Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Reduce Crime

Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Reduce Crime

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July 26, 2022

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Reduce Crime, Gun Violence 

Governor directs state government departments and law enforcement agencies to coordinate and invest all available federal resources into crime and gun violence intervention and prevention


KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive instructing Michigan state departments and law enforcement agencies to utilize federal resources from the recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to reduce crime and gun violence. This action follows a roundtable discussion the governor held with members of the law enforcement community, parents, students, and faith leaders on how to stop violence and hold criminals accountable for committing violent crimes.


“As a former prosecutor, public safety is a top priority for me,” said Governor Whitmer. “But today, far too many families in Michigan do not feel safe in their neighborhoods because of crime and gun violence. That is unacceptable—we must stop the violence and hold people accountable. We need to tackle both crime and gun violence simultaneously because they are inextricably linked—nearly 1 in 3 reported violent crimes involve a firearm and in the first six months of this year alone, over 450 Michiganders have died because of gun violence. That’s why I worked to give law enforcement the resources they need in my bipartisan budget. And thanks to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, we have access to unprecedented federal resources that will help us keep Michiganders safe as they go to work, drop their kids off at school, or run errands in their neighborhoods. Let’s work together to protect public safety and reduce crime and gun violence.”


The executive directive can be viewed here.


“The gun violence epidemic has been tearing apart thousands of Michiganders’ lives each year with nearly no government action taken to prevent such tragedies. Today, however, this changes,” said Zoey Rector-Brooks and Jayanti Gupta, youth leaders of March For Our Lives Michigan. “The executive directive signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer will strengthen Michigan’s ability to stop gun violence before it happens by providing Community Violence Intervention, a program proven to be an effective approach to disrupting violence in our communities. It will also work to further close the “boyfriend loophole,” which has for too long put those in domestic relationships at risk. There is much work left to be done, yet this is a victory worth celebrating. Lives are being saved.”


Executive Directive Background

Governor Whitmer’s executive directive instructs Michigan state departments and agencies to effectively utilize all available resources from the recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to reduce crime and gun violence. Within 30 days, all departments and agencies must identify a designee to coordinate across state government. The Michigan State Police (MSP) must explore ways to improve Michigan’s process for reporting criminal, mental health, and juvenile records to national criminal databases. MSP must also establish the Community Violence Intervention Office which will coordinate state and federal grants related to community violence intervention programming.


Governor Whitmer’s Public Safety Investments

As a former prosecutor, public safety is a core issue for Governor Whitmer. She has worked closely with local leaders, law enforcement officers, and community organizations to ensure people feel safe in their neighborhoods. Since taking office, she has signed four balanced, bipartisan budgets, each making record investments to help communities fund local law enforcement departments and hire more first responders. These budgets have expanded training and resources available to law enforcement from the MSP to local departments in every region of the state.


Last summer, the governor proposed MI Safe Communities, a plan to invest $75 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan to reduce crime and keep families safe by getting illegal firearms of the street, tackle the criminal court backlog, expand resources available to law enforcement, and address the root causes of crime by investing in jobs programs, counseling, and education.


Governor Whitmer’s Criminal Justice Investments

Governor Whitmer has also worked across the aisle to enact historic criminal justice reform. She signed bipartisan “Clean Slate” legislation to help hundreds of thousands of Michiganders emerge from the criminal justice system with enhanced opportunities for jobs and housing, empowering them to pursue their full potential. She also launched task forces to address pretrial incarceration and juvenile justice and pursued reforms to improve relationships between law enforcement and the people they serve.


Last week, Governor Whitmer signed her fourth balanced, bipartisan budget that included funding for Jobs Court, a program that offers non-violent, low-level offenders gainful employment with local partnering small businesses.


Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Reduce Crime, Gun Violence


Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Reduce Crime, Gun Violence


Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Directive to Reduce Crime, Gun Violence


Michigan Trying to Make Private Child Care More Affordable

Michigan Trying to Make Private Child Care More Affordable

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July 22, 2022

Contact: [email protected]


ICYMI: Detroit Free Press: Michigan is Desperately Trying to Make Private Child Care More Affordable


LANSING, Mich. – After launching a plan to address the childcare shortage, Governor Whitmer has worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to expand access to high-quality and affordable child care, while delivering record funding to keep childcare programs open, and retain and hire childcare professionals. As a result, an additional 150,000 children in Michigan have access to no- or low-cost child care and nearly 6,000 childcare businesses in every county in the state have received support through the Child Care Stabilization Grant.



Key Points: 


 Autumn Jervis is not a babysitter, but she essentially gets paid like one. 


Every day, the 27-year-old lead preschool teacher at a child care facility in Ann Arbor aims to foster social and emotional growth for 24 kids between the ages of 3 and 5. She’s dedicated nearly a decade to the work, a true believer in the power that early education can have on shaping the life of a child. 


But the single mother can barely afford to send her own daughter to where she works. And Jervis could likely earn more if she left for a job at Starbucks.


Jervis is not alone: the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated long-standing problems that advocates and others say flummoxed the sputtering child care industry. 




Acknowledging the problem, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, northern Michigan Republican Rep. Jack O’Malley and others worked together to change the law and allocate billions of dollars to stave off center closures.


It’s staved off closures and encouraged hundreds to pursue opening their own facilities, and a new pilot program aims to entirely reenvision how society supports child care. 


It’s already having a huge impact for Jervis, who now receives child care subsidies through the state’s new Tri-Share program that splits costs between employers, families and the state.


“It dropped my payment almost $300 (a month). That’s a lot: that’s gas for me to get to work, that’s groceries that we can have. Even just putting a little bit more money in my pocket so that we can go and do things in the summer,” Jervis said.




The pandemic forced many adults to juggle working and attempting to provide child care or education from home, underscoring the necessity for other options. In Michigan, that meant government intervention.


Over the past year, state leaders of both parties have changed regulations while allocating billions of dollars to help centers stay open and retain staff.




 After years of work, O’Malley and a bipartisan group of lawmakers collaborated with the Whitmer administration to change child care center regulations. 


The eight-bill legislative package, signed into law in late June, slightly increases the number of children each staff member can supervise at small and medium centers, in theory helping create more revenue. The laws also allow centers to hire workers as young as 16 instead of 18, and require centers to post safety information online so that it’s easier for parents to access. 


The bills come one year after Whitmer announced a plan to invest $1.4 billion in Michigan’s child care system.




 As of now, most of the $1.4 billion is either in the hands of child care centers or staff, according to data from the state. More than $700 million went to thousands of centers as “stabilization grants,” intended to prevent closures.


Another $100 million is part of a plan to open 1,000 new centers by the end of 2024. The money helps with startup and renovation costs, along with providing the training and recruitment tools needed for centers to thrive.


Larger centers received more than $100,000 on average, with smaller home-based sites receiving more than $10,000 on average, according to data collected by the Michigan Department of Education.


As part of these grants, almost 38,000 child care workers received bonuses. Full-time workers received $1,000, while part-time workers received $500.


Governor Whitmer’s Accomplishments

Every family in Michigan deserves access to safe, quality, affordable childcare that meets their needs—regardless of how old their kids are, where they live, how much they make, or their race, ethnicity, or immigration status. Governor Whitmer has put families and children first by prioritizing investments in our children’s earliest years. These investments put children on a path to success and strengthen our economy by helping parents return to work knowing their children are safe and learning


Expanding access to affordable early learning and care 

  • Expanded access to free preschool for 22,000+ more four-year-olds through Great Start Readiness Program and proposed grants to open classrooms in more communities.
  • Expanded access to affordable childcare for 150,000 more children.  A family of four earning up to $55,500 are now eligible for free or low-cost childcare.
  • Kept childcare providers open and serving kids:
  • Invested $700 million through the Child Care Stabilization Grant to provide operational grants to nearly 6,000 local childcare businesses.
  • Invested $215 million to support over 7,000 childcare providers with emergency federal relief through the Child Care Relief Fund.
  • Signed a budget providing $105 million in funding for childcare businesses that accept the childcare subsidy.
  • Launched pilots of the Tri-Share program to expand childcare access to more families in 59 counties.
  • Set an ambitious goal to open 1,000 more childcare programs by the end of 2024 and launched Caring for Mi Future—a $100 million strategy to get there.


Strengthening Michigan families

  • Led by example by enacting paid parental leave up to 12 weeks for state employees.
  • Supported an expansion of the federal Child Tax Credit for nearly 2 million Michigan families.
  • Coordinated a statewide response to the national baby formula shortage.
Food Assistance Grants to Help Eligible Residents

Food Assistance Grants to Help Eligible Residents

MEDIA ADVISORY: Coulter to Announce Food Assistance Grants to Help Eligible Oakland County Residents Access Healthy Food

​Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter will announce $700,000 in food assistance grants to help residents access healthy food options, especially as food prices are on the rise.


Dave Coulter, Oakland County Executive; Yolanda Charles, Oakland County Commissioner whose district represents Oak Park; Marcia Gershenson, Oakland County Commissioner and Healthy Oakland Partnership; Marian McClellan, Oak Park Mayor
Erik Tinngate, Oak Park City Manager; Calandra Green, Oakland County Health Officer; Dustin McClellan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pontiac Community Foundation; Russell Estill, Director of Food Operations for Lighthouse of Oakland County

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter will announce $700,000 in food assistance grants to help residents access healthy food options, especially as food prices are on the rise.

Joining him will be the Pontiac Community Foundation and Lighthouse of Oakland County, who will be implementing the food grants, and Oakland County Health Officer Calandra Green, who will speak about the benefits of healthier food options. County Commissioners Yolanda Charles and Marcia Gershenson will be on hand representing the Board of Commissioners’ approval to invest American Rescue Plan dollars into this area of critical need.

The announcement takes place at Oak Park Farmers Market because the Healthy Oakland Partnership, a collaboration of local government, hospitals, health care providers, community-based organizations, business, and residents that are dedicated to improving the health of Oakland County residents, is hosting Family Market Day there.


Jul 27, 2022, 10:00 AM
How legislation would protect Mackinac Bridge

How legislation would protect Mackinac Bridge

How legislation would protect Mackinac Bridge, other structures

This week on the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, first, a conversation with the chief sponsor of House Bill 5315, State Rep. John Damoose. Later, Patrick “Shorty” Gleason, chairman of the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA), explains why the MBA took the rare step of adopting a resolution in support of the legislation.

Listen now: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1374205/11011251-how-legislation-would-protect-mackinac-bridge-other-structures?

graphic of podcast player

In the wake of some troubling incidents on the Mackinac Bridge (involving people climbing a tower or otherwise accessing the bridge to take photos and another involving a bomb threat that closed the bridge on a busy weekend and disrupted travel for hours), the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill, 99 to 6, classifying the Mackinac Bridge and other vital structures as “key facilities.” The designation means trespassing on the structures is a felony offense.

State Rep. John Damoose

This week on the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, first, a conversation with the chief sponsor of House Bill 5315, State Rep. John Damoose. Later, Patrick “Shorty” Gleason, chairman of the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA), explains why the MBA took the rare step of adopting a resolution in support of the legislation.

HB 5315 would add the Mackinac Bridge to the list of key facilities, as well as any movable bridge in the state: the Zilwaukee Bridge, the Rouge River Bridge, the MacArthur Bridge, and all international crossings, including the Ambassador Bridge, the Blue Water Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, and the International Bridge.

Patrick "Shorty" Gleason, chairman of the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA)

Gleason also talks about a separate motion adopted by the Authority in opposition to Senate bills 1014 and 1078 concerning the transport of farm equipment across the bridge on I-75.

The motion reads:
“I move that the Board agree that the MBA’s Bridge Director and this Board’s Special Committee acted in good faith by thoroughly evaluating whether the proposed bills regarding farm implements could be modified to become bills that this Board could support. In the end, these individuals determined that the proposed bills and variations of them, if signed into law, would compromise the structural integrity and operations of the Mackinac Bridge and the safety of motorists who travel on the Bridge. They accordingly recommend, for these reasons, that the Board oppose the proposed bills or variations of them. I so move for the Board’s agreement and support.”

Listen now at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1374205.

Stay connected by subscribing to Talking Michigan Transportation e-mail updates.

Whitmer Signs Legislation to Protect Public Health

Whitmer Signs Legislation to Protect Public Health

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July 21, 2022

Contact: [email protected]

Governor Whitmer Signs Legislation to Protect Public Health, Other Legislation 

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed 11 pieces of legislation, bringing the total number of bipartisan bills signed to 931.  

“Today, I am signing several bipartisan bills to protect public health and keep dangerous tobacco products out of the hands of our young people,” said Governor Whitmer. “In addition to legislation raising the state minimum age of tobacco sales from 18 to 21, I am proud to sign bipartisan bills today that will expand access to life-saving medication for those experiencing an opioid overdose, crack down on retail crime, protect privacy, and invest in judges to boost retention and get through our case backlog expeditiously. Let’s keep working together to move Michigan forward.” 

Tobacco 21 Legislation 

Together, this legislative package brings Michigan in line with the federal Tobacco 21 legislation, raising the state age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21. The package amends several acts to raise the age of sale for retailers, prohibit anyone under 21 from entering a tobacco retail store, and prohibit tobacco sales through the mail to anyone under 21. The package also revises the disbursement of proceeds from the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

House Bill 6108 amends the Youth Tobacco Act to raise the minimum legal sale of tobacco products, vapor products and alternative nicotine products from 18 to 21, in alignment in with federal law. Penalties for the sale of tobacco products to under-age individuals remain up to $100 for the first offense, up to $500 for the second offense, and up to $2,500 for third and subsequent offenses. 

House Bill 6108 was sponsored by Rep. Tommy Brann, R – Wyoming, and a copy can be found here

House Bill 6109 prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from entering a tobacco retail specialty store, like a cigar shop.  

House Bill 6109 was sponsored by Rep. Tommy Brann, R – Wyoming, and a copy can be found here

Senate Bill 576 amends a portion of the Michigan penal code to require agents who distribute tobacco through the mail to verify that the recipient is 21 years of age, revising the previous age limit of 18.   

Senate Bill 576 was sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn, R – Onstead, and a copy can be found here

Senate Bill 577 is an amendment to the Age of Majority Act of 1971, which prescribes the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of individuals aged 18-20. The legislation states that the act will not apply to the Youth Tobacco Act, which now prohibits tobacco use for those under 21, rather than 18. 

“The Tobacco 21 package aligns Michigan with progress at the federal level, and is an important step in keeping tobacco products out of the wrong hands,” said Senator Paul Wojno. “Kudos to Governor Whitmer for working with the me and my colleagues in the legislature to protect our communities and public health across the state.” 


“Children and teens should not even be exposed to tobacco products. Period,” said Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington. “We have seen study after study showing the effects of nicotine on the developing adolescent brain, and I’m proud to support raising the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21. There is no doubt this simple change will save lives.”


Senate Bill 577 was sponsored by Sen. Paul Wojno, D – Warren, and a copy can be found here.


Expanding Medication Access 

House Bill 5166 – a policy recommendation from Governor Whitmer’s bipartisan Opioid Task Force – enables the chief medical executive to expand access to opioid antagonists, naloxone hydrochloride or other similarly acting and safe FDA-approved drugs, for individuals experiencing an opioid overdose. This legislation allows the distribution of opioid antagonists by community-based organizations, such as a nonprofit organizations or social service providers, under a standing order. The bill protects community-based organizations from liability in any civil action that may arise out of distributing, administering, or failing to administer the opioid antagonist.


“Since much of the work of naloxone distribution is done by community organizations, this bill will greatly expand access to this safe and lifesaving medication,” said Senator Winnie Brinks. “This legislation is the result of months of work I am proud to have been part of on Governor Whitmer’s Opioid Task Force in partnership with the DHHS, and I’m glad it finally made it through the legislature. Our work isn’t done, but tools like this will help in the fight against the opioid epidemic.”


“Naloxone is a safe, easy to use, effective medication to reduce overdose fatalities in our communities,” said Steve Alsum, Grand Rapids Red Project, Executive Director, Michigan Overdose Prevention Coalition, Founding Member. “This legislation will make it easier for those most at risk of witnessing overdose situations access naloxone. As a result, lives will be saved in our communities- people will have the opportunity to live, grow, and change.”


“Overdosing from opiates is different from all other addictions in that it leads to immediate death,” said Representative Mary Whiteford “Less than 20% of our opiate addicted community members have access to the life-saving reversal agent, naloxone. They are someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister and friend. HB 5166 allows our local community organizations to provide this life saving medication and is crucial to giving people with opiate addiction a second chance at recovery.”


House Bill 5166 was sponsored by Rep. Mary Whiteford, R – Casco Township, and a copy can be found here.


Privacy in Divorce Fillings

House Bill 4195 provides additional time and privacy for those who file for divorce to notify their spouse, or for the spouse to be served, before the filing is made public. The legislation aims to protect victims of domestic violence to ensure they have enough time to find a safe shelter before the abuser is notified of the divorce proceedings by prohibiting the public disclosure of divorce complaints until after proof of service has been filed with the court. It also makes nonpublic divorce complaints available to entities providing certain services related to child support and establishment of paternity.


House Bill 4195 was sponsored by Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R – Chesterfield, and a copy can be found here.


District Court Judge Compensation

House Bill 4749 slightly raises district court judges’ salaries beginning in October 2022. The legislation updates the formula used to calculate their salaries to mirror the formula used for probate judges so that the salaries will now be 85% of the 2015 salary of a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, as opposed to 84%, bringing all three judicial roles in alignment.


House Bill 5749 was sponsored by Rep. Andrew Fink, R – Hillsdale, and a copy can be found here.


Cracking Down on Crime

Senate Bill 691 adds organized retail crime – the theft of retail merchandise with the intent to resell or otherwise distribute the stolen merchandise in exchange for anything of value – to the list of offenses that may be considered racketeering. Racketeering activity includes a series of statutorily defined offenses, including drug trafficking, extortion, and prostitution. Law enforcement can pursue enhanced criminal penalties against individuals who solicit or conspire to commit these offenses regardless of the value of the stolen property.


“With the signing of SB 691 into law, along with the INFORM Act and the budget that includes $3.5M for an ORC Unit, Michigan took three big steps forward this week to stopping Organized Retail Crime activity in the Great Lakes State,” said William J. Hallan, President and CEO, Michigan Retailers Association. “SB 691 gives prosecutors additional tools to ensure that criminals taking advantage of retailers and defrauding consumers are brought to justice and kept off the streets.”


Senate Bill 691 was sponsored by Sen. Jim Runestad, R – White Lakes, and a copy can be found here.


Other Legislation


Senate Bill 720 amends the Tobacco Products Tax Act with several provisions that modernize, enhance, and strengthen the act, including: altering the disbursement of tobacco taxes to various public entities; expanding and clarifying licensing requirements for those who transport tobacco products; allows creditors that acquire a tobacco product by exercising a security interest to sell that product without a license; alters compliance standards around the requirement that retailers maintain records on tobacco products going back four years; reduces the tax imposed on certain products the FDA has determined to be “modified risk” and closes loopholes in the act created by case law and strengthens the Department of Treasury’s ability to enforce the tobacco tax.


Additionally, the legislation creates new standards around the markings required on shipping containers containing certain tobacco products and prohibits the sale of individual cigarettes. The legislation also lays out new requirements for remote retail sellers and significantly strengthens state regulation and enforcement of the acquisition, sale, and distribution of tobacco products when compared to current law.


Senate Bill 720 was sponsored by Sen. Jim Runestad, R – White Lake, and a copy can be found here.


Senate Bill 721 amends the Health and Safety Act to harmonize the language concerning earmarks from the excise tax on cigarettes under the Tobacco Products Tax Act (TPTA) with the changes made to the TPTA under Senate Bill 720.


Senate Bill 721 was sponsored by Sen. Jim Runestad, R – White Lake, and a copy can be found here.


Senate Bill 722 provides technical corrections for citation references in Act 244 of 1999 and does not make substantive changes.


Senate Bill 722 was sponsored by Sen. Jim Runestad, R – White Lake, and a copy can be found here.