Rep Michael Webber
Rep. Webber, Michigan House approve COVID-19 response plan
RELEASE|October 14, 2020

State Rep. Michael Webber and the Michigan House today approved several measures to continue protecting and helping Michigan families during the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Webber, of Rochester Hills, 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.

“The Supreme Court decision has confirmed that Michigan’s COVID-19 response plan needs to be a collaborative effort between the Legislature and governor,” Webber said. “These key protections truly demonstrate what can be accomplished when we roll up our sleeves and work together to provide a smarter, safer way forward for Michigan families throughout this pandemic. I look forward to the governor and Legislature continuing this positive partnership to keep people healthy while ensuring struggling workers and job providers continue to receive support without interruption, protecting our loved ones in nursing homes, and restoring transparency and accountability.”

Senate Bill 886, which received unanimous 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. The bills prohibit 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 legislation allows safe and responsible in-person visitations for all nursing home residents, requires health data reporting and a plan to the address testing needs for our most vulnerable. The measures received unanimous support from legislators.

Other measures approved by the House today would:

  • Provide liability protections for businesses, schools, hospitals, and non-profits from frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits, while prohibiting an employer from taking adverse employment action against an employee who is absent from work due to COVID-19 (HBs 6030-6032 & 6101).
  • 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).
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