Whitmer talks vaccine mandates and mask rules in budget language
FOX 2 - Governor Gretchen Whitmer's legal team is figuring out what to do after the legislature settled on a budget bill. Part of it has to do with masking and vaccines.
President Joe Biden is encouraging states to mandate vaccines for some people. He wants to require companies with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccinations and Covid testing for workers.
The governor doesn’t think the state should butt in.
FOX 2: "You and the president are very close, has he made it clear to you that he would like that to be the case in Michigan?"
"You know, the president would love to see more people vaccinated, we’re all on the same page when it comes to that," Whitmer said. "But the fact of the matter is, there are different tools the federal government has, than what we have at the state level."
This week state lawmakers greenlit the $70 billion budget, and it is now awaiting the governor’s signature.
"This is a great budget, I’m looking forward to signing the budget," Whitmer said. "Obviously, there are some pieces that my legal team will look at, to see if they are enforceable, are they constitutional?
"I didn’t back down when people tried to undermine our efforts to keep people safe, and they showed up on the front lawn with semi-automatic rifles, and it continues to be a core value of mine. So, as we so scrutinize all the different aspects of this budget, that’s the frame from which I will be looking at some of the boilerplates."
The issues at hand have to do with mask rules and vaccine mandates. Part of the language in the budget proposal, would stop enforcement of mask rules in schools. It would also stop public agencies from requiring employees to get COVID vaccines.
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\Whitmer thinks those bans are unconstitutional. As for the masks, here’s where she stands:
"At this point it’s important that people avail themselves of these tools that we all have access to now," she said. "Making these determinations at the local level is very important for a lot of reasons, one of which - it gives the people an opportunity to weigh in.
"As you know we had to take extraordinary actions in the early days of the pandemic and use blunt tools. We didn’t know a lot about the virus - we had so many people getting sick and dying. At this juncture when you look at who’s been hospitalized, nine and a half times out of 10, it is someone who has chosen not to get vaccinated."