State Rep. Hank Vaupel and the Michigan House today approved several bipartisan measures to continue protecting and helping Michigan families during the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaupel, of Fowlerville, said the proposals would extend unemployment benefits, 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 must work together if we want our people to stay healthy and safe and our state to return to normalcy and overcome this health crisis,” Vaupel said. “People’s lives and livelihoods are on the line and we must all work in tandem toward a common goal to prevail.”
Senate Bill 886, which received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, safeguards the Unemployment Insurance Agency payments 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.
A bill introduced by state Rep. Hank Vaupel, chair of the House Health Policy Committee, creating a uniform Community Mental Health Services credentialing process, was approved today by the Michigan House of Representatives.
State Rep. Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville and successor Bob Bezotte of Howell are hosting virtual office hours over Zoom to remain accessible to constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaupel and Bezotte will be joined by Dianne McCormick and Dr. Juan Marquez from the Livingston County Health Department.