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State House passes COVID-19 relief legislation; sends bill to Whitmer

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

Updated 12/21/2020 10:30 a.m.

The Michigan House has approved a COVID-19 relief bill that includes a pay boost for workers on the front lines of dealing with COVID-19; funding for vaccine distribution; and extending unemployment benefits. There’s also money to help small businesses that have been hurt by the continuing health crisis. The bill now goes to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.  

The state House returns to Lansing, Monday, to vote on a $465 million dollar COVID-19 budget bill. The state Senate approved the bill Friday, so a House vote in favor of it would send the bill to Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Whitmer says she’s disappointed a federal COVID relief bill negotiated over the weekend does not include money to help state and local governments with their COVID costs.

“We really need the federal government to partner with us because we’ve been on the front lines, and they need to give us some relief as we are negotiating these toughest months of this pandemic,” she said.

The governor said without more COVID-19 assistance from Washington, Michigan and other states could be forced to reduce money for police, firefighters and other first responders at a time when they’re most needed.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.