blog, articles & publications

Coronavirus / COVID-19 :: Michigan Municipalities / April 21 Filing Deadline

As of this posting, the statutory requirements regarding nomination petitions under the Michigan Election Law Act, PA 116 of 1954 (MCL 168.1 et seq.) remain in effect. This includes petition signature requirements and the April 21, 2020 filing deadline. The Michigan Secretary of State has acknowledged concerns and inquiries related to the filing deadline due to COVID-19 and the stay at home restrictions mandated by Michigan Executive Order 2020-42. The Secretary has requested a three-week extension of the April 21 filing deadline. However, there has been no extension, and the filing deadline currently remains in place.  Read More

Coronavirus / COVID-19 :: Michigan Municipalities :: Vacation & Second Home Travel Restrictions

On April 9, 2020 at 2:07 pm, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-42 (the “EO”). The EO was effective April 9, 2020 at 11:59 pm and continues until April 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm. In addition to extending the duration of the Stay – at – Home order previously issued under Executive Order 2020-21, the EO enacts additional travel restrictions (among other things).   Read More

Coronavirus / COVID-19 :: Michigan Municipalities - FOIA

On April 5, 2020 at 8:47 pm, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-38 (the “EO”) temporarily extending certain Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) deadlines to facilitate COVID-19 emergency response efforts. The EO is in effect until June 4, 2020 at 11:59 pm.   Read More

Condominium Bylaws Amendment Restricting Short Term Rentals Decision

In Highfield Beach at Lake Michigan v. Scott E. Sanderson, et. al, ___ Mich App ___ (2020), decided on March 24, 2020 (Case Nos. 343968, 345177; 2020 WL 1445415) as a published decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the enforceability of an amended condominium bylaw prohibiting short-term rentals under 90 days, denying relief to an owner who argued his 15-year contract with a property management company that involved short-term leases of his condominium unit on his behalf could not be interrupted by the amendment.  Read More

Coronavirus/ COVID-19 :: Michigan Municipalities - May 5 Election

On March 27, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-27 (the “EO”) temporarily suspending the rules and procedures related to the May 5, 2020 election. The goal of the temporary suspension is to (1) allow the election to be conducted by absentee ballot to the greatest extent possible and (2) to better enable jurisdictions to move ballot proposals to the August 4, 2020 election date.   Read More

Coronavirus / COVID -19 :: Holding Public Meetings Electronically

Municipalities throughout Michigan have conducted municipal public body meetings electronically via teleconference, videoconference, Zoom, etc. This can be done under Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order No. 2020-15 so long as the proper procedures and public postings are utilized. One practical problem, however, is public comment. The best video or teleconferencing platforms allow the municipal clerk or other municipal official to “mute” participating members of the public until the appropriate public comment or public hearing portions of the meeting.   Read More

Coronavirus / COVID-19 :: Michigan Municipalities :: Stay Home & Stay Safe

On March 23, 2020 at 11:00 am, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-21 (the “EO”) prohibiting in-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life. It appears that the EO is more stringent than the “shelter in place” orders that have been issued by other states including California, Illinois, and Ohio. The restrictions imposed by the EO take effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01am and continue through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 pm.    Read More

Coronavirus / COVID-19 :: Michigan Municipalities :: Paying Bills & Ratifying Emergency Actions

Over the past week or two, municipal officials throughout Michigan have had to make emergency decisions, institute temporary policies and take various actions that normally would be approved by the governing body. Given that many municipal offices are temporarily closed (with or without staff) and that public meetings have been discouraged, many municipal governing bodies have not been able to meet. Accordingly, municipal officials have often had to act under emergency and extreme situations on their own.    Read More

Coronavirus / COVID-19 :: Update - Municipal Meeting Issues in Michigan

On March 18, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-15 (the “EO”) addressing virtual meetings of public bodies under the Michigan Open Meetings Act, PA 267 of 1976, as amended (the “OMA”). In part, the EO states that “to the extent that the [… OMA] requires that a meeting of a public body be held in a physical place available to the general public or requires the physical presence of one or more members of a public body, strict compliance with section 3 of the OMA, MCL 15.263, is temporarily suspended in order to alleviate any such physical-place or physical-presence requirements [….]” The EO goes on to specify the manner in which public bodies may conduct virtual meetings (i.e., via video conference, teleconference, etc.). The EO only addresses public meetings held between March 18, 2020 and April 15, 2020. To address specific meeting procedures, municipalities are encouraged work with their attorneys.   Read More

Coronavirus / COVID-19 :: Michigan General Law Township Considerations

Unlike home rule cities and charter townships, general law townships (hereafter, “townships”) do not have charters, and the authority of a general law township supervisor is largely limited to what is expressly authorized by state statute or the township board. Because of this, much of a township’s emergency response will require action by the township board which “may adopt ordinances regulating the public health, safety, and general welfare of persons and property [….]” MCL 41.181. This can be somewhat counter intuitive because a township supervisor is often viewed as the executive head of the township and may be presumed to have the authority similar to that of a home rule city mayor or a charter township supervisor.   Read More