News Story

Vaccine passports vs fake urine: A tale of two bills

Do the people of Michigan need a lobbyist?

One bill would block state and local governments in Michigan from issuing or requiring vaccine passports. It awaits a vote in the Michigan Senate, where it has sat since last October.

Another bill would ban the sale of fake urine in Michigan. It passed both houses of the Legislature with veto-proof margins.

Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, sponsored House Bill 4667, “a bill to prohibit COVID-19 vaccination passports and the use of an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status for certain purposes.” It passed the House in June 2021 by a vote of 62-47, with one representative not voting.

Allor sees the bill as a needed limit on government’s power. She cites its simplicity, its two-page length, and its limited focus — private businesses are left to make their own choices — as factors in its favor. Somehow the bill remains stalled, referred to the Senate’s Committee of the Whole, never heard from again. Allor finds that puzzling.

“It’s easy to read. It’s to the point, I think people should understand it,” Allor told Michigan Capitol Confidential. “Personally, I don’t see why they should have any issues with it. It’s personal freedom, it’s individual’s rights, and it’s just saying, ‘Hey, government, you can’t get involved.’”

The ban on the sale of fake urine, on the other hand, moved like Detroit’s bankruptcy: gradually, then suddenly. Senate Bill 134, to ban fake urine, was introduced in April 2021. More than a year later, on back-to-back days of June 30 and July 1, it passed both chambers of the Legislature and was quickly signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. It was one of the 900 laws Whitmer has signed as governor since taking office in January 2019. Ain’t bipartisanship grand?

The month before the ban on fake urine sales was approved, the Michigan Manufacturers Association and a drug-testing firm, Quest Diagnostics, publicly supported the bill.

Their support was all it took for lawmakers to act quickly and in unison, passing SB 134 by a 96-10 margin in the House and a 36-1 vote in the Senate. (Four members of the House and one senator did not vote.) It was one of the many bills to pass in the flurry of budget season, before lawmakers went on summer vacation.

Allor is left to wonder what will become of House Bill 4667, currently in the Senate’s hands. She voted yes on the fake urine bill, and believes its argument is valid — that fake drug test results pose a threat to the Michigan workplace. But she also believes the people of Michigan should be protected from government requiring proof of a vaccine.

“Lansing moves slow, and it’s tough to get straight answers,” Allor said.

CapCon has reached out to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, but has yet to hear back.

Perhaps the 10 million people of Michigan need to hire a lobbyist so they can be protected in Lansing.

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.