Barrett responds to governor’s veto of SB 858

‘Our severe crisis is not being best served by our governor’s actions’

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, issued the following statement Monday after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed Senate Bill 858, Barrett’s bill that would have extended safety protocols for businesses and public places.

“The governor’s veto of SB 858 is extremely disappointing. This measure would have put several COVID-19 executive orders into law and extended others to better fight the virus and deal with its impacts while simultaneously restoring constitutional governance to Michigan.

“The bill would have protected unemployment benefits, distance learning for schools, and liability protections for health care workers treating patients in innovative ways. In fact, much of the bill was written using the governor’s exact language taken from her own executive orders, making the veto that much more indefensible.

“The Legislature acknowledges that we need to open up slowly, and certain protections are needed, but keeping everything shut down because of the decisions of one person is not acceptable.

“We live in a cooperative, coequal state government, with no branch subordinate to the others. The governor is choosing to consolidate all authority in state government for herself, setting in motion a constitutional crisis in Michigan. The governor and the Legislature must work together to achieve the common goal of responding appropriately and safely to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Gov. Whitmer is not acting in good faith. Our severe health and economic crisis is not being best served by our governor’s irresponsible and reckless actions.”