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COVID-19 relief funding bills sent to governor

Last week, the Michigan Legislature approved more than $4.2 billion in additional COVID-19 relief, including funding for increased testing and more effective and quicker access to the vaccines. We are also supporting our front-line workers, helping local small businesses struggling under the governor’s ongoing restrictions, and directing $2 billion into education to ensure our students don’t fall behind.

To help ensure Healthier Families and Communities, the measures include:

• $110 million more for vaccine distribution — $20 million more than Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested.
• $150 million to increase pay for direct care workers on the front lines of fighting the virus in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities.
• $283 million in emergency rental assistance to help Michiganders struggling financially due to the pandemic and the governor’s orders.
• $33.4 million for mental health services and substance abuse prevention.
• $1.3 million to provide home-delivered meals to seniors, using organizations such as Meals on Wheels.
• $370 million in additional federal funds for improved COVID-19 testing.

To help build A Healthier Future, the plan features:

• $2 billion in school funding to help tackle learning loss associated with school closures, ensuring all districts receive at least $450 more per pupil.
• $204 million for COVID-19 testing, including $37.5 million to increase virus testing for students, teachers and staff in order to open more classrooms across the state and $20 million for nursing home testing.
• $189 million to support summer school.
• $20 million for student mental health services.
• $10 million to reimburse parents for costs associated with summer school.
• $12 million for benchmark assessments in reading and math.
• $87 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) grants for nonpublic schools.

To help support A Healthier Economy, the relief includes:

• $300 million to assist Michigan businesses struggling most under Gov. Whitmer’s continued COVID-19 shutdown orders, such as restaurants.
• $150 million to the Unemployment Trust Fund to replenish funds paid out as fraudulent benefits by the governor's Unemployment Insurance Agency so there is no interruption in benefits for out-of-work Michigan residents.
• $50 million to reimburse Michigan businesses that were charged licensing and inspection fees by the state even when their businesses were closed through no fault of their own.
• $55 million for grants to help struggling businesses with unemployment taxes.

American Heart Month resolution

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Last month, the Michigan Senate approved my resolution to increase awareness of heart disease and stroke and recognize the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” initiative.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women, accounting for roughly one of every three deaths each year. Yet far too many women don’t know their risks. The Go Red initiative is dedicated to increasing women’s heart health awareness and encouraging them to take preventive action to improve their health.

This resolution was also a chance to thank the thousands of people who wore red on Feb. 5 to show their support for women and the fight against heart disease. By increasing awareness about heart disease, we can save thousands of lives each year.

Senate Resolution 14 proclaimed February 2021 as American Heart Month in Michigan and Feb. 5 as Go Red for Women Day. It also highlighted that about 80% of cardiovascular diseases may be prevented and some risk factors such as blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol and lack of regular physical activity can be controlled.

For more information about the initiative, visit or by clicking here.

Education workforce job fairs

In the coming months, the Michigan Department of Education will be hosting virtual education workforce job fairs. The virtual job fairs are open to individuals seeking to work in the education field and to employers of educators and educational support staff.

The education workforce job fairs will take place on June 16 and Aug. 4.

To register and for more information, job seekers and employers should click here.

Free veteran presentations for schools

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency is now offering free presentations to all schools, public and private, about the lives and service of Michigan’s 550,000 veterans. The school presentations, which can be tailored to the grade level of any K-12 classroom, will introduce students to the vital role veterans play in serving and safeguarding our nation and their transition back home to Michigan.

Presentations are available to schools in-person or virtually. The length of presentations will vary based on grade level and can accommodate 20 to 300 students per assembly. Teachers can click here to request a presentation. Educators can also visit for additional educational resources.

Outdoor Skills Academy

The Department of Natural Resources Skills Academy offers opportunities to learn more about steelhead fishing and turkey hunting with upcoming classes at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center in Cadillac.

March classes include a Turkey Hunting Clinic on March 13, a Steelhead Clinic on March 20-21 and a Steelhead Seminar on March 27.

For detailed class descriptions, registration and information about COVID-19 precautions, visit

Women of Aviation Week

This week, we celebrate our female aviation pioneers and encourage more women to pursue careers in the air and space industries. As part of Women’s History Month, the week marks the anniversary of the world’s first female pilot license on March 8, 1910. In 1911, Michigan’s own Harriet Quimby became the first woman in the U.S. to gain a pilot’s license.

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COVID-19 resources

Below is a list of resources available to you if you need any type of assistance. Additionally, you can contact my office at any time for more information.

• General information, resources, testing locations and more:
• Up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccine distribution:
• Coronavirus hotline for health-related questions: 1-888-535-6136 daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 1-800-232-4636 or
• Michigan PEER Warmline for mental health support and substance abuse challenges: 1-888-733-7753 every day from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
• National suicide prevention lifeline available 24/7: Call 1-800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit
• Small business resources: or 1-888-522-0103.


Michigan's 14th Senate District

In Genesee County, the 14th Senate District includes the cities of Davison, Fenton and Grand Blanc as well as Atlas, Davison, Grand Blanc and Mundy townships.

In Oakland County, the district includes the cities of Fenton and Lake Angelus as well as Brandon, Groveland, Highland, Holly, Rose, Springfield and Waterford townships.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the state Senate. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 14th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Ruth Johnson
7300 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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