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COVID-19 bills extend unemployment, provide lawsuit protection, address nursing home safety

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: October 14, 2020

The Michigan Legislature passed several COVID-19 related bills in the early morning hours of Oct. 14, which are expected to be signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Since the Michigan Supreme Court recently invalidated all COVID-19 executive orders issued by Gov. Whitmer since April 30, the legislature returned to session to address COVID-19 legislation.

“Historically the Legislature is not in session three weeks prior to an election and this rare session saw a level of cooperation and negotiations between the Executive Office and the republican-controlled Legislature not regularly seen in Lansing since the pandemic started,” said Sam Olsen of Karoub Associates.

Karoub Associates provided the following synopsis of the bills sent to Gov. Whitmer’s desk to sign:

  • HB 6030: Provides protection from liability to certain persons. People who comply with federal and state statutes or regulations, and state agency orders would not be liable for a COVID-19 claim.
  • HB 6031: Provides protection from liability to certain persons on reopening of business or school during COVID-19 emergency. An employer would not be liable for an employee’s exposure to COVID-19 if the employer were operating in compliance with federal or state statutes and regulations, as well as state agency orders at the time of the exposure.
  • HB 6032: Prohibits employer from taking adverse action against an employee who is absent from work during a declared emergency. An employee who tests positive for COVID-19 would be prohibited from returning to work until certain conditions are met. An employer would be prohibited from retaliating against an employee for staying at home due to COVID-19 exposure.
  • HB 6101: Provides protection from liability to certain persons on reopening of business or school and adds the term COVID-19 and other necessary terms referenced in other bills related to COVID-19 to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act.
  • HB 6159: Creates pandemic health care immunity act, which would provide protection from liability for health care providers and health care facilities rendering health care services related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • HB 6192: Provides for extension of renewal date for certain driver licenses during a declared emergency. The extension would impact vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses that expired after March 1, 2020 but are renewed by Dec. 11, 2020.
  • SB 886: Expands unemployment benefits for certain employees during a declared state of emergency. A claimant would be eligible to receive up to 26 weeks of benefits, instead of the standard maximum of 20 weeks.
  • SB 1094: Prohibits the admittance of COVID-19 positive patients to nursing homes from another facility and allows for the creation of centralized intake facilities. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is required to implement dedicated facilities to house patients instead.
  • SB 1108: Changes procedures for electronic meetings of public bodies. Public bodies would now be allowed to meet remotely for the entirety of 2021 for the following reasons: medical reasons, a state of emergency, or because of military duty. After Dec. 31, 2021, meeting remotely would only be allowed due to military duty, as is current law.

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