to take care of our kids. We are actively engaged in discussions about necessary legislation and we are exploring additional funding to extend the school year in the event temporary closures last longer than anticipated,” said Shirkey.

House Bill 4729 passed the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support.

“The Senate met today to respond to immediate and pressing needs. We also moved legislation to have bills in place should we need to return to authorize additional spending during this unprecedented time,” said Shirkey.

“We have additional tentative session days scheduled to ensure we can continue to carry out the essential functions of government. Senators and staff are accessible to constituents via phone and email while we encourage personnel to work from home in the interest of public health. We will regularly evaluate the need for legislative action and remain in close contact with the governor and her team,” said Shirkey.

“We know people are frustrated and scared by the actions taken to change our social behavior and our everyday routines. Joining with our loved ones, our neighbors, and our co-workers to bend the curve is the best effort we can undertake to slow the impact of this virus on our communities and our state,” said Shirkey.

House Bill 4729 will go to the Michigan House of Representatives for approval before being presented to the governor for signature.