COVID-19

Governor calls for unity as lawmakers call for reopening

COVID politics are ramping up in Lansing as the governor gives her State of the State Address and Republicans issue a COVID spending proposal.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a call for unity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic during her State of the State Address on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Republicans in charge of both chambers of rhe state legislature are pushing back with demands she reduce COVID restrictions.

What Happened: Whitmer gave her State of the State Address Wednesday night. Most of the speech was dedicated to highlighting plans she’s already proposed to deal with the pandemic, including a $5.6 billion spending plan she unveiled earlier this month.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

Republicans in the legislature have consistently pushed back against the governor’s efforts, rejecting proposals for a legislative mask mandate and holding up funding requests.

Republicans also issued their own spending plan on Wednesday, proposing $3.5 billion. That would include significantly less funding for economic relief and other priorities than is requested by the governor’s plan.

A major sticking point for Republicans is restrictions nominally issued by the state’s health department that limit high school sports and regulate businesses operating during the pandemic.

The politics around COVID-19 mitigations efforts are ramping up again at a time when new infection numbers are declining, but new strains of the virus are spreading and vaccination efforts are moving slowly. Still, calls for cooperation are likely to fall on deaf ears in a capitol where neither side is talking to one another.

You can read more on Bridge Michigan.

Independent journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. Make a donation today.