State Rep. Scott VanSingel and the Michigan House today approved several bipartisan measures to continue protecting and helping Michigan families during the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.
VanSingel, of Grant, said the proposals would extend unemployment insurance payments, assist workers and job providers, and protect nursing home residents in the wake of the recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling that struck down the governor’s coronavirus-related executive orders.
“Michigan legislators have sought to work with the governor to provide a comprehensive COVID response for the people of Michigan since the beginning of the health crisis,” VanSingel said. “Constituents across Michigan deserve to have their voices heard by way of the Legislature. I’m happy they are finally being given that chance.”
Senate Bill 886, which received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, safeguards the Unemployment Insurance Agency benefits put in place to address the pandemic and guarantees those claims will continue uninterrupted for the maximum number of weeks allowed by the federal government.
The plan would protect workers who left work to self-isolate or quarantine, as well as people who are immunocompromised or need to care for a family member diagnosed with COVID-19. It also ensures job providers will continue to be held harmless for unemployment benefit charges if their employees were laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 1094 and House Bill 6137 aim to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes by implementing recommendations of the Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force. It prohibits the return of COVID-19-positive residents to nursing facilities unless they have fully recovered, or the facility has established a state-approved dedicated area to care for people with the virus. In addition, the plan allows safe and responsible in-person visitations for all nursing home residents, requires health data reporting and a plan to address the testing needs for our most vulnerable. This measure also received overwhelming bipartisan support from legislators.
Other measures approved by the House today would:
- Provide flexibility to allow licensed health care workers such as physician assistants, registered nurses and pharmacists to continue testing people for COVID-19 (House Bill 6293).
- Allow important documents, such as wills, deeds and other forms to be signed and witnessed electronically through the end of 2020 (HBs 6294-97).
- Allow retirees to return to work to help the UIA or the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration with the overwhelming number of claims without forfeiting their retirement benefits (SB 911).
- Extend the validity of vehicle registrations, driver’s licenses and state identification cards that expired after March 2020, and waive late fees associated with renewing expired documents (HBs 5756, 5757, 6192).
“This plan will serve the people of Michigan who are struggling most as a result of the health crisis,” VanSingel said. “It’s a bipartisan approach because when we work together, we achieve much more than when we don’t. I look forward to continuing this trend.”
Rep. Van Singel, the Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Michigan Department of Transportation, speaks on the House floor Thursday before passage of what he says is record funding for Michigan roads, including dollars for road maintenance and green infrastructure. The $6.7 billion plan will take effect October 1.