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Gov. Whitmer signs, vetoes legislation

Legislation signed included state budget bills, PFAS regulation, and education and DNR funding.
(WILX)
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 4:35 PM EDT
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LANSINg, Mich. (WLUC) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed several bills into law Friday, including bipartisan budget legislation that will protect funding for Michigan schools and public safety.

“This bipartisan budget package will help protect critical funding for Michigan’s frontline workers, educators, and students, but our work isn’t done,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Now it’s time for President Trump and our leaders in Congress to follow Michigan’s lead and work together in a bipartisan manner to extend federal unemployment assistance and provide direct support to states like Michigan so we can maintain essential services like education, health care, and public safety.”

Bills signed into law Friday include:

House Bill 4391 requires LARA to promulgate rules for firefighters regarding the use of the firefighting foam concentrate, PFAS, which has been linked to various health concerns. The bill was sponsored by Representative Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond). 

House Bill 5265 appropriates funds to various state departments for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The bill was sponsored by Representative Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron).

Senate Bill 145 appropriates funds to the Department of Natural Resources for the 2019-2019 fiscal year. The bill was sponsored by Senator Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo).

Senate Bill 373 provides omnibus appropriations for school aid, higher education and community colleges for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This bill was sponsored by Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland).

Legislation vetoed by Gov. Whitmer:

Friday Gov. Whitmer vetoed Senate Bill 956, which would have jeopardized the health of Michigan’s nursing home residents and other COVID-19-positive patients.

“Protecting the health and safety of nursing home residents and their staff continues to be a top priority for my administration,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Senate Bill 956 is nothing more than a political game that would relocate vulnerable seniors without any requirement for consent, doctor’s approval, or notification to patients and their families.  It’s time for the Republican legislature to get serious about protecting our most vulnerable and addressing the public health and economic crisis faced by our state. We look forward to continuing our work with stakeholders and legislators on the task force to develop real solutions that make sense for Michigan seniors and their families.”

From day one, the governor has protected nursing home residents, following federal CMS guidance to establish a system of regional hubs and dedicated isolation units. The governor has also worked tirelessly to procure tests and PPE to keep seniors safe, and to facilitate testing for all nursing home residents and staff, with little to no assistance from federal authorities. To protect against a possible second wave, she created the nursing home preparedness task force, which is set to produce its report August 31. Finally, the stay-home and safe-start orders – despite opposition from some in the legislature – have dramatically cut the infection rate and limited community spread, the single-greatest threat to the residents of long-term care facilities.

“Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens require unique medical care and living assistance to keep them safe and healthy. This legislation puts seniors at greater risk by failing to provide the enhanced and qualified staffing needed for their protection,” said Linda Cook MacDonald, Chairperson for the Michigan Senior Advocates Council. “We support the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 956 and express our gratitude to her for protecting the health and safety of all Michiganders during this difficult and unprecedented time.”

Last week, Gov. Whitmer extended protections by continuing limited and temporary restrictions on the entry of individuals into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities. She also created the bipartisan Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which is charged with, among other things, analyzing relevant data on the threat of COVID-19 in nursing homes, and making recommendations to the governor on improving data quality, and releasing periodic reports to the governor on its findings and recommendations. 

To view the veto letter for Senate Bill 956, click here.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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