News & Happenings

May 2020 Legislative Report

May 27, 2020

The state is slowly reopening as Governor Whitmer has eased statewide restrictions on small gatherings under 10 people, allowing retail to reopen, and opening bars and restaurants with limited capacity in Northern Michigan and upper peninsula. New cases and deaths continue to decline with Michigan now one of the lowest states in the country for new daily COVID-19 cases.

However, the pandemic has taken a toll on the state’s finances. Michigan is facing a $2.2 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year that ends September 30. Normally, the legislature would be deep in negotiations with the Governor’s office on the state budget but now will have to cram a budget into a short time frame and potentially cut billions of dollars to balance the books. The Governor may also issue a negative supplemental executive order making cuts as well.

With the majority of focus put on the state budget and COVID-19 response, other policy issues such as Surprise Billing have been delayed as well. Originally, a stakeholder workgroup was going to convene to potentially finalize a version of the House bills in the Ways and Means Committee. That has been delayed for the time being.

DIFS is also convening a virtual workgroup on reopening businesses in the insurance industry. MAHU members are part of two work groups, one focusing on small, independent agencies, the other on large office settings, as the state provides guidelines for best practices as the workforce begins to re-engage.