July 2020
Bay County Updates
Businesses Reopening:

After nearly six months of closures, gyms were recently allowed to reopen with significant restrictions. The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce was proud to advocate on behalf of gyms, theaters and bowling centers during this time. You can read our joint letter with local leaders to the Bay Area legislative delegation on behalf of these industries here.

COVID-19 Best Practices:

Recently, we were joined by Sean Egan, Michigan’s COVID-19 Workplace Safety Director, and Scott Ellis, Executive Director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, for a discussion on what the directive’s enforcement order means for businesses, specifically bars and restaurants. You can watch the full webinar here.

Diversity & Inclusion:

The newly created Minority Business Partnership, with a mission to increase diversity in the Bay Area business community by providing educational opportunities, promoting growth and connecting minority business leaders with the tools to access capital, is led by a steering committee of business and community leaders. The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce will continue support and advocate on behalf of our minority businesses. We look forward to working with these leaders to assist in providing programming that will make a positive impact in our community.
Saginaw County Updates
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce 2020 Election Endorsements

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce is committed to taking an active role in the political process in order to support a healthy economic environment. To support that commitment, the Chamber has created a rigorous process to vet candidates, policy positions, and issues in order to provide endorsements of business-friendly options to Chamber members and the community at large.

The process includes an evaluation of those seeking endorsements by the Chamber’s Screening and Endorsement Committee. Candidates seeking endorsements must complete an in-depth questionnaire outlining their positions on a variety of business-friendly issues. The committee then makes recommendations to the Chamber’s full Board of Directors who discuss the recommendations and vote to endorse, not endorse, or remain neutral.

During the September 24 Board Meeting of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce, the Board reviewed recommendations from the Chamber’s Screening and Endorsement Committee for the upcoming November 3rd elections and are pleased to announce the following endorsements.

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce endorses a YES vote for –

  • Rodney Wakeman – (R) 94th District House of Representatives

  • Ben Frederick – (R)) 85th District House of Representatives

  • Michael Webster – (D) Saginaw County Commission

  • Jack Tany – (D) Saginaw County Commission

  • Christopher Boyd – (D) Saginaw County Commission

The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce endorses a YES vote for –

  • Saginaw County Department of Public Health Millage

  • Saginaw Public Schools Bond Proposal

  • Delta College Millage Renewal
Ryan Tarrant, President/CEO
Bay Area Chamber of Commerce
Veronica Horn, President/CEO
Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce
Governor Signs Executive Order Creating MI Healthy Climate Plan - Commits to Making Michigan Carbon Neutral by 2050

Executive Directive 2020-10 formally sets the goal of economic decarbonization in Michigan by 2050. The Executive Directive further provides that Michigan will aim to achieve a 28 percent reduction below 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

The Department of Treasury is tasked with developing and implementing an Energy Transition Impact Project to assist communities in maintaining critical services and ensuring high quality employment for workers faced with the closure of energy facilities.

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Office of Climate and Energy is tasked with developing and implementing the MI Healthy Climate Plan.

Executive Order 2020-182 creates an advisory council within EGLE to guide the department in its development and implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The Council on Climate Solutions will identify and recommend opportunities for the development and effective implementation of emissions-reduction strategies while focusing on targeted solutions for communities disproportionately being affected by the climate crisis. The Council and EGLE will work closely with EGLE’s Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate – created by Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 2019-06 in February 2019 – to ensure fairness for and representation from underserved communities.

The Governor will appoint individuals who represent the range of sectors, experiences, and expertise relevant to this issue. To apply for appointment to the Council on Climate Solutions, please visit State of Michigan Boards and Commissions Application for Apointment and fill out the application. Select “Council for Climate Solutions” from the drop-down menu under the Appointment Information section of the application. All applications must be received by Sunday, November 1, 2020.

Liability Package Passes Committee

Both the Bay Area and Saginaw County Chambers of Commerce have joined a coalition of chambers and trade organizations in support of limited COVID-19 liability protections for businesses, nonprofits and universities. The legislation would protect job providers who follow public health guidance and executive orders from lawsuits, including exposure and personal injury claims.

This week, the legislation passed the Michigan House Judiciary Committee. It is expected to be considered by the full House in the coming weeks.
Governor Whitmer Signs Bills Into Law

House Bill 4577 amends the Michigan Memorial Highway Act to designate the portion of Highway M-52 in Shiawassee County that extends from the southern city limit of the city of Owosso to the northern city limit of the City of Perry as the "Michigan Desert Storm Veterans Memorial Highway.” This bill was sponsored by Representative Ben Frederick, R – Owosso.

House Bill 4965 amends the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF) to modify the allocations for certain county road commission expenditures. Specifically, the bill modifies spending of MTF revenue under county road commission asset management plans. This bill was sponsored by Representative Rodney Wakeman, R – Saginaw.

House Bill 4966 also amends the MTF to require certain amounts distributed under the MTF to go towards city and village’s asset management plans. The bill was sponsored by Representative Andrea Schroeder, R – Independence Township.

House Bill 4971 amends the MTF in regard to the approval of asset management plans of local road agencies. Under the bill, local road agencies with more that 100 miles of certified road must remain in compliance with an approved asset management plan. Additionally, it specifies that if a local road agency with less than 100 miles of certified road submits an asset management plan, the plan will be approved upon submission. The bill was sponsored by Representative Julie Alexander, R – Hanover.

House Bill 5488 extends the authority of the courts to impose costs related to actual costs incurred by trial courts for court operations from October 17, 2020 to October 1, 2022. In a signing statement, the governor called on the Legislature to work with her to support reform that removes trial court judges from the role of raising money for the operation of the courts. This bill was sponsored by Representative Sarah Lightner, R – Springport.

Senate Bill 171 allows for students to take vocational training or visual or performing arts to fulfil part of the foreign language requirements students must meet to obtain a high school diploma. This bill was sponsored by Senator Jim Stamas, R – Midland.

On behalf of our members, the Bay Area and Saginaw County Chambers of Commerce will continue to monitor public policy that impacts our region, our communities and most importantly, your business!