State Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens ruled ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 must be counted. Under the ruling, late-arriving mail-in ballots could still be counted until results must be certified, 14 days after the election. Currently, only ballots that arrive Capital Building Lansing Croppedbefore Election Day polls close can be counted; Local governments and school districts will be spared budget cuts in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 under a target agreement on spending parameters reached by legislative leaders and Budget Director Chris Kolb; In a Lansing State Journal Viewpoint column last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wrote the following regarding lifting the COVID-19 Emergency Order, “While it would be irresponsible to forecast a date, it’s a matter of months.” She said that decision would be based on: A low number of new cases, sufficient dispersal of a vaccine, availability of therapeutics, a better understanding of immunity, or a combination of these and other considerations; The Senate is expected to take up jail reform bills this week that would reduce some offenses from misdemeanors to civil infractions, and seek to divert more offenders from jail to treatment programs; The Michigan House is expected to finalize an aggressive agenda late Thursday evening (Sept. 23) before recessing until mid-November; For the second time, the Michigan Capitol Commission has rejected motions for weapons bans in the state Capitol building, saying they first want to meet with House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake); The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced residents in certain types of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, independent living facilities, and assisted living facilities, are allowed outdoor visits; Gov. Whitmer announced applications are open for a free college tuition plan. Some 625,000 Michigan essential workers who put time in during the COVID-19 lockdown, but do not already have a degree, may be eligible for free college.

For more information on recent legislative issues, please click on the September 2020 Karoub Report.