Sen. MacDonald bill would ban restrictions targeting large families

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Thursday introduced legislation to ban state or local officials from issuing emergency orders limiting the size of families at a table in a restaurant, at a child’s sporting event, or in their home.

“When state or local officials take the extraordinary step of issuing an emergency order, they should follow sound science before limiting the freedoms of the Michigan people,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “During this pandemic, we’ve seen officials restrict the number of family members who can gather at a parent’s house, watch a child’s soccer game and eat together at a restaurant. There is no evidence that large families are inherently dangerous, and families of all sizes deserve equal treatment by their government.

“As long as workers and customers at restaurants, supporters at sporting events, and families in their homes are taking the proper steps to protect people from the virus, they shouldn’t be subjected to arbitrary restrictions.”

Senate Bill 257 would prohibit the Department of Health and Human Services director or a local health department officer from issuing an emergency order that bans any number of family members from watching other family members participate in a sporting event, restricts the number of households who can gather in a private residence, or limits the number of family members who can dine at the same table at a restaurant.

Under the bill, sporting events would include school sports, college sports and organized sporting activities. Family members would include spouses, parents, children, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

SB 257 has been referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee for consideration.