Proposed state budget includes language that prevents local health services from issuing mask warrants for minors


The Michigan State Senate has approved a 962-page budget for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Section 250 of the massive bill includes a provision that would prevent local health services from issuing mask warrants to minors.

“The director or a local health worker should not issue or enforce prescriptions or other directives requiring that a person under the age of 18 in this state wear a face mask or face covering,” he said. -he.

Several county health departments have issued mask warrants for Kindergarten to Grade 6 students in schools, including Kalamazoo, Allegan, Washtenaw, Ingham and Kent counties.

State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) called the language inapplicable in a social media post on Wednesday morning.

I have heard a lot of concerns about the catchword language in the budget around public health prescriptions. The language is obviously inapplicable. We would not have voted for it otherwise.

– Senator Curtis Hertel (@CurtisHertelJr) September 22, 2021

Governor Gretchen Whitmer did not say whether she planned to veto the section in a public appearance on Wednesday, but said she and her team would take a deep look at the bill in its entirety.

“We have negotiated all the budget items that are reflected in this budget. We have agreed on the vast majority. Some of them, we still do not agree. It does not matter,” she declared. “The [is] is going to be a very clear look at part of this language. “

She said the legislature was doing its job in getting it the budget, and that it would do its job in reviewing and making changes.

“We’ll do our job of going through it, line by line, to see what is enforceable, what might not be. And then I will do my action, get it signed, and make some changes if necessary.”

In a statement provided later that afternoon by the governor’s spokesperson, Bobby Leddy said Whitmer was aware of the potentially unenforceable language of the bill. He said the governor will use all the tools at his disposal to ensure that businesses, local health departments, schools and other establishments have the tools they need to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We will continue to support public health measures that protect people and save lives, but we will oppose any attempt that diminishes local capacity to manage this pandemic or prevents local health services from doing their job,” a- he writes.

Another section deals with mask warrants for children in the form of Section 510, which orders LARA, the state regulatory and licensing agency, not to enforce mask warrants for children of less than 5 years. It also prevents LARA from taking disciplinary action against a licensee, such as a company. , this does not impose such a mandate.

Another provision of the bill is found in section 251, which outlines the requirements for local health departments to submit a report to the House and Senate appropriation committees whenever they issue a health order. emergency.

Such a report from a local health department should include the following:

An explanation of the nature and extent of the epidemic

An explanation of the area of ​​the state threatened by the epidemic

If applicable, evidence used to determine that a specific measure “ensures the continuation of essential public health services or the enforcement of health laws”.

If applicable, evidence used to determine “that an assembly ban contained in the Interim Order is necessary to protect public health”.

A list of the key experts, organizations or sources not affiliated with the ministry who were relied on to issue the emergency order and any corresponding ministry expenses associated with those experts, organizations or sources.

A list of key members of the state government responsible for preparing the emergency ordinance

The report must be submitted to the commissions within seven days of the issuance of the health decree.


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