Happy Juneteenth! Juneteenth marks the day when — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed — the last slaves were freed by Union troops in Texas. This day, June 19, has been celebrated since 1866 as the end of chattel slavery.
Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including some updates on the state’s efforts to address COVID-19 and its effects on housing, employment, and more.
Virtual Coffee Hour
Please join me for a Facebook Live coffee hour Monday, June 22 from 10 to 11 a.m. You will find the event on my Facebook page at that time. No code is needed to join. I will give a legislative update and answer any questions you may have. If you have topics or questions you would like covered, you can post them here or respond to this email. I look forward to speaking with you all soon.
Bill to Allow Signs in the Capitol
I introduced a bill on Wednesday that would allow signs in the Michigan Capitol building. Enacted in response to the labor demonstrations in 2012, the purported rationale for the sign ban was to prevent harm to the Capitol building and injury to humans. (Damage to the building was listed first.) As we saw during the “Stay Home” order protests, items are allowed in the Capitol building that can cause far more serious harm than a sign can. This is a matter of protecting everyone’s First Amendment rights.
Federal Funds to Help with Unemployment, More
On Wednesday, the House allocated federal CARES Act funds to assist with the state’s response to COVID -19. There are funds to help with unemployment, small businesses, child care, food, and many more areas of need for a total of approximately $880 million.
Gov. Whitmer Extends State of Emergency
On Thursday, Gov. Whitmer signed an executive order to extend the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic through July 16. This gives the governor the ability to maximize all available state resources to help slow the spread of the virus, as well as giving the governor’s executive orders, proclamations, and directives the force and effect of state law.
‘Return to School Roadmap’ to Be Released on June 30
Gov. Whitmer announced on Wednesday that a “Return to School Roadmap” will be released on June 30. This will include the requirements and recommendations for schools returning to in-person learning in the fall. The entire state of Michigan is now in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan, so schools are now allowed to resume in-person learning with strict safety precautions.
Safety Measures Extended for Grocery Stores and Pharmacies
Executive Order 2020-126 extends safety measures for grocery stores and pharmacies through July 15, 2020. This includes implementing cleaning procedures that meet federal guidelines; requiring individuals to wear masks while in the store; daily health screenings for staff; and holding two hours per week of shopping time for vulnerable populations.
Workers Compensation Eligibility Ensured for Frontline Workers
An executive order signed on Wednesday entitles frontline workers to workers compensation if they have tested positive for COVID-19 on or after March 18, 2020. This order is effective immediately and goes through the duration of the state of emergency declaration.
Public Bodies Can Continue to Meet Remotely
Public bodies can continue to conduct their meetings with either telephone or video conferencing technology under Executive Order 2020-129. This applies to public bodies, departments, and agencies that are subject to the Open Meetings Act. This order is effective immediately and goes through June 31.
Voting Coffee Hour
Thank you to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope, Delhi Charter Twp. Clerk Evan Hope, and Wheatfield Twp. Clerk Denise Kapp for joining me this past Monday for a virtual coffee hour on what voting will look like this year. They answered frequently answered questions about voting by mail and talked about election procedures. If you were unable to watch live, you can view the entire discussion on my Facebook page.
While legislative offices remain closed to the public, my team is still providing responsive service as they work from home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (517) 373-0587 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help.