Appropriations and Executive Office Updates
Tuesday, October 11th, 2022Tentative Session Day
Wednesday, October 12th, 2022Tentative Session Day
Thursday, October 13th, 2022Tentative Session Day
Tuesday, November 8th, 2022General Election
Albert Resigns as Appropriations Chair, Elections Deal Struck
On September 28, one of the final session days ahead of the November 8 election, the Michigan State Legislature finalized a $1 billion supplemental appropriation bill, most of which would additional funding to the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund for various economic development projects.
In light of the negotiations, Representative Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) announced during the House Appropriations committee meeting that he would be resigning as chair due to his concerns with approving additional spending. Albert, who again addressed the chamber during his no-vote explanation, said he could not support the spending during a “period of economic uncertainty”. Representative Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) will serve as the Appropriations Chair for the remainder of the 2021-22 legislative session.
Following an agreement struck between the Whitmer administration, local clerks and lawmakers, the Michigan State Legislature also took up a package of bills related to election security and preprocessing of absentee ballots. All bills in the package passed out of both chambers and now head to the desk of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. House Bill 4491 would allow county clerks to remove deceased individuals from the qualified voter file as well as allow absentee ballot preprocessing up to two days before the election. Currently, Michigan only allows preprocessing 24 hours prior to an election and only in municipalities of at least 1,500 voters. House Bill 6071 would increase access to polling locations. Senate Bill 8 defines “verified electronic signature” for military personnel, while SB 311 allows the electronic return of ballots for military voters.
The legislation is expected to be signed into law and be in effect for the upcoming November general election.
Whitmer Appoints Members to School Safety and Mental Health Commission
On September 22, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced appointments to the School Safety and Mental Health Commission.
The Commission, which was created under the Fiscal Year 2022-23 School Aid Budget, has been tasked with providing recommendations to strengthen the mental health of school-aged children and their families as well as reduce youth suicides. Members consist of individuals appointed by the Governor, as well as appointees recommended by the Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, Senate Minority Leader, and House Minority Leader. Designees from the Department of Education, State Police, and Department of Health and Human Services also serve as members.
The appointees are not subject to the advice and consent of the Michigan State Senate.
Pharmacists in Michigan Now Able to Prescribe Birth Control
On September 19, it was announced that pharmacists in Michigan are now able to prescribe self-administered hormonal birth control in partnership with doctors in the State of Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) issued a new interpretative statement clarifying that pharmacists can prescribe self-administered, hormonal contraceptives, such as oral contraceptives, the patch, and the ring, under the delegation of a licensed physician in most circumstances.
This development comes after Governor Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2022-05, instructing departments to increase protections for reproductive health care.
Whitmer Creates Center for Data and Analytics
Under Executive Order 2022-11, Governor Gretchen Whitmer created the Center for Data and Analytics, housed in the Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB).
Funded in the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget, the Center for Data and Analytics is tasked with providing data- and evidence-driven strategies to all state departments and agencies. State department and agency heads are to coordinate with the center to facilitate data sharing. If there are cases where data is prohibited from being shared, a written notice must be provided.
The Executive Office hopes the new Center will allow for the state to “better understand economic, social, and demographic trends and make evidence-based policy decisions that improve lives”.