Archive for April, 2021

U.S. Treasury releases initial guidance on American Rescue Plan aid

On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Treasury released its guidance on pre-award requirements, outlining immediate steps counties need to take to receive direct payments from the U.S. Treasury under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Funds authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act, the National Association of Counties advised Thursday evening. 

As soon as possible, county governments should complete the steps below:

  1. Ensure the entity has a valid DUNS number. A DUNS number is a unique nine-character number used to identify an organization and is issued by Dun & Bradstreet. The federal government uses the DUNS number to track how federal money is allocated. A DUNS number is required prior to registering with the SAM database, which is outlined below. Registering for a DUNS number is free of charge. If an entity does not have a valid DUNS number, please visit https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/ or call 1-866-705-5711 to begin the registration process.

  2. Ensure the entity has an active SAM registration. SAM is the official government-wide database to register with in order to do business with the U.S. government. All federal financial assistance recipients must register on SAM.gov and renew their SAM registration annually to maintain an active status to be eligible to receive federal financial assistance. There is no charge to register or maintain your entity SAM registration. If an entity does not have an active SAM registration, please visit, SAM.gov to begin the entity registration or renewal process. Please note that SAM registration can take up to three weeks; delay in registering in SAM could impact timely payment of funds. Click here for a quick overview for SAM registration.

  3. Gather the entity’s payment information, including:
  • Entity Identification Number (EIN), name and contact information
  • Name and title of an authorized representative of the entity
  • Financial institution information (e.g., routing and account number, financial institution name and contact information)

To see county-by-county direct aid estimates to Michigan counties, click here.

Visit NACo’s COVID-19 Recovery Clearinghouse for timely resources, including allocation estimations, examples of county programs using federal coronavirus relief funds, the latest updates from the U.S. Department of Treasury and more.

For the latest county-related news in Michigan on COVID-19, visit MAC’s Resources Page.

 

Have you shared your voice about 4-year commissioner terms?

As the Michigan Senate prepares to consider a bipartisan pair of bills to enact four-year terms for county commissioners, MAC continues to urge commissioners to send an email message of support to their senators via our digital advocacy platform.

To date, 29 commissioners have utilized the email system — not nearly enough to get the Senate’s full attention. Please add your voice to this effort today by clicking here.

MAC also requests that counties adopt official resolutions of support for the legislation. To download a template for this purpose, click here. After adoption, please send a copy of your resolution to sweeney@micounties.org.

MAC thanks the following counties for their recent adoption of such resolutions: Cheboygan, Clinton, Genesee, Houghton and Marquette.

 

Conference approaches; there’s still time to register

The 2021 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference starts in less than two weeks, but you still have time to register for the two-day virtual event.

Early-bird pricing has expired, but you can still gain access to all conference activities for a low member price of $125.

Among the numerous workshops being offered with practical advice for busy county leaders is a session on collective bargaining on the morning of Thursday, April 29, led by attorney Matt Nordfjord.

Nordfjord, a shareholder with the firm of Cohl, Stoker & Toskey P.C. and a regular presenter at MAC events, will give an overview of the changing landscape faced by governmental employers negotiating collective bargaining agreements. This presentation will cover strategy, examples from other counties and arguments you may expect from employee representatives.

To attend Nordfjord’s briefing and the rest of the conference, start your registration process here.

MAC and the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council appreciate the support of the sponsors listed below in providing this year’s Legislative Conference.

 

House declares April as ‘National County Government Month’

Rep. Ken Borton speaks on the House floor on HR 77, joined by (l-r): Rep. Julie Rogers, Rep. Terry Sabo, Rep. Sue Allor, Rep. David Martin and Rep. Julie Alexander.

A bipartisan group of state representatives, led by Rep. Ken Borton, a former president of the MAC Board of Directors, secured adoption on April 13 of a resolution declaring April National County Government Month in Michigan.

In remarks in support of the resolution, Borton told the House, “Never has the importance of county government – Michigan’s Original Regional Government – been more apparent than in the last year as we have battled the COVID pandemic. County health departments have worked diligently, sometimes in the most challenging circumstances, to share needed information, track cases and provide vaccinations to Michigan residents.”

House Resolution 77 notes, “”Resolved by the House of Representatives, that members of this legislative body declare April 2021 as County Government Month in the state of Michigan. We urge all citizens to observe the month with appropriate programs and activities.”

Joining Borton (R-Otsego) in sponsoring the resolution were: Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Wayne); Rep. Julie Alexander (R-Jackson); Rep. Sue Allor (R-Cheboygan); Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Ingham); Rep. Robert Bezotte (R-Livingston); Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Washtenaw); Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Oakland); Rep. Julie Calley (R-Ionia); Rep. John Cherry (D-Genesee); Rep. Alex Garza (D-Wayne); Rep. Beth Griffin (R-Van Buren); Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Calhoun); Rep. Kara Hope (D-Ingham); Rep. Tullio Liberati (D-Wayne); Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson); Rep. Steve Marino (R-Macomb); Rep. Gregory Markkanen (R-Houghton); Rep. David Martin (R-Genesee); Rep. Christine Morse (D-Kalamazoo); Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw); Rep. Ronnie Peterson (D-Washtenaw); Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Washtenaw); Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo); Rep. Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon); Rep. Tim Sneller (D-Genesee); Rep. William Sowerby (D-Macomb); and Rep. Regina Weiss (D-Oakland).

MAC has created a resources page for counties looking for ideas to promote their NCGM work. And we will be featuring #NCGM on our Twitter account and our Facebook page throughout April.

 

Podcast 83 goes live again on Monday, April 19 

The Podcast 83 team returns on Monday for another live session to report on activity in Lansing and Washington, D.C., that affects Michigan’s 83 county governments and the people they serve.

Click here to register for the live event, which will include a Q&A session on all of the hot legislative topics. The episode starts at 3 p.m. on Monday, April 19.

Members can view any previous episode of the podcast, sponsored by DTE Energy, on the podcast webpage.

 

Help MAC defeat court filing bill with unfunded mandates

House Bill 4164, by Rep. Ryan Berman (R-Oakland) and now before the Michigan House, represents yet another unfunded mandate by the state on counties, this time by requiring courts to make the register of actions and “a digital image of all documents filed in any case in that court” accessible to the public for free via a website by Jan. 1, 2023.

MAC and the Michigan Association of County Clerks opposed the original version, which only allowed online access for attorneys, and both groups remain opposed to the committee-passed version, which expanded it to the general public. There is no funding attached to the court technology enhancements and staffing needs that would be needed to meet the requirements under the bill, nor is the timeline adequate for counties and courts to implement.

The State Court Administrator’s Office also opposes the bill, arguing it is a separation of powers violation. Additionally, the state court administrator has previously explained the rollout of the MI-File system is under way, which makes the imposition of new, additional requirements right now particularly ill-advised.

Counties cannot endure another unfunded mandate or support a bill based on funding promises.

County commissioners, please use this link below to transmit your message of opposition to HB 4164 to your member of the Michigan House of Representatives as soon as possible.

 

MIOSHA extends emergency workplace rules on COVID

Emergency rules governing workplaces in Michigan during COVID were extended to Oct. 14, 2021, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) announced this week.

The emergency rules require businesses that resume in-person work to have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide thorough training to their employees that covers workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.

Under the emergency rules, employers must continue to implement policies that require remote work for employees where remote work is feasible, to help ensure that COVID-19 transmission is mitigated to the maximum extent possible. While in-person work is permitted when remote work is not feasible, remote work is recommended as a strategy to minimize in-person contacts and is included in guidance from the CDC and Federal OSHA to protect employees in the workplace.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the new hotline at 855-SAFE-C19 (855-723-3219). For more information, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety.

 

MAC continues to advise SOE resolutions for counties

MAC continues to advise members to adopt and/or maintain a county State of Emergency on the COVID pandemic. This advice is based on the options that such an SOE provides for public board sessions under the state’s Open Meetings Act (OMA).

As of April 1, the only way for public boards to hold virtual sessions and properly comply with the OMA is with an SOE resolution. A template for such a resolution is on MAC’s COVID Resources Page.

Data collected by MAC in recent weeks show the vast majority of counties have adopted or are about to adopt an SOE that covers this need. (See map at right; click here for larger image.)

The option for meeting virtually under the OMA with an SOE expires on Dec. 31, 2021.

As always, county boards are advised to consult with their corporate counsel to ensure procedures are following all relevant state laws.

 

MSU Extension offers ‘County Café’ learning session in May

County Café, a follow-up program to the MAC-MSUE New Commissioner School, is designed to bring together both experienced and new commissioners and county leadership; present some current topics of relevance to county government; and give you a chance to talk about how these topics might impact your county and actions you can take to make the impact more positive. There will also be an opportunity for discussion following the presentation.

This is a free session and open to all commissioners and other county officials, but you must register at the link below to participate.

May 6, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EST – Counties Supporting Regional Economic Development
Counties are important economic development entities in Michigan. Yet successful economic development depends on collaboration, partnerships, and regional approaches. The MSU Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) leverages higher education assets in collaboration with communities to support the co-creation, co-implementation and dissemination of new and innovative economic development strategies.

To advance Michigan’s long-term economic recovery from COVID-19, REI was awarded CARES Act funding in summer 2020 to establish a Comprehensive Economic Recovery Initiative (CERI). Join Jennifer Bruen of the MSU REI to learn about CERI, technical assistance, and partnership opportunities to advance regional economic development in Michigan.

To register for the event, visit: https://events.anr.msu.edu/countycafe21/.

 

Push begins for 4-year commissioner terms

Initial hearings are possible next week in a Senate committee on a bipartisan pair of bills to enact four-year terms for county commissioners in Michigan.

Senate Bill 242, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), and SB 245, by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Oakland) would shift terms to four years, beginning with the 2024 presidential election cycle.

Through its policy platforms, MAC has long supported moving county commissioner terms to four years from the present two. Legislation to do this made good progress in 2020 but did not reach enactment.

Passage of these bills would end Michigan’s status as one of just five states with two-year terms on all commissioners. It’s time to end that dubious distinction and bring commissioner terms in alignment with the length of those for other county elected offices across our state.

The Senate bills are now before the Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Monroe).

“It’s important to make county voices numerous and loud as the Senate starts with these bills,” said MAC Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth, “so we need members to help us now.”

First, MAC asks all commissioners to use our email advocacy tool on Monday, April 12 to send a message of support to senators. Commissioners will receive an email on Monday, through which they can send a pre-drafted message of support with just a couple of clicks.

Second, MAC asks county boards to approve a resolution in support of four-year terms. A template for this purpose can be on MAC’s website. MAC appreciates the early action of Genesee, Hillsdale and Marquette counties in adopting such resolutions. Once your county has approved the resolution, please send it to Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@micounties.org so that we can share with legislators.

For more information on this issue, contact Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Podcast 83 goes live again on Monday, April 12                 

The Podcast 83 team returns on Monday for another live session to report on activity in Lansing and Washington, D.C., that affects Michigan’s 83 county governments and the people they serve.

Click here to register for the live event, which will include a Q&A session on all of the hot legislative topics. The episode starts at 3 p.m. on Monday, April 12.

Members can view any previous episode of the podcast, sponsored by DTE Energy, on the podcast webpage.

 

National leaders to headline conference session

The top two leaders for the National Association of Counties (NACo) will provide a special briefing on the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the $65.1 billion in direct aid to U.S. counties during an April 29 Plenary session of the 2021 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference.

NACo President Gary Moore of Boone County, Ky., and CEO/Executive Director Matt Chase will discuss the ARP and NACo’s targeted strategy for the implementation of this once-in-a-lifetime investment in county government.

This is just one of several plenary and workshop sessions that will provide practical information on issues of urgency to Michigan county leaders.

The conference is just three weeks away now. County officials are urged to register by April 14 to get the best rate for the two-day event.

Remember, all conference events are included in your single conference fee, which is now just $100 if you are a member of MAC or the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council.

 

MAC joins coalition on housing affordability

MAC recently joined a diverse group of entities to form the Housing Michigan Coalition. The coalition consists of community, business and government organizations that support increasing housing supply and affordability.

The coalition’s primary focus will be to advocate for legislation creating and expanding tools for local governments to support the development or rehabilitation of housing supply that is attainable to more of our citizens.

Legislation is being crafted to:

  • Allow municipalities to develop payment in lieu of taxes agreement with developers who are building or rehabbing affordable housing units
  • Provide employers who contribute towards the housing of employees that make up to 120 percent of AMI (area median income) an income tax credit up to 50 percent of the total eligible contributions
  • Authorize an “attainable housing district” where property owners can apply for partial tax exemptions if they meet certain affordability criteria determined by the local government

A full list of the drafted proposed legislation can be found here.

MAC expects bills to be introduced next week when the Legislature returns to Lansing.

 

Governor creates Task Force on Forensic Science

A new Executive Order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer creates a Task Force on Forensic Science “to study issues related to forensic science and provide recommendations to strengthen the use of forensic science in Michigan’s criminal justice system.”

The task force will be an advisory body under the Michigan Department of State Police and be comprised of medical practitioners, legal professionals, government officials, academics and private sector experts. Co-chairs of the task force will be Director Col. Joseph Gasper of the Michigan State Police and Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack of the Michigan Supreme Court.

The task force’s mission is to review the state of forensic science in Michigan and deliver their completed findings and policy recommendations to the governor no later than Dec. 31, 2021. The findings will recommend, among other pieces, methodology improvements, processes to address misconduct and procedures to update stakeholders on developments in forensic science.

A list of current members can be found here.

 

Deadline approaches on Hometown Health award nominations

The Michigan Public Health Week Partnership is still seeking nominations of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to preserve and improve their community’s health for its annual Hometown Health Hero awards.

Deadline for nominations is April 26.

Hometown Health Hero awards are presented every spring as part of Michigan Public Health Week.

Nomination forms can be downloaded from www.michigan.gov/mphw. Completed nominations should be sent to Jim Koval via email at kovalj@michigan.gov or faxed to 517-335-8392.

Winners will be announced by the week of May 9, which will be Public Health in Michigan Week.

 

Redistricting Commission sets public hearings for May, June

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) has set its first series of public hearings for its work to redraw political lines for the 2022 elections.

The public hearings will run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and are currently set for virtual sessions, though that is subject to change as the pandemic health orders change. Locations and dates are:

  • May 11 – Jackson
  • May 13 – Kalamazoo
  • May 18 – Marquette
  • May 20 – Gaylord
  • May 25 – Midland
  • May 27 – Lansing
  • June 1 – Flint
  • June 3 – Pontiac
  • June 8 – Novi
  • June 10 – Dearborn
  • June 15 & 17 – Detroit
  • June 22 – Port Huron
  • June 24 – Warren
  • June 29 – Muskegon
  • July 1 – Grand Rapids

Please note, the Independent Redistricting Commission will draw district lines for state legislative and federal congressional districts. The lines for county commissioner districts are handled by county Apportionment Boards. For details on the apportionment process, click here or attend a special workshop at the 2021 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference.

 

Legislative Roundtable at conference will feature House, Senate leaders

A Michigan Counties Legislative Conference always features in-depth briefings on what’s going on in Lansing – and this year’s virtual version is no different.

MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie will moderate a Legislative Roundtable with four key members of the Michigan Legislature:

  • House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare)
  • Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson)
  • House Minority Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi (D-Washtenaw and a former county commissioner)
  • Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-Ingham and a former register of deeds)

During a session to be taped in late April for broadcast on day 2 of the conference, Currie and the legislators will discuss COVID funding, the prospects for reform of local government finance, four-year terms for county commissioners and much more. (If you wish to propose a question for the panel, please send it to MAC’s Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@micounties.org by April 12.)

The conference is just four weeks away now. County officials are urged to register by April 14 to get the best rate for the two-day event.

Remember, all conference events are included in your single conference fee, which is now just $100 if you are a member of MAC or the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council.

 

MDHHS modifies attendance limits; counties should review OMA requirements

Changes to how county and other public boards hold public meetings will result now that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has modified attendance restrictions in its COVID-19 health orders.

The revisions, made Wednesday afternoon and carrying immediate effect, would have the following effects on meetings governed by the state’s Open Meetings Act:

  • Remove restrictions that would limit the number of people to 25 at a public meeting being held under the OMA
  • Now that the blanket exemption for holding meetings remotely is expiring, meetings of public bodies can be held remotely only in certain circumstances, including where a state of emergency (SOE) or state of disaster is declared (MAC has been tracking counties with SOE declarations; as of Thursday, our records showed 55 responses, with 39 of those either with an SOE or planning one)
  • Public bodies that have NOT declared a state of emergency, meeting in-person may now be required to conduct public business in accordance with the OMA
  • Participants at in-person public meetings are required to comply with other provisions in the order, including wearing masks and limiting the number of people at the meeting based on the venue size

For the latest COVID news affecting county government, visit MAC’s Resources Page.

 

See your senator on street? Tell ’em about 4-year term bills

Through its policy platforms, MAC has long supported moving county commissioner terms to four years from the present two. Legislation to do this made good progress in 2020 but did not reach enactment.

We are back at work this year, though, with new bipartisan bills — Senate Bill 242, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), and SB 245, by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Oakland) — to bring four-year terms to Michigan, beginning with the 2024 presidential election cycle.

With legislators at home for their spring break, now is an excellent time for county leaders to pitch them on the value of extending commissioner terms.

For example, Passage of these bills would end Michigan’s status as one of just five states with two-year terms on all commissioners. It’s time to end that dubious distinction and bring commissioner terms in alignment with the length of those for other county elected offices across our state.

For additional talking points, view MAC’s resolution template for four-year terms legislation. (Also, if your county has not yet approved such a resolution, please do so and send a copy to Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@micounties.org as soon as possible.)

The Senate bills are now before the Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Monroe).  The committee is expected to start hearings on the legislation during the week of April 12. It’s important to get these bills moving early in the year, so please let your senator now your thinking on this issue.

 

National County Government Month is under way

“Counties Matter” is the theme of the 2021 National County Government Month (NCGM). Since 1991, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has encouraged counties to actively promote the services and programs they offer.  Counties can schedule activities any time during the month. NCGM is an excellent opportunity for your county to highlight effective county programs and raise public awareness and understanding about the various services provided to the community.

MAC is proud to partner with NACo and other county associations around the U.S. to honor public servants in county government and highlight the work they do to make our communities great places to live.

MAC has created a resources page for counties looking for ideas to promote their work. And we will be featuring #NCGM on our Twitter account and our Facebook page throughout April.

 

MAC joins letter of concern on 911 fee changes

MAC joined with the Michigan Communication Directors Association (MCDA) this week on a letter to the state’s congressional delegation in opposition to a federal plan to alter the use of fees for 911 services.

In the letter, the two organizations warn members of Congress, “The (Federal Communications Commission’s) proposed rules could impinge upon Michigan’s ability to determine the definition of allowable costs for 911 fees. The federal proposal eliminates radio system equipment beyond the consoles in the 911 center, i.e., radio infrastructure, mobiles, portables, pagers, AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) and MDCs (Mobile Data/In-Car Computer) would no longer be allowable costs.”

The letter asked for congressional help in dealing with the proposal to ensure Michigan’s 911 system isn’t harmed.

For more information on this issue, contact MAC’s Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Keep eye out for survey of county officials by CLOSUP

An invitation to participate in the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) program is coming soon to your mailbox.

The MPPS is a state-wide survey of local government officials conducted since 2009 by the University of Michigan in collaboration with MAC, the Michigan Townships Association and the Michigan Municipal League.

On Monday, April 5, you will receive an email link to the new MPPS questionnaire, which asks about your county’s fiscal health, as well as your insights about the local impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, your jurisdiction’s use of online technology and the functioning of democracy.

The MPPS studies don’t just end up on someone’s shelf — they are used by legislators, the media, the public and government officials to better understand what local leaders like you feel is really important, right now. Your participation is crucial to the success of the MPPS program.

Reports and data from previous MPPS surveys can be found on the MPPS website: http://mpps.umich.edu.

If you have questions about this research study, you can contact Dr. Debra Horner, Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, University of Michigan, 5309 Weill Hall, 735 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, 734-615-5315, closup-mpps@umich.edu.

 

Late April sessions set for ‘Managing Mental Health Crisis’

County officials are again invited to participate in additional webinar trainings on the nexus of mental health and public safety issues. The sessions, which are free thanks to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates:

  • April 21 – Mental Health Stigma, Mental Health Illness & Violence, Mental Illness and Disorders
  • April 22 – Michigan Mental Health Code, De-Escalation, Mood Disorders
  • April 28 – Trauma, Psychotic Disorders, Personality Disorders and Youth Interactions
  • April 29 – Substance Use Disorder, Medications, Alzheimer’s, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Excited Delirium, Recovery

This course is the equivalent of the 2-day classroom training. Participants must attend all four (4) sessions to receive a certificate. This course is approved by the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative-Approval #111920-02. The Collaborative is the approving body for the Michigan Board of Social Work (12 CEs). Seats are limited to 47 participants.

Managing Mental Health Crisis is designed specifically for Michigan law enforcement, public safety and community mental health responders, endorsed by the state’s Diversion Council and MCOLES-approved.

Click here to register. Deadline is April 20.

For questions, contact J. Eric Waddell at jericwaddell@thecardinalgroup2.com.

 

  • CoPro Web Ad 2018
  • Enbridge Banner Ad 2018
  • MMRMA Web Banner 2019
  • NACo Live Healthy Ad 960x200px
  • Nationwide Ad For Mac Site
  • MBS MACad 2019
  • 2021 LC Sponsors