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Horn legislation to protect employee benefits after Supreme Court ruling approved

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by state Sen. Ken Horn that would ensure unemployment benefits remain uninterrupted in the wake of the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling that the governor’s use of executive orders over the last several months was unconstitutional.

“Last spring, a million paychecks came to a screeching halt as businesses were shuttered and stay-at-home orders were put into place,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “What followed was months of uncertainty for both employees and employers alike who waited to see if they would be able to open their doors again and when and if they’d be getting a call to return to work.”

Senate Bills 866 and 911, which Horn sponsored, safeguard Unemployment Insurance Agency benefits determined in recent months and guarantee those claims will continue uninterrupted. SB 866 would protect workers who left work to self-isolate or quarantine and those who are immunocompromised or need to care for a family member diagnosed with COVID-19. The changes remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2020.

SB 911 would allow retirees who returned to work to help the UIA or the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration with the overwhelming number of claims to still be eligible for their retirement allowances.

Horn said he hopes today’s vote serves as a new, cooperative start in the state’s response to the coronavirus.

“The court’s message to the governor clearly echoed what my colleagues and I have been arguing for months — we need to work together to defeat this virus,” Horn said. “I hope she will join hands with the Legislature and sign these protections into law.”

The bills now head to the House of Representatives for further consideration.