In the last week, there have been many changes to Governor Whitmer's Executive orders and COVID-19 Responses. In the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 14 the Michigan Legislature made final revisions and passed legislation related to COVID-19 policies on a wide array of concerns. As you are aware, the Michigan Supreme Court recently invalidated every COVID-19 related executive order that Governor Whitmer had issued since April 30. Historically the Legislature is not in session three weeks prior to an election and this rare session saw a level of cooperation and negotiations between the Executive Office and republican-controlled Legislature not regularly seen in Lansing since the pandemic started. Here are a few issues you should be aware of:
Governor Whitmer takes action to protect workers, keep
workplaces safe from
COVID-19. MIOSHA issues emergency rules to clarify requirements
for employers to control, prevent, and
mitigate the spread of infection. The
Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the
Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) is one of the first
state OSHA programs to promulgate rules which clarify the safety requirements
employers must follow to protect their employees from COVID-19. Governor Gretchen Whitmer
today signed her concurrence of the need for a comprehensive set of Emergency
Rules that will help protect Michigan workers, businesses, customers and
communities from the spread of COVID-19.
Under the Emergency Rules, businesses that resume in-person work must, among other things, have a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and provide thorough training to their employees that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE), steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.
MIOSHA’s Emergency Rules implement workplace safeguards for all Michigan businesses and specific requirements for industries, including manufacturing, construction, retail, health care, exercise facilities, restaurants and bars.
The rules establish workplace safety requirements and employers should coordinate these requirements with the Emergency Order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces and childcare facilities, placing capacity limitations on stores, bars and other public venues and providing safer workplaces.
A set of online resources at Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety provides businesses with the guidelines they and their employees must follow and includes a sample COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and a reopening checklist to help businesses put safeguards in place. Businesses can also find posters for employees and customers, factsheets and educational videos.
To enhance MIOSHA’s consultative services, the newly launched MIOSHA Ambassador Program will send safety and health experts to businesses statewide now to offer education and support, with a focus on workplaces with a higher risk of community transmission. To request consultation, education and training services, call 517-284-7720 or online at MIOSHA Request for Consultative Assistance.
For more information about MIOSHA’s safety and health guidelines to protect Michigan’s workforce during the pandemic, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health may contact MIOSHA using the new hotline at 855-SAFE-C19 (855-723-3219).
To report health and safety concerns in the workplace, go to Michigan.gov/MIOSHAcomplaint. To view the Emergency Rules, click this link: MIOSHA Emergency Rules 10-14-20.pdf To view the Emergency Rules infographic, click here.
Governor Whitmer Reissues Pandemic Measures Under Different Laws in Response to Michigan Supreme Court Ruling After last week's ruling, the Whitmer administration has reissued mask mandates and restrictions on public gatherings under a new set of laws. The result is that very little has changed to the restrictions in place to fight the pandemic, despite the Michigan Supreme Court ruling her original legal statute for energy powers being ruled unconstitutional. Read more.
Remote Witnessing and Expanded Remote Notarization The Elder Law and Disability Rights Section and the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan recognize the current dilemma:
- When executing a legal document, in-person witnessing and notarization are the best means of confirming capacity and protecting against fraud.
- During the pandemic, it often is unsafe—or impossible—to witness and notarize legal documents in person. This reality presents an ongoing challenge.
- There is a tension between ease-of-use and protectiveness.
MMLA is very much involved in the process to reinstate this practice and will keep you informed on any decisions and changes.
Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Creating Eviction Diversion Program
6/25/2020 — Governor Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-134 extending the temporary suspension of evictions until July 15 and creating the Eviction Diversion Program, which outlines a process for renters to get fast rental assistance or establish a manageable payment plan to keep Michiganders in their homes. Rental assistance under the Eviction Diversion Program will be available beginning July 16.
"No Michigander should have to worry about losing their home during a global health pandemic and, at the same time, landlords and management companies need rent from their tenants to sustain their businesses,” Governor Whitmer said. "This innovative new program will save lives, save money, and save businesses by keeping families in their homes and providing immediate financial relief to landlords for back rent they’re due.”
Under Executive Order 2020-134, $50 million of rental assistance will be made available in the form of lump sum payments to landlords in exchange for allowing tenants to remain in their homes, forgiving late fees and up to 10% of the amount due. Tenants whose back rent is not completely covered by the Eviction Diversion Program will be entered into manageable payment plans facilitated by Supreme Court Administrative Order 2020-17.
The program was created following the passage of Senate Bill 690, which passed unanimously out of both the Michigan House and Senate on June 17. The legislation appropriated $60 million in Coronavirus Relief Funding to the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity for the creation of a rental assistance program to assist tenants and landlords after the eviction moratorium concludes.
To view Executive Order 2020-134, click the link: Executive Order 2020-134.pdf
Governor Whitmer Extends Executive Order Enabling Remote Transactions
6/24/2020 LANSING, Mich. — Governor Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-131, which extends a previous executive order temporarily allowing e-signatures on official documents and remote notarizations to avoid unnecessary in-person contact during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 2020-131 expires on July 31, 2020.
"As we continue to suppress the spread of COVID-19 and make every effort to prevent a second wave, it’s crucial that we take all measures to avoid unnecessary in-person contact while ensuring documents can be signed or notarized,” Governor Whitmer said. "Encouraging the use of e-signatures and alternative means of notarization will protect more people during this ongoing public health crisis.”
Under Executive Order 2020-131, requirements for in-person notarizations are temporarily suspended and transactions that require a notary to be completed via two-way, real-time audiovisual technology are allowed. The order also extends the validity of notary commissions until July 31, 2020. It also permits the use of electronic signatures in all cases, except in rare circumstances when a physical signature is required.
To view Executive Order 2020-131, click the link: EO 2020-131.pdf
CFPB AND STATE REGULATORS PROVIDE ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE TO ASSIST BORROWERS IMPACTED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
- FHFA Extends GSE Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium (5/14/2020)
- FHFA Announces New Payment Deferral Option at the GSEs (5/14/2020)
Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order to Re-Open Construction & Real Estate Safely: Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-70 as part of her MI Safe Start plan. The executive order will allow the May 7 resumption of some types of work that present a very low risk of infection, including construction, real-estate activities, and work that is traditionally and primarily performed outdoors.
This is great news for our Realtor partners. Click here for the full order. Notice on page 10, section (h) where it says:" Effective at 12:01 am on May 7, 2020, workers in the real-estate industry, including agents, appraisers, brokers, inspectors, surveyors, and registers of deeds, provided that:
- (1) Any showings, inspections, appraisals, photography or videography, or final walk-throughs must be performed by appointment and must be limited to no more than four people on the premises at any one time. No in-person open houses are permitted.
- (2) Private showings may only be arranged for owner-occupied homes, vacant homes, vacant land, commercial property, and industrial property.
After GOP Legislature Declares ‘Mission Accomplished’ on COVID-19, Governor Whitmer Signs New Executive Orders to Save Lives, Protect Michiganders New orders effective through May 28, 2020 To view the governor's Executive Orders, click the links below:
Governor Whitmer and Michigan’s Financial Institutions Agree to Partnership for Providing Borrowers 90-day Mortgage-Payment Forbearance
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has partnered with Michigan’s financial institutions to recognize the measures being taken to ensure that no one experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will lose their home during the COVID-19 crisis.
Michigan’s financial institutions have been working hard to assist their customers during these unprecedented times. This partnership will encourage uniformity in available options for consumers in need of assistance, regardless of financial institution.
The Department of Insurance and Financial Services has issued a new Bulletin: Bulletin 2020-21-BT/CF/CU Executive Order 2020-59: Essential Financial Services
Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Removing Barriers to Remote Transactions and Estate Planning To view Executive Order 2020-41, click here:: EO 2020-41 Emerg order - notaries.pdf
Governor Whitmer Extends, Expands "Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order to Save Lives EO 2020-42.pdf
Self-Employed, Other Newly Eligible Workers Can Apply for Unemployment beginning Monday, April 13 at 8AM online at Michigan.gov/UIA, $600 Federal Payments Also Begin
Michigan Legislature Approves 23-Day Extension To Whitmer Executive Order until April 30. read resolution
- Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)
- Executive Orders, Executive Directives and Frequently Asked Questions
- E-Notary Providers in Michigan
- FHA/HUD COVID-19 Updates
- FHFA Press Release on Servicer Liquidity
- FHFA Suspends Foreclosures and Evictions for Enterprise-Backed Mortgages
- HUD PROVIDES IMMEDIATE RELIEF FOR HOMEOWNERS AMID NATIONWIDE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE Suspends all foreclosure and evictions for the next 60 days
- CFPB Guidance Aims to Provide ‘Clarity, Compliance’ to Mortgage Servicing Transfers
- CFPB Issues TRID & Regulation Z Interpretive Rule
- Director Kraninger Statement on Joint HUD-FHFA Announcement on Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium
- CFPB Provides Flexibility During COVID-19 Pandemic
- MBA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
- MBA sets-up a Consumer's information Page on COVID-19 FAQs
- Statement by President & CEO Bob Broeksmit, CMB
- Freddie Mac
- Lump Sum Repayment is Not Required in Forbearance
STAKEHOLDER ANNOUNCEMENT: USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19 *Updated April 15, 2020* Read the full announcement to learn more about the opportunities USDA Rural Development is implementing to provide immediate relief to our customers, partners, and stakeholders.