COVID-19 Update, Legislative Update & Resources

COVID-19 UPDATE 

A lot has happened in the last week, and with the situation rapidly evolving, I wanted to ensure our office provided you with the latest updates. 

 
Michigan Legislature Passed $125 Million COVID-19 Supplemental  

After a 12-hour session day on Tuesday, March 17th, the state Senate passed a $125 million supplemental budget to support the state’s response to COVID-19. This funding, along with additional federal funding, will help assist our health care providers and allow us to more efficiently disseminate accurate information to residents during this unprecedented crisis.  

That being said, I do want to express my frustration with some of my colleagues. Over the past week, I have heard from our superintendents, teachers, school administrators, and now more than 700 constituents who have expressed their desperate need for guidance from the legislature on how to move forward after the mandated school closures. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey backed out of an agreement between Senate Democrats and both House caucuses on a bill that would forgive school days during this crisis and ensure that all school employees are getting paid. This is unacceptable. In this crisis, it is our duty to step up and lead.  

I encourage you to contact Senator Shirkey’s office and ask that he reconvenes the Senate so that we can pass this bill and make sure our schools, teachers, and students can get the support they need.  

 
List of Actions Taken by Governor Whitmer and State Departments  

3/4/20 — Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-4, which declared a state of emergency in response to identified cases of COVID-19 in Michigan.   

3/13/20 — Governor Whitmer signed EO 2020-5*, which prohibits all events and gatherings of more than 250 people (This EO has since been rescinded and has been reduced to gatherings no more than 50 people.)  

3/13/20 — The USDA granted the Michigan Department of Education a waiver to allow school districts that participate in the “Unanticipated School Closure SFSP” program to explore other options for serving school meals. 

3/14/20 — Governor Whitmer issued EO 2020-7, which requires all health care, residential, congregate care, and juvenile justice facilities to limit visitation.  

3/15/20 — The Michigan Supreme Court unanimously entered an order to authorize courts to employ emergency measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including: 

3/15/20 — Governor Whitmer issued EO 2020-8*, which restricts price-gouging on Michigan products.  

3/16/20 — Governor Whitmer issued EO 2020-9, which issues several temporary restrictions on places of public accommodation.   

3/16/20 — Governor Whitmer issued EO 2020-10, which expands unemployment benefits for Michigan workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.  

3/17/20 — Governor Whitmer rescinds EO 2020-05 and issues EO 2020-11, restricting gatherings from 250 people down to 50.  

3/17/20 — Governor Whitmer issued EO 2020 -12, which lifts weight restrictions on roads.  

3/17/20 — Governor Whitmer issues EO 2020-13, enhancing operations capacity and efficiency in hospitals.  

3/18/20 — Governor Whitmer issues EO 2020 -14, extending the deadline for Michiganders to pay back taxes and avoid foreclosure during the COVID-19 spread.  

3/18/20 — Governor Whitmer issues EO 2020 -15, which allows temporary authorization of remote participation in public meetings and hearings, and temporary relief from monthly meeting requirements for school boards.  

3/18/20 — Governor Whitmer issues EO 2020-16, expanding childcare access during the COVID-19 emergency.  

Temporary Mandated Closures to the Public 

 
Updates at the Federal Level 

On Tuesday, March 17th, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced that the U.S. government will postpone the April 15th federal tax payment deadline for 90 days.  

On Wednesday, March 18th, the President signed into law The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which expands Medicaid to cover things like telemedicine visits and expands unemployment benefits and benefits for employers. This bill includes $100 billion in funding.  

 
Questions about COVID-19 or Worried You May Have Symptoms? 

It is imperative that residents are getting information regarding this pandemic from accurate sources. Please visit the MDHHS website for accurate information regarding COVID-19: Michigan.gov/Coronavirus
 
If you are feeling symptoms that match COVID-19 and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, please do the following: 

Resources Available for Small Businesses 

The Small Business Association of Michigan put together a comprehensive PDF of all available resources and assistance they can offer. Additionally, they offer daily briefings, guidance and latest news on their website

The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) has applications available for low-interest disaster loans.  Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation that makes $1 billion available to assist the SBA to provide low interest loans. Additionally, they have provided a guidance resource as well.  

Linked here is a statement from Governor Whitmer regarding actions she is taking to help deliver solutions for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.  

Over the past week, in the wake of this unprecedented crisis that has put the future of many of our small businesses at risk, our office immediately got to work with colleagues to push for immediate relief for our small businesses, many of which operate on thin margins with limited cash flow. We pulled from asks we heard directly from you as well as best practices from around the country. As a result of many people’s rapid work, this week, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved $20 million for small business relief programs with the hopes of getting checks on the ground as soon as possible. Find more information, including how to apply, here: https://www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19/

March is Reading Month

While schools will remain closed during the remainder of March is Reading Month, we’re finding new ways to keep Reading Month going! Throughout the rest of the month, I’ll be reading a few of my favorite books on video through Facebook LIVE. 

Yesterday, I read Grace Goes to Washington. If you missed it, no worries! Our next reading of another one of my favorite books, The Lorax, will be next Monday, March 23rd, at 11:00 AM.  

Check our Facebook page for videos and information on our next reading.  


More news:

13th District e-News Update Irwin, McMorrow Introduce Legislation to Expand Open Container Law COVID-19 Resources & Census 2020

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