Unemployment benefits extension passed in Michigan House

LANSING, MI – State lawmakers have struck a deal with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on unemployment benefits reform.

The Michigan House voted 101-0 after midnight during its Wednesday, Oct. 14 session to approve Senate bills 886 and 911, which closely mirror Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-76. The legislation would put temporary pandemic measures in place for Michigan’s unemployment system until the end of the year.

The Senate unanimously passed both bills with technical language substitutes later Wednesday morning. Negotiations between Whitmer, the House and the Senate started Tuesday, Oct. 13 and lasted into the wee hours of the next morning.

Read more: Michigan unemployment pitfalls following Supreme Court ruling could be fixed with Senate bill

After the Michigan Supreme Court struck down Whitmer’s emergency powers, she charged the legislature with ensuring unemployment benefits remain in place. An issue that held up negotiations between Whitmer, the House and Senate involved the unemployment bills being tie-barred to a package on COVID-19 lawsuit liability.

House bills 6030, 6031, 6032 and 6101 provide lawsuit standards for COVID-19 exposure for businesses, employees and people visiting said businesses. Whitmer has previously called the package “a solution in search of a problem.”

Related: Michigan House approves bills establishing COVID-19 lawsuit standards

Both sides dropped the tie-bar requirement, and both sets of legislation were approved separately.

The deal is “great news for working families and small businesses,” tweeted Speaker of the House Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering.

“We have a deal on unemployment benefits and liability reform,” he said via Twitter. “The tie bar is no longer necessary, because we found common ground.”

The COVID-19 liability package passed in the Michigan Senate, some with bipartisan support and some on partisan lines.

State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, sponsored the Senate bills and said Tuesday afternoon that he was optimistic the Governor would sign both, as both his and her staffs worked together during bill review.

“They (were) tie-barred because together they bring great balance in protecting both employees and employers, both public and private sector,” Horn told MLive.

Horn had previously said Whitmer should stop making “snarky, condescending speeches about us not working with her” and work with Republican lawmakers.

Just like Whitmer’s executive order, Senate Bill 866 extends the maximum unemployment benefit period from 20 weeks to 26 weeks, doesn’t make employers pay for benefits when someone is laid off due to COVID-19, allows employers to use the work-share program even if not normally eligible and allows people to receive benefits while taking time off work for a COVID-19-related cause.

Also, all benefits paid out during the pandemic are deemed valid, except in fraud cases.

The bill doesn’t mention waiving the requirement for people to actively search for work – like the executive order did – meaning recipients may need to prove they’re looking for a job to get paid, if the bill is passed as is.

Another excluded piece: It doesn’t include the provision from the executive order that makes the agency only look at a person’s most

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Tax records show 200 entities funneled money to Trump properties while reaping benefits from White House: NYT

A New York Times analysis of tax records showed that more than 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments have funneled millions of dollars to President TrumpDonald John TrumpNorth Korea unveils large intercontinental ballistic missile at military parade Trump no longer considered a risk to transmit COVID-19, doctor says New ad from Trump campaign features Fauci MORE’s properties while reaping benefits from the president and his administration. 

Nearly a nearly a quarter of the entities have not been previously reported.

Sixty patrons, who promoted specific interests to the Trump administration, spent almost $12 million on expenses associated with the Trump Organization during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. The Times reported nearly all of these customers saw their interests move forward. 

In interviews with almost 250 business executives, club members, lobbyists, Trump property employees and current administration officials, sources detailed to Times how Trump conducted business and interacted with customers who were seeking help from the administration.

The newspaper also used Trump’s tax-return data, lobbying disclosures, Freedom of Information Act requests and other public records to construct a database of groups, companies and governments that had business before the administration and spent money on Trump properties.

The Trump Organization’s customers included foreign politicians, Florida barons, a Chinese billionaire, a Serbian prince, clean-energy advocates, petroleum industry leaders, small government advocates and contractors. The newspaper noted that some of the president’s customers did not see their interests fully fulfilled but noted “whether they won or lost, Mr. Trump benefited financially.”

More than 70 advocacy groups, businesses and foreign governments held events at Trump Organization properties that previously were at different locations or developed new events to be hosted at the properties. Religious organizations also participated by throwing prayer meetings, banquets and tours on Trump properties.

At least two dozen patrons who reserved events for 2017 and 2018 at Trump properties had interests involving the administration. The analysis also found that more than 100 companies that sought action from the federal government spent money at Trump properties.

The Times noted that the tax records do not include all payments to Trump properties, but additional data is tracked by the Town of Palm Beach where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club is located. Organizations that had special interests reported spending $3.3 million on events at the club from 2017 to now. 

The records and membership rosters for Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., also show how much money his business was making once he sat in the White House.

Being a member of his clubs also allowed leaders to get time with the president and sometimes his support, as he offered ambassadorships to five members and chose others for advisory roles in his administration.

White House spokesperson Judd Deere told The Hill in a statement that the Times report was “Just more fake news.”

“This is yet another politically-motivated hit piece inaccurately smearing a standard business deal,” he said. “During his years as a successful businessman, Donald Trump was long-time partners with

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House Democrats stimulus plan: Unemployment benefits, direct payments

House Democrats on Monday unveiled a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan that includes reviving the $600 federal unemployment benefit and sending a second round of stimulus checks to millions of American taxpayers.

House Democrats in May passed a $3.4 trillion spending package called the Heroes Act. (The new proposal has the same name.) It formed the basis of their coronavirus relief negotiations with Republicans, though they have lowered their demands and now insist on at least $2.2 trillion in new spending.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she aimed to bring Republicans back to the negotiating table with the new proposal.

“Democrats are making good on our promise to compromise with this updated bill, which is necessary to address the immediate health and economic crisis facing America’s working families right now,” she said in a letter to members of her caucus.

Here are several of the package’s provisions:

  • $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits until January 31, retroactive from September 6.
  • Another round of $1,200 direct payments, plus $500 per dependent.
  • $436 billion in additional assistance to state and local governments.
  • A reinstatement of the Paycheck Protection Program to aid small businesses as well as nonprofits and restaurants.
  • $225 billion in funds to help schools.
  • $75 billion for coronavirus testing and contact tracing.
  • $50 billion in emergency rental assistance, half of what Democrats initially sought.

Read more: Stimulus talks resume as dealmakers work toward another round of checks. Here’s everything you need to know about the rescue package.

Many components of the last major economic relief law, the CARES Act, expired over the summer, and Congress hasn’t implemented other relief measures since.

Through an executive order in August, President Donald Trump implemented a Lost Wages Assistance program that drew $44 billion in disaster relief funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover a $300 federal supplement to state unemployment benefits.

That federal money is drying up, though FEMA guaranteed six weeks of funding to approved states through September 5.

Both chambers of Congress would need to approve the Democrats’ plan for it to reach Trump’s desk for his signature. But that’s highly uncertain given that Democrats and Republicans have been deadlocked on further coronavirus relief measures.

Negotiations in August stalled amid fierce disagreements over the amount of federal spending needed to prop up the economy. Unemployment benefits and state aid are still two areas of major friction between the parties.

Democrats blocked a “skinny” $650 billion package from the GOP earlier this month, dismissing it as “emaciated” and inadequate to address the twin public-health and economic crises.

Many economists have urged Congress to approve another relief package to keep people and businesses afloat through the pandemic and prevent the economy from backsliding. But the prospect of a Supreme Court nomination battle in the coming weeks has drained hopes of a package before Americans cast their ballots in November.

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White House eyes executive action to keep unemployment benefits flowing

The White House is considering executive action to provide more money for unemployment benefits, following the exhaustion of funds made available by President Trump’s previous administrative maneuvering.

“We’re looking at all possible avenues to continue giving relief to Americans from an executive standpoint, in lieu of Democrats agreeing to a legislative deal,” said Ben Williamson, a senior adviser for Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff.

Trump, through a memorandum in August, made available up to $44 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to provide assistance to workers sidelined by the pandemic in the form of a $300-a-week federal boost to unemployment benefits, to be matched by $100 from state governments. The additional jobless aid is known as Lost Wages Assistance.

Over $30 billion of those dollars have already been distributed. With money running low, the agency has said that total funding will be limited to six weeks, in total, for every state that has applied so far, a spokesman told the Washington Examiner. The administration has had to start cutting off certain states, including Texas, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, and New Hampshire.

The impetus behind Trump’s executive order on the enhanced payment was Congress’s inability to extend added unemployment benefits, which had been enacted in the March CARES Act at a rate of $600 a week. The program has been expired for over a month. Lawmakers in both parties support extending the enhanced benefit, but they have so far failed to agree on a dollar amount for the payment.

The White House is considering using an executive order to authorize FEMA to provide more assistance to states by making additional funds available to them through the $300-a-week federal boost to unemployment benefits, a former senior administration official said. This would allow more FEMA funds to be used after the current $44 billion is exhausted.

There is a fear, however, of overusing FEMA’s funds and leaving the agency vulnerable as it deals with hurricane season as well as the wildfires on the West Coast.

“I take what the administration is doing as a good-faith effort to give assistance to people who haven’t had work for many weeks,” said Matt Weidinger, a fellow who focuses on unemployment and poverty at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

“I’m sure every unemployed person would like to keep getting an additional $300 every week,” Weidinger said.

He said, however, that any potential executive actions to provide more unemployment aid could affect the incentives to return to work and would add to the debt in a harmful manner.

Until the $44 billion in additional unemployment aid is exhausted, FEMA will continue working with states to provide jobless help.

“On August 8, President Trump took decisive and unprecedented action to help unemployed Americans due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” FEMA press secretary Lizzie Litzow told the Washington Examiner. “FEMA continues to work with states and territories to fulfill their requests for six weeks of Lost Wages Assistance.”

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Ivy gets a bad rap, but it has more benefits for your home and garden than you think

Two years ago, when I started transforming my garden to make it better for wildlife, I planted Hedera helix (common ivy) along the base of the north-facing fence. It hasn’t grown much yet but I have visions of lush green walls alive with nesting birds, buzzing bees, flies and countless other insects, and of not being able to see the edges of the garden.

It will probably take five years before the fences are covered; another 10 before the ivy flowers. Still, the wait will be worth it. Because ivy is amazing.

Yet it’s almost universally hated by gardeners and homeowners alike. A self-clinging climber with a voracious growth habit once established, its reputation for damaging walls and fences is unparalleled. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told how awful ivy is, how it’s nothing but trouble and will destroy my house and fences.

How it’s an ugly weed, how it strangles trees, how it’s full of spiders, how it will form an easy-access ladder for burglars to climb into my home (really). It’s an ivy horror show out there. I’m amazed we allow it to grow anywhere at all.

Ivy is amazing. As a wildlife gardener, I couldn’t be without ivy as it’s used by so many species. On fences and walls it provides nesting habitats for birds and general shelter for anything else, including hibernating butterflies, pupating hoverflies and, yes – I won’t lie to you – spiders. Its autumn flowers provide a late source of nectar and pollen for pollinators – you can often hear the buzz of insects on ivy before you see it.

Its berries provide sustenance for birds right at the end of winter, when they need to get into shape for breeding. Its leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of the holly blue butterfly and moths including the double-striped pug and willow beauty. It’s versatile: grown vertically, ivy takes up little space and helps blend your garden with its surroundings. Grown as ground cover it suppresses weeds or bare soil where little else grows.

You can keep ivy closely trimmed so it looks lush and glossy or let it mature so it flowers and fruits. It’s easy to propagate and it’s cheap as chips.

And yet. It’s not just wildlife that benefits from ivy. More and more about this incredible climber is uncovered all the time.

A decade ago, scientists at Oxford University concluded that ivy actually protects buildings rather than damages them. That a thick layer of ivy leaves acts as a “thermal shield” on houses, insulating brickwork from temperature extremes and moisture that can cause cracks. Plant ivy against an already cracked wall and its adventitious roots will find them and cause problems.

But plant ivy against a good, sturdy wall and the wall will live longer as a result. Other studies show ivy reduces air pollution, with one Birmingham trial proving that metal trellises of ivy planted along a main road absorbed polluting particulates that might

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3 Crucial Benefits of a Bathroom Extractor Fan

Whether in the process of building a brand new home, remodeling the entire bathroom, or simply making a few changes, an important element that should not be overlooked is a bathroom extractor fan. Although there are many benefits associated with this type of fan, the two that people appreciate most includes improved ventilation and heat removal.

Benefit 1: Improved Airflow

For starters, when installation is done correctly, the fan would help improve airflow. One of the primary problems in any bathroom is humidity. Due to the fan design, when mounted on the ceiling or high up on the wall it works by extracting moist air from the room, leaving the interior of the bathroom drier. With this, any unwanted or lingering odors would be removed. The bathroom can be challenging when it comes to unpleasant odors so having a fan that provides excellent venting capabilities is certainly a worthwhile investment.

Benefit 2: Better Ventilation

Another benefit associated with ventilation is the reduction or elimination of mold. Because of high humidity levels and steam produced in the bathroom, it is common to experience problems specific to the growth of mold and mildew. In addition to being unsightly, this type of fungus is also dangerous. If you install an extractor fan in a new or remodeled home, this problem could be prevented whereas in an existing home to replace an older fan, growth of mold and mildew could be stopped.

Most newly constructed homes have bathrooms designed to meet strict regulations for ventilation. However, in older homes, chances are good the existing fan is simply not equipped to deal with high levels of humidity, steam, and dampness. Additionally, let us say your bathroom has a skylight. During the winter with the furnace heating the home hot air is going to rise, which then mixes with cold air at which time condensation develops. This means along with the problem of humidity, steam, and dampness, an additional issue of condensation would contribute to the growth of mold and mildew.

Benefit 3: Heat Removal

Another benefit of the fan is heat removal. If you live in a part of the world where temperatures are hot, another challenge would be presented. We all know heat rises, regardless of climate but living in a hot environment means facing a different obstacle to overcome. Heat in the bathroom rises to the ceiling where it causes the room to feel uncomfortable, not to mention adds to the cost of cooling the home. With the fan installation, heat would be pulled into the roof space, resulting in better airflow and a cooler bathroom.

As you can see, installation of a bathroom extractor fan is certainly beneficial.…

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Benefits of Butterfly Wall Decor and Wall Art

Butterfly wall decor is increasingly becoming an accessory of choice especially for nature loving and eco-friendly people. Its magnificent beauty and adorable color express a delicate but unique feature anywhere you want it to be. Butterfly decor can be used at home, garden, and office decorations. They come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes which make it flexible to use. You can also choose to prepare different types of butterfly decor by customizing it with fabrics and other materials. In fact, most designs are machine made however, the most fascinating and artistic ones are handmade.

Butterfly wall art is perfect to accentuate any girl’s bedroom. Pink butterflies are just so adorable that even babies can appreciate them. They also go perfectly well with any concept or color scheme of a nursery. Butterfly wall art are often used as ornamental pieces to decorate ceilings and walls. Furhermore, groups of butterfly home accents can be a great focal point in the living room to give more interest and color in the area.

For occasions, butterfly art can also be used as backdrops for your daughter’s birthday party, weddings, garden events or even during costume parties. They can enhance the ambience of the surrounding, add color and set a dramatic feeling to the overall theme of the event. For household use, these gorgeous home accents are widely used as decorations for draperies, beds, furniture and in any places inside the home that can gain interest from a simple or lavish butterfly decoration scheme.

Butterfly wall decor and home accents can produce positive effects to homes and outdoor spaces. They bring cool and refreshing color which can uplift the mood of anyone who sees it. These home accents can also make your home a lot closer to our environment by expressing colors of the spring, the vibrant beauty of the garden and the serenity of nature itself.

Lastly, these accessories are also excellent as personal gifts to friends, colleagues and especially for little girls who are fascinated by the fragile beauty of this creatures.…

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The Benefits Of Using Silicone Kitchen Utensils

Kitchen utensils today can be made of rubber, wood, plastic, glass, stainless steel and metals with non-stick coatings. The latest addition to this list is silicone coated or silicone kitchen utensils. They have become an important part of modern kitchens. Silicone is found in kitchen products ranging from cookware sets to baking pans and pastry brushes.

Silicone is a synthetic rubber polymer made by combining silicon with oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and other elements. If you are unsure about using silicone kitchen utensils, here are some advantages they offer:

Variety– A huge variety of silicone kitchen utensils are available in a range of colors and designs. Not only they are beautifully designed, but also highly functional. They can add a splash of color to your kitchen. You can also find a range of bake ware and storage items.

Easy to Maintain– These utensils can be cleaned just as the regular ones, either by hand or in the dishwasher. They do not accumulate residual substances or stain easily. They are easy to clean and maintain and retain their vibrant colors. They do not retain odors and flavors of the food cooked in them. They are hypoallergenic and contain no open pores to harbor bacteria.

Rust Proof– Unlike other metal utensils, the ones made of silicone are rust proof and are less likely to corrode. They use very little oil to cook.

Affordable– They can easily be found at local stores for good prices.

High Temperature Resistance– They are resistant to damage by heat and can resist temperature up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes them ideal for a range of cooking tasks, serving and storing of hot food.

Nonstick Capability– Silicone cooking utensils have excellent non-stick capability which allows you to use a little oil or fat.

Environmental Friendly– They are a good replacement for disposable containers like, baking paper and cupcake paper. They are biodegradable and can be recycled. They can be used for many years and are not hazardous when disposed of.

Some of the other benefits include:

– Freezer, refrigerator, oven and microwave safe

– Dishwasher safe

– Can be easily folded and stacked without spoiling their shape

– Cools down quickly after use

– Non-porous

The various benefits offered by silicone kitchen utensils have earned them a lot of loyal customers. You should always use high quality food grade utensils for durability. It is always safe to cook utensils using top grade silicone which is approved and certified by the proper authorities.…

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What Are the Benefits of Bamboo Kitchen Cabinets?

There are many different cabinet styles that look great in both kitchens and bathrooms, with natural wood finishes very popular at the moment. One of the latest newcomers on the scene is custom bamboo kitchen cabinets, which can be a preferable choice over other wood options.

The first advantage to investing your money in decorating your home with the latest bamboo furniture is that this is a great option for a modern styled home.This unique wood has a distinct appearance that lends itself perfectly to contemporary and functional styling with its linear grain and distinctively textured look.

If you want to create a modern appearance in your home, then a bamboo option could be ideal for you. These items are often also available in a range of shades, meaning that you can order custom bamboo kitchen cabinets that have a darker or lighter look, depending on your preferences and your existing decor.

Although this type of wooden kitchen furniture is particularly attractive due to its appearance, there are many other benefits to installing these fittings in your home. One of these is that fact that bamboo is an environmentally friendly option for anyone that wants to enjoy beautiful furniture in their house or apartment, but not at the expense of the environment.

Many US suppliers of custom bamboo kitchen cabinets now offer these items made from responsibly sourced bamboo, meaning that each and every customer can enjoy peace of mind that they are decorating their home in an environmentally responsible way.

In addition to this, bamboo is noted for its durable qualities, meaning that you are unlikely to replace these fittings for decades due to the wear and tear that can happen in a kitchen. To ensure this level of quality, however, it is important to find a reputable supplier that will provide you with the highest grade bamboo wood and expert craftsmanship.

Although bamboo itself is durable and a sustainable material, the finish of the product is important to ensure that you fit a product in your home that will last a long time and allow you an extended period of use. In addition to ensuring that the manufacturer uses quality wood, check that it is treated with a finish that will inhibit stains and other damage to the surface that can often occur.

Herein lies one of the other major benefits in investing in custom bamboo kitchen cabinets for your home; as this is an environmentally friendly product to use, many manufacturers have gone even further by using other natural finishes and glues in the construction of this furniture, therefore making this product even more attractive to those creating an eco-friendly home.

If this is a concern for you, make sure that glues have been certified as eco friendly by the relevant national bodies that are concerned with regulating natural construction materials and products; your retailer should be happy to supply you with this information if it is not already clearly listed in their brochure or on their …

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The Benefits of a Large Kitchen Set

Every kitchen has got the potential for functionality, display, and storage. The saddest part of life is the fact that many of our kitchens do not have all these things. Having a large kitchen helps you solve the issue. It also looks beautiful. When you are choosing or designing a home, it is a great thing if you are able to have one at your disposal. Some of the benefits include:

Storage and Cabinetry

If you have ever used a kitchen that doesn’t have adequate space for storage, then getting a big one will be a great thing for you. You can have as many shelves and drawers as you possibly want. You can also install recycling bins and any other component that you may have always felt is necessary for your home.

Enough for the Kids

A large kitchen is always a perfect option where kids are involved. Regardless of what you want them to help with, a large kitchen will accommodate all of you without the cramped feeling. You can have them in there so as to watch them easily. You can also install amenities like refrigerated drawers and microwaves in the reach of the young ones in case they need something without you around. You can place amenities for your kids comfortably within reach so as to teach them some bit of independence.

Seating Space

Having some extra seating space is always a great asset for homeowners. This is an area where you can have your informal dining. When your extended family or friends join you for dinner, preparing and serving your meals doesn’t become as hectic as it is normally where there are smaller kitchens.

Versatility

Sometimes one needs more floor space while others you need some extra counters. A large kitchen allows you to do whatever you feel is necessary. This becomes evident when you are making a huge meal for a lot of people who want to help.

Additional Kitchen Amenities

When you have a large kitchen, it becomes very easy to have all the amenities that you may have always wanted in the same place. This is how you make the kitchen a functional area that is useful for you and your household. This is how a kitchen becomes the main cooking and entertainment hub.

Material Options

There are many materials that you can choose from for a functional large kitchen. There are budget materials and costly ones according to your budget. A countertop dealer can help you when you are choosing the best material.

Everyone now has a legitimate reason as to why they should have a large kitchen since the benefits are many. You can enjoy the better seating area and versatility at all times. Many people struggle with decoration and design of the kitchen due to the limited area that is usually available. So as to make such a kitchen functional and look great at the same time, a lot of work has to be done. A small kitchen makes …

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