Governor Whitmer moves to protect school mask mandates

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Wednesday Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a move to protect schools and counties that want mask mandates.

Governor Whitmer says that parts of the state budget that block state and local health officers from enforcing mandates on minors are unconstitutional.

The Republican-controlled legislature put the wording in the budget intending to stop the state health department or county health departments from forcing schools to require masks.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department is the most recent one in mid-Michigan to do that. State Senator Tom Barrett said he isn’t pleased about the Governor’s decision.

“I’m a firm believer that it ought to be left up to the parents to decide on their own for their children,” Barrett said. “Obviously, my colleagues on the legislature agree with me. We were able to get that language put into the budget.”

Governor Whitmer explained her decision in a letter to lawmakers, saying, “The legislature cannot unwind the public health code in a budget bill or un-appropriate funds because they take issue with the actions of the local health department.”

The Governor is not doing anything about another budget provision banning state and local health departments from requiring vaccine passports. Her office says that’s because the administration doesn’t believe that’s the type of vaccine mandate state and local agencies would impose.

The budget doesn’t stop employers from requiring their workers to get vaccinated. It also requires public universities allow religious and other exceptions from their vaccine mandate.

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