Government and Human Resources

Little-known agencies affect everyday life

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LANSING — Sick of watching training videos of how to work safely in an office and how to avoid passing on a virus to your coworkers when you get a cold?

Don’t blame the governor or the Legislature. Safety and health training and education are the work of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In fact, many agencies you’ve never heard of have a powerful influence on Michigan residents, most of them involved in the creation and enforcement of rules and regulations.

“Every law has rules,” said Andy Such, director of environmental and regulatory policy at the Michigan Manufacturers Association. Many of the rules come from agencies across the state.

Among the powerful agencies that you may never have heard of are:

  • The Office of Regulatory Reinvention, which simplifies rules and regulations throughout the government that the Snyder administration deems unnecessary or unwieldy. There has been a “shift in regulation philosophy,” according to Mike Johnston, vice president of government affairs for the MMA. Michigan used to frequently add regulations, but now there is a trend toward eliminating ones that limit economic growth.
  • The State Boundary Commission approves or denies petitions for county and township boundary adjustments. This affects where a disputed county’s territory starts and ends.
  • The Board of Cosmetology of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs oversees the profession, including schools, beauty shops, manicurists and cosmetologists.
  • The Bureau of Health Care Services in Licensing and Regulatory Affairs oversees more than 400,000 health care professionals. The bureau also licenses health facilities, such as hospitals and long-term care homes.
  • The Department of Insurance and Financial Services provides information about changes in insurance and financial services, as well as working to make insurance available and affordable.

There also are some little known entities that affect state residents’ eating habits, such as the Michigan Asparagus Marketing Advisory Board. The board promotes the growing of the vegetable as well as the “virtues” of eating it. As Michigan ranks third in the U.S. for the production of asparagus, promotion helps to develop the industry.

Similarly, there is a Dairy Marketing Committee that promotes milk and milk products, as well as educating consumers and health professionals about dairy products.

As the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation with about 300 commodities produced commercially, there are groups that promote many of them, said Jennifer Holton, communications director of the Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development.

Recent Articles by Ashley Weigel - Capital News Service

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