Michigan Emergency Management and Homeland Security Authorities Summarized.
CRS Report for Congress
Michigan Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Authorities Summarized
March 23, 2004
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Michigan Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Authorities Summarized
The Emergency Management Act of 1976, as amended, provides for broad
emergency management authority and prescribes duties of officials in Michigan. The
governor is authorized to declare either a state of disaster or a state of emergency.
After a state of disaster or emergency has been declared the governor may exercise
numerous powers to protect the health and safety of the people. The department of
state police exercises the lead role for emergency management through the
emergency management division. State agencies and the judiciary must “cooperate
to the fullest possible extent” with the emergency management director during a
disaster or emergency. Counties and municipalities, depending on their population,
are required or suggested to establish an emergency management office and hire a
local director. Public colleges and universities (also depending on enrollment) are
required or suggested to establish an emergency management office. The governor
may establish emergency volunteers as a special segment of the national guard, and
volunteers may provide assistance to the state should other national guard units be
called up for national duty. Continuity of government operations provisions have
been enacted for state and local offices, as have immunity and property compensation
This report is one of a series that profiles emergency management and homeland
security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each profile identifies the
more significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified. Congressional
readers may wish to conduct further searches for related provisions using the Internet
link presented in the last section of this report. The National Conference of State
Legislatures provided primary research assistance in the development of these
profiles under contract to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Summary
information on all of the profiles is presented in CRS Report RL32287. This report
will be updated as developments warrant.
Entities with Key Responsibilities.................................1
Types of Assistance............................................4
Continuity of Government Operations..............................6
For Further Research...........................................8
List of Tables
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Terms Defined in Michigan Statutes, with Citations............8
Michigan Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: The governor is responsible for coping with dangers to the state or
the people due to disaster or emergency, and is authorized to issue executive orders,
proclamations and directives that he or she may amend or rescind (Mich. Comp.
Laws Ann. §30.403). After declaring a disaster or emergency, the governor may
suspend statutes, use state and political subdivision resources, transfer state executive
department staff, commandeer private property (with compensation), compel
evacuation, provide routes and modes of transportation, control ingress and egress,
suspend or limit the sale of alcohol, firearms, and explosives, and provide temporary
housing (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.405). The governor is the only civilian
authorized to command state military personnel (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann.
Director, Department of State Police: The director and the department are
charged with carrying out the responsibilities of the Michigan Emergency
Management Advisory Council (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann §28.702). Department
officials must implement the orders and directives of the governor in the event of a
disaster or emergency and coordinate all federal, state, county, and municipal disaster
prevention, mitigation, relief and recovery operations within the state. At the
governor’s direction, the department assumes complete command of all disaster
relief, mitigation, and recovery forces, except national guard and the state defense
force, if necessary for an effective effort. The director must: comply with the
Michigan emergency management plan regarding performance of duties; administer
state and federal disaster relief funds; mobilize state disaster relief forces; assign
general missions to the activated national guard or state defense force to assist
disaster relief; receive, screen, and investigate requests for assistance from county
and municipal entities; make recommendations to the governor; and plan for and use
volunteer groups. In addition, the director is authorized to relieve donors of
voluntary or private assistance from liability while providing assistance (Mich.
Comp. Laws Ann. §30.407 (1, 3-6)).
Emergency Management Division: The division, established within the
Department of State Police, coordinates emergency management activities of county,
municipal, state and federal governments. Division officials must prepare and
maintain a state emergency management plan that addresses mitigation,
preparedness, response and recovery; receives state and federal emergency
management and disaster related grants-in-aid; and administers and apportions grants
according to guidelines. Other authorities include the promulgation of rules
regarding training and professional development; setting standards and requirements
for local and interjurisdictional emergency management programs; reviewing
operations plans; establishing standards and requirements for training programs and
exercises; surveying industries, resources and facilities; preparing executive orders
for the governor to address emergencies and disasters; providing emergency
operations centers for the coordination of emergency response and disaster recovery;
cooperating with federal, other public, and private agencies to implement programs
for disaster, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery; and proposing and
administering mutual aid compacts and agreements (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann.
Emergency management coordinator: The directors of state departments or their
designated representatives serve as emergency management coordinators for their
departments and as liaison between the departments and the emergency management
division. Each department must prepare and update its emergency management plan.
During an emergency or disaster, each department, including the judicial branch,
must cooperate fully with the emergency management agency to prevent, mitigate,
respond and recover from the disaster or emergency (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann.
County board of commissioners: Each board must appoint an emergency
management coordinator or chair to serve in that role who must coordinate
emergency management in the county, including mitigation, preparedness, response
and recovery (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.409(1)). Counties or municipalities are
authorized to: appropriate and expend funds; make contracts; obtain and distribute
equipment, materials and supplies; provide for the health and safety of people and
property; direct and control multi-agency responses; appoint employees and remove
auxiliary police, fire and rescue teams; appoint a local emergency management
advisory council; and assign and make available employees, property, and equipment
if the governor declares a disaster. In case of foreign attack, the statute authorizes the
waiver of formalities for performing public work (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.410
Municipality: A unit of local government must or may (depending on the
population) appoint an emergency management coordinator to coordinate emergency
management, disaster preparedness and recovery assistance activities (Mich. Comp.
Laws Ann. §30.401(2-4)).
Public college or university: A public college or university must or may
(depending on the enrollment) appoint an emergency management coordinator to
coordinate emergency management, disaster preparedness and recovery assistance
activities (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.409(5)).
See “Entities with Key Responsibilities.”
A county or municipality emergency management coordinator may direct and
coordinate the development of emergency operations plans that, among other matters,
address public information sharing (local broadcasters must be consulted). The plans
must include local courts (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.410(1)(a)).
If a disaster is beyond local abilities, but the governor has not declared an
emergency, the emergency management coordinator must contact the district
coordinator. The district coordinator assesses the scope of the disaster, recommends
action, and notifies the emergency management director, who notifies the governor.
If the director determines action is needed, he or she is authorized to provide
temporary assistance. The director advises the governor on the magnitude of the
disaster or emergency, and the governor is authorized to take action to mitigate the
local disaster (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.414).
When the president calls up the national guard in time of national emergency,
the governor is authorized to activate units known as the Michigan emergency
volunteers to provide emergency assistance to the state. Volunteers provide aid to
civil authorities and their missions. The department of military affairs must report
annually to the legislature about volunteers and training, screening standards, fitness
requirements and the coordination of volunteers with law enforcement and disaster
relief agencies. Volunteers may not be equipped with weapons unless they are
protecting public property and have received training on the weapons (Mich. Comp.
Laws Ann. §32.651).
The state defense force, augmented by the unorganized militia, is authorized to
protect the state during a disaster, invasion, insurrection, or other emergency when
the national guard is in U.S. military service (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §32.655).
The Department of Natural Resources may call any able bodied male 18 years
or older to assist in emergencies, who, unless he or she is an inmate, must be paid
minimum wage (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §324.51508).
The governor, by executive order or proclamation, shall declare a state of
disaster (or emergency) if one has occurred, or if the threat exists. A state of disaster
(or emergency) continues until the threat or danger has passed, the disaster (or
emergency) has been dealt with and the disaster (or emergency) conditions no longer
exist, or until the state of disaster (or emergency) has been in effect for 28 days.
After 28 days the governor must issue an executive order declaring the state of
disaster (or emergency) terminated, unless the governor requests an extension for a
specific number of days and both houses of the legislature approve a joint resolution
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.403 (3, 4)).
The governor may, by executive order, declare a “heightened state of alert”
related to a terrorism threat and exercise authority to protect the state and its
resources, prevent or respond to acts of terrorism, and aid in apprehension of
terrorists. The governor shall not suspend or limit alcohol sales. Within seven days
of declaring a heightened state of alert, the governor shall notify the majority and
minority leaders of the Senate and the speaker and minority leader of the House. The
governor is authorized to exercise powers (described under “Entities with Key
Responsibilities,” above) until the state of heightened alert is no longer in effect. A
heightened state of alert lasts until the threat has passed and conditions no longer
exist, or for a maximum period of 60 days. The governor must terminate the
declaration after 60 days unless the legislature approves a joint resolution for an
extension comprising a specific number of days (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.421).
With the governor’s concurrence, the director of the Department of State Police
may amend a proclamation or executive order about a disaster, emergency, or
heightened state of alert, in order to add counties or municipalities to the declaration
or to terminate orders and restrictions (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.407 (2)).
The executive order must list the nature of the disaster, area(s) threatened,
conditions causing the disaster (or emergency), and conditions permitting the
termination of the disaster (or emergency). The executive order is to be disseminated
to the public and filed with the emergency management division of the Department
of State Police and the Secretary of State, unless the disaster prevents prompt filing
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.403(3)). A declaration of a state of disaster or
emergency authorizes the deployment and use of forces under the Michigan
emergency management plan and the use and distribution of supplies, equipment,
materials, and facilities. The governor may seek and accept assistance from the
federal government (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.404(1),(2)).
The chief executive official of a county or a municipality may declare a local
state of emergency if the occurrence or threat of severe damage, injury, or loss of life
and property from natural or manmade causes exist; the official may also issue
directives about travel restrictions on local roads. Such a declaration shall not be
continued or renewed for more than seven days except with the consent of the local
governing body. The declaration must be filed with the Emergency Management
Division of the Department of State Police (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.410(b)).
If a disaster or emergency is beyond the control of local agencies, the chief
executive officer of a county or municipality may request the governor to declare a
state of emergency. A county or municipality may issue emergency rules that last
until the emergency is terminated (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.412).
The chief executive of a county cannot request state aid for a disaster solely
within the confines of a municipality unless requested by the chief executive of the
municipality, as specified in the statute (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.414).
Types of Assistance
The Department of Administration may receive and warehouse federal surplus
property (equipment and material) that the state can use for civil defense purposes in
educational institutions, hospitals, and non-profit facilities (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann.
The governor may accept a gift, grant, and loan and establish a fund for the
purchase of civil defense equipment. Funds are deposited with the state treasurer,
and fall under the responsibility of the director of civil defense (Mich. Comp. Laws
The governor may apply for, accept and disburse federal grants if the President
declares a major disaster or an emergency (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.416).
The “Proud to be an American” fund is supported by receipts from the sale of
specified license plates. The State Treasurer disburses funds monthly on an equal
basis to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army for disaster preparedness
and relief in the United States. Organizations provide annual reports to the Treasury
Department on the expenditure of funds (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §257.217n).
The Interstate Emergency Management Assistance Compact is codified (Mich.
Comp. Laws Ann. §§3.991, 3.1001).
The state or a political subdivision may enter into a mutual aid agreement with
a law enforcement agency of a physically adjacent state (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann.
The governor, with the approval of the state Administrative Board, may enter
into a compact or reciprocal aid agreement with another state, the federal
government, or neighboring provinces of a foreign country. Such compacts are
limited to exchanging or furnishing the following items or resources: food, clothing,
medicine, supplies, engineering services, emergency housing, police services,
national guard, health services, personnel, equipment, facilities and costs and
expenses. The legislature must approve funds for implementation (Mich. Comp.
Laws Ann. §30.404 (3)).
Municipalities and counties may enter into mutual aid agreements with other
counties, municipalities, public agencies, tribal nations, and private sector agencies.
Agreements are limited to the exchange of personnel and equipment, and the
agreement must be consistent with the state emergency management plan (Mich.
Comp. Laws Ann. §30.410 (2)).
An emergency management coordinator is authorized to assist with the
development and negotiation of a mutual aid agreement (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann.
The governor may enter into an agreement with the governors of other states to
allow Michigan military forces to provide mutual assistance during a disaster.
Reciprocity exists for immunity for national guard members from another state
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §32.559).
The director of the Department of State Police is authorized to administer the
disaster contingency fund. The legislature must appropriate sufficient money to
maintain the funding within specified levels of $750,000 maximum, $30,000
minimum. The fund is to be used to pay staff overtime and travel. Deposits from
federal reimbursements are to be made into the fund. The fund is to be used to pay
the state match for presidentially declared disaster and federal grants (Mich. Comp.
Laws Ann. §30.418).
The disaster contingency fund is to be used to provide assistance to counties and
municipalities when federal assistance is not available. A county or municipality
must show that local funding is exhausted and that a local emergency management
program exists. Funds are to be used only to provide reimbursements for public
damage and losses. A disaster assessment team of the emergency management
division must approve claims (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.419).
The adjutant general is authorized to accept funds from sources other than state
and federal governments for emergency volunteers, but legislative appropriations are
required to spend funds. The funds are held in a special account in the Department
of Military Affairs (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §32.651 (4)).
A court may order a person convicted of a crime to reimburse a state or local
government for expenses incurred for emergency response (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann.
See “Entities with Key Responsibilities.”
Upon determination by the Department of Natural Resources, a person shall not
occupy land for any purpose other than agriculture in a floodplain (Mich. Comp.
Laws Ann. §324.3108).
The statute sets out dam safety and inspection provisions, including a
requirement that a dam owner or agency advise the department of natural resources
and affected public authorities and safety agencies of a sudden flood that may affect
dam safety. Dam owners must prepare an emergency action plan for high and
significant hazard dams, which must be consistent with the state emergency
preparedness plan (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §§324.31520-31523).
Continuity of Government Operations
The legislature may provide by law for prompt and temporary succession to the
powers and duties of various public offices to insure the continuity of government in
periods of emergency resulting from state disasters caused by enemy attack on the
United States. Elections shall be called as soon as possible to fill vacancies in
elective offices (Mich. Const. Art. IV §39).
The Emergency Interim Executive Succession Act is codified (Mich. Comp.
Laws Ann. §31.1 et seq.) In particular, in the event of a disaster, the governor,
secretary of state, deputy, or emergency interim successor determines whether an
officer or deputy is unavailable, and informs the next available interim successor of
the need to exercise powers and discharge duties of the office (Mich. Comp. Laws
Terms exempt from disclosure in public record include a public body’s security
measures (plans, codes, passwords, and procedures) that relate to ongoing security
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §15.243(u)).
Immunity and compensation provisions for disaster relief forces are codified
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.411).
A person licensed to practice medicine in another state or for the federal
government and who renders services during state of disaster at the request of a state
or county official is an authorized disaster relief worker and is not liable for injuries.
Willful acts are not covered (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.411 (4)). Also, the statute
provides medical procedures that licensed professionals may undertake during a state
of disaster (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.411 (5)).
The statute provides immunity for a real estate owner who provides shelter
during a disaster (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.411 (6)). The real estate owner must
provide notice of hidden dangers or safety hazards that could result in death, injury,
or loss of property (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.411 (7)).
All persons are required to conduct themselves and manage property to assist
and not detract from the state’s ability to cope with a disaster or emergency. Property
compensation is paid only if property is taken or used on the order of a governor or
director. A record of all property taken is to be transmitted to the governor.
Compensation is not provided for: firebreaks (destroying or damaging timber) or the
release of water from impoundments to reduce flood threats (Mich. Comp. Laws
The statute established general limitations on the authority that can be
undertaken under the Emergency Management Act. The statute cannot be construed
to interfere with a labor dispute, or the sharing of news, or affect jurisdiction of law
enforcement or firefighters, among others (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.417).
If the United States is at war or the President, Congress, the governor, or the
legislature has declared an emergency, state military forces at the direction of the
governor may continue the pursuit of saboteurs, insurrectionists, and enemy forces
beyond the border of the state. Anyone captured is to be surrendered to the military
or police forces in the state where they are taken (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §32.563).
Another state’s military force in pursuit of insurrectionists, enemies, or
saboteurs may continue their pursuit in Michigan. Any person captured in the state
is to be surrendered to state military or police (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §32.567).
If the commanding officer of the state military is responding to terrorism or
providing disaster relief, he or she has immunity for actions taken, as do members of
the militia (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §32.579).
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in Michigan Statutes, with Citations
Act of terrorismMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §§30.421
DisasterMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §§30.402(e),
Disaster relief forcesMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.402(f)
District coordinatorMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.402(g)
Emergency Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30. 402(h)
Emergency interim successorMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §§31.2 (e),
Emergency management coordinatorMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.402(i)
Enemy attackMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §§31.2(c)
Local state of emergencyMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.402(j)
Michigan emergency managementMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.402(k)
State of disasterMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.402(p)
State of emergencyMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.402(q)
TerroristMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §750.543b(g)
Terrorist organizationMich. Comp. Laws Ann. §30.421(4)(b)
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for Michigan
may be searched at: [http://www.mileg.org/mileg.asp?page=MCLBasicSearch].