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Senate approves measures to protect the public during pandemic

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Bizon, M.D. voted yes on several bills Thursday to provide protections for residents affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone has been touched in some way by this disease; we need to work together to provide help to those who need it,” said Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “Today’s legislation offers some sound solutions.”

The Senate passed the following bills:

Senate Bill 886 and SB 911 to enable Michiganders to continue to receive unemployment insurance benefits while they cannot work or are searching for work;

SB 1094 to protect vulnerable populations by prohibiting COVID-19-affected individuals from being placed in nursing home facilities. The bill combines aspects from legislation Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed this summer and recommendations from the governor’s Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force comprised of industry professionals; and

SB 1108 to allow boards of local governments and other public entities to meet electronically for a limited time and still engage the public.

On Oct. 2, the Michigan Supreme Court struck down the governor’s coronavirus-related executive orders, stating she violated the state constitution and exceeded her powers.

Bizon said Thursday’s measures offer the governor opportunities to work together with the Legislature.

“During this pandemic, the Legislature has sent the governor numerous bills to help residents deal with the effects of COVID-19, but she has repeatedly vetoed the bills, many of which passed with bipartisan support,” Bizon said. “Now that the Supreme Court has spoken, it is my hope the governor will be willing to work with Republicans and Democrats to provide help and protections for Michiganders.”

The legislation passed Thursday now heads to the Michigan House for further consideration.