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Shirkey ‘Demands’ Gov Create Metrics For Restaurant Reopenings

December 8, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-ClarkLake) “demanded” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer create metrics that restaurants could use when her administration’s recent shutdown order on eating establishments, bars and entertainment. 

The administration should target those establishments that violate health and safety standards designed to protect patrons from COVID-19 spread, Shirkey said, as opposed to issuing orders that “threaten the livelihood of an entire industry.” 
 
“Michiganders know how to protect ourselves and others from COVID,” he said. “We need to band together and be conscious of the activities that we know increase the chances of spreading or contracting the virus. Our individual behavior contributes more to increased cases than any single industry or business.” 
 
The cumulative numbers are now at 380,343 cases and 9,580 deaths in Michigan.
 
In response to Shirkey’s comments Thursday, Whitmer Press Secretary Tiffany Brown said if the Senator is seriously concerned about the data, he wouldn’t skip the weekly data calls with the state health experts that he’s regularly invited to. 
 
“We understand that people are tired, but these public health measures are not the enemy — they are a roadmap for a faster and more sustainable recovery,” Brown said. “The Governor will continue to follow the data and advice of public health experts. She looks forward to working with the Legislature on a $100 million bipartisan relief package to protect our families, essential workers and small businesses.” 
 
In related news, the Senate passed several COVID-19 related response bills Thursday, including: 
 
- SB 1076, which pauses for the 2019 tax year the minimum contribution that charities have to meet to stay on the state’s list of possible check-offs on the state’s annual income tax form. The Sen. Pete MacGregor (R-Rockford) bill passed, 37-0. 
 
– SB 1086, which allows the Department of Treasury to pause the exam requirement for students looking to receive the State Competitive Scholarship for the 2020-21 school year only. The Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Twp.) bill passed, 37-0. 
 
– Sen. Jim Runestad’s (R-White Lake) SB 1203 gives businesses a one-year reprieve from having to track which computer, printer or office chair is going to which district as employees bring this equipment home for the time being. It passed, 37-0. 
 
- SB 1160, sponsored by Sen. Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes), eases the certificate of need requirements for hospitals seeking an extended services program, which involves hospitals using “swing beds” to care for patients, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency bill analysis. 
 
- SB 1186, SB 1187, SB 1188 and SB 1189 allow electronic signatures to be used on official documents involving estates, wills, registers of deeds and state departments until July 1, 2021. The current law expires Jan. 1. The MacGregor bills all passed 37-0. 
 
– Runestad’s SB 1234 allows low-income homeowners to carry the poverty exemption that excuses them from paying property taxes. 
 
– HB 5824 and HB 5825 extend deadlines for local boards of review and county equalizations due to COVID-19. The Rep. Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Gregory Markkanen (R-Hancock) bills passed 37-0. 

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