MLC December Updates
The Michigan Legislative Consultants (MLC) is sharing the latest updates with our members informed on what’s happening at the State Capitol in our MLC December Updates.
This information is sourced from the Michigan Legislative Consultants’ COVID-19 Special Update email newsletter sent on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
Tuesday, December 22 – Statewide Economic Impact
- Weekly Cases: 25,418
- Total Cases: 463,403
- Weekly Deaths: 780
- Total Deaths: 11,532
- Weekly Cases: 48,307
- Total Cases: 570,774
- Weekly Deaths: 451
- Total Deaths: 7,423
- Weekly Cases: 37,818
- Total Cases: 468,219
- Weekly Deaths: 571
- Total Deaths: 7,101
- Weekly Cases: 48,951
- Total Cases: 905,069
- Weekly Deaths: 905
- Total Deaths: 15,299
- Weekly Cases: 19,717
- Total Cases: 458,612
- Weekly Deaths: 357
- Total Deaths: 4,425
Federal Update From our Partners at Foley & Lardner
On December 20, 2020, Congress introduced a long-anticipated additional round of COVID relief legislation, known as the Bipartisan-Bicameral Omnibus COVID Relief Deal. This relief bill provides much-needed stimulus to individuals, businesses, and hospitals in response to the economic distress caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill this evening, and the President is expected to sign it into law. The bill summary can be found here, and it was the result of last-minute frantic negotiations.
Please click here to read the top ten takeaways of this bill.
Legislative Approves COVID Supplemental
Today, the House approved a bill providing $465 million to support the state’s COVID-19 response. Most notably, the bill provides $220 million to temporarily extend unemployment benefits. The bill also sets aside $45 million for an employee assistance fund providing grants of up to $1,650 to replace lost wages for those employed by a business impacted by the current orders. The bill allocates more than $50 million to help the state distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, $22.5 million for continued testing, and $42 million to support temporary staffing needs and wage increases for direct care workers on the front lines. The bill has already received the support of the Senate last Friday and will now be sent to Governor Whitmer for her consideration.
- Michigan spent more money during the early stages of the virus than most other states. Click here to read more.
- A pilot program for testing athletes will be utilized when fall sports finish their postseason tournaments beginning in January.
- Lansing area hospitals are reaching capacity in their intensive care units. Click here to read more.
- General Gustave Perna, who is in charge of COVID-19 vaccines, has apologized to states for the error in the number of vaccine doses states would receive. Click here to read more.
- Could shorter quarantine timeframes help prevent outbreaks? Click here to read more.
- The virus is mutating and becoming more easily transmittable. What does this mean for the fight to end the spread? Click here to read more.
This information is sourced from the Michigan Legislative Consultants’ COVID-19 Special Update email newsletter sent on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.
Tuesday, December 15 – Statewide Economic Impact
- Weekly Cases: 33,599
- Total Cases: 437,985
- Weekly Deaths: 1,402
- Total Deaths: 10,752
- Weekly Cases: 72,500
- Total Cases: 522,467
- Weekly Deaths: 484
- Total Deaths: 6,972
- Weekly Cases: 43,123
- Total Cases: 430,401
- Weekly Deaths: 544
- Total Deaths: 6,530
- Weekly Cases: 59,854
- Total Cases: 856,118
- Weekly Deaths: 1,051
- Total Deaths: 14,394
- Weekly Cases: 24,563
- Total Cases: 438,895
- Weekly Deaths: 330
- Total Deaths: 4,068
Federal Update From our Partners at Foley & Lardner
- Last week, Congress passed a one-week stopgap funding measure that will last through midnight on Friday, Dec. 18. The measure allows leaders in the House and Senate to continue negotiations on a stimulus package. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have both agreed that a pandemic-related aid package is needed and should be included in the year-end appropriations bill that Congress must pass to continue funding the government.
- A bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) will introduce a two-part proposal later this afternoon: one would be a $748 billion bill that includes provisions for less controversial items; the second would provide $160 billion in state and local aid allocated through a needs-based system, and would also allow for liability provisions. Leader McConnell has called for a plan that focuses on areas with bipartisan consensus, while Speaker Pelosi is still pushing for state and local aid, which is one area of serious contention.
Department Outlines Vaccine Priority Groups
The Department of Health and Human Services provided additional information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, including which groups are first in line to receive it. The state will utilize a phased approach for who will receive the vaccine:
- Phase 1A – People serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
- Phase 1B – Some workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services.
- Phase 1C – People at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
- Phase 2 – All adults.
Of note, one phase doesn’t necessarily need to be fully completed before the state will begin vaccinating those in the next phase. For more information, please click here.
- The minimum wage increase scheduled for January 1, 2021, is unlikely to take effect due to the high unemployment rate during 2020. Click here to read more.
- Beginning December 15, businesses can apply for the Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative. Click here to read more.
- In the early stages of the pandemic, the state spent millions of stockpiling PPE.
- The first vaccines have been given in Michigan to frontline workers in two hospitals. Click here to read more.
- Who will receive the vaccine first varies from state to state as local health leaders make those decisions for their state? Click here to read more.
- According to a new study, kids catch and spread the virus at a rate of only 50% as compared to adults. Click here to read more.
- How many doses of the vaccine are being shipped across the country and when can we expect more? Click here to read more.
This information is sourced from the Michigan Legislative Consultants’ COVID-19 Special Update email newsletter sent on Monday, December 7, 2020.
Monday, December 7 – Statewide Economic Impact
- Weekly Cases: 43,937
- Total Cases: 404,386
- Weekly Deaths: 216
- Total Deaths: 9,350
- Weekly Cases: 51,596
- Total Cases: 449,967
- Weekly Deaths: 479
- Total Deaths: 6,488
- Weekly Cases: 48,301
- Total Cases: 387,278
- Weekly Deaths: 530
- Total Deaths: 5,986
- Weekly Cases: 69,960
- Total Cases: 796,264
- Weekly Deaths: 1,065
- Total Deaths: 13,343
- Weekly Cases: 27,097
- Total Cases: 414,332
- Weekly Deaths: 425
- Total Deaths: 3,738
Federal Update From our Partners at Foley & Lardner
- This week, the House and Senate will consider and vote on a $740.5 billion defense policy bill. The FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act would boost funding authorizations for submarines and fighter aircraft. President Trump has threatened to veto the bill over a measure for renaming military bases currently named after Confederate officers; furthermore, he insists that a provision must be included to repeal a law that protects technology companies from liability over user-generated content. In a rare example of bipartisan unity against President Trump, Congress is expected to override such a veto.
- Congress will introduce and pass a one-week stopgap funding bill running through Dec. 18 to allow them more time to negotiate the omnibus appropriations package for FY2021. Currently, the government will shut down on Dec. 11 unless Congress passes a stopgap funding bill. Omnibus package negotiations have hit roadblocks with the border wall funding, environmental policy riders, and measures on racial disparities. Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) agree that Coronavirus aid should be included in the Omnibus package, and several other riders are being considered, including surprise medical billing and possible changes to the CMS Physician Fee Schedule.
- A $908 billion bipartisan Senate proposal for pandemic relief has gained traction since being introduced early last week and has garnered support from Democrat Leadership, President-election Biden, and many Senators from both sides of the aisle. The bill provides $300 billion to small businesses; $240 billion to state and local governments; $180 billion to unemployment benefits; and several billion to transportation, rental assistance, USPS, child care, broadband internet, and opioid treatment. Many provisions will simply extend funding for programs that already exist. Portions of this proposal will likely be included in the Omnibus package that will be passed before the year’s end.
Restrictions to Remain in Place for 12 Days
This afternoon, Governor Whitmer announced the Department of Health and Human Services has extended the current epidemic order restricting indoor social gatherings and other group activities for 12 days. Under the order, the current restrictions will continue including the closure of movie theaters, in-person learning for high schools, colleges and universities, bowling centers, indoor dining, group fitness classes, among others. Restaurants can remain open for takeout and outdoor dining, Preschool through 8th grade can continue in-person learning, gyms can remain open for individual exercise, and hair salons can continue to offer services, among others.
Additionally, the Department has identified three key metrics that will be utilized in determining whether to slowly reopen at the end of the 12 days, including the percentage of hospital beds with COVID patients, the number of COVID-19 cases, and the positivity rate.
For more information, please click here.
- Based on updated CDC guidelines, the Department of Health and Human Services has updated its quarantine guidelines. Click here to read more.
- The Trump Administration has approved Governor Whitmer’s request to continue to utilize the Michigan Army National Guard to aid the state’s response to the pandemic through March 31, 2021. Click here to read more.
- State officials will discuss a COVID-19 update on Tuesday, December 8 at 9 a.m. To participate in the online discussion, please click here.
- Reinfection rates of COVID-19 are growing across the globe. Click here to read more.
- Dr. Fauci is concerned that Christmas will lead to even more spread than what occurred over Thanksgiving. Click here to read more.
Additionally, the following website is a source for updated information from the administration.
While these are very uncertain times, know the MLC Team, along with POAM, is available to answer your questions regarding this MLC December Updates. Additionally, we will provide regular updates as more information becomes available.