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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I know many of you have reached out to me with questions and concerns about the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. I want to let you know that I am working to address those issues and I appreciate having your insight as we prepare to take the next steps in our state's response.

I have been working with my colleagues on a proposal to help certain Michigan workers return to their jobs safely and put the state’s economy back on track. The “Open Michigan Safely” plan relies on measurable data points to safely enable more Michigan workers to return to work while also protecting themselves and others.

We have shared this plan with the governor and asked her to respond prior to April 30 on how it can be incorporated into short and long-term plans for Michigan.

As always, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or at 517-373-3760 if you have any suggestions, questions or concerns that I can help you address.


Rick Outman
State Senator
33rd District


Outman, Lower to host COVID-19 tele-town hall

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In an effort to maintain communication with residents, State Rep. Jim Lower and I will be hosting a COVID-19 tele-town hall with Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan, and Todd Cook, director of legislative affairs for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

Details of the meeting, including the call-in number and access code can be found below:

Date: Monday, April 27
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Call-in number: 855-756-7520
Extension: 59895#

I look forward to hearing from everyone. Anyone who is interested is welcome to join the conversation!


Senate approves revisions to executive authority during states of emergency, forms COVID-19 task force

I joined my colleagues today during a special session to approve measures that would update state laws regarding states of emergency and create a bipartisan, bicameral committee to provide oversight of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

I believe the governor’s first stay home order was made in the best interest of the state with the information that was available at the time. Science and research have had some time to catch up and are providing us with information as to how we can begin to go about our daily lives safely.

I do, however, believe the governor’s second stay home order went beyond reason and unnecessarily created an extreme burden on families across the state — especially those in regions with low infection rates and little to no growth.

Senate Bills 857 and 858 would alleviate some of the concerns brought up by this order by allowing greater legislative oversight of the governor’s actions during a state of emergency. These bills would require legislative approval to extend a state of emergency every 14 days, rather than the current 28 days, allowing for additional input and consideration into future statewide plans.

My colleagues and I also approved House Concurrent Resolution 20, which would create the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic to more fully review Michigan’s preparedness for and response to the virus outbreak. This bipartisan, bicameral committee will have the ability to subpoena information related to the governor’s actions thus far during the pandemic.

I believe we can use this opportunity to improve the state’s response going forward and provide some checks and balances between the Legislature and the executive branch.

Recent executive orders


Governor extends stay home order through May 15

Earlier today, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-59, extending her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through May 15.

While the new order relaxes some restrictions on outdoor activities and will allow some workers who perform previously suspended activities to go back to work, it brings with it new requirements. People are now required to wear face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. Though no criminal charges will result from not wearing a mask, businesses reserve the right to refuse service to those who choose not to.

Some businesses will be allowed to resume operations as long as employees practice the “enhanced social-distancing rules” spelled out in the order. These workers including garden stores, nurseries, lawn care, pest control and landscaping operations. Big box stores can reopen sections of the store that were previously closed, such as garden centers.

Retailers that don't sell “necessary” supplies can also reopen for curbside pick-up and delivery. People are allowed to leave home to pick up “non-essential” supplies, but only at the curb. These stores must otherwise remain closed to the public.

The order still requires people to stay at home, and bans public and private gatherings of any size who are not part of the same household.

The new executive order allows people to travel between two of their residences in Michigan or to a residence outside of state. It also lists “boating” and “golfing” among the list of outdoor recreational activity that people can engage in outside of their homes.

Additional information on the governor’s executive orders and other state news can be found here.


Governor signs executive order temporarily extending expiration of driver’s licenses, state ID cards and vehicle registrations

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed Executive Order 2020-47, temporarily extending the expiration of valid driver’s licenses, state identification cards and commercial vehicle registrations that would otherwise expire during the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.

The temporary extension does not apply to motorists with suspended or revoked driver’s licenses. Read more here.


Whitmer signs executive order extending capacity for disaster relief child care services for essential workforce

Executive Order 2020-51 expands capacity for child care services for health care workers, first responders, and other members of the essential workforce providing critical infrastructure to Michiganders during the COVID-19 epidemic until May 13.

The order provides temporary and limited relief from certain regulatory restrictions regarding child care services and facilitates the use of certain property for child care services. Read more here.


Governor extends executive orders temporarily suspending evictions and imposing restrictions on price gouging

Last weekend, Gov. Whitmer signed executive orders 2020-53 and 2020-54, extending her previous orders to suspend evictions and enhance restrictions on price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive Order 2020-53 extends the restrictions on excessive pricing of goods, materials, emergency supplies, and consumer food items. The order will help ensure front line workers and Michiganders have access to all necessary products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive Order 2020-54 continues to allow tenants and mobile home owners to remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic even if they are unable to stay current on their rent.


Governor extends executive order enhancing operations for pharmacists and increasing access to prescriptions

On Wednesday, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-56, extending her previous order which gives pharmacists increased operational capacity and increases access to prescriptions.

The order continues to allow pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions for up to 60 days’ worth of supply for patients and require insurers to cover early refills for up to 90 days’ worth of supply during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Read more here.


Safe Behavior for Safe Workplaces Senate work grouping Level 1

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To begin the process of planning for renewed economic activity, the Senate has created a bipartisan “Safe Behavior for Safe Workplaces” work group to develop recommendations to Gov. Whitmer as to how we can safely re-open Michigan's economy.

While our battle continues, it is also time to begin planning for a transition back to typical daily life – including reopening businesses that can operate safely, especially those in which people operate alone, or can safely practice social distancing.

If you own or run a business, large or small, we want to hear from you. For the employees of these great job-providers, you have a voice too.

This is a grassroots effort to get Michigan back on its feet again. Please visit the Safe Behavior for Safe Workplaces website and fill out the simple survey.

How and what are you doing to prepare your business or workplace to deal with this virus? We want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts and suggestions at


Unemployment Insurance Agency starts how-to videos to assist with claims

For more than a million Michiganders, learning to navigate the state’s unemployment system has become a necessity in recent weeks as the coronavirus crisis has rocked the economy.

Heavy traffic to Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) system, both online and by phone, has caused delays in filing claims and having questions answered. State officials have asked for patience and have assured residents that everyone eligible for benefits will receive them.

On Tuesday, April 21, the UIA announced a series of videos, including answers to frequently asked questions, to help claimants who have experienced difficulties navigating the system.

Additional information you may find helpful can be found below:

If you think you are eligible for unemployment under the federal CARES Act and are still being denied — Log in to your MiWAM account and look under “Account Alerts” for a link asking you to file a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) application. Residents were unable to file for this before April 13. The $600 weekly benefit payments began processing on Monday, April 20.
I received a notification that I need proof of identification, what should I do? — Upload in your MiWAM account or fax a drivers’ license or government-issued identification. This also includes birth certificates or social security cards. Uploading the documents by taking a picture of them or scanning them is sufficient.
How do I check the status of my claim? — Log in to your MiWAM account and select your “Claim I.D. Number.” Review the MiWAM Toolkit for more on how to navigate MiWAM.
All eligible workers will receive benefits — The UIA assures that every eligible worker in Michigan who applies for unemployment benefits will receive them. The UIA will be accepting claims and benefit applications back-dated to reflect the date on which the claimant was laid-off due to COVID-19, beyond the previously established 28-day period. Federal payments of $600 are only retroactive back to March 28.

Federal CARES Act and unemployment update

Many have contacted my office with questions surrounding the recent federal legislation to provide relief to citizens across the nation.

Many have already successfully filed for unemployment and many have received their federal stimulus payments as well. If you are still trying to file a claim with the state’s unemployment office, please continue trying and be patient. The state is seeing a record number of claims week after week and necessary adjustments are being made to both the online and telephone systems.

Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers can now apply for federal benefits online.

Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers who have previously applied for unemployment benefits and have been denied should login to their MiWAM account to complete the next steps toward receiving their federal benefits. They should not file a new claim, as that may delay the time it takes to get their benefits.

Read more here.


Lending a hand to those in need

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We are indeed facing an unprecedented situation and these stressful times can certainly be a strain on mental health.

The wake of the coronavirus has left millions of people unemployed and has forced even more into making incredibly difficult decisions.

The state has founded a hotline for those who need a helping hand during this time to ensure they don’t suffer in silence.

If you need help or someone to talk to, certified peer support specialists are waiting for your call at 888-733-7753.


Our District

The 33rd state Senate District includes Clare, Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta, and Montcalm counties.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the 33rd Senate District of Michigan. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 33rd District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Rick Outman
4400 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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