Neil Bradley

Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. At the Chamber, Bradley is responsible for aligning the organization’s overall policy priorities and advocacy efforts.

Before joining the Chamber, Bradley was president of Chartwell Policy Solutions, LLC, a research, analysis, and advisory firm focused on public policy issues. In addition to his work at Chartwell, he served as chief strategy officer for the nonprofit Conservative Reform Network (CRN).

Prior to founding Chartwell and joining CRN in 2015, Bradley spent nearly 20 years working in the House of Representatives. He served as deputy chief of staff for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) and was policy director for House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (MO).

Earlier in his career, Bradley served for four-and-a-half years as executive director of the Republican Study Committee. He also held numerous positions in the office of then-Rep. Tom Coburn (R-OK).

Bradley graduated from Georgetown University and resides in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Kiki, and their son, Peter.

A “Perfect Storm” of Pre-Election Uncertainty Along the U.S.-Canada Border

National Observer

By: Emma McIntosh

October 22, 2020

This is the fourth of a series of stories Emma McIntosh is writing as part of National Observer’s special coverage of the U.S. election. Read the first, second and third stories here.

In normal times, residents of Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, Mich., cross the U.S.-Canada border as easily as many of us might wade through a cool stream on a summer day.

Windsor residents would drive across the Detroit River to catch a concert or a sports game. Folks from Detroit would pass over to visit seasonal cottages on the Canadian side or to shop. Cross-border friends, families and business associates could zip back and forth on the Ambassador Bridge or the Detroit-Windsor tunnel largely as they pleased.

All of that changed in the chaotic early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump shut the border to non-essential traffic. Since then, Canadian officials have said Canada’s busiest border crossing will stay shuttered as long as the public health risks involved in reopening outweigh the economic damage done by keeping the border shut.

See the Full Article Here. 

Former BDO Audit Partner Vin Nguyen Joins UHY LLP

UHY LLP, certified public accountants welcomes Vin Nguyen as its newest partner residing in the Great Lakes region.

Nguyen has over 25 years of experience working with family-owned, venture capital, private equity and public companies across a broad spectrum of industries. His experience includes working with clients in manufacturing, real estate, health care, and life sciences.

Spending the majority of his career with BDO, he comes with extensive experience planning, executing and managing audit engagements for both public and private companies in accordance with US GAAP, PCAOB standards, and SEC rules and regulations.

“It was a team effort to get Vin on board,” said Tom Callan, regional managing partner of UHY’s Great Lakes region. “We have known Vin for a long time, always knew he was the right fit for UHY. His years of experience working with public companies will allow us to reach deeper and offer our services at a scale that we normally would not be able to.”

Nguyen will work as part of the audit and assurance practice assisting with SEC reporting matters, business consulting and strategic planning.

Nguyen has a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting as well as an MBA from Wayne State University, and is a licensed CPA in the state of Michigan. He is a board member and treasurer for the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan and a past member of the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce.

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About UHY LLP
UHY LLP, a licensed CPA firm, provides audit and other attest services to publicly traded, privately owned and nonprofit organizations in a number of industry sectors. UHY Advisors provides tax and advisory services to entrepreneurial and other organizations, principally those enterprises in the dynamic middle market.

UHY LLP, operating in an alternative practice structure with UHY Advisors, forms one of the largest professional services firms in the US. While that scale might provide confidence for some clients, others tell us our greatest value is the way we bring these resources to bear to help address today’s evolving business challenges. It’s a philosophy we call “The Next Level of Service”. To learn more visit www.uhy-us.com.

All of the above entities are members of UHY International (“UHYI”), a worldwide network of independent professional services firms that provide audit, tax and advisory services around the globe. UHYI is ranked among the top international accountancy networks and a proud member in good standing of the Forum of Firms. Collectively, our US operating entities (UHY LLP and UHY Advisors) are the largest independent members of UHYI with significant participation, bringing the power of our international network to serve the individualized needs of our clients.

Walsh Hosts Virtual IT Program Info Sessions

TROY, Mich., Oct. 22, 2020 — Walsh will host virtual information sessions about bachelor’s and master’s information technology programs and the new master of science in data analytics on Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. and Dec.1 at 6 p.m. All sessions will include live Q&A with staff and faculty.

Walsh’s IT programs include concentrations in automotive cybersecurity (the first of its kind in the nation), cybersecurity, data science, programming, project management and more. Walsh was one of the first schools in Michigan to be recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE/CD) and its IT degrees align with Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security NICE Framework Standards.

Earlier this year, Walsh transitioned all exams, courses and student services to 100% remote delivery in less than a week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing students to continue their education without interruption to class or exam schedules. Remote delivery will continue through the winter 2021 semester, which ends Mar. 22, 2021.

“The technology we use allows us to modify our hands-on learning exercises for a remote format,” said Dave Schippers, D.Sc., Assistant Professor and Chair, IT/Decision Sciences. “Students collaborate via voice and screen shares to practice skills they will use in the workplace, and our faculty logs in to interact and offer guidance, just as we would in our on ground Cyber Lab.”

For more information about Walsh’s virtual admissions events, visit www.walshcollege.edu/admissions-events
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ABOUT WALSH
Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of Southeast Michigan’s largest graduate business schools, offering classes in several locations and online. Our nationally-ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, human resources, management, marketing, taxation and other fields. For more information, please visit www.walshcollege.edu.

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (www.acbsp.org).

Rehmann’s Chris Sing Appointed Board Director of Ann Arbor SPARK

Rehmann’s Chris Sing Appointed Board Director of Ann Arbor SPARK

TROY, Mich., October 23, 2020 –Ann Arbor SPARK a non-profit that works with public, private, and academic partners to encourage and support business attraction, retention, and acceleration, has named Rehmann principal Chris Sing as board director. Sing has been an Ann Arbor SPARK executive committee member for over three years.

Ann Arbor SPARK focuses efforts on four innovation-driving industries: automotive and mobility; life sciences and healthcare; data and information; and technology. Its services include incubating and accelerating startups, showcasing vibrant communities to site selectors, and connecting job seekers with hopeful employers.

“To be innovative for the businesses and job seekers we serve, we rely on insights of experts who are inventive, creative and spirited,” said Paul Krutko, President and CEO, Ann Arbor SPARK. “Chris has been an invaluable asset to our executive committee for many years and we are thrilled to leverage her expertise in the role of board director.”

Sing has 25 years of experience in public accounting at local and national firms, as well as executive experience in private industry. At Rehmann, Sing serves as a close confidant and trusted advisor to her clients. Sing also leads the firm’s emerging companies and cannabis practice groups and is a former member of the firm’s board of directors.

“Chris has been a true asset and leader at Rehmann. Using those skills and channeling her passion for community involvement, I could not think of a better board director to serve the team at Ann Arbor SPARK,” said Randy Rupp, CEO of Rehmann.

About Rehmann
Rehmann is a fully integrated financial services and advisory firm that provides accounting and assurance, comprehensive technology, accounting and human resource solutions, specialized consulting and wealth management services. For more than 75 years, Rehmann has provided forward-thinking solutions and made it a priority to anticipate our clients’ daily and future needs. Rehmann has nearly 900 associates in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Rehmann is an independent member of Nexia International, offering clients a global approach. Find us online at rehmann.com.

Ann Arbor SPARK
Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization, is advancing the region by encouraging and supporting business attraction, retention, and acceleration. The organization identifies and meets the needs of businesses at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations. Ann Arbor SPARK collaborates with business, academic, government, and community investor partners. For more information, please call (734)-761-9317 or visit www.AnnArborUSA.org.
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Franco: 4 Steps to Launch a Successful Employee Advocacy Program

In the world of social media, questions like, “How can we increase our reach and engagement?” or “What’s the value?” are common. For social media managers stifled by lack of budget and constrained by the confinements of organic reach, it can be challenging to identify and implement programs that are both affordable and impactful.

But what if I told you some of the strongest resources were your own colleagues?

Employee advocacy is more than a buzzword. At its core, a social media employee advocacy program is the promotion of a company through the lens of its workforce. A recent study found more than 73% of people find posts from personal accounts to be more persuasive than posts from brand accounts.
Whether your team begins sharing updates on the latest product innovations or company culture moments, through an employee advocacy program, your organization’s content will be catapulted in front of a new, larger audience – many of which may be unfamiliar with your brand. Here are four steps to help your employee advocacy program succeed:

#1: Define the “why”

Before implementing a new program in your social strategy, it’s important to outline your KPIs to accurately measure success. Common metrics when launching employee advocacy programs include:

• Improving organic reach and engagement
• Increasing social media referral traffic to your website
• Strengthening brand awareness
• Supporting recruitment efforts
• Reducing marketing costs

While there are countless benefits for your business, a Hinge Research Institute study shows 86% of employees involved in a formal advocacy program said their involvement in social media had a positive impact on their career. Communicating the personal and professional benefits to your team can help drive interest and passion. Benefits include:

• Keeping social channels populated
• Creating new opportunities to engage prospects and connections
• Positioning themselves as industry thought leaders
• Company-sponsored participation incentives

#2: Set your team up for success

The key to a successful social program requires thoughtful planning and consideration. Investing in an employee advocacy software (such as GaggleAMP, Sprout Social Bambu or Hootsuite Amplify) is crucial to keep things organized, consistent and simple. Outline best practices, content and participation expectations and formal policies/restrictions upfront to eliminate guesswork and confusion down the road.

#3: Program launch and maintenance

Many employee advocacy programs fail due to poor internal communication and lack of accessible content. Once everything is in place to launch the program, consider doing a soft launch with a small group of beta testers to work out any kinks before bringing the program to the whole group.

Driving consistent participation requires a steady cadence of content. Utilizing content from your organic social calendar is a great place to start. Employee advocacy software makes it simple for employees to like and share company posts directly to their personal pages without leaving the platform.

Frequent communication will ultimately lead your team to success. There should be a program liaison available to answer questions, sort through employee-generated content (bring on the company culture!) and provide updates on incentives and opportunities.

#4: Improvement & incentives

Launching anything new requires time to refine. Keep track of which content is resonating best with participants and their audiences.

In addition to the many personal and professional benefits presented to employees participating in your advocacy program, offering other incentives can generate excitement and overall performance. Spark some friendly competition between coworkers through initiating a leaderboard and quarterly prizes.

At the end of the day, employees will participate because they want to, not because they have to. Launching an employee advocacy program on social media is not only a great way to boost your business goals, but also flourish and grow as a team.

Oct. 23 | This Week In Government: House Districts Likely to Flip, Business Leaders Call for Unity in Lansing to Fight COVID-19

Each week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Government Relations team, in partnership with Gongwer, will provide members with a collection of timely updates from both local and state governments. Stay in the know on the latest legislation, policy priorities, and more. See below for this week’s headlines.

  1. House Districts Most Likely to Flip
  2. Whitmer Signs Surprise Billing, COVID Liability, Nursing Home Bills
  3. House GOP Plan Would Allow Counties to Loosen COVID Restrictions
  4. Biz, Hospital and Labor Leaders Plead for Legislative Unity on COVID
  5. Whitmer Signs COVID Unemployment Extension

House Districts Most Likely to Flip

It’s a little more than two weeks to go before Election Day and the House districts currently in play to tip the scales for either side remain limited, though an additional Democratic-held seat has increased in competitiveness, expanding the list ever so slightly.

The activity in the 96th House District where Rep. Brian Elder (D-Bay City) is seeking a third and final term prompted Gongwer News Service to move the seat from on the radar to the top five.

Elder is working but Democrats and Republicans agree the environment here favors the GOP in an area where President Donald Trump is popular and their candidate, Timothy Beson of Bay City, who owns a local market and is well known in the community, has traction.

Otherwise, since mid-September, not too much has changed in the battle for House control. The map is limited for Democrats to pick up and Republicans see a few opportunities, such as Elder’s seat, but they all involve knocking out an incumbent, which has historically been a tougher task.

Trump is running poorly in suburban Oakland and Kalamazoo counties, where many of the districts up for grabs are located. The question is how far down the ticket do voters go to show their distaste for the Republican president.

Gongwer is breaking down its House races into the top seats to flip, seats that are on the radar because of activity from either side and a group of seats that have dropped off the list completely.

The following is a breakdown of House races in order of likelihood to flip:

1. BAD GOP ENVIRONMENT IN 61ST DISTRICT (SAME RANKING): The 61st House District seat in Kalamazoo County’s Portage area is not a good environment for Trump. Democrats are bullish on this seat and think it is theirs. Democratic Kalamazoo County Commissioner Christine Morse of Texas Township is up against Republican Bronwyn Haltom, and while both are working hard, Haltom is facing increasing headwinds here. A month ago, Republicans were using terms like “goner” to describe this seat and it has only solidified more.

2. TURNER, BREEN IN NOVI’S 38TH DISTRICT (SAME RANKING): Republicans and their candidate Chase Turner of Northville are still working this seat and have attacks on Novi City Councilmember Kelly Breen pointing to the issue of police funding in particular. Still, the 38th House District in southwest Oakland County is changing and its demographics are friendlier to Democrats. Democrats and other allied groups are also spending for Breen. This one will go to the end and Breen appears to have an edge.

3. PULVER PUSHING BERMAN TO LIMIT IN 39TH (SAME RANKING): Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Township) is expected to have a tight race against Democrat Julia Pulver of West Bloomfield in the 39th House District. The environment here also isn’t great for the president. Though Berman is an incumbent and reportedly working hard. Democrats feel good here but it seems likely to go down to the wire.

4. GOP MORE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ROCHESTER’S 45TH (SAME RANKING): Democrats are hoping their candidate Rochester Community Schools Board of Education member Barb Anness can get a win in the 45th House District covering Rochester and Rochester Hills, but Republicans are still confident in former Rochester Hills City Councilmember Mark Tisdel. Trump’s numbers are purportedly not as bad here as in other Oakland County districts, so Tisdel could eke it out. That said, this area is changing rapidly in the Democrats’ favor and the Democrats think they have a great chance, especially as Trump falls apart in Oakland.

5. ELDER FACING A CREDIBLE CHALLENGE IN 96TH (UP FROM ON THE RADAR): Rep. Brian Elder (D-Bay City) is bullish about his own chances in the 96th House District, but Democrats are worried. Republicans feel good about Timothy Beson of Bay City, who is well known in the community. Trump carried this district in 2016 but then Whitmer did in 2018, though the area is still thought to be trending away from the Democrats. It’s a mostly white, heavily Catholic, working-class district. That’s the prototype for one-time Democratic districts moving GOP.

6. 19TH WILL BE CLOSE AGAIN (PREVIOUSLY FIFTH): Democrats feel Rep. Laurie Pohutsky has done everything right her first two years in office while Republicans think the 19th House District is going to come back to the GOP column with Martha Ptashnik, Livonia Public Schools mathematics department chair. Like when Pohutsky won it in 2018, it is expected to be close. It’s another seat where Trump carried the district in 2016 only to see Whitmer carry it in 2018. Even Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox ran well below what was expected as a Senate candidate in 2018 (when she was also a sitting representative). It’s hard to say if Livonia will go back to its 2016 self. The GOP, though, feels good about the numbers they are seeing here. It’s a whiter, slightly more working-class suburb. Still, the demographics here are those of an emerging Democratic area.

7. BOTH SIDES STILL PLAYING IN 104TH (PREVIOUSLY SIXTH): Republicans and Democrats are committed to the 104th House District covering Grand Traverse County and will stick it out until the end. Democrat Dan O’Neil of Traverse City had a good showing in 2018 but with Trump on the ballot and Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) off the ballot, it’s not as friendly of a year. Republicans are happy with John Roth of Traverse City here and have the advantage.

ON THE RADAR (IN NUMERICAL ORDER)

23RD: Republicans are starting a late push for their candidate John Poe of New Boston with a significant television ad buy. He’s up against Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) in the 23rd House District. Camilleri won in 2016 as Mr. Trump also carried the seat and won again in 2018 in a less competitive contest. Democrats say they haven’t seen anything to cause them concern and Camilleri has been working and up on TV as well.

43RD: Some Democrats are saying if there is a sleeper seat in 2020, it will be the 43rd House District where Rep. Andrea Schroeder (R-Independence Township) is seeking a second term. It’s a non-race to the GOP, who feel good here. Democrats have Nicole Breadon of Clarkston, who is working. This one would be a surprise and have more to do with the environment. Independence Township has a large number of voters with bachelor’s degrees, but there’s not a lot of racial diversity. Waterford Township is a white working-class wild card.

48TH: Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D-Davison) is seeking a second term in the 48th House District where Republicans are making moves with David Martin of Davison. Still, Kennedy knew she would have a tough reelection fight from the beginning and is said to have run her race as such. She has the edge here, though the GOP says Martin is working.

72ND, 73RD: No one is talking about these west Michigan districts and if they flipped they would have more to do with environment than anything else. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and U.S. House candidate Hillary Scholten have money flowing into this region and if the president implodes, it might be seen here. Bill Saxton of East Grand Rapids, a Dem, and Bryan Posthumus of Oakfield Township, a Republican, are fighting it out in the 73rd. Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Shelbyville) and Democrat Lily Cheng-Schulting of Kentwood are running in the 72nd.

79TH: Outside progressive groups are coming in to spend for Democrat Chokwe Pitchford of Benton Harbor. Republicans aren’t worried about Rep. Pauline Wendzel (R-Watervliet), who is running for her second term. Mr. Trump won this seat by more than double what Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette carried it by in 2018, so some Democrats see an opportunity here.

98TH: Republicans are going to keep spending for Rep. Annette Glenn (R-Midland) in the 98th House District as Democrat Sarah Schulz of Midland is going to keep working until the end. But the GOP feels like they have it more than locked down. The Democrats are not confident.

DROP OFFS

20TH: No one is talking about Rep. Matt Koleszar’s race in the 20th House District as the Plymouth Democrat seeks his second term. Republican John Lacny of Canton doesn’t appear to be making moves. A GOP tracker was following Koleszar after House session last month, though it had more to do with the fact he was walking with Ms. Pohutsky of the 19th District.

25TH: Republican Paul Smith of Sterling Heights downplayed the terrorist plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, then-House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) said the House Republican Campaign Committee wouldn’t spend a dime in 25th House District and then called him a loser for good measure. Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights) was already a favorite to win reelection and the events of the last couple weeks solidified the status.

71ST: Democratic Rep. Angela Witwer of Delta Township is a strong candidate in this moderate seat. Republican Gina Johnsen doesn’t appear a good fit for the district. This is another race no one is really talking about and doesn’t seem likely to materialize into anything competitive, though it has gone back forth in the past.

110TH: Republicans surprisingly flipped this one with Rep. Greg Markkanen (R-Hancock) in 2018, and it doesn’t seem likely the Democrats will get it back in 2020. Dems have Janet Metsa of Houghton.


Whitmer Signs Surprise Billing, COVID Liability, Nursing Home Bills

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed a variety of significant bills providing some business protections from COVID-19-related lawsuits, codifying her previous nursing home policies and seeking to curb large, out-of-network health care bills.

HB 6030, HB 6031, HB 6032, and 6101- now Public Acts 236, 237, 238, and 239 of 2020, respectively – protect Michigan businesses that comply with relevant COVID-19-related laws, including epidemic orders and rules. HB 6030 makes clear that when a business complies with all relevant COVID-19 related statutes, orders, and rules issued by federal, state, and local authorities, it cannot be held liable for a person becoming sick at the business. HB 6031 makes clear that when an employer complies with all relevant COVID-19 related statutes, orders, and rules issued by federal, state, and local authorities, they cannot be held liable under the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Act for a worker becoming sick at work.

The legislation also requires employers to allow workers who are exposed to COVID-19 or exhibit the symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home and prohibit retaliation against employees for staying home when sick or exposed to the virus. The bills also provide a minimum damages award of $5,000 for violations.

Whitmer said in a statement no one should have to worry about going to work when they are sick, especially during the current pandemic.

“These bipartisan bills ensure crucial protections for our workers and businesses who do their part to protect our families and frontline workers from the spread of COVID-19,” she said. “I look forward to more collaboration with the Legislature where we can find common ground. Michiganders: remember to mask up, practice safe physical distancing, wash your hands frequently, and get your flu vaccine. Be smart and stay safe.”

The bills saw broad support among the business, health care, and higher education community. Both a local union president and an official with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce praised the bills in a statement issued by the governor’s office.

“Across our state, businesses, nonprofits, child care, academic facilities, and the medical community have invested resources, time, and energy in complying with public health requirements and operating in a safe manner. This legislation is good news for entities that have made these investments, and that continue to follow COVID-19 laws and regulations, allowing them to proceed with confidence and certainty,” said Wendy Block, vice president of business advocacy and member engagement for the Michigan Chamber. “We applaud the governor and legislative leaders for coming together to resolve a controversial issue.”

Rep. Graham Filler (R-DeWitt), one of the bill sponsors, said in his own statement the bills will give employers peace of mind “that if they act responsibly and invest time and money to follow public health protocols they will be protected from lawsuits related to this pandemic.”

“Workers will have the peace of mind that they will not be punished for following public health protocols,” he said. “Our health care heroes on the front lines have reassurance so they can focus on providing the best care possible to patients without worrying about COVID-19 lawsuits.”

Whitmer also signed SB 1094, which requires the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to evaluate the operation and performance of nursing homes throughout the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill also creates a series of requirements that surround the state’s COVID-19 nursing home policy. DHHS, in consultation with LARA, will work to provide a statewide visitation policy, implement plans concerning COVID-19 laboratory testing, create a process to approve care and recovery facilities, among other things, before Nov. 15, 2020.

The recovery centers created within the bill are similar to what the state moved toward after a task force on the issue provided recommendations.

“It is our moral duty as a society to protect our elders and this new law will help do just that,” Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township), the bill sponsor, said in a statement. “Approving this bill was part of a process of putting aside political differences and working together to enact critical protections to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our most vulnerable people.”

HB 6159 (PA 240) codifies protections for medical providers and facilities previously covered under an executive order.

Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Mount Pleasant), the bill sponsor, said in a statement the health care workers have earned the protections provided under the bill.

“Thankfully, we were finally able to get everyone together to find a solution that protects the medical professionals who have made incredible sacrifices to treat patients and save lives during this pandemic,” he said. “This is the type of bipartisan collaboration we need to continue guiding our state through the remainder of the pandemic.”

Whitmer also signed HB 4459, HB 4460, HB 4990, and HB 4991 (PAs 234, 235, 232, and 233, respectively), which seek to combat the potential for unexpected high out-of-network charges for medical procedures.

Finally, the Governor signed HB 6192 (PA 241), to extend the validity of certain permits, licenses, and registrations issued by the Department of State.


House GOP Plan Would Allow Counties to Loosen COVID Restrictions

Counties would be able to increase business capacity or loosen other restrictions if they hit certain new coronavirus testing measures and other metrics under a proposal discussed by some House Republicans on Tuesday.

Neither the Department of Health and Human Services nor Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office provided official statements on the proposal – which was outlined Tuesday though actual bill language was unavailable – though the Governor’s office said they would review it.

The proposal seeks to allow counties to loosen restrictions on restaurant capacity or retail capacity, among other things, if they meet metrics related to case rate, positivity rate, hospital capacity, personal protective equipment, and testing capacity.

On case rate, the threshold for loosening restrictions would be keeping the number of confirmed cases during a 14-day period below 55 per 1 million people. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief executive for health at DHHS, has emphasized keeping cases below 70 per 1 million people.

Additionally, the metric for case positivity rates is set at keeping it below 5% (while excluding state and federal inmates), and Khaldun has pointed to 3% as an important threshold.

The other metrics include health facilities being able to manage a 20% surge in hospital admissions or patient transfers while having not experienced a 25% or higher hospitalization increase during the previous two weeks; local hospitals having at least two weeks’ worth of PPE on hand and local health departments having the ability to test 15 people per 10,000 residents each day with a test turnaround time of three days or less.

Under the plan, if a county meets or exceeds those thresholds, the county public health director can modify restrictions if they choose. If the county does not meet the benchmarks outlined, then intervention strategies will go into effect, “creating an ongoing incentive within the community to maintain safe practices.”

Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso) said at a press conference the proposal would move toward the ongoing goal of keeping the coronavirus infection curve flattened.

“One further goal, which is less tangible, but which has come up again and again in this process: restoring hope to the people of Michigan,” Frederick said. “By answering questions such as: ‘what is our ongoing goal?’ (and) ‘what needs to be done and why?’ we can bring greater certainty and hope to a population which has already sacrificed greatly and is suffering.”

Rep. Julie Calley (R-Portland) said the plan would act as a “means of navigation,” as the state continues in unchartered waters.

“The Legislature and the medical professionals who stand before you today have fielded thousands of questions from concerned Michiganders,” she said. “The people we serve long for measurable goals and benchmarks for success. Many states have had similar plans in place for months. By establishing clear metrics, we each become active partners, instead of subjects in the battle against COVID-19. Counties which actively exercise precaution will see their metrics improve, and they will be rewarded with a locally focused response tailored to meet their own needs.”

Frederick said the plan would work alongside orders that have come from DHHS and other agencies on COVID-19 protocols. He also said he hopes the proposal would move in a bipartisan fashion.

He also said other states use county data to determine protocols in various regions. He said the proposal relies on “very real” benchmarks and the data will drive various decisions. Frederick also said he believes the conversation needs to focus back on the stress on the state’s health care system and look at if the curve is remaining flat.

On if a county could drop all restrictions if they met the thresholds required, Frederick said that would be a “reckless” decision and noted public health officials answer to a local board of some sort in many cases.

“It does not undo any of the existing regulations,” he said. “It comes alongside the statewide response with a pathway toward interventions that reflect local conditions.”

Bobby Mukkamala, president of the Michigan State Medical Society, said in a statement he appreciated Frederick for including the physician community in developing the plan. However, he also said the state dropped below metrics by acting a certain way, and those behaviors must continue until there is a vaccine.

“If we continue to be diligent about wearing masks, handwashing, social distancing and testing measures, we will get to a point where the disease is not spreading freely. If we go back to the way things were – sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in a restaurant or theater, etc – the number of cases will inevitably increase,” Mukkamala said. “In fact, that’s what we are seeing in Michigan and across the country right now because we are now indoors together and are mentally fatigued of dealing with this virus. We dropped below the metrics listed by acting a certain way and must continue those actions until we get a vaccine.”


Biz, Hospital and Labor Leaders Plead for Legislative Unity on COVID

More than 30 business, health care, labor, and education leaders from across the state and the political spectrum sent a letter to legislative leadership Wednesday, urging a unified front on fighting the new coronavirus and preventing a second wave of the virus from battering Michigan.

The group’s letter stressed the need for mandatory standards on mask usage, workplace practices, and public gatherings – as outlined in recent orders from both the Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration – in light of recent DHHS forecasts that the state could be staring down the possibility of a second wave.

Already, COVID-19-related hospitalizations are up in every MERC region in the state, and some hospital systems are seeing their admittance rates for the virus up more than 80% in the past few weeks.

Signatories include University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel, Small Business Association of Michigan President Brian Calley, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, and AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber.

“We commend the governor and Legislature for working together on legislation to extend unemployment protections and provide common-sense liability protections. We now need that spirit of cooperation focused on reigning in surging case levels,” the group wrote. “Michigan cannot afford for the recent case surge to evolve into an uncontrolled outbreak of the sort underway in Wisconsin, where case levels are over 2.5 times those in Michigan and many hospitals are again under pressure.”

DHHS this week already reported 17 new COVID-19 outbreaks in schools and 25 new outbreaks in long-term care facilities in Michigan.

The group goes on to say that they support the use of “science-based mandatory standards across the state – standards like those we currently adhere to in our hospitals and businesses” to suppress COVID-19’s spread and protect the most vulnerable, which they explicitly outline as the immunocompromised and elderly.

“We hold these views because of what we have learned in our hospitals and businesses: the disciplined use of COVID-19 safety practices clearly works to minimize viral spread,” the group wrote. “And we hold these views because the evidence strongly suggests – both in Michigan and the other states/countries in which many of us operate – that without such clear standards, people struggle to band together to effectively control viral spread.”

In response to the letter, Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) said he agreed the Legislature should lead by example on issues like mask wearing and social distancing though added that Senate Republicans “fought for months to include the Legislature in the COVID-19 policymaking process.”

“Ultimately, it was a ruling from the Supreme Court that restored the normal legislative process and affirmed the need for the legislative and executive branches to work together,” said VanderWall, who also chairs the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee. “While the governor has yet to engage with her legislative partners regarding DHHS orders, I am committed to a legislative process in which all voices are represented, as has always been clearly defined by the Constitution.”

A request for comment from House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) regarding his thoughts on the letter was not returned in time for publication.


Whitmer Signs COVID Unemployment Extension

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Tuesday signed legislation expanding unemployment benefits for residents during the new coronavirus pandemic from 20 weeks to 26 and said the GOP-led Legislature should make the move permanent.

Whitmer signed SB 886 and SB 991 (Public Acts 229 and 230 of 2020, respectively), which extend the duration of the benefits and codify other pieces of Whitmer’s previous executive order.

“No Michigander should have to worry about how to put food on the table or pay their bills, especially during a global pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement. “These bipartisan bills are an important step in providing immediate relief for working families, but given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Michigan, I urge the Legislature to take further action to make this permanent. (Forty) states, including all of our neighbors, automatically provide at least 26 weeks of unemployment relief. Michiganders deserve better than a short-term extension that expires at the end of the year. It’s time to work together on a long-term solution for working families.”

Whitmer said, though, the Legislature failed to extend her efforts to speed up claim processing by allowing the Unemployment Insurance Agency to review only a claimant’s most recent employer separation. UIA must now evaluate every job a worker has left in the past 18 months – a waste of resources because employers are not being directly charged for benefits paid at this time, she said.

“When we get back to session, I look forward to taking up our bills to expand unemployment benefits and create stronger pathways to get Michigan families the resources they need during a pandemic,” Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) said in a statement.


Related:

Chamber-Backed Business Liability Protections Signed Into Law

Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bills Extending Unemployment Benefits to 26 Weeks

Chamber Among 30+ Organizations Calling for Unity in State Leadership to Fight COVID-19

Joint Letter Calls for Bipartisan Leadership Through COVID-19

Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc. Achieves Prestigious ARGUS Platinum Rating

WATERFORD, MI.–Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., a leader in the world of business aviation, is pleased to announce the successful renewal of their prestigious ARGUS Platinum Rating. This achievement places them in the top five percent of over 1,000 U.S. based charter operators. It is the highest level in the ARGUS audit standard and is awarded only to those air charter operators who have demonstrated successful implementation of industry best safety practices regarding their operations and maintenance. Pentastar’s operations have been Platinum rated since 2006.

“This Platinum Rating demonstrates Pentastar’s continued commitment to safety and ongoing quality improvement in all areas of the organization,” said Joe Moeggenberg, CEO of ARGUS International Inc. “Interested parties can verify Pentastar’s Platinum Rating status at any time via the CHEQ System.”

Achieving ARGUS Platinum Rating is a testament to the aviation community that safety remains Pentastar’s top priority. The ARGUS Platinum Rating consists of an audit that takes an in-depth look into the quality of documented processes and evaluates the strength of the safety management system implemented by the operator. Receiving a Platinum Rating means the operation was examined over several days by a team of on-site auditors and subsequently completed any corrective actions necessary to meet the standard.

“The safety of our customers and employees remains our top priority,”, said Greg Schmidt, President & CEO, Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc. “As one of the premier charter operators in the industry, Pentastar is committed to employing safety practices that go above and beyond FAA and international regulatory standards, are certified and continuously monitored and improved upon. Renewal of our ARGUS Platinum Rating reflects that commitment.”

Pentastar adheres to the highest standards of safety and service excellence. In addition to the ARGUS Platinum Rating, Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., is a registered Stage-2 IS-BAO operator, Wyvern Registered, and a member of the Air Charter Safety Foundation and is involved in their voluntary Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP). Pentastar Aviation, LLC., is an IS-BAH registered business aircraft handler and a member of the National Safety Council. Pentastar also has a robust Safety Management System and a well-documented Emergency Response Plan that is practiced at regular intervals.

About Pentastar Aviation
Pentastar Aviation, wholly owned by Edsel B. Ford II, is a leader in the world of business aviation, providing aircraft management, advisory services, aircraft maintenance, avionics services, interior services and award-winning FBO services. Air charter transportation services are provided by Pentastar Aviation Charter, Inc., a U.S. FAR Part 135 on-demand air carrier, or by other U.S. FAR Part 135 certificated on-demand air carriers arranged by Pentastar Aviation, LLC. Their team is committed to delivering the highest standards of safety and service excellence to their customers.
Pentastar Aviation has been servicing regional and global travelers for more than 50 years and is headquartered at Oakland County International Airport (PTK). For more information, please visit www.pentastaraviation.com.

About ARGUS International Inc.
ARGUS International, Inc. (ARGUS), a member of the SGS Group, is the worldwide leader in specialized aviation services that allow organizations to improve their operational and business decision making with software solutions. ARGUS Market Intelligence offers custom aviation reporting with targeted data such as flight tracking, fleet intelligence, and aircraft activity analysis with TRAQPak. ARGUS provides a collection of safety audits for both the business aviation and commercial aviation sectors. ARGUS Charter operator ratings are the most recognized and requested independent source of overall operator quality in the business aviation space. ARGUS subsidiaries include ARGUS PROS, the leading provider of onsite safety audits, and PRISM, a worldwide leader in safety management systems, certification, and consultation services. ARGUS was founded in 1995 and headquartered in Colorado.
To learn more about ARGUS International, please visit www.ARGUS.aero

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Butzel Long attorney Reginald Pacis featured during Asian Pacific American Law Students Association virtual panel program on October 23, 2020

DETROIT, Mich. – Butzel Long immigration law attorney Reginald A. Pacis will be a panelist during an Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (Wayne State University Chapter) virtual program on Friday, October 23, 2020 featuring local minority attorneys who were the first in their families to pursue a career as an attorney. In addition, panelists will offer tips on navigating law school and discuss future employment opportunities.

Pacis focuses his practice in immigration law and has handled a variety of immigration matters including H-1B specialty occupation cases, L-1 Intracompany transfers, Labor Certification matters, Immigrant Visa Petitions/Adjustment of Status applications and interviews, TN Free trade cases, H-1B Department of Labor Investigations, I-9 employer verification compliance, and U.S. Port of Entry airport and land port interviews.

Pacis was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve as a Commissioner to the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC), which helps address the needs and concerns of the Asian Pacific American (APA) communities in Michigan.

He was named Immigration Lawyer of the Year 2013 in the field of Immigration Law by The Best Lawyers in America and has been listed in Best Lawyers for several years. Pacis is a member of the American Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and the Samahang Pilipino Ng Oakland Filipino organization. He served two consecutive one-year terms from 2003 to 2005 as Chairperson of the Michigan Chapter of AILA and was a member of the AILA National Board of Governors for those terms. Pacis previously served as Secretary (2001 to 2003) and Membership Chairperson of the Michigan Chapter of AILA (1998 to 2003).

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as an alliance office in Beijing. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting www.butzel.com or follow Butzel Long on Twitter: https://twitter.com/butzel_long

Butzel Long receives Community Partner Award from United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan

DETROIT, Mich. – Butzel Long received the Community Partner Award from Michigan United Cerebral Palsy (MI-UCP) during a virtual presentation on October 16, 2020. The Community Partner Award recognizes a person or organization that has excelled in partnering with MI-UCP to advance its mission and serve the interests of people with disabilities.

Butzel Long has assisted the non-profit organization over the years with pro bono work and has served as a sponsor for some of the events including a recent golf outing. Notably, Butzel Long shareholder Jennifer Dukarski was the keynote speaker at a 2018 MI-UCP event discussing the future of autonomous vehicles and the possibilities for people with disabilities.

“For years, I have served as a volunteer in various leadership roles at the local and national level with United Cerebral Palsy,” said Mark Lezotte, Butzel Long shareholder and a 2019 recipient of the United Cerebral Palsy National Chair’s Award. “We are honored to receive this very special recognition and applaud UCP for all they do to protect the equal rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.”

“Butzel Long has been a great community partner and we can’t thank them enough for the years of commitment and support to UCP,” said Leslynn Angel, President and CEO of MI-UCP. “We are pleased to recognize the outstanding work they have generously donated to help us merge the operations of UCP/Detroit and UCP/Michigan, creating the new organization MI-UCP.”

About MI-UCP

MI-UCP is a non-profit organization, with a 70-year history of serving the 1.4 million Michiganders who live with a disability. Everything MI-UCP does, every day is done to close the disability divide. For more information, visit https://www.ucpdetroit.org/home.

About Butzel Long

Butzel Long is one of the leading law firms in Michigan and the United States. It was founded in Detroit in 1854 and has provided trusted client service for more than 160 years. Butzel’s full-service law offices are located in Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Lansing and Ann Arbor, Mich.; New York, NY; and, Washington, D.C., as well as an alliance office in Beijing. It is an active member of Lex Mundi, a global association of 160 independent law firms. Learn more by visiting www.butzel.com or follow Butzel Long on Twitter: https://twitter.com/butzel_long