Close up of Education Muse painted on the interior of the Capitol dome in Lansing, Mi 

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New State Laws Provide COVID-19 Liability Protection for Employers

October 23, 2020

On October 22, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed three bills into law that create relief from liability for alleged COVID-19 exposure. They are now listed as:

Act No. 236, Public Acts of 2020 – enrolled House Bill 6030: establishes standards for immunity from liability for certain tort claims alleging COVID-19 exposure. Under the act, a person is immune from liability for a COVID-19 claim if the person operates in compliance with all federal, state, and local statutes, rules, regulations, executive orders, and agency orders related to COVID-19 that had not been denied legal effect at the time of the conduct or risk that allegedly caused harm. The act applies retroactively to a claim or cause of action that accrues after March 1, 2020.

Act No. 238, Public Acts of 2020 – enrolled House Bill 6032: creates a new act to prohibit an employee from reporting to work under certain circumstances related to COVID-19, to prohibit certain employer actions against certain employees, and to provide remedies. The act is effective retroactive to March 1, 2020.

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Amendments to Open Meetings Act Pass Senate and House, Head to Governor's Desk

October 14, 2020

image of marquee showing senators votes on SB1108Late yesterday afternoon, the Michigan House of Representatives passed SB 1108, allowing local governments (including libraries) to continue to meet electronically, under specific circumstances and for a limited period, protecting the safety of the public and public officials while ensuring public participation and transparency for meetings. Late yesterday evening, the Michigan Senate took up a concurrence vote to support it moving immediately to Governor Whitmer’s desk for signature.

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MIOSHA Issues COVID-19 Emergency Rules

October 14, 2020

This afternoon, as part of the continuing effort to mitigate the effects of the court ruling that in essence dismantled all of Governor Whitmer's Executive Orders, the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration (MIOSHA) issued an emergency rule set on COVID-19. In addition to many rules applying to all businesses covered by the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Act, the emergency rules also implement rules for certain categories of businesses, including: Retail, Libraries, and Museums in Rule 9, Section 3.

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MDHHS Director Issues Emergency Orders Continuing COVID-19 Safety Measures

UPDATED October 9, 2020

On October 9, Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated the emergency order issued on October 5, for "Gathering Prohibition and Face Coverings." This order is effective immediately and remains in effect through October 30, 2020.

The Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 restricts gathering sizes and requires face coverings in public spaces. Under MCL 333.2253, if the MDHHS director determines that control of an epidemic is necessary to protect the public health, the director by emergency order may prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose and may establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to ensure the continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws.

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Legislation to Allow Virtual Meetings Introduced in Michigan House and Senate

October 5, 2020

New bipartisan support in both the state Senate and House concerning virtual meetings has been introduced - Senate Bill 1108 and House Bill 6207.

The legislation would amend the Open Meetings Act (OMA) to allow for electronic “virtual” meetings to take place without an executive order suspending some requirements, under specific circumstances. The changes would allow for remote participation during a statewide or local declared state of emergency, or for a public body member with a medical condition. These bills also would allow in-person meetings and a combination of virtual and in-person arrangements.

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