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.