LANSING, Mich., Oct. 13, 2020 — The Michigan House of Representatives returned to session today with the Republican leadership having once again failed to take meaningful action to protect legislators, staff, and the general public from the risk of spreading COVID-19. To illustrate the absurdity of the majority’s meritless claim that they are powerless to require legislators to wear masks, many members of the Michigan House Democratic Caucus declined to adhere to the long-standing business attire requirement of the Standing Rules of the Michigan House of Representatives by removing their neckties.

As it stands today, the Speaker of the House contends, without citation to any relevant legal authority, that the House has the constitutional power to require a tie on the floor, but not a life-saving mask. The Republican-controlled Legislature has demonstrated time and time again that they are unwilling to take even the most basic steps necessary to keep the Capitol safe from COVID-19. If the Republicans can’t be trusted to protect themselves from this deadly virus, how can nine million Michiganders trust them to protect our state in this time of public health crisis?

“As elected leaders, we have a responsibility to lead by example and ensure that our workplace is safe for our colleagues, our hardworking staff, and the public,” said Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D- Ann Arbor). “Our Republican colleagues ongoing refusal to take the simple step of requiring Representatives to mask up to combat COVID-19 is inexcusable and is but the most recent example of the nonchalance with which the Republican have approached a pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 7,000 Michiganders, including one of our House colleagues.”

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