Glenn: House approves plan to guide Michigan through COVID-19 pandemic

Posted Oct 14

Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, this week joined her colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives in approving measures that continue to protect Michigan families from COVID-19 and craft a safe, science-based plan of action for the remainder of the pandemic.

In the wake of the recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling that struck down the governor’s coronavirus-related executive orders, Glenn said the House took action to extend the validity of driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations, establish a plan to safely reopen local Secretary of State branches to the public, and offer other coronavirus-related protections for people, job providers and local communities.

“For over seven months now, I’ve listened to the personal stories of many residents of Bay and Midland Counties whose families, lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” Glenn said. “People are concerned that up until now, their elected officials, who are their voice in Lansing, have not had input in these orders. As we move forward, I’m pleased the Legislature will have a seat at the table in crafting important decisions that affect our districts and constituents each and every  day. ”

Senate Bill 886 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 and continues the work share option.

Senate Bill 911 allows 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.

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 recovered, or the facility has established a state approved and dedicated area to care for people with the virus. The legislation also clears the way to allow in-person, indoor visitation in nursing homes, and a separate budget-related bill acknowledges the great need for increased testing and faster results for COVID-19 in these long-term care facilities.

Other measures approved by the House would:

  • 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.
  • Allow important documents, such as wills, deeds and other forms to be signed and witnessed electronically through the end of 2020.
  • Prompts the full safe reopening of state unemployment offices and Secretary of State branches to better serve the public.
  • Provide local governments, school boards and other public bodies with a method to meet electronically and remotely, if necessary, to conduct business and engage with the public.

“These measures address important immediate needs and concerns while also protecting our citizens and families in Bay and Midland  counties and throughout all of Michigan,” Glenn said. “It’s my hope Gov. Whitmer will continue working with the Legislature to deliver a safe, smart response that makes things better and safer for people across our state. We can accomplish a lot if we work together.”