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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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    New Michigan budget targets gov’t vaccine mandates, emergency orders

    The state budget plan advancing Tuesday in the Michigan Legislature would limit the ability of government agencies to mandate COVID-19 vaccines and would require the state health department to provide more information to impose emergency orders.

    The provisions of the new funding plan are two potential victories for Republican lawmakers who control the state House and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said the policies, which are meant to be in effect for the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, were part of “sincere and honest” negotiation with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

    For nearly a year, the Whitmer administration has used epidemic orders issued by the director of the state Department of Health and Human Services to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including temporarily closing certain businesses and capping public gatherings when the virus previously surged. However, GOP legislators have argued that Whitmer’s team hasn’t shared enough data to back up their actions.

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