Michigan House OKs $4.2B in COVID spending, ties $1.2B to power checks

Michigan House OKs .2B in COVID spending, ties .2B to power checks

The Michigan House on Wednesday gave final legislative approvals to a $4.2 billion supplemental spending plan that ties nearly $1.2 billion in federal funding to measures that would limit the pandemic powers of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

The House approvals come a day after the Senate also approved the funds. Most of the bills head next to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for possible action, although she has opposed tying strings to the money.

The legislation includes $1.9 billion in education funding and $2.3 billion for unemployment, property tax relief and the state health department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. About $3.4 billion of the funding is in the form of federal relief funds approved by Congress in December. 

About $840.7 million of school district funding is tied to a separate bill that would move responsibility over school closures and high school sports from the state health department to local health departments. The provision would require local health officials to comply with testing, case and hospitalization benchmarks when considering a closure. 

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Another $347.3 million in COVID epidemiology and lab capacity funding depends a bill that would limit the state health department’s epidemic rules to no more than 28 days without legislative approval. The Senate bill establishing the 28-day limit is not scheduled to be voted on by the House until next week. 

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