LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to sign executive directives during her first year in office. Take a look at the directives below and what each of them means.
Executive Directive 2019-01
The first directive she signed directs state of Michigan employees to report health issues, specifically, any imminent threat to public health, in the wake of the Flint Water Crisis.
"If state government has information about an imminent threat to public health, safety, or welfare, the People of the State of Michigan have a right to know," she wrote. "State government must be open, transparent, and accountable to Michigan residents, even when a department, agency, or state officer falls short of the duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public we serve."
Anyone who is aware of the imminent threat to public health must report it to their department director, who then will decide if there is a risk. That director then has to tell Whitmer's chief compliance officer if there is a threat or not, if it's being addressed, and then share that information with Whitmer.
Executive Directive 2019-02
This directive is one of six that are aimed at having transparency within the state government. It restores a practice first started by Gov. G. Mennen Williams and gives instructions for state departments and agencies "the reporting of irregularities relating to public money or public property."
Whitmer called the issue her "highest priority."
Anyone in the executive branch has to immediately report any irregularity or discrepancy involving public money or public property to their department director, but if the irregularity involves the director, they must bring it to the next ranking person in the department.
It also has to then be reported to the auditor general and the governor's chief compliance officer.
Executive Directive 2019-03
In this executive directive, Whitmer looks to keep state government open and honest, and establishes executive branch policy for "standards of ethical conduct for department directors, appointees of the governor, and employees within the executive branch."
It lists 11 different principles of ethical conduct they should follow, and also sets a standard that any employee who sees another employee violating the standards to report it to the director.
Executive Directive 2019-04
Also part of the package to have open government, this prohibits anyone working for a state agency, department, division, bureau, board, commission, council, authority, or other executive branch body, from using funds, personnel, office space, computer hardware, property and more to make a contribution or volunteer personal services in the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.
"It is in the public interest to protect state government and state employees from any appearance of improper political influence connected with the solicitation or receipt of political contributions in state government facilities," Whitmer said.
Executive Directive 2019-05
Here, Whitmer mans the use of private email to conduct state business, in order to again keep the government open and transparent. It orders department directors and agency heads to ban private email use for state business, and also bans using state email for non-state activity.
The directive also makes sure state emails will not be destroyed unless they are compliant with an applicable record retention schedule.
Executive Directive 2019-06
In the sixth executive directive, Whitmer aims to have departments and agencies examine each of their actions for budget implications. It makes department directors and agency heads consult the state budget direction or the director's representatives on basic fiscal policy manners.
Executive Directive 2019-07
This is the final directive dealing with open government in the package of directives. Here, any state department or agency that proposes legislation must run it by the state budget director and the governor's director of legislative affairs.
According to Whitmer, the process is necessary for making sure the executive branch speaks with "one voice" on all of its legislative initiatives.
The budget director will review it for budgetary implications while the legislative affairs director will review it for "programmatic implications" and will also discuss it with the governor.
Executive Directive 2019-08
Whitmer is hoping to grow Michigan businesses and create jobs with this directive, saying that too many Michigan communities have struggled with population loss, reduced public funding and less economic activity.
With it, she said she is going to enhance the role of the state government to expand businesses in low-income areas and business areas they see as underutilized.
The Department of Technology, Management and Budget must work with other state departments, agencies and organizations representing small businesses to help the businesses and reduce barriers.
Executive Directive 2019-09
The democratic governor is barring LGBT discrimination with this directive in state services or by state contractors, which will replace an order that Gov. Snyder issued before he left office.
State contractors or recipients will not be allowed to discriminate against workers, or people applying for jobs, based on their sex which includes sexual orientation and gender identity. Unlike Snyder's order, it does not include an exemption for religious organizations.
"If we're going to attract the talented workforce our businesses need to create jobs and grow our economy, then we've got to get on the right side of history," Whitmer said in a statement.
Executive Directive 2019-10
The latest executive directive signed by Whitmer looks to ensure equal pay for female state workers. It bars state departments and agencies from asking about a job applicant's current or previous salaries until an offer of employment, with proposed compensation, is made. On top of that, the departments can't use public records or databases to search for the information.
"Asking job applicants about their salary histories can inappropriately perpetuate the gender wage gap by enabling prospective employers to offer lower salaries to women than they otherwise would," Whitmer said in a statement.
Executive Directive 2019-11
Gov. Whitmer signed this directive on Fb. 1 and is another that looks to keep the government transparent. According to Whitmer, it aims to strengthen the Freedom of Information and Open Meetings acts by closing loopholes and making the process more user-friendly within departments and agencies.
“State government must be open, transparent and accountable to taxpayers,” Whitmer said in a release. “I’m signing this executive directive to ensure that Michiganders have open access to state records and meetings, and to help the public navigate their state government. This is an important step to infuse integrity in governance and earn back public trust.”
It will limit the use of extension periods to grant FOIA requests in a timely manner, encourage the FOIA requests to be fulfilled by, or before, the deadline, designate a transparency liaison within state departments and agencies to facilitate FOIA requests and much more.
Executive Directive 2019-12
Executive Directive 2019-12 entered the state into the U.S. Climate Alliance, which is a bipartisan coalition of governors from 19 states that are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions similar to the Paris Climate Agreement.
The goal is to reduce greenhouse as emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. It also tracks and reports progress to the global community in appropriate settings, including when the world gets together for the Paris Agreement, and helps new and existing policies to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy.
In the directive, the director of the department of environmental quality will coordinate Michigan's efforts as part of the alliance. Other states involved include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
To read each of the executive directives, click here.