State Rep. Andrew Fink, of Hillsdale, today spoke on the House floor in support of a COVID relief plan to get kids back in classrooms, help struggling families and job providers, and improve the state’s flawed vaccine distribution program.
The $3.5 billion plan was approved by the House and now moves to be considered by the state Senate.
“Over the past year, our governor’s administration shut down more segments of the economy for longer periods of time than any other state in the nation,” Fink said during his speech. “This plan is laser-focused on undoing damage done specifically by COVID-19 and the government. It’s about helping workers and job providers who are on the brink of losing it all.”
Highlights of the House plan include:
Helping families: Families have been pushed to the brink by the governor’s COVID restrictions, which continue to be among the harshest in the nation. The plan provides $510 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding, while other investments support meals for seniors, mental health, and substance abuse prevention and treatment. Families also are eligible for rent and utility assistance, and a deposit into the unemployment benefits trust fund helps ensure those laid off because of COVID restrictions will continue to receive the benefits they’ve been promised.
Helping kids: Many students in Michigan haven’t seen the inside of a classroom in nearly a year. They’re not being allowed to participate in winter sports. The House plan provides $363 million statewide for districts committing to in-person instruction by Feb. 15, provides support through federal Title I dollars, and funds benchmark assessments to help determine where students stand after this tumultuous year. A voluntary K-8 summer school program would be funded with $135 million – plus $1,000 incentives for participating teachers, $250 incentives for participating staff, and up to $250 to help families cover associated costs such as transportation and tutoring. A high school credit recovery program would also be available.
Helping job providers: Restaurants and other small businesses – along with the workers who depend on them – are fighting for economic survival. The House plan supports businesses owners restricted by the governor’s COVID orders with $300 million for property tax reimbursements for businesses that were forced to close. The package also includes help for afflicted job providers who pay into the unemployment benefits system.
Fighting the virus: Additional resources for vaccine distribution and COVID testing would be allocated quarterly as needed – rather than all at once – to allow more legislative review of the process and ensure funds aren’t squandered. The Legislature approved more than $50 million for vaccine distribution in December. This new plan provides an additional initial investment of $22 million for vaccine distribution, and $144 million for COVID testing. Other resources will be held in reserve for when they are needed.
Fink said the plan does not include money for items the governor proposed that are unrelated to COVID.
State Rep. Andrew Fink, of Adams Township, issued the following statement after Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers refused to certify the signatures of Unlock Michigan’s petition seeking to repeal a law deemed unconstitutional that Gov. Whitmer previously used to issue pandemic orders.
State Rep. Andrew Fink, of Adams Township, today delivered testimony before the House Local Government Committee on his plan to ensure local municipalities do not enact knife ordinances that are stricter than state law.
Rep. Fink talks about his testimony Wednesday before the House Local Government Committee on his plan, HB 4066, to ensure local municipalities do not enact knife ordinances that are stricter than state law.