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Bills would preempt future COVID response orders

Myesha Johnson

Bills to preempt many future state and local COVID-19 emergency orders are expected to be voted out of a Republican-controlled state House committee Tuesday.

The bills are aimed at actions taken early in the pandemic by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Republicans complained many of the restrictions were too onerous or lasted well past the crisis stage.

Also, they said restrictions in schools contributed to student depression and learning loss.

The Republican-sponsored package includes bills that would either ban many future state or local school restrictions or establish a waiver process. That includes vaccine requirements to attend classes or participate in student activities. Also, a bill to allow parents to opt their kids out of mask mandates. Another bill would forbid requiring COVID tests for students who are asymptomatic.

The bills have already been adopted by the state Senate, so if they are passed by the state House without amendments, they would go to Whitmer’s desk. She has in the past vetoed similar restraints on her emergency authority.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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