COVID-19 State News & Policy Alerts

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COVID-19 State News & Policy Alerts 

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Latest Update: Highlights from August 6, 2020 

Several CMF Members Sign Letter Calling for Census Not to Be Shortened
CMF along with several member CEO's were early signers on the attached letter calling for the census not to be shortened. Stakeholder groups are working to reverse the actions taken by the Census Bureau to shorten the census count by a month (from October 31 to September 30) and to rush the data quality checks and processing from 5 months to 3 months (with the first data product coming out in December). Please use the link below to sign on. Names will be added to the online version of the letter.  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdr7WyGdzmcQRDm5WYSMpPEtGD1SljokCyWBh7eSBGQq5r49g/viewform

CMF member CEO's who have signed thus far: 

  • Isaiah Oliver - Community Foundation of Greater Flint
  • Ridgway White - C.S. Mott Foundation
  • Mariam Noland - Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • David Egner - Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation
  • Raquel Thueme - Ruth Mott Foundation
  • Rip Rapson - Kresge Foundation
  • La June Montgomery Tabron - W.K. Kellogg Foundation

August Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference 
Today the Senate Fiscal Agency announced that a Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference will be held Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, 3 p.m. the purpose will be to reevaluate revenue estimates for the current fiscal year (FY) and FY's 2020-21 and 2021-22. 

Racism Recognized as a Public Health Crisis and Black Leadership Advisory Council Created 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Order 2020-163, which creates the Black Leadership Advisory Council and Executive Directive 2020-9, recognizing racism as a public health crisis. The governor has requested that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) make health equity a major goal and is requiring implicit bias training for all state employees.  Applications to serve on the Black Leadership Advisory Council are due by Wednesday, August 19 and can be found by visiting Michigan.gov/appointments
To view Executive Order 2020-163 and Executive Directive 2020-9, click the link :ED 2020-9 Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis.pdf and EO 2020-163 Black Leadership Advisory Council.pdf

The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation is co-sponsoring a session with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Public Television and Wayne State University on Monday, August 10, 1-2pmRacism: The Real Public Health Crisis.

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How are foundations communicating policy alerts to their stakeholders?

In this example from The Skillman Foundation, program staff reached out to their grant partners to share a message of support and identify newly available resources. They also referenced the federal stimulus deal, linking to a story in local media. As foundations communicate with grantees and other stakeholders, you may want to include similar policy alerts, helping connect community members with key legislative issues and resources to learn more. 

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What critical response and relief needs have been identified by the Michigan Department of Education in supporting our state’s students, educators and schools?

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-35 to outline the provision of K-12 education during the remainder of the current school year. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has provided information and guidance to assist local school districts, educators and families, including the resources listed below.

These issue areas represent just a few of the critical response and relief needs connected to education during COVID-19. Among the most critical is a lack of consistent broadband access to ensure students have the connectivity needed to access online learning opportunities.

The CMF P-20 Education Affinity Group hosted a conversation on March 26, 2020, with State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice to collectively discuss the state’s response to COVID-19 and how philanthropy can serve as a partner. View the recording.

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What is the first part (Phase 1) of COVID-19 federal legislation, H.R. 6074?

Phase 1 of COVID-19 legislation, H.R. 6074, is the “Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.” It was enacted into law March 6, 2020, and provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to ensure vaccines developed to fight the coronavirus are affordable, that impacted small businesses can qualify for Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans and that Medicare recipients can consult with their providers by telephone or teleconference, if necessary or desired. View the official bill summary.  

The Council on Foundations’ Bill #1 Guide highlights key appropriations relevant to the charitable sector, such as the SBA disaster loans program.   

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What is the second part (Phase 2) of COVID-19 federal legislation, H.R. 6201 (FFCRA)?

Phase 2 of COVID-19 legislation, H.R. 6201, is the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (FFCRA). This measure responds to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers. The bill also provides FY2020 appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Services for nutrition programs that assist seniors. View the official bill summary.   

The Council on Foundations’ Bill #2 Guide highlights key appropriations relevant to the charitable sector, such as those for certain food assistance programs, social service programs and provisions to continue school lunch benefits during school closures. 
 
Rep. Debbie Dingell, who represents the 12th District of Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives, spoke with CMF members about provisions in H.R. 6201 on March 14, 2020. Listen to the full recording to hear Rep. Dingell's insights and analysis, including where gaps may exist in the relief and response efforts around COVID-19 and where philanthropy can play a role.   

Note: CMF invited all of its email subscribers to join this call as a learning opportunity, to inform grantmakers, therefore content from this conversation is not to be repurposed in any other publication without express permission.   

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What is the third part (Phase 3) of COVID-19 federal legislation, H.R. 748 (CARES Act)?

Phase 3 of COVID-19 legislation, H.R. 748, is the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act). The stimulus measure provides significant funding for businesses, hospitals, schools and social support programs, among many other components. 

President Trump signed the CARES Act on the afternoon of March 27, 2020, following voice-vote approval earlier in the day by the US House of Representatives and a unanimous 96-0 vote by the US Senate on March 25. 

Our sector partner, the National Council of Nonprofits, released an initial analysis on the bill and the Council on Foundations (COF) has provided a detailed look at the CARES Act. COF’s Bill #3 Guide highlights key components relevant to the charitable sector, such as increased percentage limitations for charitable contributions, SBA loans, unemployment insurance and much more. 

The CARES Act includes a series of nonprofit relief funds. Each relief program applies to a certain category of organizations, in addition to other eligibility criteria:

  • Paycheck Protection Program: Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, Section 501(c)(19) tax-exempt veterans’ organizations and Tribal small business concerns with not more than than 500 employees.
  • Exchange Stabilization Fund: Nonprofits with between 500 to 10,000 employees.
  • Expanded Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) & Emergency Grants: The term “private nonprofit organizations” has not been clearly defined. However, the SBA has recognized in the past that food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges qualified.
  • Payroll Taxes Credit for Employee Retention: All employers, including nonprofits.
  • Payroll Tax Deferral:  All employers, including nonprofits.

Further information about these programs, including application guidance, is available in the “Internal” area of our COVID-19 Resources. Visit our FAQ on the Nonprofit Relief Funds.

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What are some of the public policy and government relations efforts being led by CMF and the Office of Foundation Liaison in response to the pandemic?

Our Office of Foundation Liaison (OFL) and CMF policy teams are working with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's administration, the Michigan Legislature and members of Congress, as well as key federal agencies. We are informing policymakers of what we see as needs on the ground and the roles philanthropy can step into during the pandemic. As one example, CMF, the Michigan Nonprofit Association and Michigan Association of United Ways sent a joint letter to Michigan’s congressional delegation seeking their support for our nonprofit partners.

We are setting up briefing calls with the governor and her team and members of Congress in the Michigan delegation regarding the current response legislation as well as upcoming legislation we know will be in the pipeline to address fiscal stimulus and other recovery issues. 

The OFL is working in partnership with cabinet heads to address issues related to food distribution, workforce supports, education and vulnerable populations.  

We’re also advancing policy recommendations and concerns coming from CMF members and affinity groups to leverage the problem solving capacity of the sector and lay the groundwork for a coordinated public/private response as the crisis evolves. 

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What policy recommendations has the Michigan League for Public Policy outlined in response to COVID-19?

The Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) has provided briefs in six key areas of policy: child care, food access, healthcare, housing, paid leave and unemployment insurance. Within each brief is a set of policy recommendations to inform lawmakers’ public policy decisions. MLPP notes, “We commend the state and federal action that has been taken so far and want to do our part to guide them as these challenging times and important decisions continue.”

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How can I learn more about the State of Michigan’s response and access state-provided resources?

Visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirus for information on what Michigan is doing to combat the spread of COVID-19, and access fact sheets and a tool to find your local health department. On that same webpage is a link to subscribe to emailed updates from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS).  

On March 26, 2020, CMF hosted a virtual meeting with Governor Gretchen Whitmer and members of her cabinet for a discussion on priorities and concerns during this unprecedented time of need. View meeting recording. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the launch of a statewide hotline to respond to health-related questions about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Public health and other experts will answer health-related questions about COVID-19. The team can also direct residents, providers and more to the right resources in their local communities and in other state government departments. The hotline will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136. MDHHS announces that staff cannot provide individual clinical advice or a diagnosis through the hotline and those who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 and are symptomatic should call their health care provider.  

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What are the State of Michigan’s virus mitigation strategies?

All individuals should take the following basic personal-hygiene measures to prevent the spread of the virus:

-Wear a face covering (i.e. face mask) in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces.
-Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
-Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
-Avoid handshakes.
-Avoid contact with sick people who are sick.
-Stay home when you are sick.

The MDHHS interim recommendations for community mitigation strategies include recommendations specific to a variety of groups, including individuals and families at home, workplaces and community organizations. More information is available on the State’s COVID-19 webpage, including versions in Spanish and Arabic.    

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Where can I find information about Executive Orders and Directives enacted for the State of Michigan?

A list of executive orders and directives pertaining to COVID-19 can be found here.

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How can I learn more about various state and local government responses to COVID-19 around the country?

The government relations firm Stateside is maintaining information on state and local government responses to COVID-19. Their reporting includes state legislation and executive orders related to paid leave proposals, mandated business closures, appropriations for state responses to the outbreak and executive actions such as the creation of task forces and declarations of emergency. Selected agency, regulatory and rulemaking actions are also being included as they are announced or emerge. 

View Meeting with Governor Gretchen WhitmerView Meeting with U.S. Senator Gary PetersView Meeting with U.S. Rep. Debbie DingellView Meeting with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton

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