Runestad bill would ensure business input to disaster response

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad has introduced a bill to ensure job providers have a seat at the table to help plan for statewide disasters.

Senate Bill 896 would enable the business community to provide input into emergency management planning, mitigation and recovery.

“The past several weeks have brought not only sorrow for the lives lost to this horrible disease, but fear and uncertainty in response to the devastation to our economy,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Facing these types of crises requires a team effort. Including additional expertise will help us navigate these challenges better going forward.”

Under current law, the Emergency Management Division of the Michigan State Police is responsible for coordinating an emergency response with federal, state and local agencies.

SB 896 would include representatives of Michigan’s business community in such a response to ensure the impact on our businesses and our livelihoods is considered at the onset of a crisis.

“Having the input of supply chain managers, job creators and experts in essential areas of our economy will help us be more prepared in our response to a pandemic,” Runestad said. “Grocery stores have been open, but the vital supply chain providing them with meats and other foods has been disrupted. Expertise from this part of our economy should be taken into consideration at the forefront of these types of emergencies going forward.”

The bill also would update the law to require that a means for secure communication and virtual meetings with business representatives be established.

SB 896 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations for consideration.