Mask mandate brought to Michigan Senate

Aubrey Yager, Writer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan legislature have agreed on a budget proposal that could put a pause on local efforts fighting the pandemic. Under the $70 million budget deal, Michigan public agencies cannot demand their employees or customers to be vaccinated and it also bans state and local officials from enforcing mask mandates in schools. Mask mandate decisions would be decided by individual school districts and boards.

“We need to make the investment to support families, to support working people, to support kids and business,” Whitmer stated in an article with WXYZ Detroit, “and I think you are going to see there is a lot of good stuff in this budget and I’m excited about it.” 

The budget proposal promised to ban vaccine passports. Whitmer informed the public she plans on signing this bill, but also has the power to veto certain provisions— including ones related to COVID-19 mitigation. 

“As soon as it comes, we will do our task of going through line by line of the budget to see what is enforceable,” Whitmer said during a press conference on Mackinac Island. “Then I will do my action and get it signed and make some changes if necessary.” 

Mask rules have sparked debates, protests and threats in local areas— including Fenton— after the mask mandate for schools was announced on Sept. 7. “People are rising up all across the state,” Republican Tom McMillin said in an article with Detroit Chalbeat. “They want to be heard.”

Michiganders wait for Whitmer to sign the budget proposal to see how it will change their everyday lives.