House Bill 6030: Epidemic liability shield for employers: Passed 23 to 14 in the Senate
To establish that businesses and other facilities are not liable for an individual catching the 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.
House Bill 6032: Authorize employee "adverse action" lawsuits in epidemic: Passed 37 to 0 in the Senate
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.
House Bill 6159: Medical providers liability waiver in epidemic: Passed 29 to 8 in the Senate
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.
Senate Bill 886: Epidemic response bills – expanded unemployment benefits: Passed 101 to 0 in the House
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. An earlier "tie-bar" was removed, meaning other bills extending epidemic-related liability protections to employers and other institutions do not also have to become law for this one to become law.
Senate Bill 1094: Restrict coronavirus admissions to nursing homes without specified safeguards: Passed 101 to 0 in the House
To restrict 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, subject to various exceptions.
House Bill 6100: Restrict “Integrated Public Alert Warning System” use by governor: Passed 57 to 44 in the House
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; limiting its use to emergencies involving immediate or nearly immediate loss of life or property. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used this system during the 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.”
House Bill 4035: Ban local dog regulations based on breed: Passed 88 to 13 in the House
To prohibit a local government from enacting or enforcing an ordinance or rule that regulates dogs on the basis of their breed.
Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are properly cited.
Permission to reprint any comments below is granted only for those comments written by Mackinac Center policy staff.
Get insightful commentary and the most reliable research on Michigan issues sent straight to your inbox.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
Please consider contributing to our work to advance a freer and more prosperous state.