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Amendments to Open Meetings Act Pass Senate and House, Head to Governor's Desk

October 14, 2020

image of marquee showing senators votes on SB1108Late yesterday afternoon, the Michigan House of Representatives passed SB 1108, allowing local governments (including libraries) to continue to meet electronically, under specific circumstances and for a limited period, protecting the safety of the public and public officials while ensuring public participation and transparency for meetings. Late yesterday evening, the Michigan Senate took up a concurrence vote to support it moving immediately to Governor Whitmer’s desk for signature.

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MIOSHA Issues COVID-19 Emergency Rules

October 14, 2020

This afternoon, as part of the continuing effort to mitigate the effects of the court ruling that in essence dismantled all of Governor Whitmer's Executive Orders, the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration (MIOSHA) issued an emergency rule set on COVID-19. In addition to many rules applying to all businesses covered by the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Act, the emergency rules also implement rules for certain categories of businesses, including: Retail, Libraries, and Museums in Rule 9, Section 3.

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MDHHS Director Issues Emergency Orders Continuing COVID-19 Safety Measures

UPDATED October 9, 2020

On October 9, Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated the emergency order issued on October 5, for "Gathering Prohibition and Face Coverings." This order is effective immediately and remains in effect through October 30, 2020.

The Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 restricts gathering sizes and requires face coverings in public spaces. Under MCL 333.2253, if the MDHHS director determines that control of an epidemic is necessary to protect the public health, the director by emergency order may prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose and may establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to ensure the continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws.

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Legislation to Allow Virtual Meetings Introduced in Michigan House and Senate

October 5, 2020

New bipartisan support in both the state Senate and House concerning virtual meetings has been introduced - Senate Bill 1108 and House Bill 6207.

The legislation would amend the Open Meetings Act (OMA) to allow for electronic “virtual” meetings to take place without an executive order suspending some requirements, under specific circumstances. The changes would allow for remote participation during a statewide or local declared state of emergency, or for a public body member with a medical condition. These bills also would allow in-person meetings and a combination of virtual and in-person arrangements.

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Michigan Supreme Court Strikes Down Gov. Whitmer's COVID-19 Executive Orders - MLA Recommends Libraries Continue to Follow Reopening Plans Currently in Place

October 5, 2020

In light of the Supreme Court ruling late Friday that struck down months of executive orders by Governor Gretchen Whitmer that were aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, the MLA Advocacy and Legislative Committee recommended the following be retained within any new mandates:

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Executive Orders: Updates

October 2, 2020

MLA continues to follow the Governor's Executive Orders to monitor their impact on libraries. Here is the status and a short recap of Executive Orders of note to libraries as of October 2, 2020.

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Federal Advocacy by ALA – HEROES II Proposal

September 30, 2020

There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute…Congress is expected to take action to avoid a government shutdown tonight at midnight on September 30, 2020. The Senate is scheduled to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR), which will keep the government funded at the current FY20 levels until December 11. The House cleared the bill last week, and the President is expected to sign it later today. This will put the FY21 appropriations discussion after the election in November when Congress returns for a lame-duck session. 

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$1 Million Increase in State Aid for Libraries for FY 21

September 23, 2020

Our voices have been heard!

Our advocacy efforts (yours, mine, and ours) have paid off!

We did it! 

The library community has been rewarded with a $1 million increase to the FY21 State Aid for Libraries.

This kind of increase takes determination, time, and lots of hard work…For the past few years, we asked for an increase. A year ago, we were hopeful that our legislative leaders would add this as a supplemental as the budget “season” dragged on. This year, in the midst of dramatic budget cuts throughout our state – caused by a global pandemic and worsening economic challenges – we were hopeful to remain flat. But that certainly isn’t the case!

As of September 23, Michigan legislators voted to approve the FY21 State Budget with an increase in State Aid to Libraries of $1 million GF/GP for a total of $13,067,700. Other line items for the Library of Michigan – 33 FTE - $4.9M, Michigan eLibrary - $1.7M (the MeL GF was cut by about $32,000), and Library Services and Technology Programs - $5.6M have remained somewhat similar to past year’s budgets with general increases to staff salaries, Governor Whitmer is expected to sign this budget into law in the coming days and it will become effective on October 1, 2020. The Governor's office issued a press release yesterday evening stating: "The Michigan Legislature and the administration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have worked together to put the Fiscal Year 2021 budget in place that will soon become law. It is a budget that funds shared priorities such as education, economic development, public health, public safety, and the environment."

View the FY2020-2021 General Omnibus Budget. The Library of Michigan budget appropriations can be found on page 104-105.

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SB611 Library Privacy Act Passes in the Senate, Heads to House

September 22, 2020

For the past year, the Michigan Library Association (MLA) and our members have worked diligently with Senator Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) to make sure that any changes to the Michigan Library Privacy Act (1982 PA 455) continue to protect the rights of Michigan citizens.

After an extensive pause in moving bills through the legislative process due to the coronavirus, a few weeks ago, SB611 (S-2) was moved from the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee to the full Senate. With a slight amendment recommended by the MLA Board and approved by Senator MacGregor, on Tuesday, Sept. 22, SB611 (S-2) was heard on the Senate floor and was passed with a unanimous vote of approval. We are proud to say that it will now move onto the Michigan House of Representatives for their consideration (we think after the election) and then onto Governor Whitmer for her final signature (hopefully before the end of the year.)

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Executive Orders: The Latest Updates

September 18, 2020

MLA continues to follow the Governor's Executive Orders to monitor their impact on libraries. Here is the status and a short recap of Executive Orders of note to libraries as of September 17, 2020:

EO 2020-181: Amendment to the Safe Start order (EO 2020-176)

In order to limit the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces, this order clarifies that indoor social gatherings and organized events among persons not part of the same household remain limited to 10 people or fewer statewide.

EO 2020-177 - Declaration of the State of Emergency and state of disaster-related to the COVID-19 pandemic effective immediately and continuing through October 1, 2020, at 11:59 pm.

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REALM Test 3 Complete - Updated Recommendations

August 27, 2020

We continue to learn more every day about the novel coronavirus and what best practices we should adopt to best safeguard against the possible spread of COVID-19.

On August 18, the REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) project published the results of the third round of Battelle’s laboratory testing for COVID-19 on five plastic-based materials: talking book USB cassettes, DVD, storage bags, storage containers, and plexiglass.

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