MAC has received a formal legal analysis from the firm of Cohl, Stoker and Toskey on the situation regarding the Michigan Supreme Court announcement Friday and its effects on the governor's Executive Orders, including the one governing virtual meetings under the Open Meetings Act.
The analysis says:
"As you are likely aware, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion last Friday (October 2, 2020) in which the majority of the Justices agreed that the Governor’s Executive Orders issued after April 30, 2020 were invalid, as the law under which they were issued allowed an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the Governor. The case presents a likely change in the near future, but as of now the Executive Orders appear to remain in effect. (emphasis added) ...
"The Governor has asserted that this new decision should not take effect for 21 days, which is the normal practice for the effective date of Supreme Court decisions, unless the Supreme Court directs the Certification Opinion to have immediate effect. This would then generally allow time for a request for a motion to reconsider the Supreme Court’s decision. (MCR 7.315) However, it is not clear that there would be such a separate 'order' from the Supreme Court in this type of legal “Certification” interpretation opinion, as the actual litigation is in federal District Court. The Michigan Court Rules [MCR 7.308(A)(5)] do provide that such a 'certified' decision may be rendered by the Supreme Court '… in the ordinary form of an opinion to be published with other opinions of the Court.' Although the Governor’s Attorneys filed a motion on October 5, 2020, seeking clarification that the Supreme Court’s Certification Opinion will not take effect until after the 21-day period has lapsed, it appears that as of now the Governor’s Executive Orders remain in effect."
In a separate note, the firm of Dickinson Wright adds this caveat regarding the specific situation of issuing bonds:
"As a cautionary note, bond issues require a higher level of certainty as to the actions of a county. Therefore counties should be aware that it may be necessary for resolutions relating to bond issues to be adopted at a meeting where there is at least a quorum of board members physically present. The failure to do so may prevent the County from being able to issue the bonds."
Our goal at MAC right now is to be a clearinghouse of best practices and tips for counties to use as we navigate the changed terrain. To expedite this, we ask you to:
Please remember in the weeks ahead to send us any resolutions your county board passes or health orders your health department adopts regarding COVID-19 response to email@example.com.
Participate in a brief (2-minute) survey on your immediate local health order situation.
Thank you for your assistance in these uncertain times.