Here is the latest Michigan news from The Associated Press at 7:40 a.m. EDT
DETROIT (AP) — Michigan has signed off on $20 million in grants and loans to more than 1,000 small businesses harmed by the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the number of cases in the state has risen dramatically to 334, including three deaths. The state health department says it’s now able to combine numbers from its own lab with statistics from hospitals and private labs. About 117,000 businesses were directly hit by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order to close or greatly limit service at bars, movie theaters, fitness centers and restaurants. Some could qualify for grants of up to $10,000.
DETROIT (AP) — Ford is suspending its dividend to preserve cash as vehicles sales fade due to the coronavirus outbreak. The company said it’s drawing on two credit lines to put another $15.4 billion in cash on its balance sheet. Like other companies, Ford also withdrew its financial guidance for the year Thursday. The cash Ford saves will be used to offset the impact on working capital due to factory shutdowns. On Wednesday Ford and other automakers announced that they will close all of their North American factories in the coming days. Factories in Europe and elsewhere have already been shut down. Ford’s shares fell 7.1% just after the opening bell to a level not seen in about a decade.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Questions about mental health treatment will be dropped from the application to become a lawyer in Michigan. Instead, applicants to the Michigan State Bar will be asked if they’ve had any “conduct or behavior” that might affect their ability to practice law in an ethical manner. Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says she hopes “aspiring attorneys will recognize that mental health issues are not professional disqualifications.” Justices Brian Zahra and Stephen Markman disagreed with the change. They noted that questions about mental health are common in many jobs and to become a foster parent.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Closing schools to combat the spread of the coronavirus has prompted several states to cancel the standardized testing that is dreaded by students and teachers alike. Many states were scheduled to begin testing in April but now face school closures that could last weeks or longer. States are asking federal education officials to waive federal testing requirements. Many states use high-stakes testing to advance students to the next grade level and rate schools and teachers. Education groups also say bringing kids in for testing after weeks of online learning wouldn’t be fair to them.