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Honigman Capitol Report

March 12, 2021

Michigan to Receive $10.3 Billion from Federal COVID-19 Aid Bill

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed by President Biden Thursday, will send $10.3 billion to the state of Michigan and local governments. Here is the breakdown of preliminary numbers and allocations provided by the State Budget Office:

  • $5.6 billion for state government
  • $4.0 billion for local governments as part of a fiscal recovery program, including $1.78 billion for metro cities, $1.9 billion for counties, $680,000 for townships and other government entities, and $250,000 for yet-to-be-determined capital outlay projects

In addition, there is an increase in federal dollars for K-12 and Higher Education, COVID-19 vaccine and testing programs, rental and mortgage assistance, Head Start, child care, rural transit, airports, paratransit, incentives to convince more states to join the Medicaid expansion program, enhancements to the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare, a new earned income tax credit and dollars for a FEMA disaster relief program at the local level.

The plan will also send $1,400 stimulus checks to 90% of households, extend $300 weekly unemployment benefits through Sept. 6, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, increase the child tax credit and offer payments to small-and mid-sized businesses.

House Falls Short on Veto Overrides after Governor Cuts $650 in Supplemental Spending

In a rare move, the House pursued veto override votes on two sections of HB 4047 and two sections of HB 4048 just hours after Governor Whitmer announced the line-item vetoes. While both bills originally passed with more than two-thirds support, none of the override attempts received enough support. Those votes included:

  • Two line-items in HB 4047, which would have restored the Unemployment Trust Fund dollars and the $405 million in business relief. The votes were 64-45 and 66-43.
  • Line-items in HB 4048 that included money for private schools and assistance for parents sending children to summer school. Those override attempts failed 64-45 and 65-44.

As sent to Governor Whitmer, HB 4047 and HB 4048 contained $4.2 billion of the $5.6 billion she requested. However, the following line-items were vetoed from the bills:

  • $150 million to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to offset the impact of fraud
  • $405 million for business property and unemployment tax relief and bar and restaurant fee relief
  • $86.8 million for nonpublic schools
  • $10 million for a summer school grant program

HB 4047 (PA 2) and HB 4048 (PA 3) items that were signed into law include:

  • $600 million for food assistance through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps
  • $150 million to support the $2.25-per-hour direct care worker increase for seven months starting March 1
  • $207.5 million for COVID epidemiology and laboratory capacity, with another $347.3 million for a contingent fund for the same purpose
  • $110 million for vaccine distribution
  • $17.4 million for substance abuse disorder services
  • $16 million for mental health services
  • $220 million for emergency rental and utility assistance
  • $840 million in additional Title 1 funding for schools with a high population of low-income children

The bills are now Public Acts 2 and 3 of 2021.

Peter B. Ruddell Becomes Chair of Michigan Law Revision Commission

Peter B. Ruddell

The Michigan Legislative Council appointed Honigman Government Relations and Regulatory Practice Group Co-Leader and Partner Peter B. Ruddell as chair of the Michigan Law Revision Commission, effective today. The Commission was established to review laws and determine the needs of legal reforms for the State of Michigan. Ruddell replaces Richard D. McLellan who held the role since 1986. Ruddell will be the fourth person to chair the Commission since its establishment in 1965.

“It’s an honor to be appointed to this Commission that impacts our state laws and has a legacy of excellence and innovation and has been led by distinguished lawyers such as Richard McLellan and Jason Honigman, one of our firm’s founders, who was chair from 1967 to 1981,” said Ruddell.

The Michigan Law Revision Commission (“MRLC”) is a body formed under the Michigan Legislative Council, which was created by Article IV, Section 15 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963. The Michigan Legislative Council created the MRLC to perform this constitutional obligation: “The council shall periodically examine and recommend to the legislature revision of the various laws of the state.” 

According to the MLRC: “Legislation enacted in 1965 establishing the Legislative Council, Act 412 of 1965 (since superseded by Act 268 of 1986), also authorized the creation of a law revision commission to "examine the common law and statutes of the state and current judicial decisions for the purpose of discovering defects and anachronisms in the law and recommending needed reforms." The Commission makes an annual report to the (Michigan) Legislative Council.”

Beginning April 5, All Residents 16 and Older to be Eligible for Vaccines

The state announced today, vaccine eligibility will be open to all Michigan residents 16 years of age and older starting April 5. Residents ages 50 and older with medical conditions or disabilities and caregiver family members and guardians who care for children with special health care needs will be eligible beginning Monday, March 8. A vaccine eligibility expansion to include all residents 50 years and older will take effect March 22 along with those 16 and older with disabilities or medical conditions putting them at high risk of negative outcomes from COVID-19.

The State of Michigan and the White House also announced today that Detroit's Ford Field will be one of a few regional, eight-week vaccination sites with the capacity to administer 6,000 doses daily. This will open March 24 and will operate 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week for eight weeks under the federal government's vaccination pilot program.

The facility will be managed by the state with support from FEMA, Wayne County, the city of Detroit, Ford Field, Meijer, Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Lions football team.

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