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Michigan Senate passes $465 million COVID-19 relief bill

The Lansing capitol dome with a blue sky behind it and trees in front of it
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Battles over the next state budget are heating up.

The state Senate worked into Friday night to wrap up its work for the year. The major job was pulling together a $465 million COVID-19 relief bill. The bill will extend jobless benefits by an additional six weeks, and offer grants to small businesses affected by the pandemic.

Senator Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) is the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"I, for one, will admit this bill is not perfect. That being said, I believe it’s incredibly important and reflects a compromise,” said Hertel.

The bill also earmarks funds for boosting nursing home staffing, for testing, and for plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“This bill does not mark the end of the fight against COVID-19. But it is another critical step in helping Michiganders battle the virus and survive the repeated shutdowns of our economy,” said Stamas. 

The bill now goes to the state House, which must approve the bill as it was adopted by the Senate or it will expire at the end of the session. If the House approves the bill on Monday, it will go to Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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