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Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – July 14, 2023

  1. Supreme Court Outlaws Affirmative Action in College Admissions

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, ruling that race cannot be a factor and requiring institutions of higher education to seek new ways to achieve diverse student bodies.

Why it Matters: While the Court’s ruling was related specifically to college admissions policy, it may have a downstream effect on private-sector employers who may be forced to rethink and redesign certain hiring practices and diversity, equity and inclusion programs. In particular, in light of the Court’s ruling, there may be more challenges in the form of lawsuits to such programs and practices moving forward.


  1. New Film Incentives for Michigan Proposed by Lawmaker

Michigan state Senator Dayna Polehanki recently introduced a new proposal to offer filmmakers a tax credit for movies filmed in Michigan, including a 25% credit for Michigan-based goods and services expenses, and an extra 5% if statements like “Filmed in Michigan” or “Pure Michigan” are included in the film credits.

Why it Matters: Michigan previously had a film incentive, which was ended in 2015. Advocates argue that such incentives can create jobs and lead to new entrepreneurial endeavors. Critics of such incentives suggest that they do little to help local economies.


  1. Governor Whitmer Unveils MiLEAP

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order creating a new department focusing on preschool and postsecondary education. The new department will be called the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advanced and Potential, or MiLEAP.

Why it Matters: MiLEAP will partner with the state’s Department of Education and State Board of Education to create and implement a plan to strengthen the state’s preschool and postsecondary education. Learn more.


  1. Michigan Cannabis Sales Exceed $260 Million in June

Cannabis sales surpassed $260 million in June, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $254,153,133.37, while medical sales came in at $6,643,877.89, altogether totaling $245,919,258.96.

Why it Matters: Marijuana sales remain strong in Michigan, particularly for recreational use. However, there still are significant concerns about profitability and market over-saturation that the industry is contending with.


  1. NLRB’s Atlanta Opera Ruling Imposes Stricter Independent Contractor Test on Employers

On June 13, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruled in the closely watched The Atlanta Opera, Inc. case, restoring the multifactor common-law framework the NLRB established in 2014 for worker classification.

Why it Matters: The ruling is significant because it establishes the test for classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”); the test—a return to pre-2019 standards—makes it harder to classify workers as independent contractors, and independent contractors are excluded from the NLRA’s protections for labor organizing activities. Learn more on the subject.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman
Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Dave Houston