Rep. Andrea Schroeder and the Michigan House today approved several measures to continue helping families cope with the COVID-19 pandemic – including measures to extend unemployment benefits and help nursing home residents.
The measures are advancing in the Legislature after the recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling that struck down the governor’s coronavirus-related executive orders.
“These new measures are a significant step forward to keep people safe and provide the help they need during what continues to be a very challenging time – in Oakland County and all across Michigan,” said Schroeder, of Independence Township. “This is a smart strategy that improves the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic across the board – helping families put food on the table, pay their bills, and stay healthy.”
Senate Bill 886 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 911 allows 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.
Senate Bill 1094 aims 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 recovered, or the facility has established a state approved and dedicated area to care for people with the virus. 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.
Other measures approved today by the House would:
- 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.
- Allow important documents, such as wills, deeds and other forms to be signed and witnessed electronically through the end of 2020.
- Prompts the full reopening of state unemployment offices and Secretary of State branches to better serve the public.
- Provide local governments, school boards and other public bodies with a method to meet electronically and remotely, if necessary, to conduct business and engage with the public.
“It’s going to take innovation and cooperation to get through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Schroeder said. “We’ve got to work together because we’re all in this together.”
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