As cases surge, health leaders urge mask use, social distancing

Leaders of the state’s major hospital systems warned Thursday of increasing strain on medical capacity as COVID-19 cases continue to surge across Michigan.

Wearing masks, avoiding indoor gatherings and practicing social distancing are essential, these health leaders said, to reversing the trends that have seen Michigan set ominous records for caseloads in recent days.

In remarks on Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer echoed the health leaders’ comments on the need for Michigan residents to use masks and caution to avoid a virus that is now killing dozens each day in our state.

The state is aware of 747 active outbreaks, which is the highest it’s been since the state started keeping track, said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer. Comparing figures from the beginning of this week, caseloads increased about 50 percent from the week prior, according to Department of Health and Human Services figures.

MAC members can track the status of COVID county-by-county with an interactive map on our website, MAC also released custom coding to each county this week by the data firm Munetrix that creates a county dashboard to help residents visualize the extent of the pandemic in their community.

For the latest news and resources on the pandemic in Michigan, visit our coronavirus resources page.


State is making inspection visits on workplace COVID compliance, expert reports

A workplace safety expert reminded counties this week that MIOSHA, the state’s workplace safety agency, is conducting “cold” visits to employers to ensure they are complying with state orders on the COVID-19 pandemic.

AJ Hale of CompOne made his remarks during a Michigan Counties Workers’ Compensation Fund Board meeting this week.

 “The MIOSHA ‘general duty’ clause requires an employer to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to the employee. A general duty clause citation carries a fine of up to $7,000. On-site inspections conducted by MIOSHA’s general industry and construction industry enforcement divisions determined 10 companies allegedly committed serious violations by failing to implement necessary precautions to protect employees from contracting COVID-19. Deficiencies included a lack of health screenings, face coverings, employee training, cleaning measures and overall preparedness plans,” he shared via an email to MAC.

Hale noted that the state maintains a set of online resources at including posters for employees and customers, fact sheets, educational videos, a sample COVID-19 preparedness and response plan,  best practices that employees need to follow and a reopening checklist to help businesses put safeguards in place.

For the latest news and resources on the pandemic in Michigan, visit our coronavirus resources page.


NACo tools can help counties with CARES Act reporting

Authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136), the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) provides $150 billion in aid for state, county and municipal governments to address necessary expenditures due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Over the last month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has released several new documents that clarify eligible expenses and reporting requirements for CRF recipients. In addition to this evolving guidance, the December 30, 2020 deadline for recipients is fast approaching, meaning both CRF prime and sub-recipients must ensure funds are spent appropriately.

To assist county governments, NACo has hosted national calls with the U.S. Treasury and compiled resources to help navigate these changes and new processes.

MAC strongly encourages members to review these NACo resources.

For questions on CARES Act and state funding related to COVID response, contact Deena Bosworth at


MDHHS launches media campaign promoting free mental wellness counseling

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has launched a public campaign  urging residents to seek relief from COVID-19-related emotional distress by talking to a trained crisis counselor and learning about other help available.

The “Be Kind to Your Mind” campaign promotes the use of Michigan’s free, confidential Stay Well counseling line, and aims to combat stigma associated with seeking help for feelings of depression, anxiety, anger or loss – all common during a disaster like COVID-19.

The Stay Well counseling line debuted on May 13 and is staffed with crisis counselors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can access the line by dialing Michigan’s COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing “8” at the prompt. The service is part of a federally funded grant program implemented by the MDHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration in partnership with the Michigan State Police.

“Be Kind to Your Mind” says you can talk about the strain from COVID with trained counselors who are available for free if you call 888-535-6136 and press 8, or visit

Language translation is available for non-English-speaking residents who call the counseling line.

To access other mental health resources for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, visit


Take note of schedule changes for MAC, Legislative Update

MAC’s weekly email, Legislative Update, will take a two-week hiatus in November. The next LU email will be on Friday, Dec. 4.

Also, please note that MAC’s offices in Lansing will be closed to mark the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 26-27.

For the latest news from MAC, be sure to check our website.


Staff picks


GOP retains control of Michigan House; ballot props pass easily

Republicans retained their majority in the Michigan House of Representatives in the Nov. 3 General Election. The GOP will control the chamber 58-52 after picking up seats in the 96th and 48th districts, Bay and Genesee Counties respectively, while Democrats won formerly GOP seats in Oakland and Kalamazoo counties.

On Thursday, House leadership elections took place and, as expected, Rep. Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) was elected as speaker to replace the term-limited Rep. Lee Chatfield (R-Emmet) in January. Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Shiawassee) will be majority floor leader and Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Macomb) will be speaker pro tem in January. Democrats elected Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Washtenaw) as the party leader and Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Washtenaw) will remain in his current role as floor leader in January.

Tuesday was a big night for county commissioners bidding to join the House, with seven new members (see list below) joining MAC’s County Caucus at the State Capitol in January. The MAC County Caucus will now include 23 members of the House and retain 8 members of the Senate, meaning former commissioners now constitute more than 20 percent of the entire Legislature.

Commissioners winning House seats on Nov. 3

  • Robert Bezotte (R-Livingston)
  • Felicia Brabec (D-Washtenaw)
  • Ken Borton (R-Otsego)
  • David Martin (R-Genesee)
  • Christine Morse (D-Kalamazoo)
  • Amos O’Neal (D- Saginaw)
  • Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo)

Bios of the newly elected representatives have been compiled by the MIRS News Service.

The current legislative cycle has 11 session days remaining before Dec. 31. There are many issues MAC will be focused on during this “lame duck” session, including 4-year terms, personal property tax exemptions and solid waste management regulations. Please stay engaged through our updates and action alerts as we approach final session weeks.

In the judicial branch, Chief Justice Bridget McCormack won re-election to the Michigan Supreme Court and will be joined by fellow Democratic Party nominee Elizabeth Welch, replacing the departing Justice Stephen Markman. This now gives Democrats a 4-3 majority on the state’s highest court.

And two state ballot proposals won easily on Tuesday:

  • Proposal 20-1 allows the State Parks Endowment Fund to continue receiving money from sales of oil and gas from state-owned lands to improve, maintain and purchase land for State parks and for Fund administration, until its balance reaches $800,000,000. It also requires subsequent oil and gas revenue from state-owned lands to go into the NRTF, at least 20 percent of Endowment Fund annual spending go toward State park improvement, and at least 25 percent of Trust Fund annual spending go toward parks and public recreation areas and at least 25 percent toward land conservation.
  • Proposal 20-2 amended section 11 of Article 1 of the Michigan Constitution to prohibit unreasonable searches or seizures of a person’s electronic data and electronic communications.


2020 class of new commissioners will be close to historical average

In unofficial results so far, there will be 134 new commissioners serving on county boards starting in January after voters had their say on Tuesday.

MAC’s data going back numerous election cycles show an election brings in an average of 125 new people to county boards. However, MAC is still awaiting data from a handful of unresolved seats, so the freshman class could grow.

Once MAC has full unofficial reports from all counties, we will post the lists and data to our website,

“We are looking forward to working with all of our new members, starting hopefully with their participation in the New Commissioner Schools, which start next week,” said Stephan Currie, MAC’s executive director.

On the financial front, counties were highly successful in their appeals to voters, with 40 of 47 county-related millages gaining approval on Tuesday. Click here for a list of those results compiled by the MIRS News Service in Lansing.


Solar PILT in place of PPT passes Senate Finance Committee

Two bills that would eliminate the Personal Property Tax (PPT) on qualified solar equipment and replace it with a payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) passed out of  the Senate Committee on Finance this week.

Senate Bills 1105-06, by Sens. Curt VanderWall (R-Benzie) and Kevin Daley (R-Tuscola), would set a rate of $3,500 per megawatt per year on solar projects. The idea is to get away from the disputes surrounding assessed value and depreciation schedules, create a predictable tax obligation for the solar developers and a flat, steady revenue stream from the projects for the duration of the agreement.

MAC is supportive of the concept of a PILT, but remains opposed to the bills as they are currently written due to the fact that the $3,500/mw rate has not been fully evaluated to determine the equitability to tax revenue that would otherwise be paid. In addition, the bills are weak on what happens when production ceases or when the developer would pay less if they violated the agreement.

In an effort to work with the sponsors, MAC is working with other organizations and the State Tax Commission to determine what an equitable rate would be. Due to the different millage rates across the state, this type of structure could be a win for some areas and a loss for other areas, but when we factor in the costs of valuation challenges and altered depreciation schedules, it may be a better approach.

MAC expects these bills to continue to move through the process during lame duck, but we are working to stop them until we have a better understanding of the financial implications to counties.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


MAC seeks feedback on House GOP’s COVID plan

The House Health Policy Committee took testimony this week on a Republican plan to set criteria for COVID responses on the local level. Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Shiawassee) testified on House Bill 6314, which would set certain standards for counties to meet in order for county health officers to issue emergency orders different than, but not more restrictive than, the state’s. (See MAC’s Oct. 23 Legislative Update for more background on the legislation.)

MAC has not taken a formal position on the bill but is discussing it with MAC policy committee members and receiving feedback from commissioners and stakeholder partners in local public health.

An initial concern MAC has expressed to the bill sponsor is that a health officer would not be able to be more restrictive than the state orders, thereby taking away the ability of a health officer to respond to case surges in certain areas of a county.

The Department of Health and Human Services did not testify this week but is opposing the bill.

If you have feedback or questions, please reach out to Meghann Keit at


Register now for Treasury webinar on Nov. 10

In partnership with the Michigan Association of Counties and others, the Michigan Department of Treasury will hold its eighth joint webinar, “COVID-19 Updates and Resources for Local Governments,” at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Topics will include updates on FEMA, Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Programs and the State of Michigan budget.

Participants can register and submit questions on the webinar’s registration page.

Each webinar is limited to 1,000 attendees. With previous webinars reaching capacity limits, participants are strongly encouraged to register now.

Additionally, the Michigan Department of Treasury has developed a webpage with numbered letters, memorandums, webinars, and resources regarding COVID-19 updates for local governments and school districts. This webpage was created to ensure that Michigan communities have access to the most up-to-date guidance and is updated frequently with information and resources as they become available. 

For the latest updates, please review the COVID-19 Updates for Local Governments and School Districts’ webpage.


MDHHS issues guidance on workplace safety

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has released recommendations for employers on how to keep workplaces safe during the pandemic.

“The state is currently experiencing 261 cases per million people per day, more than double from last month. Percent positivity has increased to 7.5% from 5.5% a week ago. Hospitalizations, which tend to appear two to four weeks after cases, have been rising over the past five weeks,” the department reported.

“Currently, there are 28 documented COVID-19 outbreaks in an office setting and the number of new outbreaks reported continue to increase weekly. Office settings make up five percent of all documented outbreaks, and seven percent of new outbreaks identified in the last week. Additionally, 8.3% of current outbreaks are in manufacturing and construction and 33% of those were first identified in the last week,” MDHHS added.

Consistent with emergency rules enacted by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity on Oct. 14, if any in-person work is being conducted, employers should be sure to take the following steps to protect the health of their employees:

  • Create a COVID preparedness plan – Employers should develop and implement a written plan to prevent employee exposure to COVID-19. This should include exposure determination and detail the measures the employer will implement to reduce employee exposure.
  • Establish clear workplace procedures – Employers should identify a workplace COVID-19 coordinator, mandate face coverings, ensure appropriate access to personal protective equipment where necessary and train employees on new procedures, such as how to facilitate physical distancing.
  • Conduct daily self-screening of staff working in person – Employers should conduct daily health evaluations that include assessment for the symptoms of COVID-19 and exclude from in-person work any symptomatic staff.
  • Strengthen workplace cleaning and disinfection procedures – Employers should take every opportunity to clean and disinfect facilities as frequently as possible, and enhanced cleaning should be performed if a sick employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Collaborate with local health departments – If any employees contract COVID-19, local health departments will conduct contact tracing. Employees should work closely with their local health departments to ensure that all potentially affected employees are made aware of their exposure.

Employers should allow their employees to work from home, if possible, to minimize the presence of individuals gathered in work settings where COVID-19 may spread. Employers should only permit in-person work if a worker is unable to physically complete required job tasks from a remote setting, such as food service or auto assembly workers, or a job involving protected data that cannot be accessed remotely.

A full list of employee and workplace safety resources is available online.


State releases new health orders on public gatherings, mask use

With COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths rising, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released new, more restrictive health orders on Thursday night on public activities and mask usage.

Among the key changes in the new orders:

  • Restaurants and bars must seat no more than six people at a table
  • All dine-in establishments must keep customers’ names and phone numbers for contact-tracing purposes
  • Face masks are required for everyone at indoor gatherings
  • Indoor gatherings are capped at 50 people in venues with no fixed seating
  • Outdoor gatherings at residences are limited to 100 people
  • Indoor gatherings at residences are limited to 10 people

The department also ordered that the region around Traverse City has been pulled back to Phase 4 of the state’s Safe Start system, bringing it in line with restrictions in the rest of Michigan.

The orders are effective immediately, except for the contact tracing provision on eateries, which begins Nov. 2.

For the latest information on COVID-19 response, visit MAC’s Resources Page.

Final state approval given on Indigency Standard 5

As expected, the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs (LARA) has approved the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission’s Standard 5, which requires independence of the judiciary (“to ensure the court is free from political and  budgetary influence when making indigency determinations”) pursuant to the MIDC Act. The full final standard can be found here.

The MIDC notified funding units of the following:

“As required by MCL 780.993(3), indigent criminal defense systems must submit a plan for compliance with minimum Standard 5 “no later than 180 days after” approval by the department.  A plan for compliance with Standard 5 will be due to the MIDC by April 27, 2021. Submission of a plan for compliance with Standard 5 will correspond with the annual compliance planning cycle for all approved standards. Your Regional Managers will be in touch to support planning efforts. Please check our website regularly for updates and materials related to compliance planning.”

MAC members have expressed concern that the state will not continue to fully fund current and future standards. MAC expects compliance with Standard 5 to further add to costs and will continue our efforts to fully fund all approved standards. Additionally, the law clearly outlines that a county’s duty of compliance with approved standards is contingent upon receipt of a grant in the amount sufficient to cover the approved standards within the system’s plan.

For questions, contact Meghann Keit at


Treasury releases FY21 actuarial assumptions  

The Michigan Department of Treasury is required, under PA 202 of 2007, to establish uniform actuarial assumptions for retirement systems on investment returns, mortality rates and health care inflation each year.    Local units of government with a defined benefit system are required to use these assumptions in their annual report to the department. These assumptions are different that the assumptions used in your local audited financial statements. The assumptions issued by Treasury are meant to serve as a comparison of systems across local government for public and government evaluation purposes, and not as the measurement to determine if the local unit is in a funded or unfunded status.

A local government funded status is determined by their own assumptions in their local audited financial statement.

For more information, contact Deena Bosworth at


Finance report: Use counties’ regional position to leverage reforms

Michigan should give counties the option to create a new tax and serve as a hub for delivery of more local services, says a new report.

Towards Fiscally Healthy Michigan Local Governments,” an analysis by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, details what most county leaders already know – that the state of Michigan has long starved counties and other local units of necessary revenue and local public services are suffering as a consequence, to the detriment of Michigan.

The analysis’ authors argue this is not sustainable and that the best response is to rely in part on counties’ unique position to deliver services and collect revenue on a regional basis.

“(T)he state suffers from government fragmentation, which results in inefficiencies: with every county, city, village, township, and special district responsible for providing certain services, duplications among overlying governments may arise. Cost-saving measures implemented by many municipalities can only go so far and opportunities for collaboration may be overlooked,” the authors explain.

“One of two approaches should follow: (1) reorganize the local government’s service delivery model to allow counties to provide more services; or (2) create a system for the county to distribute new revenues to all local units of government within the county, with the county retaining a small portion of the revenues to cover administrative costs and to help pay for other county-provided services.”

“The report has several interesting suggestions and it is valuable in that it will help continue to raise the local funding crisis to the attention of state lawmakers,” said Deena Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs.


Virtual forum to highlight wind energy planning and siting issues

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is hosting a Wind Energy Planning & Siting Information Workshop on Nov. 17 and Nov. 19, noon to 2:30 p.m. Eastern time, for local officials and planners to share experiences while learning more about wind energy development in communities around the country.

What to expect:

  • Participants will share first-hand experiences and discuss common practices pertaining to wind energy development in their communities.
  • NREL technical experts and national and local experts will facilitate a discussion identifying potential pathways to reduce uncertainty and inform communities about wind energy impacts.

To attend, please RSVP to Chloe Constant ( by Nov. 4.


House GOP releases county-oriented COVID plan, bill

A new plan and legislation from the House Republican Caucus would require counties to adhere to state health rules on COVID-19, unless they could meet five criteria to adopt less restrictive rules.

The plan incorporated in House Bill 6314, by Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Shiawassee), says counties must follow Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) emergency orders, unless certain standards are met. If all five are met, the county health officer may issue directives that are equal to or less restrictive than the state order.

The criteria that must be met include, within a 14-day period:

  • Confirmed cases at or below 55 per 1 million
  • Percentage of positive tests below 5%
  • Hospitalization rates have not increased 25%

Additionally, health facilities in the served areas must have a “surge capacity of at least 20 percent in admissions or patient transfers,” and must also have at least a 14-day supply of PPE available. The service area must be able to conduct 15 tests per 10,000 residents per day and receive results within three days.

Many counties participate in multi-county health districts. For those who do, the calculations in the criteria mentioned above would have to be met by each county individually.

Under the bill, if a county no longer meets two or more of the requirements during a seven-day period, the county health officer order is no longer valid, and the county reverts back to the emergency order issued by MDHHS. The county health officer can issue subsequent orders once the county meets the criteria again previously mentioned.

MAC has not taken a position yet on this bill but will be reviewing it with our internal committees in upcoming days. Additionally, MAC is seeking input and guidance from local public health experts.

For questions, contact Meghann Keit at


Commission sets ‘Indigency Standard’ at October session

The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission revised the “Indigency Standard” this week at a meeting after receiving public comment in September. The final standard sets indigency, partial indigency and contribution standards for local systems, as statutorily required. The full text can be found here.

The standard now heads to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which has final approval of all MIDC-set standards.

The commission also released its October 2020 update, which includes important information and resources for fourth quarter reporting.

Comments can be submitted to All comments will be posted on the MIDC’s website.

The MIDC is also anticipating approval of Standard 5 in upcoming months. Standard 5 sets standards for an indigent criminal defense services to be independent of the judiciary. If approved, the next round of county plan and cost analyses will include this new standard.

The Legislature and governor funded MIDC grants at $117.5 million in FY21. It is expected that Standard 5 will create additional costs in the upcoming fiscal year. MAC stands ready to continue to advocate for full funding by the state, as constitutionally required, as more standards are approved.

For more information on this issue, contact Meghann Keit at


New COVID requirements for nursing homes are now law

Several requirements pertaining to the state’s COVID-19 nursing home policy are now law after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 1094 this week.

The bill, by Sen. Pete Lucido (R-Macomb), also requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to adopt statewide policy by Nov. 15.

Additionally, the department must create a process for the creation of Care and Recovery Centers (CRCs) within nursing homes for those residents who test positive for COVID, similar to what the state moved toward after the nursing home task force recommendations were released.

Under the law, an individual cannot be admitted to a nursing home if they are positive for COVID-19, receiving treatment at a hospital and have less than 72 hours in the isolation period. Starting Nov. 15, the individual cannot be admitted to a nursing home if the person tests positive for COVID-19, but there are certain exemptions.                        

For questions, contact Meghann Keit at


MDHHS expands Behavioral and Opioid Health Home initiatives

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) says it will expand the Behavioral Health Home (BHH) and Opioid Health Home (OHH) initiatives “in select Michigan counties to provide intensive care management and care coordination services for Medicaid beneficiaries with a serious mental illness (SMI) or serious emotional disturbance (SED), and an opioid use disorder (OUD), respectively.

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved Michigan’s State Plan Amendments (SPAs) to expand its Behavioral and Opioid Health Home initiatives. The expanded SPAs will allow thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries meeting the eligibility criteria to receive BHH or OHH services in the following Prepaid Inpatient Health Plan (PIHP) regions:


  • PIHP Region 1 (counties in the Upper Peninsula)
  • PIHP Region 2 (21 northern-most counties of the Lower Peninsula)
  • PIHP Region 8 (Oakland County)


  • PIHP Region 1 (counties in the Upper Peninsula)
  • PIHP Region 2 (21 northern-most counties of the Lower Peninsula)
  • PIHP Region 4 (specifically Calhoun and Kalamazoo Counties)
  • PIHP Region 9 (Macomb County)

“In Michigan, half of Medicaid beneficiaries have an untreated mental illness, and more than two-thirds have an untreated substance use disorder. Health Homes are a proven model to increase access to coordinated and integrated care, which is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For more information, visit For BHH-specific information, including eligibility and available resources, visit; for OHH-specific information, including eligibility and available resources, visit


Staff picks

Registration opens for 2020 New Commissioner Schools

To aid newly elected commissioners, and promote continuing education among veteran ones, MAC again is partnering with MSU Extension (MSUE) for the biennial New Commissioner Schools.

Registration is now open for this year’s series, which will be the first all-digital series in the event’s history.

“The value of these sessions for commissioners, new or not, is tremendous,” said Stephan Currie, MAC executive director. “We work closely with MSUE on content to ensure its direct application to the challenges and opportunities that commissioners encounter every day.”

With the digital format, sessions will open Nov. 12 and not conclude until mid-December, allowing attendees a great deal of flexibility on dates and times. In addition, registrants will have 24/7 access to previously released sessions – what MSUE calls “self-paced, asynchronous learning.”

MAC’s Currie will offer taped remarks to registrants, and MAC is sponsoring the segment on the Open Meetings Act, a particularly salient issue right now, led by Matt Nordfjord of the firm of Cohl, Stoker and Toskey.

Full details on the schedule of sessions can be found here.

Registration for the event, which carries a $95 fee, starts here.

Also, commissioners and commissioners-elect earn credits in MAC’s County Commissioner Academy for their participation in the New Commissioner Schools.

CCA operates on a two-year sequence, starting after an election. Participants earn continuing education “hours” by attending designated events and workshops. “Certification” is offered at two different levels: “Certified” is reached at 10 hours over a two-year cycle, while “Advanced” is reached with 20 hours over a four-year period. “Hours” will not be limited to MAC events. Commissioners can earn via attendance at MSUE-sponsored events or even sessions hosted by the Treasury Department or elsewhere.

A New Commissioner School equates to 5 credit hours, for example.

“We strongly encourage all members to consider these sessions,” Currie said, “and we look forward to seeing everyone online.”


Changes to Open Meetings Act allow for expanded remote sessions

Changes to the Open Meetings Act to allow county boards, under any circumstance, to continue to conduct virtual sessions through the end of the year are the governor’s signature away from being law, a signature that is expected late Friday afternoon

Senate Bill 1108 also allows for retroactive authorization for virtual sessions dating back to March 18, 2020, to ensure the validity of board actions taken during the pandemic. This blanket authorization expires on Jan. 1, 2021, but the bill will still allow for virtual participation in meetings in such circumstances as a commissioner’s medical condition and when the county or the state is operating in a state of emergency.

Legislation cleared the Senate and House earlier this week by bipartisan majorities. (MAC thanks members who participated in our advocacy campaign to the House this week for this result. Your voices make a difference in Lansing.) The bill was part of a huge wave of legislation passed this week that was sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature Friday.

The legislation allows county boards to meet electronically, in whole or in part, as follows:

March 18, 2020-Jan. 1, 2021, for “any circumstance, including but not limited to,” military leave, state or local emergency declaration, or for a medical condition”

Jan. 1, 2021-Dec. 31, 2021, for “only those circumstances requiring accommodation of members absent due to military duty, a medical condition, or a statewide or local state of emergency”

After Dec 31, 2021, only for reason of military duty

If a member of the public body is participating remotely due to military duty or a medical condition, the accommodation only applies to that individual and the other members must by physically present at the meeting.

Each member of the public body that is meeting remotely must announce the county, city, township or village and state from which the member is attending remotely, and it must be included in the meeting minutes.

Quick passage of this legislation was a top priority for MAC in the wake of the litigation against the 1945 law that the governor had used for her Executive Orders during the pandemic.

For more information on OMA options, view the latest episode of MAC’s Podcast 83, sponsored by DTE, which featured Matt Nordfjord of the firm of Cohl, Stoker and Toskey answering questions on the law. 


Legislature adopts COVID care immunity, policy bills

During a Tuesday session that stretched into Wednesday morning, the Legislature revised laws to codify various orders that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had made during the pandemic, but which had been nullified when the Michigan Supreme Court said the 1945 law underpinning the orders was unconstitutional. Among actions taken was on immunity for nursing facilities, as well as implementation of the COVID-19 nursing home task force recommendations.

House Bill 6159, by Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Isabella), would provide immunity protections for medical care facilities during COVID-19 response efforts from March 29 through July 14, 2020. The final text of this bill can be found here. The bill now heads to the governor for review. 

Senate Bill 1094, by Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Macomb), was also passed by both chambers. It adds many requirements for the state Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), including adoption of policy as recommended by the nursing home COVID-19 Task Force and to identify labs that will process COVID tests from nursing homes by Nov. 15.

MDHHS must create a process for the creation of care and recovery centers (CRCs) within nursing homes for those residents who test positive for COVID “who have not met the criteria for the discontinuation of transmission-based precautions from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

A home wishing to operate a CRC would apply to DHHS and must adhere to several requirements. An individual cannot be admitted to a nursing home if they are positive for COVID-19, receiving treatment at a hospital and have fewer than 72 hours in the isolation period. Starting Nov. 15, the individual cannot be admitted to a nursing home if the person tests positive for COVID-19 unless they have since recovered, the nursing home is a CRC or the nursing home can meet the requirements under (1)(e). A nursing facility can continue to admit and care for a COVID-positive resident, through Dec. 31, 2020, under certain exemptions. 

The full text of the bill, which is now before the governor, can be found here.

Lastly, House Bill 6137, by Rep. Leslie Love (D-Wayne) was passed by the House regarding reporting requirement for MDHHS and nursing home data. The full list requirements can be found in the bill here. 

For more information on this issue, contact Meghann Keit at


Jail Task Force-inspired bills advance in Senate

Legislation that will reduce burdens on county jails and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the state’s criminal justice system were voted out of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee this week. MAC supports these reforms.

House Bills 5844 and 5854-57 remove mandatory minimum jail sentences for certain offenses. Removal of such sentences would mean a court could impose any term of imprisonment, up to the statutory maximum specified for an offense. For certain driving while intoxicated offenses, the legislation prohibits a judge from waiving the minimum, unless the offender successfully completes a specialty court program, such as a drug treatment or sobriety court.

Additionally, bills removing driver’s licenses sanctions for non-related driving offenses were also passed by the House. HBs 5846-5852 would eliminate various license suspensions unrelated to dangerous driving, such as failure to appear for court or failing to pay child support.

The Senate committee also voted out SB 1152, by Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Wayne), that requires jails to provide certain accommodations to an incarcerated woman who is pregnant. The bill requires jails to provide pregnancy tests, a holding place for breastmilk, and access to an OB-GYN, nurse midwife, or doula services.

At this time, MAC opposes the Geiss bill due to unknown costs related to some of the previously mentioned services and liability connected to the requirements. See the full fiscal analysis for further cost impact to counties. 

MAC’s opposition testimony can be found here.

For questions, contact Meghann Keit at


State again seeks input on five-year Health IT Roadmap for Michigan 

The Michigan Health Information Technology Commission has begun developing a Statewide Five-Year Health IT Roadmap. This Roadmap will be a guide for future planning, investments and governance of health information technology (HIT) and health information exchange (HIE) for the state of Michigan.

The next step is to gather input from stakeholders across the health and human services ecosystems in Michigan on current and future HIT and HIE needs, capabilities and gaps. Please ensure your input is included by participating in the survey and sharing your organization’s insights relevant to health information technology and health information exchange.

The appropriate individual(s) in your organization should complete this survey by Nov. 17, 2020. This survey should take no longer than about 20 minutes.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, critical HIT and HIE services to support real-time, clinical interventions, care coordination, referrals to social support services, and research is imperative to supporting the health and well-being of the communities we serve. Your candid perspective in response to the survey questions will be very valuable and appreciated.

More information on the Statewide Five-Year Health IT Roadmap and other opportunities to engage in the process can be found here.


  • 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