Updates from the Governor's Office
Unemployment Benefits Increased and Expanded
Governor Whitmer today announced new programs for workers affected by COVID-19
The Governor, under the federal CARES Act, signed an agreement between the Michigan and the U.S. Department of Labor to implement Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation programs that grant benefits to workers who do not already qualify for state unemployment benefits. Workers include self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig, and low-wage workers who can no longer work because of the pandemic. The agreement also increases weekly benefits for all unemployed workers by $600 a week and extends benefit payments from 26 to 39 weeks. If someone has already applied for unemployment benefits, they DO NOT need to reapply at this time.
Directives to Temporarily Suspend Hiring and Restrict Discretionary State Government Spending
Today, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2020-3 for all executive-branch departments and agencies to restrict all discretionary spending and aggressively implement cost containment strategies. Restrictions cover all non-essential contracts, purchases, travel, training, and other forms of discretionary expenditure.
She also signed Directive 2020-4 which prohibits, with limited exception, those same departments and agencies from hiring, creating new positions, filling new or existing vacant positions, and transfers or promotions.
Executive Order 2020-32 Temporarily Restricts Non-Essential Veterinary Procedures
The order prohibits all non-essential veterinary procedures starting on March 31, 2020, and encourages veterinarians and veterinary technicians to practice telemedicine as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Non-essential veterinary services" means all veterinary services other than those necessary to preserve the life of a pet; to treat serious pain that threatens the health and safety of a pet; to euthanize a pet; or to treat or prevent the transmission of any infectious disease that can be transmitted between animals and human beings, all as determined by a licensed veterinarian.
Governor and Legislative Leaders Announce Two Supplemental Funding Bills for COVID-19 Response
Governor Whitmer, Senators Hirkey, Ananich, and Representatives Chatfield and Greig annnounced the signing of supplemental budget bills providing $150 million in new state funding in the current fiscal year for COVID-19 response.
“Residents across the great state of Michigan need to know that the Executive and legislative branches of state government are working together to do whatever is necessary to ensure an effective response to COVID-19. Today’s signing of two supplemental budget bills will provide new state funding of $150 million to bolster response efforts. To date, the state has already expended more than $130 million to secure more than 20 million masks, more than 2,000 ventilators, nearly 9 million ounces of hand sanitizer, more than 255,000 boxes of gloves, 2.4 million gowns, more than 2,000 beds, 210,000 testing supplies, 3,000 thermometers, 185,000 face shields, 22,000 cartons of disinfecting wipes, as well as other needed supplies. The additional funding provided today, along with the supplies and funding provided by the federal government, helps ensure that Michigan has the necessary resources to save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19.”
Supplemental appropriations contained in SB 151 and HB 4729 total nearly $80 million in the state's General Fund and were agreed to by both branches of government so funding could be reprioritized for COVID-19.
Executive Order Temporarily Suspends Scope of Practice Laws, Allowing Qualified Physician Assistants, Nurses to Treat COVID-19 Patients
Michigan Executive Order 2020-30 relaxes the scope of practice laws and provides hospitals and other healthcare facilities the flexibility they need to successrully deploy qualified physician assistants, nurses and other health care providers to combat COVID-19.
The order also reinforces an existing law that protects hospitals and healthcare workers from liability for taking necessary steps to protect Michiganders during an emergency.
Executive Order 2020-28 Calls for Statewide Water Reconnections & Establishes Fund to Help Communities Comply
To ensure at-risk households have access to clean water for hand washing and sanitation, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-28 requiring the reconnection of service to residences that have had water service shut off. The Order also includes a $2 million Water Restart Grant Program to help communities comply.
The Order which is effective for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency does not absolve anyone from responsibility for past-due bills. It does require public water suppliers to immediately identify residences in their service area that do not currently have water service, and to make best efforts to restore service to homes where the service has been disconnected due to non-payment or damaged infrastructure. The order also includes reporting and accountability requirements.
The $2 million fund will be administered by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) through grants to high-risk areas and limited grants to communities based on available funds.
Communities interested in accessing the funding should email EGLE-RestartGrants@michigan.gov.