Lansing — The GOP-led Michigan House will require state workers from several departments to return to in-person work by October or risk their funding for the year under proposed budgets making their way through the legislative process. 

The department budgets that include the boilerplate requirement advanced from House subcommittees last week and are headed to the full House Appropriations Committee soon. There, the bills could be amended before referral and, eventually, will be negotiated with the Senate for a joint budget proposal. 

The boilerplate language was first reported by Bridge Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s $74 billion budget proposal did not include provisions requiring in-person work but there are plans to return some workers to in-office work by May 1. 

A sign tells visitors to wear masks as they enter the George W. Romney Building, where the Michigan governor's office is located on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. Preliminary House budget plans would require employees who worked in-office prior to Feb. 28, 2020 to return to working in-person by the start of the new fiscal year, or Oct. 1, 2022.

House Appropriations Chairman Thomas Albert argued Friday that taxpayers have suffered enough because of staffing restrictions and state government office closures during the pandemic.

“Everyone knows about the issues with the Unemployment Insurance Agency and the Secretary of State, but the concerns are broader than that,” the Lowell Republican said. “State government functions better and serves taxpayers better when employees are interacting with customers and each other in-person. It’s past time to get state government fully working again.”

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