Government Affairs Update – June 12, 2020
HB 5541. This legislation would amend current law regarding the issuance of an official personal identification card to permit an individual to elect a communication impediment designation on the application for an official State personal ID card maintained by the Secretary of State. The bill prescribes penalties for any fraudulent activity associated with this certification. Under the legislation, the SOS cannot display an individual’s communication impediment designation on the individual’s State personal ID card.
The bill has unanimously passed out of both chambers and heads to the Governor’s desk for signature. Once signed, the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2020. The Arc supports.
House Bill 5832. This bill would amend the Mental Health Code by adding a new chapter to create crisis stabilization units (CSU) under the supervision of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Under the bill, a CSU is defined as a unit that provides “unscheduled activities in response to a crisis situation as well as services either as a prescreening unit…or any event a unit providing clinical services designated to prevent or ameliorate a behavioral health crisis or reduce acute symptoms on an immediate, intensive, and time-limited basis.” MDHHS would be responsible for establishing minimum standards and requirements for certifying a CSU.
The Arc is opposed to the legislation, as written, due to concerns that the bill does not require MDHHS to certify all CSUs. Moreover, the measure does not include language that participation is involuntary thus allowing an individual to be held against his or her will. Finally, the bill does not address obligations a CSU has with respect to connecting individuals who are being discharged with community services.
Senate Bill 963. Under a law passed last year, the legislature is required to present a budget to the Governor on or before July 1 of each year. Senate Bill 963, introduced by Senators Curtis Hertel and Jim Stamas, amends the Management and Budget Act to implement this requirement, beginning July 1, 2021. In effect, the legislation allows the legislature to bypass the requirement this year in the midst of the ongoing uncertainties that currently plague the budget process due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The bill has been referred to the full Senate, bypassing the committee process. No further action has been taken.
Senate Bill 826. The legislation, introduced by Senator Curt VanderWall, expands the definition of “mental health professional” to include a physician assistant, a certified nurse practitioner, and a clinical nurse specialist-certified. It also makes changes to the code to allow these health care professionals to execute clinical certificates and order involuntary treatment, among other things.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee has held two hearings but not yet voted on the legislation. The Arc is opposed.
Senate Bill 945/House Bill 5837. In response to the death of George Floyd and widespread protests that preceded it, the Michigan legislature is considering bills to amend several sections of the Michigan Commission On Law Enforcement Standards Act by adding implicit bias training, de-escalation training and mental health screening for law enforcement officers.
With respect to mental health, minimum standards would include crisis intervention strategies to appropriately identify and respond to an individual suffering from physical or mental disabilities, mental health issues, or substance abuse issues. SB 945 would establish continuing education requirements for all licensed law enforcement officers. HB 5837 would require the Department of Attorney General to provide guidance to law enforcement agencies regarding compliance with the bills’ requirements, collect data regarding implementation of training programs, and report the data annually to the legislature. The Arc supports.
Emergency Authorities & COVID-related Legislation
Senate Bill 690. On May 13, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 690, which provides $523 million in supplemental appropriations for Fiscal Year 2020 from the federal coronavirus relief fund for various purposes, most notable of which is the inclusion of $178 million in funding for a $3/hour increase for direct care worker (DCW) wages paid retroactively from April through the remainder of the fiscal year. The wage increase would apply to all workers subject to the Medicaid wage increase under L 20-27 issued on May 1, 2020.
The House Appropriations Committee passed a substitute H-2 on June 3, providing additional funding for DCW wages of $226 million. The package in total includes $1.26 billion from the federal coronavirus relief fund. Deliberations over the final package are ongoing and we could expect to see a vote on the House floor as soon as the third week of June.
Stay Home, Stay Safe
On Monday, June 1. Governor Whitmer announced that she was rescinding Executive Order 2020-69 (regarding certain restrictions on places of accommodation) and Executive Order 2020-96 (the stay home order that was previously extended until June 12, 2020 by EO 2020-100); and upon doing so, signed a new Executive Order 2020-110.
She announced the remaining parts of the state will be moving to Phase 4 of the Michigan Safe Start Plan. Prior to this announcement only regions 6 & 8 (the Upper Peninsula and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula) had progressed to phase 4.
Some of the highlights of the newly-relaxed restrictions include:
On June 5, the Governor issued Executive Order 2020-115, which rescinds aspects of Executive Order 2020-110. Specifically:
- Groups of 100 or less can gather if safe social distancing measures are taken
- Office work that is not capable of being performed at home can resume
- Thursday, June 4th, retailers that have been closed can reopen with capacity limits
- Monday, June 8th, Restaurants can open for indoor and outdoor seating
- Local leaders retain the ability to put restrictions in place if they think they need them
Under EO 2020-115, regions 6 and 8, which encompass northern Michigan and the UP, will advance to Phase 5, beginning June 10. The following activities will be permitted in those regions:
- On June 10, 2020, as of 12:01 am individuals and businesses in Regions 6 and 8 are no longer subject to Executive Order 2020-110 and are instead subject to the rules in Executive Order 2020-115.
- On June 15, 2020 as of 12:01 am subsection 12(c) of Executive Order 2020-110, which restricts the operation of facilities offering non-essential personal care services, is rescinded. This applies statewide.
- Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of 250 people are allowed as long as social distancing measures are followed.
- Outdoor performance and sporting venues will open to a capacity of 500.
- Personal care services, including hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, tanning salons, and exercise facilities can open with social distancing measures being take into effect. Businesses must deploy safeguards, including hours specialized for vulnerable populations, employees using persona protection equipment (PPE), and 25% maximum capacity or 250 people (whichever is smaller).
In addition, the Governor announced that, although the remaining regions of the state will remain in Phase 4, personal services (hair, skin, nails) will reopen statewide on June 15.
Regions 1-5 & 7 remain under Executive Order 2020-110 unless otherwise instructed.
The Governor also issued Executive Order 2020-114, which effectively rescinds Executive Order 2020-97 around workplace safeguards, updating that order to reflect industries that re-open.
Executive Authority Lawsuit
Judge Cynthia Stevens issued a ruling in the Michigan Court of Claims on Thursday, May 21 in Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate v. Whitmer upholding the Governor’s authority to declare a state of emergency under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. However, the judge also ruled that the Governor could not declare a state of emergency and disaster declaration under the Emergency Management Act of 1975 without legislative intervention.
On Friday, May 22, Michigan House and Senate Republicans filed a request for an emergency bypass to take their case to the Michigan Supreme Court, rather than going through the Court of Appeals.
On Thursday, June 4, in a 4-3 decision, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order rejecting the legislature’s request for an emergency bypass, in effect, requiring the case to through the normal Michigan Court of Appeals process.
The Michigan House and Senate released updated session calendars, adding session days in July and September, presumably to allow more time for budget deliberations over the summer.