AG Helps Save Electric Customers Nearly $198 Million

AG Helps Save Electric Customers Nearly $198 Million

Attorney General Dana Nessel

Media contact:
Lynsey Mukomel

Monday, December 27, 2021

AG Nessel Helps Save Consumers Electric Customers Nearly $198 Million

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s latest intervention in a rate case before the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) contributed to an 88% reduction from Consumers Energy’s original request.

MPSC’s ruling in U-20963, issued Dec. 22, approved an annual increase of $27,118,00 in Consumers’ electric rates. The original request, filed in March 2021, requested a $225 million increase, so the MPSC’s decision represents a $197,882,000 reduction from the company’s request.

For the average residential customer, this will represent an overall increase of approximately 0.64%, or $0.59 per month when new rates go into effect January 1, 2022.

Nessel’s intervention and testimony argued that Consumers Energy would have a revenue sufficiency of approximately $20 million and should return money to ratepayers instead of seeking a rate increase. The Attorney General also argued against many of Consumers Energy’s projections and expenses as unreasonable and not providing commensurate customer benefits.

“I commend the MPSC for recognizing Consumers’ request was excessive and providing an order that properly addresses customer interests,” Nessel said. “I will continue to advocate on behalf of Michigan consumers in cases where our utility companies seek to increase rates.”

The order also incorporates the outcome from Consumers Energy’s standalone electric and common utility plant depreciation case, U-20849.  In that case Consumers sought an increase in depreciation rates of $42.9 million. Attorney General Nessel intervened in the case and found that depreciation rates should be decreased instead of increased and played a significant role in the parties reaching a settlement resulting in a decrease in depreciation rates of approximately $27.2 million.

MPSC’s order also directs Consumers Energy to file additional information and support for areas of increased costs in future rate cases.

Consumers Energy Company, a subsidiary of CMS Energy, is headquartered in Jackson and serves approximately 1.9 million retail electric customers in the lower peninsula of Michigan.

Advocacy before the MPSC saved ratepayers $481 million in 2021, bringing the total saved since Attorney General Nessel took office to more than $1.8 billion.

Whitmer Signs Bill to Address Substitute Teacher Shortage

Whitmer Signs Bill to Address Substitute Teacher Shortage

Header 2021


December 27, 2021

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer Signs Bill to Address Substitute Teacher Shortage, Other Legislation


LANSING, Mich. – Governor Whitmer signed House Bill 4294 to address the substitute teacher shortage, helping keep schools open and students learning in person. House Bill 4294 would temporarily allow trusted staff members such as secretaries, paraprofessionals, and others to work as substitute teachers until the end of the current school year.


“Making sure every child in Michigan has access to a high-quality public education is my top priority, which is why this year we made the largest investment in K-12 public schools in Michigan history without raising taxes,” said Governor Whitmer. “The pandemic has been challenging for our children, teachers, and parents, and our educators have gone above and beyond to ensure Michigan’s children have a bright future. Allowing schools to employ school staff that students know as substitute teachers will help keep school doors open and students learning in the classroom the rest of the school year. I am committed to working with the legislature to develop high-quality solutions to address these staff shortages long-term so that we can ensure that every child is able to access a quality education.”


“Michigan already faced a severe educator shortage prior to the coronavirus pandemic”, said Paul Liabenow, Executive Director of the Michigan Elementary & Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA).  “The pandemic has only exacerbated that shortage by further hindering school districts’ abilities to fill vacant positions and keep buildings open, placing undue stress on educators already working tirelessly every day to ensure all students in Michigan receive quality, in-person instruction. House Bill 4294 will provide districts with additional flexibility to fill substitute teaching vacancies so students can continue to learn in a safe, supportive environment.  On behalf of educational leaders throughout Michigan, we want to thank Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Representative Brad Paquette for their continued advocacy on behalf of educators and students throughout Michigan.”


House Bill 4294 will temporarily allow schools to employ an individual without certification who already works at the school to substitute teach through the end of the 2021-2022 school year. House Bill 4294 will keep schools open and students learning in person.


House Bill 4294 was sponsored by Rep. Brad Paquette, R – Niles, and a copy can be found here.


View the governor’s signing statement here:



Addressing the Truck Driver, Health Professionals Shortage

House Bill 4787 waives the knowledge test required for a commercial driver license for an individual with military motor vehicle experience, honoring the skills developed during military service and helping to address the truck driver shortage.


“This bill will help UP and Michigan veterans transition to civilian life by shortening the process to obtain a CDL,” said Rep. Gregory Markkanen, R-Hancock. “I am proud to see it become law.”


House Bill 4787 was sponsored by Rep. Gregory Markkanen, R-Hancock, and a copy can be found here.


Senate Bill 759 amends the Public Health Code to allow qualified individuals authorized to practice a health profession in another state to practice in Michigan during an epidemic under certain circumstances, bolstering Michigan’s access to mobile medical professionals to help weather the COVID-19 pandemic.


Senate Bill 759 was sponsored by Sen. Curt VanderWall, R – Ludington, and a copy can be found here.


Bottle Bill Enforcement Fund

House Bill 4780, 4781, 4782 and 4783 amends the beverage container deposit law to create the Bottle Bill Enforcement Fund by taking the first $1 million from unclaimed bottle refunds to allow MSP to run a grant program for local law enforcement to prevent, investigate, and prosecute bottle fraud.


House Bill 4780 was sponsored by Rep. Mike Mueller, R-Linden, and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 4781 was sponsored by Rep. Andrew Fink, R – Adams Twp., and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 4782 was sponsored by Rep. Tim Sneller, D – Burton, and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 4783 was sponsored by Rep. Tyrone Carter, D – Detroit, and a copy can be found here.


Voting Equipment Maintenance

House Bill 4282, 4283, 4284, and 4295 amends the Michigan Election Law to make the $100 candidate filing fees nonrefundable for primary elections and directs that money to local governments to be used only for the purchase and maintenance of voting equipment.


“Most candidates didn’t even realize that their $100 filing fee could possibly be returned to them,” said Rep. Terry Sabo, D – Muskegon. “These bills remove that refund and make the jobs of our local clerks easier, while still allowing candidates the choice of gathering the signatures required or paying a now non-refundable filing fee.”


House Bill 4282 was sponsored by Rep. Julie Calley, R – Portland, and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 4283 was sponsored by Rep. Terry Sabo, D – Muskegon, and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 4284 was sponsored by Rep. Matt Koleszar, D – Plymouth, and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 4285 was sponsored by Rep. Ann Bollin, R – Brighton, and a copy can be found here.


Redistricting Commission

Senate Bill 728 amends the Open Meetings Act to clarify that the act does not permit the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) to meet in a closed session for any purpose.


Senate Bill 728 was sponsored by Sen. Ed McBroom, R – Vulcan, and a copy can be found here.


Jail Diversion Fund

Senate Bill 637 creates the community crisis response grant program, in accordance with the recommendations of Governor Whitmer’s Mental Health Diversion Council. Under the new law, DHHS will distribute grants to local units to establish or expand community-based mobile crisis intervention services, giving priority to applications that demonstrate a commitment to best practices as identified by DHHS in coordination with the council.


“We must change how we respond to behavioral health emergencies — so that we get people the help they need in times of crisis,” said Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit. “Having more behavioral health professionals respond on scene with law enforcement will make a big difference for many. I am so grateful to have partnered with Senator Outman and many groups over the past year and a half on these bills which will help direct people to services they need, improve public safety, and keep people out of jail that really need our support.”


Senate Bill 637 was sponsored by Sen. Stephanie Chang, D – Detroit, and a copy can be found here.


Senate Bill 638 creates the Jail Diversion Fund. DHHS will distribute grants to local units to establish or expand behavioral health jail diversion programs in coordination between community agencies and law enforcement agencies


Senate Bill 638 was sponsored by Sen. Rick Outman, R – Six Lakes, and a copy can be found here.


Other Legislation

Together, House Bills 5502, 5503, 5504, and 5505 streamline the process for qualified manufacturers to file for these exemptions and for the state to review them.

 House Bill 5502 was sponsored by Rep. Mark Tisdel, R – Rochester, and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 5503 was sponsored by Rep. Diana Farrington, R – Utica, and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 5504 was sponsored by Rep. Julie Calley, R – Portland, and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 5505 was sponsored by Rep. Mary Cavanagh, R – Redford, and a copy can be found here.


House Bill 5351 would amend the General Property Tax Act to increase the value of the eligible manufacturing personal property exemption to $180,000, from $80,000. HB 5506 prohibits the issuance of a new industrial facilities exemption certificate for any property that qualifies as eligible manufacturing personal property.


House Bill 5506 was sponsored by Rep. Jim Ellison, D – Royal Oak, and a copy can be found here

State Grant to Invest in Students’ Mental and Physical Health

Header 2021


December 28, 2021

Contact: [email protected]


Michigan Schools Use New State Grant to Invest in Students’ Mental and Physical Health, Recruit 560+ Nurses, Social Workers, Counselors

Hiring made possible by bipartisan, historic school budget signed by Governor Whitmer in July 2021, funding still available for districts to apply


LANSING, Mich. – Governor Whitmer today announced that schools are recruiting and in the process of hiring 560 more school psychologists, school social workers, school counselors, and school nurses with the help of funding from the FY22 State School Aid Act.


“The pandemic reminded us that school-based mental and physical health professionals are not luxuries. Healthy students—physically, mentally, and social-emotionally—are better learners,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Having skilled professionals in school buildings helps our kids get the supports they need so they can thrive in the classroom and beyond.”


“Our children require academic, social emotional, and physical supports, both in and out of schools,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice. “School communities across the state are appreciative of this critical new FY 22 budget investment negotiated between the governor and the state legislature.  This $240 million begins the requisite school support for our children’s mental health and physical needs.”


“The health and well-being of Michigan’s students continues to be a top priority for both MASA and our members,” said Dr. Tina Kerr, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators. “Now, more than ever, our students need access to these services, and there’s no better place than in our schools to provide them. We are very pleased to see this important funding going to districts across the state so they can hire the key staff needed to support our students.”


Delivering for Students

In the FY2022 budget, Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature worked together to appropriate $240 million to increase the number of school-based professionals support students’ mental and physical health.


To date, 210 school districts have applied for grant funding to hire 562 staff members including 60 school psychologists, 226 school social workers, 146 school counselors, and 130 school nurses. Grant funds help districts hire staff and gradually transition from fully funding the position with state funds in year 1 to fully funding the position with local funds in year 4.


The application is still open, and all districts are eligible to apply. Districts can review frequently asked questions and submit their application by visiting Districts must hire staff by March 1, 2022 to qualify.



In September, the governor signed the Fiscal Year 2022 budget bill that includes game-changing investments in childcare and delivers on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to families, communities, and small business. The budget puts 167,000 Michiganders on a tuition-free path to higher-education or skills training, repairs or replaces 100 bridges while creating 2,500 jobs, and makes a $500 million deposit into our rainy day fund, the largest one-time ever, bringing its balance to nearly $1.4 billion, the highest ever.

Michigan’s “Going PRO Talent Fund” Awards Record $3.4 Million

Michigan’s “Going PRO Talent Fund” Awards Record $3.4 Million To County Employers To Train Workers, Launch Apprenticeships

​Waterford, Michigan – A record 125 Oakland County employers will share $3.4 million in Going Pro Talent Fund grants awarded by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity this week.

The grants will allow the employers to hire and train 1,342 new employees, expand the skills of 1,281 existing workers and create 77 new registered apprenticeships during fiscal year 2022.

A total of $37.5 million in Going Pro Talent Fund grants were awarded across the state this year, benefiting 30,000 workers at more than 1,000 businesses.  Since the program’s inception in 2014, the Going PRO Talent Fund has benefited more than 5,300 businesses and 124,000 workers.
“The Going PRO Talent fund program has such great potential to help more than 2,700 workers in Oakland County gain valuable skills that will lead to good-paying jobs and satisfying careers,” said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. “At the same time, the training funds will help local employers address the worker shortage problems they’re experiencing and allow them to recover more quickly from the COVID pandemic.”

Oakland County employers have received $10.9 million in Going Pro Talent Fund grants since the program’s launch, helping 476 county employers of all sizes.

“There was unprecedented interest in the Going PRO Talent Fund this year from employers across the county and the fact that we submitted 165 award applications speaks to their commitment to providing valuable training to their workforce,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, workforce development manager for Oakland County.  “Congratulations to everyone involved, including the employers and the teams from the Oakland County Michigan Works! offices, who worked together on preparing the record number of successful applications.”

Since its launch in 2014 through last year, the Going PRO Talent Fund has provided 3,212 awards to Michigan employers with less than 100 employees, representing 61 percent of all awards given.  A total of 1,607 awards have been given to employers with 100-499 employees (30 percent) and 481 awards have gone to employers with more than 500 employees (nine percent).

Ruby + Associates, a structural engineering firm located in Bingham Farms, received a Going PRO Talent Fund grant this year to train 30 employees.  President and CEO Tricia Ruby said the funding will be used for a variety of critical training programs, including new employee support, evolving engineering software, project management and leadership skills.

“We are so grateful to have received the Going PRO Talent Fund grant,” Ruby said.  “It will allow our growing firm to remain industry leaders and stay true to our guiding principle of continual technical excellence by offering these professional development opportunities to our engineers.”
A list of all of the Oakland County employers receiving Going PRO Talent Fund grants is attached.

Oakland County Michigan Works! operates service centers in Novi, Oak Park, Pontiac, Southfield, Troy, and Waterford, where they assist more than 105,000 job seekers annually. Services include career coaching, interviewing and job search workshops, placement assistance, training courses and job trend information.

The service centers also assist more than 3,000 employers seeking help with talent recruitment, apprenticeship programs, job fairs, candidate pre-screening, hiring, and training support, layoff support and labor market data.
Service center staff are available in-person or by virtual appointment to work one-on-one with job seekers to build their resumes, prepare for job interviews and help address other needs. To schedule a meeting, call 1-248-858-5520 and select the office nearest to you. The service centers are hosting several virtual workshops for job seekers. A schedule can be found at

OCMW GPTF FY2022 Recipients Chart

MDOT’s busy 2021 and more to come in 2022

MDOT’s busy 2021 and more to come in 2022

MDOT’s busy 2021 and more to come in 2022

On the final Talking Michigan Transportation podcast of the year, MDOT Director Paul Ajegba looks back on the historic investment in roads and bridges, as highlighted in this video.

Listen now:

TMT - Year-end review

The video details the additional billion dollars invested in 2021 as well as the 10,000 jobs supported across the state. Some local officials and business leaders share their thoughts on the benefits of the investments.

Director Ajegba underscores the value of Gov. Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan bonding program and how it allows for longer-term investments as opposed to the lesser fixes affordable during decades of road funding challenges in Michigan. The governor discussed the plan on the podcast shortly after unveiling it in her 2020 State of the State address.

Also in 2021, Director Ajegba joined the governor at the Mackinac Policy Conference to announce a nation-leading wireless charging plan for electric vehicles. The director talks about the progress.

Reflecting on the major work in 2021, the director talks about addressing many challenges including the pandemic, climate change-induced deluges and flooding that overwhelmed drainage system on Southeast Michigan freeways and addressing crashes on roads under construction, a more acute problem as vehicle speeds have increased during the pandemic.