Legislation assists workers and job providers, protects seniors in nursing homes
State Rep. Aaron Miller and the Michigan House today approved several bipartisan measures to continue protecting and helping Michigan families during the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Miller, of Sturgis, said the proposals would assist workers and job providers and protect nursing home residents in the wake of the recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling that struck down the governor’s coronavirus-related executive orders.
“We in the Michigan Legislature have said all along that we are willing and ready to work with Gov. Whitmer to provide the right response to COVID-19 that our constituents can actually have input on,” Miller said, after the votes had been cast. “Well, here we are!”
Senate Bill 886, which received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, safeguards the Unemployment Insurance Agency benefits put in place to address the pandemic and guarantees those claims will continue uninterrupted for the maximum number of weeks allowed by the federal government. The plan would protect workers who left work to self-isolate or quarantine, as well as people who are immunocompromised or need to care for a family member diagnosed with COVID-19. It also ensures job providers will continue to be held harmless for unemployment benefit charges if their employees were laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 1094 and House Bill 6137 aim to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes by implementing recommendations of the Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force. It prohibits the return of COVID-19-positive residents to nursing facilities unless they have fully recovered, or the facility has established a state-approved dedicated area to care for people with the virus. In addition, the plan allows safe and responsible in-person visitations for all nursing home residents, requires health data reporting and a plan to address the testing needs for our most vulnerable. This measure also received overwhelming bipartisan support from legislators.
Other measures approved by the House today would:
- Provide local governments, school boards and other public bodies with a method to meet electronically, if necessary, to conduct business and engage with the public (SB 1108).
- Provide flexibility to allow licensed health care workers such as physician assistants, registered nurses and pharmacists to continue testing people for COVID-19 (House Bill 6293).
- Allow important documents, such as wills, deeds and other forms to be signed and witnessed electronically through the end of 2020 (HBs 6294-97).
- Allow retirees to return to work to help the UIA or the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration with the overwhelming number of claims without forfeiting their retirement benefits (SB 911).
- Extend the validity of vehicle registrations, driver’s licenses and state identification cards that expired after March 2020, and waive late fees associated with renewing expired documents (HBs 5756, 5757, 6192).
- Establish a plan to open state unemployment offices and Secretary of State branches to better serve the public (SB 748). The legislation also clears the way to allow in-person, indoor visitation in nursing homes, and acknowledges the great need for increased testing and faster results for COVID-19 in these facilities.
“I’ve talked to too many individuals who are angry about broken systems that they and I haven’t been able to control ranging from unemployment to the branches of the Secretary of State to others,” Miller said. “My constituents can call me up on my cell phone and give their input, but they can’t do that with the governor of our state. I have been simply incapable of giving input to the process since March, which gives constituents no conduit by which to be heard. That changed today and it will benefit the Michigan residents the Legislature serves.”
Rep. Aaron Miller today voted in favor of funding to help Michigan distribute the COVID-19 vaccine and boost testing while helping those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the virus and economic shutdowns.
“Requiring masks for competing athletes across the board is senseless. I would like to know what data the governor believes supports the notion that masks are necessary in athletics, especially to protect those competing in sports where athletes are already physically distanced from one another, such as golf, tennis, or cross country.
Rep. Miller, the Chair of the House Appropriations School Aid Subcommittee, speaks on the House floor Wednesday afternoon, prior to final passage of the state’s $15.5 billion budget for the state’s 2020-2021 school year. Rep. Miller says the budget, which passed with bipartisan support, is about protecting funding.
State Rep. Aaron Miller today supported a plan to rectify the governor’s fatal error that contributed to the COVID-related deaths of nearly 2,000 nursing home residents. The mandate to put COVID-19 patients into long-term care facilities alongside uninfected residents was decided by the governor alone, without any legislative input. “What Gov. Whitmer’s nursing home policy […]