Michigan's Gov. Whitmer gives up ability to enact mask, vaccine mandates in new budget bill

Under a new budget bill, Michigan could not require employees or customers to be vaccinated against COVID

Published September 24, 2021 6:16PM (EDT)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

After a great deal of negotiating, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republicans in the Michigan State Legislature have worked out a budget bill — and according to Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Boucher, the "nearly $70-billion budget proposal…. mandates the state publish detailed justification for any future pandemic orders."

Boucher reports, "Michigan public agencies may not require employees or customers be vaccinated against COVID-19 while state and local health officials cannot enact or enforce mask rules for K-12 students under provisions of a budget bill that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders say will be approved."

Michigan Senate Bill 82, according to Boucher, passed in the Michigan State Senate with "unanimous support."

Boucher says of the bill, "The language banning vaccine mandates or passports is thorough, but does provide a federal caveat. State agencies cannot require vaccinations for people to enter any public facility, 'except as provided by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid funding'…. The budget bill also bans any state entity from requiring or creating vaccine passports, establishing or publicly releasing any COVID-19 vaccine database or retaliating against someone who chooses to not get vaccinated."

Michigan's budget bill and its pandemic-related provisions follow a federal vaccine mandate by President Joe Biden, who recently ordered that employees of federal government agencies and larger companies be vaccinated for the COVID-19 coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75% of U.S.-based adults have been at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19. But with recent COVID-19 surge, Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci (the Biden White House's top medical adviser) have been expressing frustration over all the U.S. residents who remain unvaccinated.

By Alex Henderson

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