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Gov. Whitmer signs emergency rules allowing state agencies to conduct remote hearings

This allows the Michigan Employment Relations Commission and Michigan Public Service Commission to continue virtual meetings.
Virtual meeting.
Virtual meeting.(WLUC/Canva)
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:20 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed emergency rules Friday allowing the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) to conduct remote hearings to protect Michiganders and frontline workers.

“Continuing the practice of remote hearings will help us continue to protect Michigan families, frontline workers, and small businesses,” said Governor Whitmer. “As our state continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and as the 2020-2021 flu season approaches, my administration will continue to do everything in our power to protect Michigan residents.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, and with the authority given by emergency executive orders, the administrative law judges (ALJs) and Tax Tribunal members at the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (MOAHR) have remotely conducted nearly 25,000 hearings, all while maintaining MOAHR’s organizational mission – to provide a timely, professional, sound, impartial and respectful administrative hearing process consistent with all legal requirements.

Despite the Michigan Supreme Court’s recent ruling, MOAHR has administrative rule authority to continue to conduct hearings by telephone or video conference in order to reduce the risk to all hearing participants of both the transmission and a resurgence of COVID-19.  However, the current ruleset does not apply to administrative hearings held on behalf of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC).

This narrow emergency rule amendment will therefore revise Rule 121 of the MAHS administrative hearing rules, Rule 792.10121, to allow MOAHR to continue to remotely conduct hearings on behalf of the MERC and the PSC.

To view the signed emergency rules, click here.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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