Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – June 24, 2022; Legal, Legislative, and Regulatory Insights
- Michigan House Passes Bills Requiring More Stringent Work-Search Requirements
The Michigan House recently passed a pair of bills that would require those seeking unemployment benefits to report weekly about their attempts to seek work. Under the bills, individuals would have to register with the Michigan Works! agency within two weeks of applying for benefits and would have to take and report on certain work search or training steps at least three times per week.
Why it Matters: Despite the volatility in stock markets and discussions about a possible recession, the job market in the United States remains strong, with the unemployment rate at a historically low 3.6%. If these bills become laws—a big “if” since they were passed by Republicans on a party-line vote—the work-search requirements could spur more people to rejoin the workforce.
- Michigan House Passes Bill That Would Change Payment Priority Scheme for Operator or Passenger of Commercial Vehicle
The Michigan House recently passed HB 5719, which would change the order of priority of payment of personal injury protection benefits to a person injured while operating or as the passenger of a commercial vehicle or transport, such as a taxi or ride-share service.
Why it Matters: If signed into law, the bill would require, in the event of an injury described above, that coverage would come from the injured person’s own insurance rather than the vehicle owner’s insurance.
- Markey Submits FOIA Requests for Signatures Process
Following the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision to deny three Republican candidates for governor to be placed on the primary ballot, after state election officials ruled that their campaigns had submitted forged signatures, one former candidate, Michael Markey, recently submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding the process the Bureau of Elections took in declaring fraudulent signatures appearing on his nominating petitions.
Why it Matters: Mr. Markey’s FOIA requests broaden to the Secretary of State, Bureau of Elections, and the Department of Attorney General. In a recent statement, Mr. Markey said he wants the exact steps that were taken to be made public. This developing scenario highlights the need for experienced election law counsel.
- Detroit Faces Lawsuits Over Adult-Use Recreational Licenses
Following the Detroit City Council’s vote on the revised ordinance to allow adult-use recreational cannabis sales, multiple medical marijuana companies have filed suit against the city over the licensing program. JARS Cannabis and House of Dank, two companies that own medical marijuana dispensaries licensed in Detroit, are suing the City of Detroit over the revised ordinance claiming that the new law would signal the end for existing medical marijuana facilities already in the area. The two companies pointed to a provision in the revised ordinance that prevents existing medical facilities in the area from getting a recreational license until 2027.
Why it Matters: Detroit, and many other municipalities in Michigan, have faced lawsuits over their cannabis licensing ordinances, particularly ordinances related to adult-use recreational licenses. Many of the lawsuits stem from scoring systems designed by municipalities for awarding recreational licenses which some applicants argue are unfair. The consequence of this litigation is that a number of municipalities which opted to allow the sale of recreational marijuana still haven’t issued licenses because issues related to their approval process are being litigated.
- MEDC to Make $237 Million Available To Help Michigan Small Businesses
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation recently announced that Michigan has been approved for up to $237 Million in State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Why it Matters: Small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for funds through private lenders and the MEDC would back the loans through the SSBCI program. Learn more about the program from this video interview with Chris Cook, Director of Capital Access at MEDC.
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