Archive for September, 2021

On March 11, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) of 2021 establishing the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, $130 billion of which is earmarked for distribution to local governments. Generally, allowable uses of the fund include (but are not limited to):

  • Responding to or mitigating the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Providing government services to the extent of a reduction in revenue
  • Making necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure
  • Responding to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers

Member regions of the Michigan Association of Regions will host Michigan State University (MSU) Extension faculty and local and tribal government officials to explore Local Fiscal Recovery Fund spending opportunities in a regional context. Join other local leaders to learn about:

  • ARPA Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Basic Rules
  • Best Practices for Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Spending
  • Practical Considerations for Contracts, Accounting, and Project Management
  • Group Discussions Related to Regional Collaboration
  • Leveraging Other State and Federal Funding and Priorities

The workshops are intended for regional planning and development board members, other local elected and appointed officials, tribal government officials, economic development practitioners and other public and nonprofit community development organization staff.

Program details
All workshops run 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (registration opens at 9 a.m. for in-person programs). Format varies by region: virtual (exclusive Zoom), hybrid (choice of in-person or Zoom attendance) or in-person.

All events are free.

The first session is set for Sept. 23 in Traverse City. To see the full list of dates, locations and registration information, click here.

‘Wait-and-see’ approach advised on federal vaccine and testing rule

Counties would be well served to wait and see how a federal rule on employers for COVID vaccines and testing plays out before reacting, MAC was advised by legal experts on Friday.

Attorneys from the firm of Cohl Stoker & Toskey P.C. analyzed the announcement from the Biden administration on Thursday and stated:

“The federal OSHA does not directly apply to Michigan employers. Rather, Michigan has a State Plan of its own under the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act (MIOSHA), MCL 408.1001 et seq.

“MIOSHA applies to all places of employment, except domestic employment and mines, MCL 408.1002(1), and applies to all employers, including the State or a political subdivision (including Counties) that employ one or more persons.  MCL 408.1005(2); MCL 408.1006(2); MCL 408.1009. …

“Thus, the promulgation of a new Federal OSHA Standard by the U.S. Department of Labor would not apply in Michigan unless and until it is processed as an administrative rule in Michigan. MCL 408.1014(5). 

“At this point, the scope of the proposed new Federal OSHA Standard mandating vaccines or frequent testing is unclear, e.g., there may be exceptions for certain employers, such as the Postal Service. 

“The actual language must be reviewed to ascertain whether it may ultimately be applicable to Michigan counties. Even so, several groups have already pledged to challenge the proposed new Federal OSHA Standard on constitutional and other grounds.”

 

Treasury releases information on finalizing Interim Final Report on COVID aid

The U.S. Treasury has released new information regarding the process for finalizing the Interim Final Report for the Fiscal Recovery Fund. 

Key points include:

  • Treasury is in the process of reviewing the more than 1,000 public comments in response to the Interim Final Rule (IFR).
  • Treasury expects its review of comments to continue into the fall. Therefore, the Final Rule will not be published until this fall or after.
  • Until Treasury adopts a Final Rule, and the Final Rule becomes effective, the IFR is, and will remain, binding and effective. This means that counties can and should rely on the IFR to determine whether uses of funds are eligible under the Recovery Fund.
  • Funds used in a manner consistent with the Interim Final Rule while the Interim Final Rule is effective will not be subject to recoupment
  • Counties may use the IFR to interpret whether their use of fund meet the criteria of what is eligible (beyond the eligible uses listed on page two of Treasury’s recent statement)
  • Counties can use State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, up to their amount of revenue loss due to COVID-19, with broad discretion to provide government services
  • Counties may also consider FAQs issued by Treasury to help assess whether a project or service would be an eligible use of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

To read Treasury’s full statement on the Final Rule process, click here.

 

Podcast 83 returns to live sessions Monday; register now!

Summer is over, which means legislators are returning to Lansing – AND MAC’s Podcast 83 team will be back to weekly live sessions to give you all the inside info on what’s happening at the Michigan State Capitol and in Washington, D.C.

Register now at this link for the Monday session, which will start at 3 p.m.

MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie will lead MAC’s Governmental Affairs Team of Deena Bosworth and Meghann Keit threw the latest on key issues affecting counties, including:

  • Developments on American Rescue Plan funding and reporting
  • What’s happening on the fiscal 2022 state budget negotiations, with the Oct. 1 start of the budget year now looming
  • MAC’s fall campaign to finish legislative approval of bills to enact four-year terms for county commissioners, starting in 2024

A recording of the session, which will include Q&A with viewers, will be placed on MAC’s YouTube channel on Sept. 17.

Links to past episodes also can be found on the podcast webpage.

 

Webinar to answers questions on using the ‘.gov’ web domain

A Sept. 22 webinar co-sponsored by federal and state agencies will discuss the benefits of local governments using the “.gov” URL domain.

The federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has long encouraged use of the .gov domain, yet in Michigan, only a handful of counties have adopted it.

Starting at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 22, CISA officials will discuss “Making the Move to DOTGOV.” This is a half-hour discussion with a Q&A session to follow. CISA will provide information on the transition well as common hurdles that may arise and how to deal with them.

Use the following link to participate: https://share.dhs.gov/mi_elections/.

NOTE: The link will take you to a sign-in page. Just click to sign on as a guest (upper left corner).

CISA and the Michigan Department of State also are promoting two other sessions in September that focus on cybersecurity challenges:

Risk in Focus: Phishing, Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m.

Link: https://share.dhs.gov/mi_elections/

Phishing attacks remain a serious risk to the election infrastructure. This presentation describes what phishing is, signs an email may be a phishing attack, how it impacts state, local, tribal and territorial government entities, and specifically how it can impact election infrastructure. The session provides an overview of resources, services, and best practices to managing phishing-related risks.

Election Security: Building Trust through Secure Practices, Sept. 29, 1 p.m.

Link: https://share.dhs.gov/mi_elections/

This presentation identifies election security best practices used by election offices to physically secure and ensure proper chain-of-custody for ballots, voting equipment and other sensitive election materials; ensure that voting equipment is functioning as intended; and help build public trust in elections and counter mis- and disinformation through related communications and transparency measures. The session will also include training on the Local clerk information sharing room we will continue to utilize on Election Day.

 

Supreme Court sets Sept. 22 hearing on court rules

The Michigan Supreme Court has scheduled a public administrative hearing on Sept. 22 to gather comment on a variety of proposed amendments to Michigan Court Rules. The hearing will be held at the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing, beginning promptly at 9:30 a.m. and adjourning no later than 11:30 a.m.

Link to proposed rules: http://legalnews.com/detroit/1503063/.

 

August Michigan Counties looks at juvenile justice, policing reforms

County commissioners and administrators will soon receive the August edition of Michigan Counties, MAC’s bimonthly magazine, in their mailboxes. The latest edition features a report on juvenile justice changes and MAC’s advocacy work around them and a briefing from the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association on policing reform bills in the Michigan Legislature.

Also included in this edition are:

  • A letter from MAC Board President Veronica Klinefelt as she completes her term as leader of the association
  • A report from MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie
  • Bios of MAC Board Directors Robert Showers and Joe Bonovetz
  • A Q&A with Rep. Kevin Hertel of Macomb County
  • An analysis of Michigan’s tax system by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan
  • News briefs from around Michigan

To view a digital copy of the August edition or prior ones, visit the magazine page on the MAC website.

 

MAC offices to observe Labor Day holiday

MAC’s Lansing offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 6 in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

Normal office hours will resume at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

 

Assisted Outpatient Treatment is topic of next MDHHS webinar

A Sept. 28 webinar will feature information on “Assisted Outpatient Treatment” and its use and benefits in Genesee County.

The webinar, which will run from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., is free for county leaders due to funding from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Click here to register.

The webinar will have keynote addresses by Administrator Emeritus Milton Mack (SCAO) and Dr. Debra Pinals (medical director of behavioral health and forensic programming for MDHHS). It will be moderated by Chief Justice Bridget McCormick.

Genesee County is recognized as one of the Michigan counties that has operationalized and seen the benefits that AOT can offer. Representatives from Genesee County’s Probate Court, Law Enforcement, Natural Support, Hospital System and CMH will serve on the webinar panel to share their AOT experiences with other Michigan communities.

These trainings are co-sponsored by MAC affiliate members the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association and the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan.

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

 

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