WEST MICHIGAN — A West Michigan Republican legislator has joined with a doctor in calling for a statewide mask law to combat coronavirus.
Rep. Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming, announced Tuesday, Nov. 24 that he would support such a bill.
Brann’s stance does not align necessarily with other officials in his own party.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, earlier this year said he would not support a mask mandate but does encourage people to wear them voluntarily.
“I do encourage everyone to honor whatever policies individual businesses, organizations and schools establish,” Shirkey tweeted in October.
Brann joined Dr. Rob Davidson, an outspoken emergency medical physician in Fremont, in calling for a law even though the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services already has a mask order in place. Brann, who owns Brann’s restaurants, said Davidson asked for his support.
Brann said research, along with experts, clearly indicate that masks help stop virus spread.
“I checked with people that know what they’re talking about. I called doctors,” Brann said Tuesday.
Related: Michigan reports 6,290 new coronavirus cases, 145 new deaths
He said he simply wanted to uphold the Michigan Constitution, which includes an article that calls for the Legislature to pass “suitable laws for the protection and promotion of the public health.”
Brann said he knows not everyone will agree, including some of his Republican counterparts.
“I’m not trying to grandstand or go against them,” he said.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer early this month asked the Republican-led legislature to pass a law on mask wearing as a way to show bipartisan support in the battle against COVID-19. So far, nothing has transpired.
Her request came after Republican leaders for months complained that she was unlawfully exercising unilateral powers in issuing executive orders. The state Supreme Court stripped some of her power in early October, but the state Health Department then began issuing orders under a different authority.
Brann said he likes the idea of a mask bill supported by both legislative chambers.
“I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to put the good of Michigan ahead of partisanship and pass a bipartisan mask requirement that encourages every Michigander to take this simple, effective precaution more seriously. As a small business owner, requiring everyone to wear masks can help small businesses operate more safely while protecting our customers, employees and communities during this terrible pandemic,” he said.
Brann is not a stranger to the impact of COVID-19. A cook at one of his restaurants recently lost a father to coronavirus.
Davidson, while a doctor, also is the executive director of a group called the Committee to Protect Medicare.
More from MLive
Take pandemic seriously to honor Honestie Hodges, NAACP says
Enbridge asks judge to block Whitmer Line 5 shutdown order