News Story

Michigan Dem ignores COVID recommendations to cast vote

For second time in as many months, a House Democrat decides that voting outweighs the CDC’s 5-day quarantine policy, which the House observes for staffers

Rep. Veronica Paiz, D-Harper Woods, was seen in the gallery of the Michigan House of Representatives during session this week, despite testing positive for COVID-19. She was allowed to be there because House rules on COVID-19 cases do not apply to representatives, according to a story in Gongwer News.

Democratic leaders in the House struggled to wrangle enough votes to pass House Bill 4001, legislation that would effectively stop a law from triggering a cut in the state income tax.

The bill passed the House by a 56-53 vote, with one lawmaker not voting. The roll call vote was not immediately available as of publication time.

This is to say that the vote was tight. Paiz’s vote was necessary.

Amber McCann is the spokesperson for House Speaker Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit. She says the House follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

McCann said to Gongwer, however, that while House staffers are required to abide by the guidelines, members are not. They are only encouraged to do so. (McCann said the same thing in 2020, when she was a spokesperson for Senate Republicans.)

The CDC guidelines state that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate for at least five days, due to the infectious nature of the coronavirus.

This is the second time in the new session that leaders of the majority caucus allowed of their own to vote while positive for COVID-19. Michigan Rising Action tweeted Jan. 30 that Rep. Natalie Price, D-Berkley, received permission from Tate to vote while infected with the virus.

Republicans were criticized in state and national media reports in 2020 for resisting mask mandates and not wearing masks in the Capitol and at an outside event. This year, Democratic lawmakers have attended sessions while testing positive for the illness.

House Bill 4001 has yet to pass the Michigan Senate and be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Part of the Democratic Party’s larger strategy needs the bill to have immediate effect, which requires a supermajority vote in the Legislature.

This means that six no votes from Senate Republicans can preserve a tax cut that is called for in state law. The trigger mechanism in the law would lower Michigan’s income tax rate from 4.25% to 4.05%.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.