MLC January 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 January Updates.

This information is sourced from the Michigan Legislative Consultants’ COVID-19 Special Update email newsletter sent on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

Tuesday, January 26 – Statewide Economic Impact

Statistics

MICHIGAN
  • Weekly Cases: 12,703
  • Total Cases: 551,080
  • Weekly Deaths: 502
  • Total Deaths: 14,326
OHIO
  • Weekly Cases: 28,075
  • Total Cases: 760,837
  • Weekly Deaths: 397
  • Total Deaths: 9,602
INDIANA
  • Weekly Cases: 20,519
  • Total Cases: 613,228
  • Weekly Deaths: 386
  • Total Deaths: 9,352
ILLINOIS
  • Weekly Cases: 32,549
  • Total Cases: 1,104,763
  • Weekly Deaths: 540
  • Total Deaths: 18,798
WISCONSIN
  • Weekly Cases: 11,040
  • Total Cases: 533,917
  • Weekly Deaths: 229
  • Total Deaths: 5,699

Federal Update From our Partners at Foley & Lardner

  • Yesterday, the Director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, met with a bipartisan coalition of 16 senators to begin talks between the White House and Congress surrounding Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid proposal. The goal of such ongoing discussions is to gain ground for negotiations and compromise that would eventually yield enough agreement for bipartisan votes. If passed, this package would be the second-largest emergency relief bill in American history. As federal unemployment supplements of $300 per week are set to run out on March 14, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he will push Congress to try and get this done in the next 4-6 weeks.
  • Many Republican lawmakers, including members of the bipartisan coalition meeting with Deese, have expressed concern about the price of the package. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), all on the coalition, said it is too soon after the $900 billion stimulus deal that was passed last month to consider such a major stimulus package. They have asked the White House for additional data backing the need for further stimulus, along with specific priorities to focus on as the starting point for negotiations. Some members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Angus King (I-ME), have also raised concerns about its high price tag, and are looking to more targeted funding as a way forward.
  • Should bipartisan discussions be unsuccessful, Democrats have the ability to pass a stimulus deal through Budget Reconciliation, though this option is time-consuming and will not necessarily guarantee the full bill’s passage. With several steps, votes, and challenges, this option would be used if an agreement cannot first be made.
  • The Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services, Norris Cochran, sent a letter to Governors this morning confirming the renewal of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), which has to be renewed every 90 days. He signaled that the PHE will likely last through the end of the year. As such, states will continue to receive Medicaid funds and Medicare telehealth flexibilities will remain in place for the remainder of the year.

Indoor Dining to Reopen Next Monday

Restaurants can once again open for indoor dining in Michigan next week, but with several restrictions. Most notably, restaurants and bars can only allow 25% capacity with up to 100 people and tables must be six feet apart with a maximum of six people per table. Furthermore, they must close by 10 p.m. and customers must provide contact information for contact tracing purposes. For more information, please click here.

Michigan Articles

  • Governor Whitmer made appointments to the Protect Michigan Commission. Click here to read more.
  • The Michigan National Guard is deploying additional troops to help the state’s response to the pandemic. Click here to read more.
  • Additional Michigan residents have tested positive for the COVID-19 variant first seen in Europe, which is more contagious. Click here to read more.

National Articles


This information is sourced from the Michigan Legislative Consultants’ COVID-19 Special Update email newsletter sent on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Wednesday, January 20 – Statewide Economic Impact

Statistics

MICHIGAN
  • Weekly Cases: 14,759
  • Total Cases: 538,377
  • Weekly Deaths: 423
  • Total Deaths: 13,824
OHIO
  • Weekly Cases: 35,936
  • Total Cases: 732,762
  • Weekly Deaths: 475
  • Total Deaths: 9,205
INDIANA
  • Weekly Cases: 25,371
  • Total Cases: 592,709
  • Weekly Deaths: 323
  • Total Deaths: 8,966
ILLINOIS
  • Weekly Cases: 38,688
  • Total Cases: 1,072,214
  • Weekly Deaths: 631
  • Total Deaths: 18,258
WISCONSIN
  • Weekly Cases: 14,531
  • Total Cases: 522,877
  • Weekly Deaths: 308
  • Total Deaths: 5,470

Federal Update From our Partners at Foley & Lardner

At noon on Wednesday, Jan. 20, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. According to the incoming White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, the new administration will immediately begin to address four crises the country currently faces: the pandemic, economic downturn, climate change, and racial inequity.

In his first ten days, President-elect Biden plans to focus his efforts on an extension for student loan forbearance; an extension of a moratorium on evictions; directives on re-opening schools and businesses; and working towards an agreement on his proposed $1.9 trillion aid package. Biden is also expected to launch a pandemic-related campaign that will require masks to be worn on federal property and for interstate transportation.

Grant Applications Open

Three grant programs through the State of Michigan were announced last week to help offset some of the personal and professional losses that residents and businesses have incurred during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Employee Assistance Grants: Eligible recipients meeting all criteria and providing a complete and accurate application will be awarded assistance up to $1,6650. Eligible industries include restaurants, motels, bars, theaters, caterers, among others. Applications are being accepted on January 15 at 9 a.m. through January 25 at 5 p.m. Click here for more information.
  2. Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program: Grants of up to $20,000 for eligible businesses that have been temporarily closed and up to $15,000 for an eligible business that has been partially closed. Funds may be used for several purposes, including payroll, rent, and utilities. Applications are being accepted on January 19 at 9 a.m. through January 22 at 12:00 p.m. Click here for more information.
  3. Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program: Grants of up to $40,000 to entertainment venues affected by the pandemic. Funds may be used for several purposes, including payroll, rent, and utilities. Applications are being accepted from January 21 at 9 a.m. through January 28 at 12:00 p.m. Click here for more information.

Michigan Articles

  • Governor Whitmer announced the Michigan COVID Recovery Plan to help grow the state’s economy while working to end the pandemic. Click here to read more.
  • Seven cases have now been confirmed of the new COVID-19 variant first seen in the UK. Click here to read more.
  • Good news in Michigan – cases numbers have hit their lowest level in months, while the number of vaccinations has increased. Click here to read more.
  • Governor Whitmer joined other governors in sending a letter encouraging the Federal government to purchase more vaccines and allow states to purchase vaccines. Click here to read more.

National Articles

  • Each state can set priorities for who will receive the vaccine first. The Washington Post is collecting data by state on how many vaccines have been distributed and who is first in line to receive them. Click here for more information.
  • At least in the short term, current vaccines should be effective against COVID-19 variants. Click here to read more.
  • The Coronavirus continues to mutate, as viruses do, but experts are confident in our ability to stop the virus. Click here to read more.

This information is sourced from the Michigan Legislative Consultants’ COVID-19 Special Update email newsletter sent on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.

Tuesday, January 12 – Statewide Economic Impact

Statistics

MICHIGAN
  • Weekly Cases: 21,499
  • Total Cases: 523,618
  • Weekly Deaths: 723
  • Total Deaths: 13,401
OHIO
  • Weekly Cases: 45,897
  • Total Cases: 696,826
  • Weekly Deaths: 468
  • Total Deaths: 8,730
INDIANA
  • Weekly Cases: 37,650
  • Total Cases: 567,338
  • Weekly Deaths: 493
  • Total Deaths: 8,643
ILLINOIS
  • Weekly Cases: 48,646
  • Total Cases: 1,033,526
  • Weekly Deaths: 793
  • Total Deaths: 17,627
WISCONSIN
  • Weekly Cases: 20,408
  • Total Cases: 508,346
  • Weekly Deaths: 278
  • Total Deaths: 5,162

Federal Update From our Partners at Foley & Lardner

  • As of this morning, a new round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money brought about by the stimulus deal is available to select lenders and borrowers. Community financial institutions will be the first lenders to accept applications, and they will have exclusive access to the new loans through Wednesday. The goal of this change in guidance is to target relief to small businesses.
  • The $284 billion in forgivable loans was approved specifically for small businesses, making this tranche of money more difficult to access. In order to qualify, firms can have a maximum of 300 employees and the maximum loan amount is $2 million. Applicants are required to prove that their revenue declined by at least 25% in any quarter of 2020 as compared to 2019.

Expanded Vaccine Eligibility Begins Today

Announced last week, the next phase of vaccinating Michigan residents begins today. Starting today the pool of those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is expanded to include:

  • People aged 65 and older
  • Front-line essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers, and jail and prison staff
  • PreK-12 teachers

The state has set a goal of vaccinating 70% of residents over the age of 16. To find a local health department and other local vaccine clinics, please visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.

Michigan Articles

  • Governor Whitmer and Attorney General Nessel issued a statement applauding bar and restaurant owners for compliance with emergency health orders. Click here to read more.
  • Hospitals and health departments are having a difficult time keeping up with the demand for the vaccine by seniors. Click here to read more.
  • The new House Appropriations Chairman wants businesses to re-open before the legislature appropriates Federal COVID-19 aid funds. Click here to read more.
  • Beaumont Health had to increase its server capacity after they crashed due to high vaccine demand. Click here to read more.

National Articles

  • President-Elect Joe Biden is slated to announce his COVID-19 relief plan this week. Click here to read more.
  • Health experts are divided over whether the vaccine doses should be changed in order to vaccinate more people in a quicker manner. Click here to read more.
  • According to a former FDA official, the current vaccination program isn’t working and changes need to be made considering the recent increase in case numbers. Click here to read more.
  • Despite a record number of COVID-19 cases, flu case numbers are down. According to experts, this points to COVID-19 being more contagious. Click here to read more.

This information is sourced from the Michigan Legislative Consultants’ COVID-19 Special Update email newsletter sent on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Tuesday, January 5 – Statewide Economic Impact

Statistics

MICHIGAN
  • Total Cases: 502,119
  • Total Deaths: 12,678
OHIO
  • Total Cases: 650,929
  • Total Deaths: 8,262
INDIANA
  • Total Cases: 529,688
  • Total Deaths: 8,150
ILLINOIS
  • Total Cases: 984,880
  • Total Deaths: 16,834
WISCONSIN
  • Total Cases: 487,938
  • Total Deaths: 4,884

Federal Update From our Partners at Foley & Lardner

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed a long-anticipated additional round of COVID relief legislation as part of 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 votes were overwhelming as the Senate passed the bill with a 92-6 vote and the House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 359-53. After some delay, President Trump signed the legislation on December 27, 2020, and it is now law. The relief bill was included as Division N of a larger legislative package that included government funding and other bills.

Please click here to find a detailed summary of every provision of the COVID relief bill.

A Year in Pandemic Response

Over the holidays, Governor Whitmer released a video on social media reflecting on 2020, including the state’s response to COVID-19. Notably, since March 15, the state has paid nearly $27 billion in unemployment benefits to nearly 2.3 million Michigan workers. Additionally, she highlights the work of the COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities, which reduced the spread of COVID-19 in communities of color. Governor Whitmer also highlights the Future for Frontliners program, which provides a path to opportunity for frontline workers who have worked during the pandemic. To view the full video, please click here.

Michigan Articles

  • The Department of Health and Human Services is distributing 3.5 million masks as part of their Mask Up, Mask Right program. Click here to read more.
  • Governor Gretchen Whitmer is again calling on additional Federal aid for states to help with their response and vaccination efforts. Click here to read more.
  • Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell recently spoke about the challenges his department worked through during 2020. Click here to listen to his podcast episode.
  • At the end of 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services updated the priority guidance for vaccine distribution. Click here to read more.

National Articles

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering making it illegal to sell or administer vaccines to those attempting to cut the line. Click here to read more.
  • Two top members of the House Appropriations Committee have tested positive for COVID-19. Click here to read more.
  • Every 33 seconds in the United States someone dies from COVID-19, how will problems with the vaccine rollout impact that? Click here to read more.
  • Health officials are concerned there will be another spike in post-holiday case numbers after seeing a rise in air travel. Click here to read more.

Additionally, the following website is a source for updated information from the administration.

STAY UPDATED

While these are very uncertain times, know the MLC Team, along with POAM, is available to answer your questions regarding this MLC January Updates. Additionally, we will provide regular updates as more information becomes available.

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