Michigan legislators worried about maskless GOP lawmakers, lack of gun control at Capitol

Michigan legislators worried about maskless GOP lawmakers, lack of gun control at Capitol

LANSING — Michigan’s 101st Legislature met for the first time Wednesday amid a stepped-up presence by Michigan State Police, but some lawmakers said it was hard to say whether they faced a greater danger from the lack of gun control inside the Capitol or the refusal of many lawmakers to wear face masks during the coronavirus pandemic. “They both are extremely dangerous — they both are fatal,” said newly elected state Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Detroit, who said he joined several other lawmakers in choosing to sit in the public gallery, rather than on the House floor, because his seat is close to several Republican lawmakers who do not mask up. “I am 65 years old and a diabetic,” Thanedar said. “It’s very important for me to not be infected.” Many, if not most, Republican lawmakers were not wearing masks most of the time Wednesday as lawmakers met to formally elect incoming House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Clare. On the Senate side, several state senators indicated they might wear bulletproof vests Wednesday. Sen. Dayna Polehanki, R-Livonia, told the Free Press Tuesday she had a borrowed vest and recently purchased a gas mask, a police helmet, and a can of pepper spray to have handy at her desk, just in case, after the Nov. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in which supporters of Republican President Donald Trump forced their way into the building and caused considerable damage. One Capitol police officer died of injuries he suffered and one rioter was shot […]

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