Michigan Legislature approves Covid bills extending some Whitmer rules

October 14, 2020, 7:25 AM

Michigan lawmakers worked into the early morning Wednesday to approve a series of Covid-related bills following the Michigan Supreme Court's invalidation of a law that underpinned much of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's pandemic response.

Bills passed by the GOP-controlled House and Senate would amend previous nursing home policies, extend unemployment benefits, provide coronavirus liability protections to businesses, and allow public bodies to meet remotely.

From The Detroit News:

The unemployment bill would create a six-week extension of the maximum duration of jobless assistance, pushing it from 20 weeks to 26. It passed unanimously in the House

The liability legislation would shield businesses from some legal claims over COVID-19 exposure if they were following best practices to prevent exposure among clients and staff. It also would require an employee to stay home if he or she were exposed to or tested positive for the virus and protect that employee from adverse action. 

A separate bill would protect health care providers or facilities from liability for injury or death if they're providing services in support of the pandemic response.

Other legislation passed Wednesday would stop nursing homes from caring for elderly individuals with COVID-19 unless the facilities can provide proof of a "designated area" for them and the appropriate level of care.

Whitmer had reportedly opposed some of the liability protections passed, but the Senate tie-barred the bill to unemployment. House Speaker Lee Chatfield indicated to The News that they'd reached a compromise and she would approve the bill.

A mask mandate, restaurant capacity limits, and employee health screenings remain in place under action taken by the state's health department. 

Read more:  Detroit News

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