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AI- 3355   8. b.    
BOC Regular
Meeting Date: 10/15/2020  
Resolution to Extend the Local Declaration of Emergency
FROM: Jim Dyer, Corporation Counsel, Corporation Counsel
Department: Corporation Counsel  

Resolved, that the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners, under the Michigan Emergency Management Act, does approve and consent to an extension of the Local State of Emergency, from and since the March 18, 2020 declaration of the Board Chair, and authorizes the Board Chair and Secretary of the Board to sign the attached resolution and transmit it, as required by the Act.
The Joint Operations Command, County Administration and the Corporation Counsel recommend approval of the resolution.
The Michigan Emergency Management Act (EMA) provides for the Governor, and the Chief Elected Officer of a municipality, including a County, to issue a declaration of an emergency. That declaration remains in effect for a limited number of days; 28 days in the case of a state emergency declared by the Governor and 7 days in the case of a local declared emergency. A local emergency can be extended only " . . . with the consent of the governing body of the County. . ." according to the provisions of Section 10 of the EMA. 

On March 18, 2020, Board Chair Frisbie declared a local emergency under section 10 of the EMA. Earlier, the US Department of Health and Human Services had declared a public health emergency, and President Trump declared a national state of emergency. Those declarations, as well a declaration by the World Health Organization classifying COVID-19 as a global pandemic. All of these declarations remain in effect.

Shortly after the first positive case was identified in Michigan, Governor Whitmer also declared a state-wide state of emergency under the EMA. She also issued multiple executive orders in reliance upon that declaration of emergency. Based on the Governor's declaration, an extension of the March 18, 2020, declaration of local emergency issued by Chair Frisbie did not seem necessary, as Michigan Law was satisfied. Unfortunately, a dispute arose between the Governor and the State Legislature concerning the interpretation of the EMA. Initially, the Michigan Court of Claims, the Court of Appeals and several Federal Courts sided with the Governor in this dispute and upheld her declaration of emergency and certain executive orders that were challenged as inappropriately issued. The Courts had generally agreed with the Governor's assertion that as the COVID-19 emergency continued a new 28 day declarations was permitted by the EMA.  
This dispute was resolved recently by the Michigan Supreme Court, which held that legislative concurrence was necessary for a Governor's declaration under the EMA to remain effective 28 days after it is first issued. The Court effectively concluded that the continuation of the COVID-19 emergency was not itself sufficient to permit the Governor to renew the declaration without legislative consent.
While the Court's had upheld the Governor's declaration under the EMA, it was unnecessary to continue the local declaration. Now, that dispute has been resolved, and the Joint Operations Command, County Administration and the Corporation Counsel believe that  the Board of Commissions consent to continue the local EMA declaration from and since March 18, 2020, is prudent and necessary to assure continued viability of existing, and potential future, CARES Act funding and FEMA reimbursements, to the extent they may require the existence of a state of emergency based on state law. 

In addition, proposed legislation modifying the Michigan Open Meetings Act requires a declaration of a local emergency for virtual or electronic meetings. A local declaration since March 18, 2020, is also advisable to assure that action taken since that date, in reliance on a state of emergency under the Michigan EMA have continued viability. The proposed resolution contains language that is expectd to be adopted by the legislature in revisions to the Open Meetings Act.
As suggested by the Commission.
The Joint Operations Center, County Administration and the Corporation Counsel recommend approval of the resolution declaring a local emergency under the Michigan EMA from and since the March 18, 2020, declaration by Board Chair Frisbie. 

Fiscal Impact
Adoption of the resolution will have no impact on the County budget. However, the lack of a local declaration of emergency may put at risk current and future requests for federal and state aid related to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Proposed Resolution Language

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