DHHS spokesperson Lynn Sutfin said the state “will continue to monitor the data to make decisions including three key metrics: case rates, percent positivity, and hospitalizations.” Sutfin said the DHHS’ goal “is to reengage while reducing public health risk, which is why we move slowly to maintain progress and momentum with thoughtful public health measures.”

In Michigan, Republican lawmakers this week introduced a 39-bill package that would ban unsolicited mass mailing of absentee ballot applications, prohibit pre-paid postage on absentee ballot envelopes for absentee ballots, require a photo ID, curb the hours people could drop off their ballots in boxes and require video surveillance of such drop boxes.

On Equal Pay Day, marking the day when white women will have earned the same amount on average as men have at the end of 2020, the Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus announced a package of bills Wednesday to address the state’s gender wage gap and form a commission on pay equity within the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

In his first week in office, President Joe Biden paused new oil and gas leasing on federal lands as his administration reviewed fossil fuel development policy. Now that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has taken office, the administration is gearing up to begin that process. A forum comprising the energy industry, conservation groups, labor organizations and others will meet virtually March 25 in the first public event of the review.

Columnist Sharon Dolente writes, “Michiganders want and deserve a voting system that works for all of us, regardless of our race, gender, religion or ZIP code. The eagerness with which communities turned out to vote in 2020 was historic and encouraging. Our elected leaders should follow the lead of the voters of Michigan and build on that success in protecting the right to vote and expanding access to the ballot.”