Lansing — The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate moved Thursday to replace some of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders while laying the groundwork for a dispute by tying an extension of unemployment benefits to new legal protections for businesses.

The Senate tie-barred a six-week extension of the maximum length of jobless assistance, which is widely supported in Lansing, to proposals that would shield businesses from some legal claims over COVID-19 exposure. The tie-bar would essentially force Whitmer to veto both proposals or sign both.

Many Democratic lawmakers have previously opposed the immunity bills, which passed the House last month.

Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing, said Republicans were putting “politics and games” in front of people’s economic well being.

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The Michigan Capitol is pictured on Tuesday. June 23, 2020. (Photo: Craig Mauger / The Detroit News)

The Senate’s votes on four bills came Thursday as news broke about a plot