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COVID-19 bills sent to Governor Whitmer

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign a series of bills adopted by the Legislature as part of a deal on the state’s response to COVID-19.

The bills are the product of bargaining between the GOP-led Legislature and the Democratic governor after the Michigan Supreme Court struck down her continued use of emergency orders.

Many of her orders regarding face masks and social distancing were re-issued by the state Department of Health and Human Services as public health orders.

The bills the Legislature adopted include extending unemployment benefits for people who lost their jobs during the health crisis.

Job loss benefits would be extended for as long as 26 weeks for people who lost employment for reasons related to the COVID-19 crisis.

That would match an executive order from Whitmer that was struck down by the state Supreme Court because she acted without legislative approval.  

The deal-making with the Legislature was accelerated by that decision.

The bills adopted by the Legislature also require COVID patients in nursing homes to be kept in separate areas from seniors and other residents.

They also create more liability protections for health care workers and businesses.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.