State senator introduces law to increase penalties for threats to public health officials

LANSING, Michigan – State Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) on Wednesday introduced legislation to protect public health workers from threats of violence in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

If passed, it would increase penalties for anyone threatening to assault or assault a public health official, according to a press release.

Earlier this year, a Kent County Health Department health administrative official nearly stepped off the road for hours after issuing a mask warrant for the school year.

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Health officials in other counties have also said they have received threats from members of their communities.

“Throughout the worst pandemic in a century, Michigan public health officials have worked tirelessly to fulfill their constitutional duty to protect the public,” Brinks said. “This courageous work should be celebrated, not made fun of. However, like many public servants, their jobs have become increasingly difficult due to disinformation campaigns and threats of physical harm to them and their families. “

Senate Bills 781 and 782 reflect an existing law protecting employees of child welfare services, when it comes to the offense of threatening physical harm and crimes of assault and battery. event causing severe disability.

“Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that this problem is not confined to Kent County, and that many public health officials have even gone so far as to resign due to the seriousness of the threats associated with doing their jobs. “, added Brinks. “I can’t stand to see another story detailing the fear these dedicated public servants must go through to do their jobs, and I encourage my colleagues to join me in saying enough is enough. “

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