Lucido bill would clarify use of emergency alert system

Additional legislation announced to clarify face mask exemptions

LANSING, Mich. — New legislation announced on Tuesday by state Sen. Peter J. Lucido would prohibit the governor from using the state’s emergency alert system for anything other than imminent emergencies, like tornadoes, floods, fires, terrorist threats and other time-sensitive events.

“Throughout this pandemic, Gov. Whitmer has overwhelmed the public with emergency broadcast alerts to instill fear and intimidate people into complying with her declarations and executive orders,” said Lucido, R-Shelby Township. “This is an overt abuse of a service designed to alert people of legitimate emergencies — the governor has gone beyond the scope and intent of the law and is now somewhere over the rainbow and approaching Oz.

“There is no reason why a governor should be using this vital system for announcements that could just as easily, and less dramatically, be made through TV, radio and social media. As it is, the system is being abused, and I worry that eventually people are going to stop paying attention.”

A second bill Lucido announced would clarify the medical requirements necessary for one to be exempt from wearing a face mask or covering in indoor public places and crowded outdoor spaces, as dictated in Whitmer’s recent Executive Order 2020-147.

The order vaguely states that a person who “cannot medically tolerate a face covering” is exempt from the face mask requirement. Lucido’s bill would clarify how a business should proceed when a customer claims they cannot wear a mask because of a medical condition.

“As with most of Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders, her recent requirement that everyone wear a face mask or be subject to criminal or financial penalties is vague and has left people with legitimate medical needs who are unable to wear a face mask feeling like a crook if they don’t,” Lucido said. “People shouldn’t have to tell a business the specifics of their health history or medical conditions to be excused from wearing a mask while on a quick run to the grocery store.

“This order is confusing to businesses, employees and the public — they’re unsure of how to react to a person who is not wearing a mask. This could lead to unjust refusal of service and even confrontations or altercations between individuals who feel responsible for policing the governor’s vague mandate. My bill will fix this glaring oversight.”

Lucido said both bills should be formally introduced next week.