To establish that businesses and other facilities are not liable for an individual catching COVID-19 on their premises unless the owner or operator acted deliberately in a manner that causes harm. The exemption would apply as long as the facility was operated in compliance with federal, state and local statutes or regulations or executive orders. "Isolated, de minimis deviations" would not be grounds for a lawsuit. The provisions would also apply to any person in the distribution chain of personal protective equipment, medical devices, drugs and more used to treat or prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To authorize employee lawsuits against an employer who takes an “adverse employment action” or “retaliates” against an employee who is absent from work during the declared coronavirus epidemic emergency because the individual is "self-isolating or self-quarantining” in response to an elevated risk or diagnosis, and require employees who test positive for the disease or have symptoms to self-quarantine and not go to work, as specified in the bill.
To give medical care providers immunity from lawsuits seeking damages for their actions and treatments during the first months of the coronavirus epidemic. The bill states:
“A health care provider or health care facility that provides health care services in support of this state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is not liable for an injury, including death, sustained by an individual by reason of those services, regardless of how, under what circumstances, or by what cause those injuries are sustained, unless it is established that the provision of the services constituted willful misconduct, gross negligence, intentional and willful criminal misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm by the health care provider or health care facility.”
This would apply retroactively for the period after March 29, 2020 and before July 14, 2020.
To prohibit officials including the governor from using an official “Integrated Public Alert Warning System” to transmit an announcement of a new law or change in government policy. The bill would limit its use to emergencies involving immediate or nearly immediate loss of life or property. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used this system during her ongoing state of emergency to make announcements that did not meet this standard. The system is described as a “secure network connecting all of the public alert and warning systems in the United States into a single system.”
To prohibit a local government from enacting or enforcing an ordinance or rule that regulates dogs on the basis of their breed.
To suspend through the end of 2020 various limits, restrictions and requirements related to collecting state unemployment insurance benefits for layoffs related to the epidemic. Among other things benefits would be payable for up to 26 weeks instead of 20 weeks; benefit payments would not be assessed against an employer’s unemployment insurance account; workers would not have to seek another job while collecting benefits; “work-sharing” plans would be allowed; eligibility restrictions would be eased and more. The bill also clarifies that individuals who are independent contractors were eligible for benefits as of March 15, 2020. The bill is "tie-barred" to other bills extending epidemic-related liability protections to employers and other institutions, meaning it cannot become law unless they also become law.
To prohibit admitting an individual who has tested positive for coronavirus to a nursing home unless it can provide a designated area for coronavirus patients, with staff retraining to provide the appropriate level of care necessary, and with various exceptions. The bill would also order an evaluation of the COVID-19 "hospital overflow" facilities the state contracted for early in the epidemic, which were hardly used.
To permit and establish rules for a public body to hold meetings electronically, with members and votes considered to have met the usual requirements, and a requirement that members of the public be allowed to participate by phone or electronically. The bill would also require public bodies to accommodate the participation of a member who is absent due to a medical condition or a statewide or locally declared state of emergency.
To permit state grants of up to $5 million each to local broadband developers that meet specified criteria. The entities looking to enter this market and applying for a grant would have to demonstrate a genuine demand exists that is not being served by private vendors, and that they are capable of executing the venture without the cost-overruns and revenue shortfalls. The week before this vote the legislature approved a state budget that authorizes $14.3 million state taxpayer dollars for these subsidies in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
To authorize the Michigan gaming control board “to enter into agreements with other jurisdictions, including Indian tribes, to facilitate, administer, and regulate multijurisdictional internet gaming for poker by internet gaming operators,” meaning Michigan’s Indian and Detroit casinos
To restrict the vendors from which retail establishments that sell tobacco products, vapor products, or alternative nicotine products may acquire products, essentially mandating they be bought only from licensed entities that pay state tobacco taxes. The change is projected to bring in an additional $9 million annually in tax revenue.
To prohibit hospital emergency rooms or other emergency medical care providers from charging a person whose health insurance provider does not have a negotiated deal with the provider more than the median amount negotiated by the patient’s insurer for various medical specialties, or more than 150% of the Medicare fee for service fee, with various exceptions.
To permit clerks in larger communities (above 25,000) to begin opening and processing absentee ballots the day before an election, under rules prescribed by the bill.
To allow a person to petition to have a past marijuana offense that would be legal under current law expunged from his or her record, and require courts to grant it. This is part of bill package now on its way to the governor that expands and eases the criteria for getting less serious crimes removed from an individual's record.
To approve a state government budget for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, 2020 (the education budget is in Senate Bill 927). This bill authorizes $42.109 billion in total (non-education) spending, of which $21.336 billion comes from state taxpayers, and $20.773 from federal taxpayers (and lenders).
Altogether, the two "omnibus" spending bills authorize $61.565 billion in total spending for the coming fiscal year. This is an increase from $57.784 billion in fiscal year 2018-19, before the coronavirus epidemic.
The House vote on the bill described above.
To approve a state education budget for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1, 2020. This authorizes spending a total of $17.651 billion, of which $15.718 billion comes from state taxpayers, and $1.933 from the federal government. Public schools would get $15.525 billion, state universities $1.700 billion, and community colleges $426 million.
The House vote on the bill described above.
To repeal a state law that bans ticket “scalping” at sports and entertainment events, and prohibit the sale or use of software primarily designed to interfere with an event sponsor's internet ticket sale operation, or with a website that is designed to ensure an equitable ticket allocation process.
To authorize employee lawsuits against an employer who takes an “adverse employment action” or “retaliates” against a worker who is absent during the declared coronavirus epidemic emergency because the individual is "self-isolating or self-quarantining” in response to an elevated risk or diagnosis. Also, to require employees who test positive for the disease or have symptoms to self-quarantine and not go to work, as specified in the bill.
To establish that a business, facility owner and others are not liable for a claim that arises from exposure of an individual to COVID-19 on the premises unless it was a deliberate act intended to cause harm, and as long as the facility was operated in compliance with federal and state laws, regulations, executive orders, etc. This would also apply to any person in the distribution chain of personal protective equipment, medical devices, drugs and more used to treat or prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To allow election clerks in larger communities (above 25,000) to begin opening and processing absentee ballots the day before an election under rules prescribed by the bill.
To require the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to develop processes and procedures for tracking state information technology vendor contracts that exceed $250,000. This includes identifying cost overruns and change orders, accounting for projects that exceed one fiscal year, communicating processes and defined roles to involved parties, tracking spending, keeping the legislature informed and more. There have a number of major state information technology contract debacles over the past 30 years. The Senate also passed House Bill 5495, to require the state auditor general to validate state departments' compliance in these matters.
To establish regulations allowing semi-autonomous “personal delivery devices” to make deliveries on roads and sidewalks. The bill defines these as devices for transporting cargo on sidewalks or on the side or shoulder of a roadway “with the remote support and supervision of a human.” The bill would require that a human operator monitor the device and be able to promptly take control. It establishes that these are not “vehicles” subject to licensure, prescribes required safety equipment and specific “rules-of-the-road” (and sidewalks), addresses user liability issues and more. Local government regulation would be preempted, but local authorities could choose to ban the devices, with some exceptions.
To repeal a provision of the law establishing high school graduation requirements that requires school districts to report to the state each year the number of students who did not complete a language requirement but instead took career and technical courses or “visual or performing arts” courses that are allowed as an alternative. The bill also makes permanent a temporary provision allowing students to avoid part of the language requirement by taking a career and technical education program.
To require state health care regulators to create rules that would permit a veterinarian to “consult” with an animal owner on the use of marijuana or CBD oil on an animal.
To further limit the use of criminal records to determine whether an individual is eligible to get an occupational license mandated by the state, which is required to earn a living in many professions. Specifically, with some exceptions, a licensing board or agency could not consider past civil judgments or lawsuits against an individual as evidence of a “lack of good moral character,” and also could not consider a criminal conviction, in and of itself, as conclusive evidence of this. This would not apply if the individual was convicted of a felony that is explicitly listed in statute as a disqualifying offense for the particular license, or the offense was directly related to the licensed profession.
To appropriate $2.87 billion federal dollars to cover the additional $300 per week boost to unemployment benefits authorized in August by a federal "Lost Wages Assistance Program." These benefits are retroactive to August 1 (when the earlier $600 weekly federal boost expired), and end Sept. 30. The bill also includes $59.3 million federal dollars to cover extra state unemployment bureau expenses generated by the massive and sudden epidemic-related job losses, $9 million in state matching funds for flood cleanups, and $8 million pledged by state officials toward an invasive species barrier in Illinois.
To extend until October, 2022 a law that permits courts to impose any costs on guilty defendants that are reasonably related to the actual costs of operating the court, including building maintenance expenses, court employee benefit expenses and more, and do so without tying those expenses to the particular case.
To prohibit a person under age 16 from operating a carnival or amusement park ride, and ban state regulators from imposing any higher age mandate. The bill would also require all operators to be trained in operating and safety procedures.
To only require school districts to provide instruction “…online, digitally, by other remote means, in a synchronous or asynchronous format" in the 2020-21 school year, with some exceptions.
Along with House Bill 5912 this would waive the requirement that at least 75% of the students enrolled in a district must be present for the district to get state aid on any given day. Instead, schools would get state funding if they “ensure” that at least 75% of the students who are enrolled for non-classroom instruction get at least one “two-way interaction” per month with one of his or her teachers. Under the bill this could be an email, phone call, text message or an actual face-to-face conversation. In October and February, when normally students are counted for purposes of allocating per-pupil state funding, the number of required student interactions with a teacher would be four.
Also, to require school districts to administer a test during the first nine weeks of the 2020-21 school year to all K-8 students that assesses their progress on reading and math, and do so once again before the end of the school year.
The House vote on the bill described above.
To waive the requirement that schools provide 1,098 hours of instruction in the 2021-22 school year, and waive the requirement that at least 75% of the students enrolled must be present a on a school day for the district to get state aid for that day. Among other things the bill specifies administrative procedures to accommodate this.
School districts would only be required to “provide pupil instruction...online, digitally, by other remote means, in a synchronous or asynchronous format” that will “deliver the educational or course content that would have been delivered in 180 days and 1,098 hours.”
The House vote on the bill described above.
To override Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's veto of this bill, which would have prohibited state agencies from retaliating against employees for telling a legislator about problems at the agency. An override requires a two-thirds supermajority vote and so the bill will not become law.
To adopt a revised version of the state budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. This substitutes $1.008 billion federal coronavirus relief dollars for $538.7 million of state tax receipts that had been projected but won't be realized do to the epidemic and business lockdowns. The bill also makes some modest budget cuts and adjustments that reflect fewer demands on certain state functions and services due to the epidemic.
The state's Medicaid and other social welfare programs receive a large boost under the bill, including more federal "match" dollars tied to spending state dollars on Medicaid, and an outright grant of $600 million additional dollars for food stamps.
The House vote on bill described above.
To use federal coronavirus epidemic relief money, and a $350 million withdrawal from the state "rainy day fund," to fill holes in 2019-2020 education budget, brought about by a decline in state revenue caused by the epidemic and business lockdowns. For the fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30, public schools will actually get $136 million more revenue than the previous year under this budget. Community colleges and state university will see no changes in their net current-year appropriation amounts under the bill.
The House vote on bill described above.
To prescribe requirements, standards, limitations and more on conducting public school classes electronically over the internet. Among many other things school districts would have to ensure that all students will have access, and that the specific needs of different students are met including special education students.
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Contact my lawmakers
Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr., D-East Lansing, District 23. 517-373-1734 . firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, District 68. (517) 373-0826. email@example.com
SOURCE: MichiganVotes.org, a free, non-partisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. Please visit www.MichiganVotes.org.
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