Whitmer to Deem “a Number” of COVID Budget Provisions Unconstitutional


Lansing – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to declare inapplicable several provisions inserted in the next state budget aimed at limiting the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These dangerous, anti-public health boilerplate provisions that seek to tie the hands of local health departments, municipalities and universities will not be enforced as part of the final budget because they violated various aspects of the Michigan Constitution “said the governor. the office said Tuesday evening.

The Democratic governor is expected to sign two bills supplementing the state’s next budget on Wednesday, one day before the deadline. But it will remove language built into the fundraising plan that aimed to prevent local health departments from requiring K-12 students to wear masks.

The governor’s office also believes that the language included to require colleges and universities to allow certain exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination mandates on campuses cannot be enforced because universities are stand-alone organizations.

Under the budget language supported by the GOP, universities should allow exemptions for any student with “religious beliefs or other consistent objection to vaccination.”

Michigan’s COVID-19 infection rates have generally been on the rise for more than two months. On Monday, the state reported 1,529 adults hospitalized with the virus, the largest daily tally since May.

“With the Delta variant circulating, it is important that the Michiganders have all the tools available in their toolbox to protect themselves and others from this deadly virus,” the governor’s office said Tuesday evening. “Governor Whitmer will always protect life-saving public health measures and oppose any attempt to undermine or restrict basic life-saving actions throughout this pandemic.”

Another provision backed by Republican lawmakers regarding vaccine requirements for local and state government employees will remain in the budget, but Whitmer’s office believes it will have little impact.

The language prohibits government agencies from requiring as a condition of employment that an employee provide proof that they have received a COVID-19 vaccine. However, most employee-focused vaccine requirements allow workers to be vaccinated or tested on a regular basis, which always seems to be allowed within the budget.

The provision also recognizes that a federal mandate on vaccines for large employers, which is being pursued by the administration of President Joe Biden, would override the state’s fiscal policy.

The Biden administration is pursuing rules to force employers of more than 100 workers to demand that they be vaccinated or tested for the virus every week. But it is not known what the details of this plan will be.

Republican lawmakers have argued that Michigan residents should decide for themselves whether to get the vaccine.

“I don’t think it’s up to the government to mandate something that is such a personal decision,” House of Credit Speaker Thomas Albert R-Lowell said last week.

Next year’s proposed $ 70 billion state budget, which the governor negotiated with leaders in the GOP-controlled legislature, includes significant spending increases across the board through a combination of funds Federal COVID-19 relief and better-than-expected state tax revenues.

“This year’s budget makes historic investments to repair nearly 100 bridges, expand free or low-cost child care to 105,000 children, fully fund a tuition-free path to higher education, replace main service lines and clean up PFAS, and sets a record A deposit of $ 500 million in the rainy day fund as proof of the state’s financial strength, “the governor’s office said Tuesday.

Editor-in-chief Beth LeBlanc contributed.

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