Governor Signs Executive Orders Extending the State of Emergency and Disaster Declaration

While the Governor's Stay at Home Executive Order remains in place through May 15th, the State's Emergency Declaration was set to expire on April 30, 2020. The Governor and the legislature were unable to come to an agreement on an extension (see Governor Whitmer and Legislative Leaders Clash on Extension of Emergency Declaration), so the Governor bypassed the legislature and issued three new executive orders, declaring a state of emergency and state of disaster across the state through May 28th, 2020. 

Executive Order 2020-66, which terminates the existing state of emergency and disaster declarations issued under the Emergency Management Act in Executive Order 2020-33.  

Executive Order 2020-67, which clarifies that a state of emergency remains in effect under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. The order is effective immediately and continues through May 28, 2020 at 11:59pm. The governor will evaluate the continuing need for this order prior to its expiration, and if she determines that an emergency no longer exists, will terminate or extend the state of emergency declared in this order.  

Executive Order 2020-68, which declares a state of emergency and a state of disaster across the State of Michigan under the Emergency Management Act of 1976. The state of emergency and state of disaster declared by this order will be effective through May 28, 2020 at 11:59pm, and the governor will evaluate the continuing need for the order prior to its expiration, terminate the states of emergency and disaster if the threat or danger has passed 

 

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IPAA Webinar: Proactively Navigating Distress in the Oil & Gas Industry Now Available for Viewing

View the recorded April 29th Industry Insights Webinar here.
Access Password: IPAAIIW4.29

Proactively Navigating Distress in the Oil & Gas Industry

In early March, the oil & gas industry was punched with a historic, overnight drop in the price of oil. To make matters worse, the rapidly expanding COVID-19 pandemic brought a decrease in demand, exacerbating the industry’s sudden downturn.

In this timely and insightful webinar, three experienced restructuring professionals discuss how to proactively and strategically navigate this distressed oil & gas environment, including analyzing and measuring liquidity, determining valuation, providing a glimpse into lenders’ perspective, evaluating the potential use of bankruptcy as a tool and considering post-bankruptcy M&A. Part of our discussion will include a look at past down-cycles and what might be on the horizon.

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Governor Whitmer and Legislative Leaders Clash on Extension of Emergency Declaration

While the Governor's Stay at Home Executive Order remains in place through May 15th, the State's Emergency Declaration was set to expire on April 30, 2020.

Under the 1976 emergency powers act, the state House and Senate would need to vote to approve an extension of the state's emergency declaration. Senate Majority Leader, Mike Shirkey, presented the Governor with a deal that would have extended the Governor's state of emergency declaration for two one week periods in exchange for future "Stay Safe. Stay Home" orders to be enacted legislatively. She very publicly rejected the deal, and a day later moved to extend the declaration without legislative approval. To do so, the Governor used her executive order powers under the state's 1945 emergency powers act to extend her ability to suspend certain state laws into the future which does not require legislative approval.  This action was expected. 

However, she also issued Executive Order 2020-68, which declares a state of emergency and a state of disaster across the State of Michigan under the Emergency Management Act of 1976. The 1976 emergency powers act requires the Legislature to extend a Governor's emergency declaration another 28 days. As mentioned previously, she did not get legislative approval to do so. 

In an article this morning, MIRS News featured comments from several lawyers on this action, 

Peter Ruddell, an attorney with Honigman, said by doing this, Whitmer "bifurcated them, in case one of them, presumably the 1976 one, is deemed invalid." In other words, each act has the ability to stand on its own, Ruddell said. He said the 1976 act could be the one deemed invalid because that's the one requiring legislative sign-off after 28 days.

Former House Speaker and attorney for Plunkett Cooney Tom Leonard disagreed and said the Governor made a tactical mistake by extending her state of emergency under both laws.

"Her declaration of emergency under the 1945 law is unsurprising. But it's perplexing that exactly one minute after terminating the COVID-19 emergency under the 1976 law upon failing to get the legislative approval that law requires, she issued another COVID-19 declaration under the very same law as if there were a 'new' emergency. I don't know how she will defend this position in court," Leonard said.

The legislature is expected to file suit and take the matter to the courts to argue the case that the Governor cannot continue issuing emergency executive orders into perpetuity. On April 30th, the House passed a resolution, HR 250, that gives Speaker Chatfield the ability to legally challenge the Governor for actions she takes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including her ability to issue overlapping emergency powers orders. The Senate has given Majority Leader Mike Shirkey the same authority. 

We will keep you updated as this continues to unfold.

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New web tool can show shoreline property owners shoreline erosion and historic water levels

Do you have property on the Great Lakes?

Michigan Tech’s Coastal Zone Management WebApp can show you the history of your property’s shoreline and the risk for erosion and bluff retreat. This project documents the Great lakes shorelines over time. The default base map uses 2015/2016 aerial photography from the USDA, from which, users can add layers to view historic water levels, shore erosion, bluffs and 30 year bluff retreat risk area.

The project developed at the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University in cooperation with the University of Michigan, is supported by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Coastal Zone Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Michigan’s water levels are at their highest in more than two decades. From Detroit’s Belle Isle to the U.P.’s Keweenaw Peninsula, these exceptionally high water levels have caused millions of dollars in damage to private property and public infrastructure, including roads and state parks, impacted community water systems and caused public health concerns.

For more information on high water levels and resources such as fact sheets, FAQs, a link to the MiWaters permit portal, safety information and resources for permit holders, go to Michigan.gov/EGLEHighWater.

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Great Lakes Shoreline Erosion and Permitting. Michigan High Water Virtual Town Hall

The second Michigan High Water Virtual Townhall on Tuesday, April 29th, featured presentations by  Dr. Guy Meadows of Michigan Technological University; Charlie Simon of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District Regulatory Office; Dan Deitz of Deitz House Moving of Muskegon; and Brian Majka of GEI Consultants in Grand Rapids. The virtual townhall put on by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) detailed the work thats been done in the state to protect our Great Lakes shoreline since the last record high water levels in the 1980's and the natural processes that have shaped our shores.  Additionally, EGLE and the U.S. Army Corps discussed the permitting processes, shoreline protection options for homes or critical structures that are in jeopardy. before taking questions from the public. 

A recording of the town hall will be available shortly. Below you will find a few of the questions that were answered on the call. 

Is financial help available for lake shore property owners? Unfortunately, at this time there is not. 

How long is permitting taking on average? 33% of General Permits are completed in 7 or less days of submission of a complete application. 86% are completed in 60 days or less. 

What's a rough estimate on the cost of rock for bank stabilization? While this may vary substantially, prices tend to range from $500-$2,000 for a linear foot of rock, though there are cheaper, more temporary solutions. 

The recording is available here

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Free IPAA Industry Insights Webinar: Proactively Navigating Distress in the Oil & Gas Industry


In early March, the oil & gas industry was punched with a historic, overnight drop in the price of oil. To make matters worse, the rapidly expanding COVID-19 pandemic brought a decrease in demand, exacerbating the industry’s sudden downturn. In this timely and insightful webinar, three experienced restructuring professionals discuss how to proactively and strategically navigate this distressed oil & gas environment, including analyzing and measuring liquidity, determining valuation, providing a glimpse into lenders’ perspective, evaluating the potential use of bankruptcy as a tool and considering post-bankruptcy M&A. Part of our discussion will include a look at past down-cycles and what might be on the horizon.
Time: Apr 29, 2020 12:00pm EST.  
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Employers Must Provide Masks Under Extended Stay at Home Order

In accordance with the new Executive Order, 2020-59, beginning Monday, April 27, individuals must wear face coverings in public and employers whose workers perform in-person work must provide face coverings for their workers. Employers must provide non-medical grade face coverings at a minimum; supplies of N95 masks and surgical masks should generally be reserved for health care professionals and first responders.

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President Trump Signs $484 billion Relief Bill to help Small Businesses and Hospitals, Expand Testing

Background: As a result of the CARES Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) created additional loan/funding programs to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. As of April 16, the SBA issued over $10.3 Billion in loans to over 43,000 Michigan small businesses. Nationally, SBA executed more loans in 14 days of CARES Act implementation than the agency had done in the previous 14 years. By April 16th, The Small Business Administration’s (SBA), Paycheck Protection Loan Program (PPP) intended to help small businesses, had doled out all of its $350 Billion in allocated funding, putting pressure on lawmakers to reach an agreement for additional funding to the program. 

This new relief bill includes $310 billion for the depleted Paycheck Protection Program (In total, $322 billion was appropriated, to include fees for the PPP), in addition to $60 billion in loans and grants for economic disaster assistance, $75 billion for hospitals and health-care providers, who face budget gaps created by a slowdown in elective surgeries and the surge of patients sick with Covid-19. It also allocates $25 billion to accelerate testing efforts across the country, tasking the Trump administration with creating a national plan to assist states to expand testing efforts.

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Governor Whitmer Extends Stay at Home Order through May 15th, but Loosens Restrictions

With Executive Order 2020-59, Whitmer has extended the stay at home order while loosening some restrictions put in place in the last Order. The Governor has lifted restrictions so some businesses linked to outdoor activities, such as golf (without carts) and motorized boating.

Landscapers, lawn-service companies, plant nurseries and bike repair shops can resume operating, subject to social-distancing rules. Stores selling nonessential supplies can reopen for curbside pickup and delivery. Big-box retailers no longer have to close off garden centers and areas dedicated to selling paint, flooring, and carpet.

Additionally, travel between two in-state residences will be allowed, though strongly discouraged.

People will now be required, rather than encouraged, to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as grocery stores if they can medically tolerate it. Employers must provide non-medical grade masks to their in-person employees.

The order continues to prohibit in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life, with exemptions for various critical jobs. Restaurants remain closed to dine-in customers under a separate measure, and bars, movie theaters, gyms and other sports facilities also are still shuttered.

The measure immediately replaces E.O. 2020-42 that was scheduled to expire next week. 

View the full Order here. 

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House Speaker Lee Chatfield Announces Creation of a Bi-Partisan COVID-19 Oversight Committee

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield has announced that the Michigan State House & Senate will convene tomorrow to create a special oversight committee on COVID-19 to examine the government’s response. More details to follow tomorrow. 

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Michigan Petroleum Directory Now Available!