LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) launched laws Wednesday meant to guard public well being employees from threats of violence amid the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
If handed, it will improve penalties for anybody who threatens to assault, or assaults, a public well being official, in accordance with a information launch.
Earlier this yr, an administrative well being officer of the Kent County Well being Division was practically run off the highway hours after issuing a masks mandate for the college yr.
Well being officers in different counties have additionally stated they’ve obtained threats from members of their communities.
“All through the worst pandemic in a century, Michigan’s public well being officers have been working tirelessly to hold out their constitutional obligation to guard the general public,” Brinks stated. “This courageous work must be celebrated, not derided. Nevertheless, like many public servants, their jobs have grow to be more and more tough attributable to misinformation campaigns and threats of bodily hurt to them and their households.”
Senate Payments 781 and 782 mirror an current statute defending Baby Protecting Companies staff, the place it’s a misdemeanor to threaten bodily hurt, and felonies for an assault and an assault inflicting severe impairment.
“Sadly, latest reviews point out this downside is just not restricted to simply Kent County, and that many public well being officers have even gone as far as to resign due to the seriousness of threats related to doing their job,” Brinks added. “I can not stand to see one other story detailing the worry these devoted public servants should dwell by way of in an effort to do their jobs, and I encourage my colleagues to affix me in saying, ‘sufficient is sufficient.’”