Senate leaders implement measures to protect public health

LANSING—Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, today announced the Michigan Senate will adjust session schedule beginning March 16th to meet only as needed.

“In light of the current public health concerns raised by the presence of COVID-19 in our state, we believe it is our responsibility to lead by example and practice measures that protect public health and preserve the essential functions of state government,” said Shirkey.

“It’s imperative that everyone do their part to prevent the spread of the COVID-19,” Ananich said. “During these unprecedented circumstances, member offices are still available to assist constituents with their concerns even if the Senate is not meeting. The Senate stands ready to act if anything requires our immediate action.”

Going forward, the Senate Majority Leader will evaluate the need for session on a weekly basis.

“At this time, we plan to meet next week for session to address any pressing legislation and continue our work on the budget. I’ve also asked my colleagues to apply the ‘as needed’ rule to committees and hold hearings only as needed,” said Shirkey. “The Governor has asked citizens to limit social interactions, especially congregating in large groups, and we intend to lead by example.”

Today, the Senate will begin implementing measures for the workplace. Senators and staff will continue to work and be accessible to the public but have been encouraged by senate leadership to take active measures to reduce public interaction, especially when it comes to hosting and participating in large events and gatherings.

The Senate will permit all staff over the age of 60 or those with underlying health conditions to work from home. Furthermore, non-essential staff may be permitted to work from home. The Senate will also prohibit all non-essential out-of-state work travel by Senate employees and will require senators and staff to report all out-of-state travel to leadership.

The Senate will prohibit all tours, receptions, and other Senate-sanctioned public gatherings. All these measures will be in place until April 20th at which time Senate leadership will reevaluate the situation in the state and determine further necessary action.

“It is vitally important that we work to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our citizens and the state. We are prepared to ensure state government continues to function while at the same time doing everything we can to protect public health,” said Shirkey.