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A bill to improve local government accountability has passed the Senate.

Senate Bill 5 is authored by State Senator Mark Messmer and passed the Senate with a vote of 40 to 8 on Monday.

The bill would allow anyone who is subject to a public emergency-related local health department order to appeal their case to the relevant local legislative body. Currently, local health boards and officials who are appointed are able to make enforcement decisions that affect the community at large.

Messmer says the bill would improve local government accountability by giving elected officials authority in these decisions.

In order to make an appeal, any person under the issued health enforcement action would have to file an appeal with the legislative body no later than 14 days from the date it is issued. After this, the legislative body has 30 days to decide whether to hear it.

If an appeal is heard, the body must hold a public hearing. An appeal can be denied without a hearing.

If granted a hearing, the legislative body must issue a written decision no later than 15 days after the hearing.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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