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Traverse Connect Legislative Update – October 6, 2021

State Budget Update

On September 29, Gov. Whitmer signed a record-breaking $70 billion state budget that invests in workforce development, infrastructure, tourism, small business, and childcare.

The $1.5 billion investment in childcare will include grants for child care providers, increased technical assistance for new or expanding providers, incentives to increase access to infant and toddler child care, and bonus pay for employees.

The income threshold to receive state financial assistance for child care increased from 150 percent to 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

Reimbursement rates for providers will also increase by 30 percent.

Other highlights include:

  • $55 million for Michigan Reconnect to assist adults age 25 and older to attain a post-secondary credential to find a good-paying job
  • $25 million for the Futures for Frontliners Scholarship program to help frontline workers pursue a college education
  • $40 million to support the Pure Michigan tourism campaign
  • $40 million for Going Pro, a program to assist employers in training individuals for in-demand jobs
  • $14.3 million to help fight coastal erosion
  • $196 million for local governments to repair distressed bridges
  • $71 million (2%) increase in revenue sharing payments to cities, villages, townships, and counties to fund public safety
  • $150 million to support the unemployment insurance trust fund to help reimburse job providers for fraudulent unemployment claims

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Child Care Legislation Update

Traverse Connect is leading the way in a bipartisan effort to increase accessibility to childcare in northern Michigan.

After years of advocacy with lawmakers and the governor, legislation to ease regulation and provide financial support to child care providers is poised to pass the State House of Representatives this week.

The bill package includes measures to increase capacity at child care facilities, establish support networks for at-home providers, allow providers to operate in multi-use facilities, and give them a 90-day grace period to comply with new health and safety rules.

The legislation also eases reporting requirements and publicizes corrective improvements for at-home providers.

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State Redistricting Update

Michigan’s Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Commission will meet on October 25 at Treetops Resort in Gaylord from 1-3:30 p.m., with a subsequent public comment period from 5-8 pm.

Several draft maps have already been completed for U.S. Congress, State Senate, and State House.

Districts from mid-Michigan to the Upper Peninsula have been much more consistent than other parts of the state.

After five public hearings across the state, the commission will vote on proposed maps on Nov. 5.

A 45-day public comment period on those proposed maps will convene from Nov. 14 to Dec. 29. Additional meetings may be scheduled during this time.

Find new draft maps, the redistricting schedule, and details on the commission’s activity at Michigan.gov/micrc/.