New Michigan budget bill could impact school mask mandates

Bill includes not allowing director, local health officers to issue mask requirement for those under 18

Michigan budget bill could impact school mask mandates

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s team and its legislative counterparts have come to a budget agreement before the Oct. 1 deadline.

The 1,000 pages delve into all sorts of appropriations but they also include a section which says “the director or local health officer shall not issue or enforce any orders or other directives that require an individual in this state who is under the age of 18 to wear a face mask or face covering.”

Read: Macomb County parents call for transparency in school outbreak reporting

The likelihood of this section surviving Whitmer’s line item veto is not high, but as of now, the language is in there. It would mean local health departments like Oakland and Wayne counties, which have issued mask mandates for K-12 schools, would not be allowed to have them in place. 

“The governor has demonstrated that she believes that local health departments and local school boards should be involved in these decisions,” says Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “I agree with that and any opportunity to remove us from that would be a huge mistake, and I would certainly hope that she would not support that.”

Whitmer was non-communal in some of the more contentious details when asked about them Tuesday.

“We did not come to agreement on certain things, we did on others,” she said.

Watch the full report in the video above.

Related: Tracking COVID outbreaks in Michigan schools, colleges

Michigan budget boosts child care, keeps pay hike for caregivers; Deal limits vaccine mandates

Michigan will make more kids eligible for child care subsidies, equip state troopers with body cameras and make permanent a pandemic wage hike for nursing home workers and other caregivers under the next state budget, poised for initial approval Tuesday.

The bipartisan $53 billion spending plan, which includes billions in federal COVID-19 funding, also will boost payments for child care providers and enable them to give $1,000 bonuses to new or existing staff. The state’s savings account will grow by $500 million.

As part of the deal, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer agreed to a Republican-written provision to prevent the state and local governments from issuing coronavirus vaccine requirements that go further than plans outlined by President Joe Biden. He recently said the federal government would mandate shots for many health care workers and require that employers with at least 100 employees force them to get vaccinated or be tested weekly.

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About the Authors:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.