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Rep. Sheppard supports plan to return to democracy while continuing COVID-19 protections
RELEASE|April 30, 2020

State Rep. Jason Sheppard today voted for a plan to restore the balance of powers between the branches of state government and end the broad, unchecked control given to the governor during the state of emergency.

Sheppard, of Temperance, said he has heard from an overwhelming number of constituents who have expressed frustration with the governor and her actions. 

“The governor does not get to have never-ending unilateral power over the state of Michigan,” Sheppard said. “People expect and deserve the branches of their state government to work together. It’s more important now than ever before.

“The governor has made too many mistakes with her handling of this crisis. Nearly six weeks has passed since the stay-at-home order forced tens of thousands of people to the unemployment line – and our UIA system is still a mess. People deserve answers. It’s time for the governor and her administration to start sharing information with legislators and the public. It’s time for her to work with us to fix these problems and get our state back on track.”

To ensure measures remain in place to protect public health and help families who have been hurt by the economic impact of the virus, the Legislature took action to put some of the governor’s previous orders into state law with specific expiration dates. This includes:

  • Protections for workers that prevent employers from taking disciplinary action against any employee who elects to stay home from work because of COVID-19.
  • Procedures allowing school districts, parents and students to continue the learning process while school buildings remain closed.
  • Measures to prevent price gouging.
  • Expanded unemployment benefits and eligibility requirements.
  • Suspending all foreclosure and eviction proceedings until June 30.
  • Restrictions on large public gatherings.
  • Standards for businesses and entities where people are working on site, such as following CDC social distancing guidelines, using enhanced cleaning provisions, providing personal protective equipment for employees, avoiding the sharing of tools and equipment when possible, and promoting remote work.
  • Limiting visitors at health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities and juvenile justice facilities, conducting health screenings for necessary visitors and providing phone or video chat visitation options.

“There is absolutely no reason the governor can’t partner with the Legislature to make sure the right protocols are in place to protect residents and workers now that the governor’s ‘state of emergency’ declaration is coming to an end,” Sheppard said. “The House and Senate have listened closely to residents and we’re taking steps that will allow us to continue many of the measures put in place during the state of emergency – like additional protections for health care workers, expanded unemployment eligibility and preventing price gouging – while ending any restrictions that are no longer necessary.”

Additionally, the House approved a measure spearheaded by Sheppard that reduces the harsh criminal penalties for violating COVID-19 orders to civil infractions. Under his bill, penalties for violating an order could be punished by a civil fine of up to $100 for a person and $500 for a business. The Whitmer administration had previously set fines for individuals as high as $1,000.

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