State Rep. Bradley Slagh, of Zeeland, today introduced House Bill 6100 designed to help ensure the state’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) only be used in the event of a true emergency.
The measure stems from recent uses of the system by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to notify Michigan citizens about her executive orders, including her recent order mandating the use of face masks in all public places statewide.
“The EAS was designed to alert people of true emergencies, not to be employed for public service announcements,” Slagh said. “It seems as if our governor has confused the two in an effort to create another convenient medium for publicizing her unilateral mandates. An overuse of the emergency system for non-emergencies sets a dangerous precedent because it will likely cause people to become numb to legitimate emergency alerts – the proverbial ‘boy who cried wolf situation.’”
Slagh’s plan requires Michigan’s EAS to be solely reserved for use by first responders to prevent immediate or nearly immediate loss of life and property. Under the bill, appropriate uses of the alert system would include, but not be limited to alerting the public of acts of terrorism, unresolved mass shootings, natural disasters, industrial explosions, train derailments and announcements of missing endangered individuals. The measure also prohibits the use of the EAS to announce new laws or executive orders unless they are necessary to respond to an immediate or nearly immediate loss of life or property.
“For the safety of our communities, we must reserve the use of our state’s emergency alert system for true emergencies,” Slagh said. “We must preserve the integrity of the system so it is as effective as possible when it’s truly needed”
The legislation, House Bill 6100, is expected to be referred to the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee for consideration once formally read into the record.