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Nov. 20 | This Week in Government: Wayne County Rejects, Then Certifies Election; What’s Ahead During Lame Duck

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.

  1. Amid Surging COVID-19 Cases, State Moves to Curb Indoor Gatherings
  2. Delegation Differs on When Next COVID-19 Package May Pass
  3. Wayne County Board Rejects, Then Certifies November Election
  4. Senate GOP Sees Few Options to Further Expand COVID-19 Response
  5. Whitmer, Shirkey Warn of a ‘Lame’ Lame Duck

Amid Surging COVID-19 Cases, State Moves To Curb Indoor Gatherings

For at least the next three weeks as of Wednesday, most social indoor gatherings are prohibited in Michigan under a sweeping order issued Sunday by the Department of Health and Human Services designed to slow an explosion of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the past month.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, addressing the state in an evening news briefing that was broadcast live throughout Michigan, said curbing indoor gatherings are the steps public health experts say must be taken to avoid overwhelming hospitals and a return to the large death counts of the spring. If the virus continues to spiral out of control, it also will torpedo the state’s economy, Gov. Whitmer said.

Gov. Whitmer said one model shows the state could hit 1,000 deaths per week without action.

“We cannot control the fact that we’re already seeing a surge in cases, but what we can control is whether or not and how we join forces to combat our common enemy, COVID-19,” she said. “We do have some control here. Our collective action can control the severity and length of this wave if we all do our part.”

To reduce indoor gatherings – seen as the prime source of transmission of the virus – the DHHS order:

  • Requires high schools, colleges, and universities to move to distance learning. Elementary and middle schools can remain open for in-person learning if the district wishes to do so. All K-12 sports are suspended;
  • Theaters, movie theaters, conference centers, concert halls, performance venues, sporting venues, stadiums, the three Detroit casinos, arcades, bowling centers, ice skating rinks and indoor water parks, amusement parks, bingo halls, night clubs, strip clubs, and trampoline parks are closed;
  • Group fitness classes are prohibited. Gyms and fitness centers can remain open for individual workouts with a continued capacity limit of 25% but now must assure 12 feet, up from six, of distance between stations;
  • Retailers, libraries, and museums are now limited to 30% occupancy, down from 50% in the previous order, though retailers can allow one additional customer at a time to enter if adhering to the 30% limit would result in closure; and
  • Indoor gatherings remain limited to 10 people but now there is a limit of two households;
  • Outdoor gatherings, previously limited to 100 in residential settings and approximately 1,000 in nonresidential settings, are limited to 25 people at all outdoor settings; and
  • Funerals are limited to 25 people.

While a summary sheet from DHHS regarding the order indicates all workers must work remotely unless their job involves work “impossible to do remotely,” there actually is no change in official state policy. The order contains no changes from the Oct. 14 emergency rules issued by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration that says employers must have policies “prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.”

“Today’s order is targeted and temporary,” DHHS Director Robert Gordon said. “It aims to do only what is necessary, not more. Early on, we saw COVID-19 spread through conferences, crowded bars, choirs; this fall, we’ve seen spread in small parties and family gatherings. Anywhere that people gather indoors is a source of great risk. And the risk rises if people are taking off their mask, mingling, or exercising. Our action today focuses on indoor gatherings and the settings where groups gather and where the virus can thrive.”

Gov. Whitmer said it is possible the restrictions will last beyond three weeks depending on how well residents follow safe practices.

She said the state will be watching its case numbers, number of tests, and positivity rate when evaluating what to do after three weeks.

Gov. Whitmer was asked about how the order would be enforced. She said if people see violations, they should contact their local public health official. That said, she acknowledged it is on the public to follow through.

“We all have personal responsibility here,” she said. “With a state of 10 million people, it is on every one of us to do our part.”

Much of Gov. Whitmer’s remarks amounted to pleading with residents to wear face coverings unless they are in their household with their immediate family members or in a setting where they are not near any other people. That goes for Thanksgiving, she said, and discouraged people from gathering.

The governor signaled that while this is a three-week order, more stringent measures could be coming if the state’s COVID-19 numbers do not improve.

“I hope that you’ll double down so we can avoid a stay-home order,” she said. “I believe in you, and I know we are up to this challenge.”


Delegation Differs on When Next COVID-19 Package May Pass

Members of the state’s congressional delegation were split Wednesday on whether another coronavirus relief package can be completed and signed by President Donald Trump before the end of the year.

The comments came during a roundtable discussion as part of a series of online panels hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and featured U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield), and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Saint Joseph).

Negotiations on the first major federal relief package since this spring have stalled for months due to partisan arguments over the size and scope of any final product. The wrangling has led to concerns that programs such as expanded unemployment insurance among others could expire and leave families without needed relief.

Sen. Stabenow said the problem in the U.S. Senate has been that since earlier relief packages were passed about half of the Republicans have now been opposed to any further relief and the U.S. Senate majority leader has not been willing to negotiate.

She said bipartisan support and quick negotiations are needed to get something passed before important provisions including expanded federal unemployment insurance expires. The senator was not optimistic that the Trump administration would lead on passage of any package, but her hope was at least something could be agreed upon by Congress to address some key concerns.

“We’re the greatest country in the world, like, come on, we’ve got to stop being in a situation where we’re, you’re stopping ourselves from solving problems,” Sen. Stabenow said.

Rep. Lawrence said unemployment insurance was a major issue to address. Another, she said, was childcare.

“Child care is the number one barrier for parents,” Rep. Lawrence said. “I had a father tell me, ‘I pay more for child care than I do for the mortgage on my home.'”

She said without additional relief local governments will soon be facing tough decisions on significant cuts to services while the pandemic is still raging.

Rep. Lawrence was not optimistic on a relief package being passed before Trump leaves office.

“He has been consistent in his philosophy, his rhetoric,” Rep. Lawrence said. “I am hopeful with Joe Biden.”

Rep. Upton for his part said he is hopeful some further negotiations on a relief package can quickly bear fruit, hopefully by Christmas.

“We know that Michigan along with all the other states are hurting pretty bad,” Rep. Upton said. “We’re trying to fashion what we would call maybe a sweet spot where we can get Republicans and Democrats to get a majority in both the House and the Senate and get it done.”

Rep. Upton was asked about being one of the first Republicans to acknowledge Biden as the winner of the presidential election. When asked about whether Trump would ever concede the election, Rep. Upton said he felt it would happen soon.

“Nobody likes to lose but it seems as though the voters have spoken,” Rep. Upton said. “There’s no widespread fraud or election issues that would change the outcome; it’s time to move forward. I think you’ll see that in the coming days.”

Sen. Stabenow was hopeful of being able to come together as Trump leaves office.

“It’s important to have all of us recognize that we have a very divided country, divided state politically and we need to be listening to each other and looking for ways to bridge the divide,” Sen. Stabenow said. “We have big problems, we have big challenges and too much energy has been spent on basically efforts to divide people rather than bringing them together, so I think Joe Biden is the right person for this time in our country.”

Rep. Lawrence was optimistic about Biden being able to reverse the level of partisan division she said has occurred under Trump.

“I’ve never in my lifetime seen such a divided community,” Rep. Lawrence said. “I’m optimistic. I’m exhausted. It’s been a rough four years, but I’m crawling across the finish line and I am optimistic.”


Wayne County Board Rejects, Then Certifies November Election

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers unanimously certified Nov. 3 election totals Tuesday night while also adopting a resolution to have the Department of State audit the results to clear up precinct imbalances.

But that is not how this story almost ended.

Earlier, the board’s two Republicans – Chair Monica Palmer and William Hartmann – voted not to certify the county’s totals, resulting in a deadlocked 2-2 vote. Vice Chair Jonathan Kinloch and Allen Wilson, the two Democratic members, voted yes.

The move would have pushed the issue onto the Board of State Canvassers. However, after a considerable lashing via angry public comment over Zoom, Palmer and Hartmann reversed course.

While several people were still eviscerating the GOP board members, some of whom called them racists for seeking to disenfranchise Detroit voters, the board voted 4-0 to certify with a resolution calling on Benson to audit those precinct results that had imbalances, unresolved gaps between the number of people voting in each precinct’s pollbook and the number of votes counted in the tabulators for that precinct.

There was just one problem – Hartmann had muted the board and turned off its video output, meaning the hordes of residents angered by the decision didn’t hear the change of heart.

The vote was explained and retaken once Hartmann realized that the attendees had not heard them.

Before the switch, Palmer claimed that the number of unexplained imbalances in tabulated votes and voters listed in Detroit pollbooks was concerning to her. Hartmann agreed and had joined her in voting no.

Election officials though noted it is not unusual for some precincts in Michigan to be out of balance. In Detroit, it was also an issue in 2016, when President Donald Trump won Michigan and the presidency. And Democrats said it was an obvious crock designed to somehow propel Trump toward Michigan’s 16 electoral votes despite losing by 146,000 votes to President-elect Joe Biden.

There is nothing in the Michigan Election Law that says boards should not certify votes based on an imbalance between votes tabulated and the pollbooks, only that those statistics should be disclosed. A 2018 law also requires counties to report out-of-balance precincts to the state after certification.

Still, all agreed that it would be in the city of Detroit and Wayne County’s best interest to have a complete audit, as some of the imbalances also occurred in the Detroit suburbs like Livonia, Lincoln Park, and Highland Park.

Kinloch and Wilson both said they were shocked and saddened by what they believed was politics infiltrating the decision. They also said they believed Palmer and Hartmann were attempting to undo the outcome of the election and circumvent the will of the voters.

At one point following the split vote, Palmer alluded to making a motion to certify the rest of the county’s results except Detroit’s, which caused further outrage among her Democratic colleagues.

“It is unfathomable to me how we could jeopardize Wayne County taxpayers in a frivolous and fruitless attempt to advance this cause before the state’s canvass,” Wilson said.

Kinloch said he was appalled to have witnessed the deadlock. He also noted that the meeting started more than an hour late because the board was waiting to get copies of affidavits from GOP election challengers before calling the meeting to order.

“The core of our business is to certify elections, and the public has been waiting here all this time for us to do absolutely nothing,” Kinloch said.

Not certifying because of precinct imbalances was puzzling as election results during the August primaries had so many errors that the board had voted then to certify the county’s results but also passed a resolution calling for an investigation into Detroit’s ongoing election issues – many of which were the result of human error and not evidence of fraud.

The Department of State had also stepped in during the 2020 general election to monitor and offer support to ensure that the processing and counting of ballots and the relay of accurate results would run smoothly in both the suburbs and Detroit.

Despite that support, county staff at the meeting noted – after much prodding from Palmer and Hartmann – that 71% of the Detroit precincts were imbalanced.

The August election had similar issues as 72% of precincts were imbalanced, necessitating greater oversight.

Some of the imbalances from November remained without explanation in the county’s canvass report, although county staff at the meeting again attributed some of them to human error. They also noted that there were difficulties across the county – not just in Detroit – in getting accurate numbers, explaining imbalances and other issues with tabulators at precincts.

At least one person giving public comment also noted Election Day difficulties in the Downriver Detroit suburb of Brownstown Township.

“If it’s unexplained and you don’t have remarks, that to me sounds like we don’t have complete or accurate documentation,” Palmer said.

When asked if she could cite specific Michigan statue that supported not certifying results based on explained precinct imbalances, Palmer simply referred to a section of the Board of Canvassers manual.

Some during public comment had thanked Palmer and Hartmann for calling out the irregularities and finding them too concerning the certify.

There is a faction of Republicans, however, that would like to see the Republican-controlled Legislature award the state’s 16 electoral votes to Trump despite Biden winning the state, and have made false, unsupported claims of fraud to call for preventing the certification of the vote. If the state failed to certify its vote prior to an early December deadline, it could potentially lead to a scenario where the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are fighting over who gets the state electoral votes and then have the matter thrown into Congress to sort out.

It seems like a far-fetched scenario, but if the Republicans on the state board refuse to certify the matter would surely wind up before the Michigan Supreme Court in short order.

At the end of the meeting, however, that was no longer the case, at least as far as the Wayne County board.

Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox had initially lauded the pair of GOP canvassers on social media within minutes of their decision.

“The people of Michigan deserve to know what happened in Wayne County on Election Day and the days following,” Cox said. “I am proud that, due to the efforts of the Michigan Republican Party, the Republican National Committee and the Trump Campaign, enough evidence of irregularities and potential voter fraud was uncovered resulting in the Wayne County Board of Canvassers refusing to certify their election results.”

She had not commented on the reversal by 10:20 p.m.

Several more, however, called Palmer and Hartmann onto the carpet. One county staff member said during public comment that their refusal to vote yes was a slap in the face to the hard work she and other staffers had put into the election to make sure it would operate well in the face of record voter turnout and immense pressure to get results right.

Others threatened to take the board to court, while some called Palmer a racist for insinuating Detroit voters be disenfranchised when it was apparent from the county’s canvass report that several irregularities or tabulating issues occurred in suburban cities and townships, and not just the city of Detroit.

In an earlier statement, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said Palmer and Hartmann’s votes were “an outrageous display of partisan posturing.”

Once the board decided to swing the other way, Barnes issued a follow-up statement.

“For several hours tonight we heard from Michigan residents outraged by the initial decision of the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers to not certify the vote. Their words were full of passion, filled with anger and outrage for the blatant racism that was on display,” Ms. Barnes said. “Their impassioned pleas, along with the leadership of Wayne County Board of Canvassers Vice Chair Jonathan Kinloch, led to a reversal of the board’s initial decision.”

Barnes added: “We applaud this decision and are thrilled that the voices of over 800,000 Wayne County voters have been heard and their votes have been properly counted.”

In a separate statement, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan praised the reversal.

“Every court on the Detroit election results has ruled that Trump’s claims of error were baseless. Had the Board of Canvassers disenfranchised 1.4 million Wayne County voters over partisan politics, it would have been an historically shameful act,” Duggan said. “Glad to see common sense prevailed in the end.”

The outcome could not have gone worse for Mr. Trump, who tweeted jubilation at the certification rejection minutes after the board reversed itself and certified. Democrats were all too happy to jam it in his face.

“Wrong again,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson tweeted back.


Senate GOP Sees Few Options to Further Expand COVID-19 Response

Senate Republicans, like Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), are not calling for new policies to combat the coronavirus outside and in interviews say they agree with Shirkey’s opposition to issuing mandates to slow the spread of the virus and his urging of Michiganders to heed public health best practices.

Legislative Republicans, as they have for months, in interviews remained united in opposition to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, saying the executive branch should be collaborating with them and asking for their input.

Gov. Whitmer and Democrats are now incredulous at such statements, saying the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling in early October holding that Gov. Whitmer cannot keep Michigan under a state of emergency unilaterally should have been the impetus for the Republican majorities in the Legislature to start moving on their plan, whatever it may be, to deal with the virus. That has not happened, and Democrats now saying the Republican complaints of Gov. Whitmer “going it alone” are nothing more than fiction.

Despite calling for a more collaborative effort at combating COVID-19, legislative Republicans have done little more than codifying past executive orders that involve bipartisan areas of agreement. A recent move has also been made to launch a series of public service announcements urging mask wearing, safe distancing, and good hygiene to reduce viral spread.

Republicans in the Senate are in lockstep with Mr. Shirkey, who has dismissed the idea of legislatively passing mandates on masks and other requirements.

The solidarity among the caucus has held during months of battling with the Governor over what was originally executive orders from her office and has now been primarily Department of Health and Human Services orders to keep the mask mandate and other measures in place.

Gov. Whitmer and Republican lawmakers remain at loggerheads during a stretch in which COVID-19 infections have grown exponentially and deaths have risen sharply. Temporary business and school restrictions were announced Sunday, which again drew the ire of Republicans.

Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) agreed with the approach being touted by Shirkey, that of educating and encouraging the public to do the right thing rather than clamp down and enact mandates.

He said when mandates are put in place “people start to put their guard up” and become resistant to them and find reasons to disagree or disobey.

VanderWall, who chairs the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee, said one way the Senate Republicans are trying to educate people is through a series of public service announcements in their districts in coordination with local health officials.

“We can coach people to make the right decision,” VanderWall said.

A key priority, he said, is finding ways to protect health care workers while they work to treat and protect the public. He said the state cannot afford to have them become infected in large numbers.

Sen. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek) – who for decades was an ear, nose, and throat otolaryngologist – in a statement questioned the moves being made by the governor including the new restrictions announced Sunday.

“Local public health authorities already have the tools to take appropriate action against businesses and individuals acting irresponsibly,” Bizon said. “Broad statewide action against certain businesses needs to be supported by a clear reason and factual data to show these activities are the source for recent infection increases. I question the justification behind some of the lockdown decisions which seem random rather than targeted at this point.”

Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) said a priority for him is to make sure health care workers infected by COVID-19 have access to worker’s compensation if the infection occurred on the job.

McBroom questioned at this point how do both sides work together without communication and taking concrete steps to do so, adding it is as though both sides are speaking two different languages. He said the governor has insisted on taking unilateral action with little or no notice to lawmakers or seeking their input.

Other lawmakers agreed that there seemed to be little course for action given the governor’s stance.

“A lot of the things we continued, just through the Department of Health and Human Services,” Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) said.

Schmidt referred to what he called “a lot of ‘I’m willing to work together’ baloney” from the governor that he said has not been followed by collaborative action. He said for the most part at this point the ship has sailed regarding cooperation between the Legislature and the Governor.

“I try to be optimistic, but it just keeps coming and it’s frustrating,” Schmidt said of unilateral moves by the Governor.

He said lawmakers need to continue working for their constituents to find more to do regarding the pandemic and other issues, but he really could not think of any major steps the Legislature could take. He said many public health measures and other items in response to the pandemic are already in place.

Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) said he has not been alerted by leadership to any pending action.

Runestad said he has supported the use of masks, distancing, and good hygiene for months.

“That may be something that we’re going to have to deal with,” Runestad said. He did not have any comment regarding leadership’s opposition to a mask mandate.

As to what more can be done, Runestad said much has already been done on policies on where there is bipartisan agreement. He expressed disappointment in the administration for what he called going it alone and, in most cases, not even providing leadership with a courtesy call or heads up prior to major COVID-19 announcements.

Sen. Roger Victory (R-Georgetown Township) agreed with other members of his caucus on pushing an informational campaign to the public to follow public health guidelines.

Victory said the growth in COVID-19 spread can turn around “if each individual steps up and takes matters into their own hands” by being safe.

When asked why mandating some actions such as wearing masks was not an acceptable policy, he pointed to what he called “the human element.” He said when people are given orders by the state, they tend to question what they are told and end up finding a rationale to do the opposite.

Victory said it is also up to himself and other leaders to lead by example by wearing a mask and engaging in other public health measures in public based on the latest science.

Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) said he has been working in his office on unemployment extension plans as well as on liability issues. He said he has been watching closely to see what, if anything, Congress does for a new relief package.

“Nothing changed after the Supreme Court decision,” Horn said, noting that DHHS and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration took on larger roles in the executive branch pandemic response.

When asked about further legislative action, Horn said given the shift in mandates: “I’m not sure what the Legislature can actually do.”

He also noted that Senate Republicans had rolled out recommendations earlier this year from a work group that were similar to the governor’s proposals. A major difference was allowing more flexibility for local health departments to respond by tightening or loosening restrictions based on whether the spread of infection is under control.

“There has to be a balance that’s struck here,” Horn said.


Whitmer, Shirkey Warn of a ‘Lame’ Lame Duck

As lawmakers prepare to return for the last few weeks of session in December, the to-do list for the Legislature may not be as long as normal.

“I hope I’m not jinxing us, but I believe this will be a very lame lame duck,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said during an interview last week on WKHM-AM radio out of Jackson.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer indicated Monday one thing she and Shirkey agree on is the likelihood of a quiet lame duck.

Shirkey said more executive orders will be codified related to COVID-19. A supplemental appropriations bill to address some budget items is also likely, he said.

Shirkey said a lengthy list of items that were not taken up because of COVID-19 and the elections will probably also be put through.

“I don’t see any huge, big things done in lame duck,” Shirkey said. “We’ve got, again, a gap there between the Legislature and the governor.”

Asked Monday about her wish list for lame duck, Gov. Whitmer told reporters, “I think one of the few things that Senator Shirkey has said recently with which I agree is it should be a lame lame duck.”

In terms of legislative action on the pandemic, Gov. Whitmer said she would love to find some common ground with the Legislature, but signaled she has little hope of that happening.

“They have had eight months with which they could have been passing legislation geared toward addressing the public health crisis that we have. They haven’t done anything,” she said. “When I see the criticisms, it just doesn’t seem particularly serious because they haven’t done anything, and they haven’t offered up anything, and in fact I think they’ve recklessly endangered their colleagues and all of you.”

House Minority Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) pointed to a legislative COVID-19 response, including allowing for remote participation in the Legislature, criminal justice reform, and auto insurance follow-up bills as her top priorities.

On auto insurance, a statement from Greig indicated further protections for non-driving bystanders, like pedestrians or cyclists, are needed along with legislation to narrow or eliminate non-driving factors that affect a person’s insurance rate.

Greig also pointed to a plan from the House Democrats to help individuals by implementing paid sick leave, unemployment benefit changes, expanding access to health care and mental health services.

“Our introduced legislation, which addresses eviction and water shutoff moratoriums, small business grants and loans, unemployment benefit amounts and expanding Healthy Michigan, must be enacted to help the people of Michigan and our state’s economy get back on track,” she said.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said COVID-19 related items should be a priority during lame duck, whether that involves codifying more of the items the governor previously issued through executive orders or addressing other pandemic-related issues.

“We have to stop the community spread that’s going on,” said Ananich, who recently tested positive for COVID-19.

He pointed to legislation from Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) that would place a moratorium on water shutoffs for residents as an example of a basic item that could be addressed. He said without clean water to drink and the practice of good hygiene at home, the virus could spread further.

With the pandemic looming large, he said he would also hope that during lame duck lawmakers are not brought into session to sit for long periods of time to await negotiations on items that might be able to wait until Jan. 2021. He said with the rise in infections, it is difficult for members and staff to distance and they should not increase the risk of viral spread by being forced into close proximity for long periods of time.

Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) said he has a few priorities he would like to see move during lame duck but, overall, he expects it to be a slow lame duck this year.

Among them are packages of bills that would create a registry for convicted child abusers and legislation he is working on to help small entertainment venues that have been shuttered and affected by the pandemic to help them survive.

Some bipartisan legislation such as criminal justice reform including additional expungement bills could be good instances of both parties working together.

However, he said one concern he has is meeting more than is needed during lame duck given the spike in COVID-19 cases and the recent positive test of the minority leader. He said the Senate Democrats have a member who is pregnant and another that just recently became the father of another child in his family, so there are concerns for those types of situations, among others.

“When we are spiking in cases, we’re all coming together,” Hertel said. “It’s impossible to completely socially distance.”

Rep. Graham Filler (R-DeWitt), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said his main priority for the end of the year is finalizing reform of the Sex Offender Registration Act. A federal judge has ruled that law is unconstitutional and changes to the law have been in the works for some time. There have been work groups on the topic with a substitute for HB 5679 recently distributed to stakeholders.

The committee had the bill on the agenda last week before the House canceled session.

Rep. Filler also said he has been in conversations with other legislators on how to best help hospitals with staffing issues and space constraints during the surge in COVID-19 cases seen across the state.

Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland) said he too believes this lame duck may be lighter compared to past years.

He said there is the possibility of a supplemental appropriations package being negotiated but it is too early to know what it may end up looking like. No discussions on a supplemental have yet taken place. Due to the downturn in revenue stemming from the pandemic, he said there may not be much funding in a supplemental.

“It could be shifts in funds or program supports,” Sen. Stamas said.

Sen. Stamas said there are also a pair of legislative transfers that will also need to be taken care of during lame duck.

Other items that could potentially come up during the last weeks of session include the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which was built into the budget though legislation has not yet moved and COVID-19 measures the Legislature codified with a Dec. 31, 2020 sunset.


Related:

Detroit Regional Chamber’s Perspective on Michigan’s Pause to Save Lives