Gov. Whitmer asks legislature to pass $100M COVID relief bill, require masks in public

Gov. Whitmer asks legislature to pass $100M COVID relief bill, require masks in public
Posted at 6:40 PM, Nov 27, 2020

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking the Michigan legislature to pass a several measures, including a $100 million COVID-19 relief bill.

The request came in a letter Wednesday to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, House Speaker Lee Chatfield and House Minority Leader Christine Greig. Both the State House and Session resume sessions on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Related: Active cases of COVID-19 up 375% in the past 6 weeks

It comes after Whitmer requested more federal aid to help fight COVID-19, and she also thanked Shirkey and Chatfield for urging feds to get additional economic relief in a meeting with President Donald Trump last week.

"This is the most urgent public health emergency our state has faced in our lifetimes, and it demands our full, immediate, and unified attention," Whitmer wrote. "I am hopeful that when the legislature reconvenes next week, we can work together in a bipartisan manner on the following priorities during the few remaining session days of 2020 to address the public health and economic crises our state is currently facing."

In the letter, Whitmer set out three goals: Pass a $100 million MI COVID-19 relief plan, pass a permanent extension of unemployment benefits, and pass a bill that would protect public health. She said the state can't wait for support from the federal government.

"It is crucial for us to come together now to pass a targeted, state-based economic stimulus plan of up to $100 million that will provide direct financial support to the families and small businesses that have been hit hardest by the pandemic," she wrote.

According to Whitmer, Michigan's unemployment benefits are in the bottom-third in the nation, and said that the legislation that extended benefits temporarily to 26 weeks expires at the end of the year.

"If we do not take bipartisan action now, thousands of Michiganders could lose benefits right after the holidays," she wrote. "Let us work together again to make this extension permanent."

Finally, she is asking the legislature to pass bills requiring masks in public and focus on spending money to test, expand PPE and more. Currently, the state has a mask mandate under a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services epidemic order.

"While there is real hope on the horizon with multiple vaccines becoming available in the coming weeks and months, we are entering what could be a very dark and deadly winter, she wrote.

You can read the entire letter below.
Letter to Quadrant 11.25.2020 by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.