MI House OKs spending on jobless benefits, flood costs


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers on Tuesday began approving a budget bill that would authorize the federal government’s supplemental $300-a-week unemployment benefit during the coronavirus pandemic and provide $6 million in state funding for costs related to devastating flooding in the Midland area.

The legislation cleared the House 106-3 and will receive final Senate approval Wednesday.

The nearly $2.9 billion spending measure — almost all of it federal dollars — would include the $300 benefit created by President Donald Trump after talks broke down with Congress over a broader coronavirus relief package. The aid — which is in addition to the regular state benefit — has been estimated to help approximately 910,000 people and could last up to nine weeks, potentially covering from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency.

Also included in the bill is $6 million that would be a match for federal funds to clean up and respond to a dam failure in May led to flooding in Midland and Gladwin counties. The funding would be split among the counties, the village of Sanford and a task force that oversees dams and lakes in the area.

“We’re all in this together, and together, we’ll recover and rebuild, stronger than before,” said Rep. Annette Glenn, a Midland Republican.

Legislators allocated $3 million in state funds to Detroit to help with chronic flooding there and $59 million in federal funds for operations at the state Unemployment Insurance Agency.

The legislation also would spend $8 million in state money to help prevent Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan by fortifying the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. The location on the Des Plaines River is a choke point in a network of rivers and canals between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River, which the aggressive carp have overrun.

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