LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature Thursday afternoon approved two measures regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan and the state’s response thus far.
Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-4 on March 10 declaring a state of emergency across Michigan to address the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 7, the Legislature adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 24 to extend the states of emergency and disaster through April 30.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 will be with us for some time. But Michiganders cannot live under a state of emergency forever,” said Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “Families and essential businesses are following CDC guidelines and recommendations. We have seen that we can modify our daily lives to protect ourselves and our neighbors while going about many everyday activities, but the governor refuses to give residents any indication of when or how Michigan will emerge from this state of emergency.”
The Senate approved legislation that would continue to provide aid to Michiganders in need during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The measure would put several COVID-19 executive orders into law and extend those that are needed to help continue efforts against the virus and deal with its impacts. Among the 28 orders included in Senate Bill 858 are those regarding expanded unemployment benefits (EO 2020-57), distance learning for schools (EO 2020-35), and liability protections for health care workers treating patients in innovative ways (EO 2020-39).
“These are things that are needed for the immediate future to help Michigan families continue to deal with this crisis as best they can,” Bumstead said.
SB 858 also includes language requiring businesses, places of public accommodation and places of public service that remain open to ensure adherence to social distancing and mitigation measures recommended by the CDC. Businesses and other facilities open to the public must adopt heightened standards of cleaning and disinfection protocols, provide personal protective equipment for employees and promote remote work when possible.
The Senate also approved Senate Resolution 114, which authorizes a legal challenge to the governor’s actions to maintain her declared state of emergency. The Michigan House of Representatives approved a similar resolution.
“Looking forward, I would prefer to see collective discussions on decisions that drastically impact the health and welfare of every single Michigan resident,” Bumstead said. “I hope the governor reverses course and reconsiders her refusal to work with or include the Legislature in these difficult decisions.”