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executive order

Mike Duggan
detroitmi.gov

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he’s excited that some Michigan retail businesses will be able to re-open on Tuesday, but warns the city will be vigilant about enforcing health and safety standards meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer laid out those rules in an executive order that allows businesses “engaged in the selling of goods and the rendering of services incidental to the sale of the goods” to re-open. Sit-down restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centers, and salons remain closed for now.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has won a legal victory tied to to her executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thursday, a Michigan Court of Claims judge ruled Whitmer has the power to declare consecutive states of emergency without waiting for the Legislature's approval.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Senate could adopt and send a bill to Governor Gretchen Whitmer that would reduce the penalties for violating orders she’s signed to deal with COVID-19 in Michigan.

The bill would reduce the penalty for violating an order from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction.

Michigan Capitol Building
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Legislative Republicans announced Wednesday morning they have filed a lawsuit in the Court of Claims over Governor Gretchen Whitmer's decision to extend her emergency declaration despite the request being rejected by the Legislature last week.

Calling her unilateral actions unprecedented and unconstitutional, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) said they had no choice to ensure the Legislature has a say in the response to the new coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Protesters at the Michigan state Capitol this week got plenty of national news media attention and some questions about how things were handled by state authorities.

Much of the nation was astonished that protesters were allowed into the Michigan Capitol armed with rifles and side arms.

It is legal to openly carry a gun in the Capitol.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A recent battle between Michigan’s Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders over who has the authority to guide the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak is likely at a point of no return. 

This week, Republican lawmakers refused to agree to the governor’s call to extend the state of emergency. Legislative leaders say they plan on taking the governor to court over her authority to issue new executive orders to combat COVID-19.

driver changing radio station
Courtney Corlew / UnSplash

Drivers whose licenses would otherwise expire during Michigan's COVID-19 emergency declaration get a reprieve under a new executive order signed Monday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The dispute between Michigan’s Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders over revamping the state’s environmental regulatory department is set to begin another round.

Republican lawmakers have already thwarted Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s first attempt to use an executive order to overhaul the Department of Environmental Quality. GOP lawmakers were critical of Whitmer’s decision to eliminate panels created by state lawmakers to oversee the agency’s decisions.

Protesters waved American flags and said the president's executive order and deportation of people living in the U.S. illegally contradicted American values.
Tyler Scott / Michigan Radio

People in Dearborn braved the wind and cold today to protest a recent executive order by President Trump, and the deportation of people living in the United States illegally.

The executive order in question, issued March 6, blocks people in six mostly Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. for 90 days.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers
Kit Johnson / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There is another executive order on immigration issued by President Donald Trump, beyond the travel ban of seven majority-Muslim countries.

This executive order gave U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) broader discretion to arrest undocumented immigrants. The result has been a quick uptick in arrests, more people in detention centers, and an immigrant community that is more fearful of being deported.

Official portrait

Governor Rick Snyder has called for a review of how Michigan provides mental health services.

The governor has signed two executive orders to come up with recommendations.The executive orders create two separate commissions.

Both of them will be led by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

One major goal is to identify gaps that send people to jails and prisons instead of to programs that could treat their illnesses.

The plans also include teaching police, teachers, and clergy to spot signs of mental illness, earlier intervention for children with mental health issues, and helping more people get into treatment instead of being sent to jail or prison.

Administration officials say this will be the first thorough review of mental health services in Michigan since the state shut down its psychiatric hospitals in favor of community-based programs in the early 1990’s

Simone Ramella / flickr

It is too early to tell if Governor Rick Snyder’s executive order to move the job of paroling prisoners from Governor’s appointees back to the Department of Corrections will save money. The order also reduces the number of Parole Board members from 15 down to 10. All prisoners who want to be released before their sentence is up needs a decision from the parole board.

The move will save the state some money on some salaries, but the real savings will only happen if the new Board can continue to parole prisoners as fast or even faster than the old board. 

Matthew Grabowski is with the Michigan State Senate Fiscal Agency.

Michigan spends a little over $35,000 a year to house your typical inmate. It’s usually less expensive to supervise an individual in the community, whether it’s through traditional parole or whether we use some kind of electronic monitoring like a GPS tether. Those ranges are from maybe, say as little as $2,000 a year, up to around $10,000.

Grabowski also said more details are needed before it's known if the executive order may signal more changes to the Parole Board.  

It’s quite possible the parole board could change the way it approaches the parole process entirely. So it’s difficult to forecast sort of what the fiscal impact will be until the Governor and Director of the Department of Corrections sort of lay out a process for how the new parole board will operate. 

Parole approval rates for every class of criminal offender have gone up since 2008.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Courtesy of Governor Snyder's office

Governor Rick Snyder has signed an executive order to reduce the size of the state parole board by a third.

It’s not clear how this shakeup will affect the policy set by Governor Jennifer Granholm to parole more inmates as a way to control corrections costs.

Governor Snyder is reducing the parole board from 15 to 10 members, and placing it under direct control of the Corrections director. He also eliminated the board that advices the governor on clemency decisions.

His administration say the move will streamline government and save the state about half-a-million dollars.

The parole board members will have to reapply for their jobs. But Snyder says the parole board was written into state law to be a 10-member board with the Department of Corrections, and so it will return to its original form.

Governor Rick Snyder
Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

Governor Rick Snyder issued the first executive order of his administration yesterday. The order splits up oversight of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment into two state departments: the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Quality.

The executive order takes effect March 13th. As The Associated Press reports:

Gov. John Engler separated the natural resources and environmental quality functions into different agencies in 1995, but Gov. Jennifer Granholm rejoined them in 2009 in a cost-saving move. Snyder now says the job would best be handled by two agencies.

Rodney Stokes will head the Department of Natural Resources and Dan Wyant will head the Department of Environment Quality.

In a statement released yesterday, the Governor said:

“Michigan is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and we need to be a leader and innovator in protecting these resources. Recreational fishing, hunting and boating activities alone contribute more than $3 billion annually to our economy.  Separating the DEQ and DNR means we can better address these key priorities.”