Governor proposes increase in County Revenue Sharing

State Budget Director Chris Harkins presented Governor Whitmer’s FY 2023 budget recommendations to the legislature this week. The $74 billion budget represents a 6 percent increase over the current 2021-22 fiscal year and includes historic one-time funding and ongoing funding for state departments and local governments. 

County and local governments would get a 10% revenue sharing increase under the proposal- a 5 percent increase in statutory revenue sharing that would be built into the base and 5 percent one-time increase. An additional $376,000 would be provided for county revenue sharing and the County Incentive Program. These funds would be split between Emmet County, the last county to re-enter the state revenue sharing program, and Leelanau County which returned during the 2022 fiscal year.

Other recommendations include:

  • $578M in new federal funding for roads, bridges, airports, local and intercity transit, and rail
    • $377.8M would fund road and bridge construction
    • $283.4M for state roads and bridges
    • $94.4M for local roads and bridges
  • $500M in Water infrastructure improvements to support lead service line replacements, consolidation of failing septic systems, and contamination risk reduction
  • $325M in one‐time funds to design and construct a new psychiatric hospital campus that would ultimately replace the state-operated beds at Hawthorn Center and the Walter P. Reuther State Hospital
  • $175M Judicial case management to create a single statewide case management system that aligns with the Trial Court Funding Commission’s recommendations
  • $148.9M for Michigan Indigent Defense Commission grants to local funding units for complying with MIDC standards
  • $15M for the Jail Diversion Fund which provides grants to local entities to establish and expand jail diversion programs
  • $5M for a prosecutorial diversion program affording eligible pretrial defendants an opportunity to obtain and maintain gainful, full-time employment with an eligible employer for a year
  • $4.2M for the county veteran service fund

Additionally, the Governor proposed a $51.8 million deposit to the Budget Stabilization Fund, which would bring the rainy-day fund balance to nearly $1.5 billion.

The full executive budget recommendations can be found here.

For more information on the Governor’s budget proposal, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Healthcare spending bill passed by Legislature; bill sent to governor 

State lawmakers landed on a final version of a $1.2 billion healthcare-focused supplemental bill this week. House Bill 5523 introduced by Rep. Julie Calley (R-Ionia) includes appropriations to address healthcare recruitment and retention, as well as funding for COVID-19 early treatment and various testing supports.

Some highlights of the spending bill include:

-$300 million for eligible health care recruitment, retention, and training programming for new investments. A health care provider must demonstrate an eligible qualifying need under the rules and regulations of the federal coronavirus state fiscal recovery funding and must not request funds for any investments related to recruitment or retention announced before December 1, 2021. The bill also requires 75% be allocated for acute care and behavioral health care providers, which would be administered by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association and requires 25% be allocated to post-acute care providers and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

– $10 million as a competitive grant program for nursing facilities to convert multi-resident rooms into single resident rooms. Grant awards would reimburse 50% of the cost, and DHHS would have to prioritize converting rooms with more than 2 residents into single resident rooms.

– $29 million to assist nursing homes fund physical repairs and improvements of the facility. There is a $500,000 cap for each nursing home.

-$29.7 million to local and tribal health departments, as well as schools, to support staffing costs of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. $14.9 million specifically goes to school districts, public school academies, intermediate school districts, and nonpublic schools. The bill prohibits the department of health and human services from allocating funds to any local public health departments in which a county board of commissioners has passed a resolution rejecting these funds within 30 days of effective date of this act.

-$10 million for program and planning for a new state public health and environmental science laboratory.

A further detailed analysis can be found here. Gov. Whitmer has signaled she does plan to sign the bill when it officially lands on her desk.  

For more information, please contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

Binding Arbitration expansion bill clears Senate committee

This week, the Senate Small Business and Economic Development committee unanimously passed House Bill 4725, sponsored by Rep. Robert Bezotte (R-Howell), The bill would expand binding arbitration beyond police and fire labor bargaining units to county correctional officers. The bill is now on the Senate floor awaiting a vote.

MAC has long opposed any expansion of binding arbitration to other bargaining units due to the cost of the process, the long-term liabilities associated with third-party decisions and the unequal treatment such a system provides to those bargaining units. The Michigan Public Employment Relations Act already provides for bargaining rights without tying the hands of the county in binding arbitration.

MAC asks members to use our Advocacy Center to send a pre-drafted message of opposition to their state senators.

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

Staff picks

Breakout topics released for 2022 Legislative Conference

Attendees at the 2022 Legislative Conference will have a dozen breakout sessions to choose from on trending issues in county governance, MAC announced this week. Each breakout session will be approximately one hour long and include time for questions from the audience of the experts and policymakers presenting at them:

  • What’s Coming on Mobility
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in County Government
  • Opioid Funding from the National Settlement
  • The Future of the County Workforce
  • Trial Court Funding
  • Cybersecurity Threats and Trends
  • Primer on the Headlee Amendment and State Taxation
  • How Counties Are Investing ARP Funds
  • How to Win Millage Elections
  • Open Meetings Act Update (joint with MCMCFC)
  • Stress Management in Stressful Times (joint with MCMCFC)
  • Cultivating an Agribusiness Economy

County commissioners who attend the conference will receive credit in MAC’s County Commissioner Academy.

Click here to start your registration process.

The Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC) is offering its members the following additional workshops (all MCMCFC events come with continuing education credits for its members):

  • Strategies for Success in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Stress Suppresses Success: SHAPE Your Stress Blueprint
  • Regulatory Updates and Other Sizzling Topics Speaker: Vickie Burlew
  • State Licensure and Federal Certification Regulatory Update

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will keynote the 2022 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference, addressing a plenary session of the event on Wednesday, March 23.

The conference also will feature:

  • A plenary session address by Larry Johnson, president of the National Association of Counties
  • A MAC Legislative Update, led by Deena Bosworth, director of governmental affairs
  • Remarks from MAC President Phil Kuyers of Ottawa County and Executive Director Stephan Currie
  • A Legislative Reception on the evening of Tuesday, March 22, during which MAC will present its County Advocate Awards for legislative service in 2021

The conference will be an in-person event, though MAC plans to livestream select breakout sessions on Facebook. For the latest conference news, visit the MAC conference page.

 

MAC member directories arriving soon

County commissioners, administrators and board offices around the state will soon be receiving their 2022 MAC Membership Directory in the mail.

This annual directory carries contact information for all elected county officials in Michigan and background information on MAC and its activities on your behalf.

A searchable digital version of the directory can be found at this link or via a link on the MAC homepage. The password for the digital version will be on the Table of Contents page of the printed directory coming to your mailbox soon.

MAC also will have available a limited number of printed directories for sale for $40 each (which includes shipping). To order one, contact Derek Melot at melot@micounties.org.

If you need to update or correct information found on your county page, please send an email to melot@micounties.org.

 

AG issues opinion on OMA; MAC calls for legislative hearings on remote participation

In an opinion released Friday, Attorney General Dana Nessel said state entities could provide remote meeting participation to board members and the public under provisions of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), even though the state’s Open Meetings Act (OMA) does not allow remote participation for any board member except those members absent due to military duty.

The AG’s Office noted that the opinion, however, is not binding on local entities. “(I)t is my hope that local boards will use this guidance and ensure fair access to public meetings for those who require appropriate accommodations as we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic,” Nessel said in a statement.

MAC, as always, advises members to consult with their counsel on any questions or issues arising out of the state’s Open Meetings Act.

Meanwhile, MAC has joined with other local government groups to urge the chairs of the House and Senate committees on local government to expedite hearings on the OMA to address the remote participation issue.

“Prior to OMA changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a member could participate and vote remotely when a quorum was physically present. County and local board members have used this option when the need arose. Other bodies created their own rules that disallowed members to participate and vote remotely, regardless of the option. Local and county governments were responsible and responsive to their constituents and adopted rules according to what served their boards and their communities. At minimum, our organizations seek to re-establish local control over their meetings and remote participation, with the same caveat of requiring a quorum to be present, if they choose to allow the option of remote participation and voting,” the letter sent to Rep. Julie Calley (R-Ionia) and Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Monroe) states.

For more information on MAC’s work on the OMA, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Michigan Green Communities Challenge is under way

The Michigan Green Communities Challenge is now live! Create your account and take the Challenge now at www.migreencommunities.com/challenge.

Michigan Green Communities is a statewide network of local government staff and officials that collaborate with one another, through peer learning and information sharing, to promote innovative sustainability solutions at the local, regional, and state level.

The annual Michigan Green Communities Challenge is a key part of the program and allows participants to track and benchmark their sustainability progress. Communities can log their sustainability actions using the MGC Challenge to achieve bronze, silver, or gold recognition.

Get ready to complete the challenge by reviewing the action items, looking at the getting started guide, and emailing info@migreencommunities.com with any questions you have.

You can also register for a Feb. 10 MGC webinar at 3 p.m. on guidance on accessing the Challenge portal and recording your community’s actions. To register, click here.

For more information contact Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@micounties.org.

Water and sewer issues are focus of next NACo webinar on ARP funding

On Jan. 6, the U.S. Department of Treasury released the Final Rule for the $65.1 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund). Under the Final Rule, counties have broad flexibility for uses that strengthen the public health infrastructure, including workforce support, new eligibilities for capital expenditures, public health data systems and more.

Join NACo for the fifth in a series of information sessions where we will walk through key features in Treasury’s Final Rule for the Recovery Fund and how counties can effectively invest these dollars to enhance their water and sewer infrastructure.

 

OMA update, protecting mental health services top MAC’s 2022 priorities

Updating the Open Meetings Act to meet the 21st century needs of state residents and preventing an ill-advised attempt to privatize Michigan’s locally directed system of public mental health services head the list of legislative priorities for Michigan counties this year.

Legislative action in 2020-21 allowed county boards and other local panels to address the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the changes also resulted in making the act less responsive in 2022 by barring the votes of public officials participating remotely when a physical quorum was present at a meeting.

“Quick action by the state in 2020 allowed county boards to meet remotely during the pandemic in a safe manner, but those changes ended up removing a key option for local officials to participate in governance in specific situations,” explained Deena Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs. “We will be focused on OMA reform with legislators to resolve this problem as soon as possible.”

MAC also will continue its efforts with a broad coalition opposed to a mental health privatization scheme embedded in Senate Bill 597-598, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson). Boards in more than 40 counties already have passed resolutions opposing privatization of mental health services, which face growing demands for care and persistent state underfunding.

Other goals for 2022 in Lansing are:

  • Enacting Reforms to Ensure Proper Funding of Local Courts
  • Creating a Fair Revenue Sharing System for Counties
  • Compensating Local Governments for Funds Diverted by the Veterans Property Tax Exemption
  • Revamping the PPT Exemption to Provide Annual Reimbursement to Locals
  • Adopting the MI Roadmap to Use ARP Funds for Historic Investments in Michigan

“These goals reflect months of meetings and discussions by our policy committees of elected county leaders, by our Board of Directors and by our membership,” said Stephan Currie, MAC’s executive director. “These items constitute the ‘Regional Agenda,’ if you will, from Michigan’s original regional governments, our 83 counties.”

For more information on MAC’s legislative strategies, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Podcast 83 reviews MAC priorities, discusses State of State

MAC’s Podcast 83 team gathered for a live session on Thursday, Jan. 27 to analyze Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address and go over MAC’s 2022 priorities, which were released on Jan. 26.

“(A)side from accomplishments, she focused on mental health, which is absolutely needed in the state. Getting more health care workers,” said Deena Bosworth, governmental affairs director.

Reviewing MAC’s priorities for the year, Bosworth focused in on the challenges and complexity of resolving reimbursements to counties created by 2021 changes to exemptions for the Personal Property Tax: “We don’t have a good idea on how much money (in lost revenue for counties) that is. … We have a commitment from the Senate to work on it. … So that is what I am going to spend the vast majority of my time on this year — trying to figure how to get that reimbursement out to our counties.”

Executive Director Stephan Currie welcomed the podcast’s new sponsor, Comcast, and noted that with legislative activity gearing up, the podcast would be shifting back to weekly tapings.

To stay abreast of the latest podcast doings, bookmark the Podcast 83 page on MAC’s website and MAC’s YouTube channel.

 

MAC applauds mention of mental health boost in governor’s annual address

In a brisk delivery from an industrial plant Wednesday evening, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized political cooperation and calls for tax cuts in her 2022 State of the State address.

The governor also pledged new investments in mental health services, a key priority for Michigan counties, “We should invest in our mental health workforce so we can expand access. Nearly 40% of Michiganders do not get treatment for their mental illness. We will address this shortfall by expanding Michigan’s Loan Repayment Program for mental health professionals. And we will make a historic investment to retain and recruit hundreds more mental health workers.”

Responding to the governor’s comments, MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie said, “Our county members who are entrusted with oversight of the local mental health system were pleased to hear the governor cite mental health as a priority for the year ahead.”

He added, “As the governor develops her budget plans, we hope to see more about long-term investments in local government stability and in water, transportation and broadband infrastructure utilizing the historic opportunity presented by federal COVID aid and the state’s strengthening economy.”

 

MAC urges members to speak out against binding arbitration bill

MAC continued its opposition to an ill-advised expansion of binding arbitration coverage for public employees during testimony this week on House Bill 4725, by Rep. Robert Bezotte (R-Howell). The bill would expand binding arbitration beyond police and fire labor bargaining units to correctional officers.

The legislation, which previously cleared the House 97-10, is before the Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee, so MAC asks members to use our Advocacy Center to send a pre-drafted message of opposition to their state senators.

MAC has long opposed any expansion of binding arbitration to other bargaining units due to the cost of the process, the long-term liabilities associated with third-party decisions and the unequal treatment such a system provides to those bargaining units. The Michigan Public Employment Relations Act already provides for bargaining rights without tying the hands of the county in binding arbitration.

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

 

U.S. Treasury issues clarification on $10 million revenue loss and COVID aid

The U.S. Treasury has issued the following important clarifications on how to report revenue replacement and other expenditures in the Project and Expenditure Report, said the National Association of Counties this week:

  1. Option to defer choice of claiming $10 million standard revenue loss allowance: If a county has not decided whether or not to take the standard allowance, Treasury won’t commit them to their reported choice in the Jan. 31 report.
    • Decisions made in the reporting around the standard allowance as part of the Jan. 31 Project and Expenditure Report may be changed in the April 2022 Project and Expenditure report when the Final Rule takes effect. More guidance on this will be released as we approach that reporting period.
    • If a county has nothing to report in the Revenue Replacement section and doesn’t want to make any choice, they may enter zero in the required fields and use the description box to explain that they have not yet allocated funds under revenue loss and will update their response in future reporting cycles. Treasury may choose to follow up in these cases for further details.
  1. What to do if a county has no projects to report on the January 31 Project and Expenditure Report: If your county has not yet identified any projects to report, please know that maintaining a project list is a core requirement of the Recovery Fund program. For the Project and Expenditure Report due January 31, 2022, Treasury will be offering an option to select “No Projects to Report” at this time. Selecting this option will require providing a written explanation and may result in additional compliance follow-up from Treasury.  Please see the user guide for additional guidance; information will also be provided in the Project Overview module of the Project and Expenditure Report. If you have questions or need additional information, please send an email via SLFRP@treasury.gov.
  2. Additional resources and helpful information from Treasury: If you are unable to log in to Treasury’s State, Local, and Tribal Support portal after establishing your accounts or need technical or other assistance, please send us an email at covidreliefitsupport@treasury.gov for

As a reminder, the following counties, the following counties are required to submit a Project and Expenditure Report the Treasury by Jan. 31, 2022:

  • Counties with populations that exceed 250,000 residents (referred to as Tier 1 recipients by Treasury)
  • Counties with a population below 250,000 residents which received more than $10 million in Recovery Funds (referred to as Tier 2 recipient by Treasury)

The Project and Expenditure Report will cover the period between March 3, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021, and requires the reporting of project, obligations and expenditure data, subaward data, as well as certain required programmatic data.

Please note: Counties with populations below 250,000 residents and received less than $10 million in Recovery Funds, are not required to submit a report by January 31, 2022, and there will not be a report record available for you to do so. Your first reporting deadline to submit the Project and Expenditure Report will be April 30, 2022, and annually afterwards. A Project and Expenditure Report will be made available for your jurisdiction to complete ahead of your April 30, 2022, deadline.

 

Public notice bills don’t help counties, MAC tells House committee

Bills purporting to modernize Michigan’s requirements for local governments to issue public notices got a thumbs down by MAC in a House hearing this week.

MAC testified in opposition to Senate Bill 258, by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason), and SB 259, by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Wayne), before the House Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee. The bills passed the Senate 34-0 last fall.

Deena Bosworth, MAC governmental affairs director, told committee members that counties oppose the current version of both bills as they do not curb county costs to do postings, reduce the unnecessary details of many of the posting requirements or assist locals in meeting legal timelines.

Bosworth added that MAC remains ready to work with sponsors on amending the legislation to make it beneficial to counties that have to navigate a media landscape far different from the one of the 1960s when notice requirements were enacted.

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

 

Updating the Open Meetings Act to meet the 21st century needs of state residents and preventing an ill-advised attempt to privatize Michigan’s locally directed system of public mental health services head the list of legislative priorities for Michigan counties this year, the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) announced Jan. 26.

Legislative action in 2020-21 allowed county boards and other local panels to address the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the changes also resulted in making the act less responsive in 2022 by barring the votes of public officials participating remotely when a physical quorum was present at a meeting.

“Quick action by the state in 2020 allowed county boards to meet remotely during the pandemic in a safe manner, but those changes ended up removing a key option for local officials to participate in governance in specific situations,” explained Deena Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs. “We will be focused on OMA reform with legislators to resolve this problem as soon as possible.”

MAC also will continue its efforts with a broad coalition opposed to a mental health privatization scheme embedded in Senate Bill 597-598, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson). Boards in more than 40 counties already have passed resolutions opposing privatization of mental health services, which face growing demands for care and persistent state underfunding.

Other goals for 2022 in Lansing are:

  • Enacting Reforms to Ensure Proper Funding of Local Courts
  • Creating a Fair Revenue Sharing System for Counties
  • Compensating Local Governments for Funds Diverted by the Veterans Property Tax Exemption
  • Revamping the PPT Exemption to Provide Annual Reimbursement to Locals
  • Adopting the MI Roadmap to Use ARP Funds for Historic Investments in Michigan

“These goals reflect months of meetings and discussions by our policy committees of elected county leaders, by our Board of Directors and by our membership,” said Stephan Currie, MAC’s executive director. “These items constitute the ‘Regional Agenda,’ if you will, from Michigan’s original regional governments, our 83 counties.”

Governor to keynote 2022 Legislative Conference; registration open for March 21-23 event

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will keynote the 2022 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference, addressing a plenary session of the event on Wednesday, March 23.

Click here to begin your conference registration.

The 2022 event, co-hosted by the Michigan Association of Counties and the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council and held at the Radisson Hotel and Lansing Center, also will feature:

  • A plenary session address by Larry Johnson, president of the National Association of Counties
  • A MAC Legislative Update, led by Deena Bosworth, director of governmental affairs
  • Remarks from MAC President Phil Kuyers of Ottawa County and Executive Director Stephan Currie
  • Breakout sessions on current challenges for county leaders, including workforce development, the Open Meetings Act, trends in mobility on Michigan roads, American Rescue Plan spending and how to deal with stress in these stressful times
  • A Legislative Reception on the evening of Tuesday, March 22, during which MAC will present its County Advocate Awards for legislative service in 2021
  • A MAC “pop-up store” where members can purchase a variety of MAC-branded items to show off their county pride

The conference will be an in-person event, though MAC plans to livestream select breakout sessions on Facebook.

Your conference registration fee provides access to all conference events, snacks at the Radisson Hotel on Monday afternoon, the Legislative Reception with appetizers and beverages, two breakfasts at the Lansing Center (Tues-Wed), lunch on Tuesday at the Lansing Center and a boxed lunch on Wednesday you can take with you on your journey home.

County commissioners attending the conference will receive credits toward certification through MAC’s County Commissioner Academy.

Medical care facility personnel also will earn Continuing Education credits. Visit the conference page for details.

“We appreciate the governor taking time to speak to our members this year as we continue to foster deeper state-county partnerships,” said Currie. “We are working closely with both venues to enhance COVID safety and will monitor state and local health directives that could affect the conference.”

MAC and MCMCFC strongly encourage members to register early for the conference and for hotel space. For the latest conference news and updates, visit the MAC Conferences Page.

 

Podcast 83 begins 2022 with live session on State of State

MAC’s Stephan Currie and Deena Bosworth will analyze Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address, discuss MAC’s legislative priorities for 2022 and provide the latest on American Rescue Plan funding during a special live episode of Podcast 83 on Thursday, Jan. 27.

The episode will start at 10 a.m. and be on Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83794103754. (Meeting ID is 837 9410 3754. To dial in, find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcz1LBBOor.)

With this episode, MAC is pleased to welcome Comcast as a supporting sponsor of Podcast 83 in 2022.

Whitmer will deliver her State of the State address on Wednesday evening in Lansing. She is expected to discuss her plans for using rising state revenues.

 

Soo Locks modernization gets big boost from federal funds

The Army Corps of Engineers will receive $479 million from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to invest in modernizing the Soo Locks. The money received from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act brings the funding total to $1.3 billion for the modernization project in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Army Corps expects the project to take between seven and 10 years and create 1,240 jobs on an annual basis. It will use 1.4 million tons of limestone or granite, 112,000 tons of cement and 25,000 tons of steel.

The announcement this week was applauded by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and state and local leaders.

The Soo Locks are a crucial gateway for Great Lakes freighters carrying agricultural products and materials our manufacturers and military depend on. The new lock will mean there is a modern lock to handle larger vessels and will prevent failure of the locks, which would have devastating consequences for the economy and national security.

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

 

Bill would offer new option on buying emergency vehicles

A new method of purchasing emergency response vehicles for local governments would be available under Senate Bill 821 introduced by Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Grand Traverse).

The bill amends the Emergency Services to Municipalities Act to allow localities to enter into a contract or agreement of the purchase of emergency vehicles to be paid for in installments over the life of the property or for a period less than 15 years. The current method requires localities to lease emergency vehicles with the option of purchasing the vehicles at the end of the lease term.

A statement by the senator can be found here. MAC will continue to monitor this legislation as it moves though the legislative process.

For more information, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

State courts urged to improve transparency, case management systems

Michigan’s courts need to continue work to improve case management and transparency, said new reports filed by two panels convened by the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO).

SCAO announced the completion of work by two panels this week.

The Lessons Learned Committee assessed the Michigan justice system’s response to the pandemic. The final report includes a finding that the SCAO should continue advocacy for a unified case management and electronic filing system that is accessible to all courts and for a legislative appropriation to assist courts with implementation.

The Task Force on Open Courts, Media, and Privacy assessed how the courts enable public access to judicial proceedings. Both reports agree on some findings, including the need for a better broadband and technology infrastructure across the state.

The panels gathered comment from local courts, judges and law enforcement partners.

For more information on court issues, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Jail reform group seeks public input for its Feb. 10 session

The Michigan Jail Reform Advisory Council (JRAC) is seeking public comments in advance of its next meeting on Thursday, Feb. 10, which will be held remotely via Zoom. This feedback will assist the JRAC in implementing policy and practice changes, developing educational materials, supporting justice system practitioners, and monitoring performance measures. Read the complete news release.

Submit comments using this fillable PDF form.

Click to read the newly released 2021 JRAC Report

Bill Peterson, commissioner from Alpena County, serves on the JRAC.

For more information on public safety issues, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

DNR sets workshop on recreation grants

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is hosting a virtual recreation grants workshop from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2022, to assist you in applying for funding through the Natural Resources Trust Fund, Land and Water Conservation Fund and Recreation Passport Grant Programs. The workshop covers the process and requirements to apply for grants supporting the acquisition or development of a public outdoor recreation facility.

There is no cost to participate, but registration is required.  You can register to attend the workshop on the DNR’s Website or by clicking on the registration link below. A recording of the workshop will also be made available following the event on the DNR’s recreation grants workshop page.

 

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