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GOP-led Senate committee passes legislation to stop Michigan school mask mandates, testing

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New legislation that could reverse local school district masking requirements is moving through the Michigan Legislature. (file photo)

LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan Senate committee approved legislation Tuesday that would ban school-mandated masks, testing, and vaccinations.

Pitched as a battle between parents and government, Republican-led legislation that would make it harder for schools to create rules to stop the spread of COVID-19 passed the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee.

Bill approval split along party lines. The hearing was tense at times and only included testimony from people in support of the legislation.

“It seemed very one-sided, I mean it was apparent,” state Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, said.

Parents at the meeting said they wanted to be the ones to make choices for their children.

“You don’t know my children, you don’t raise my children, you won’t answer for my children,” said Tracy Nokovich Barker, who supports the legislation.

“As an elected official, public health is in my lane," said Polehanki. "I think that it’s my responsibility, which is why I wrote a letter to the Wayne County Health Department, to advocate on behalf of public health, certainly when it involves kids. So that’s what I’m doing.”

With a Republican-majority committee and only one Democrat left to vote against it, the legislation passed committee and now heads to the Michigan Senate.