Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – January 12, 2024

  1. Cannabis Regulatory Agency Announces $1 Million Social Equity Grant Program

Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) announced a $1 million grant program to applicants who have a recreational marijuana license, have eligible Social Equity Program participants, and participate in the CRA’s “Social Equity All-Star Program.”

Why it Matters: The program is intended to encourage participation in the industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Welcomes Danielle Lofton to the Firm

We are pleased to announce the hiring of attorney Danielle Lofton who will work primarily in the firm’s Lansing office, focusing her practice on insurance defense.

Why it Matters: Ms. Lofton represents clients with personal injury claims including no-fault cases for several years. She has routinely secured early dismissals through successful motions and negotiated favorable settlements for her clients. Learn more.

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  1. Department of Labor Issues New Rule on Independent Contractors

This week, the US Department of Labor issued a new rule modifying its analysis for determining whether a worker is an employee, or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The final rule is effective on March 11, 2024.

Why it Matters: We previously reported on the Department of Labor publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding classification of employee or independent contractor under the FLSA. Under this final rule effective on March 11, 2024, it will provide clearer guidance for employers and how they determine their workers’ classifications, and further protect employees from misclassification.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Andrew J. Moore Elected to Board of Directors of Catholic Bar Association

We are pleased to announce that attorney ​Andrew J. Moore has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Catholic Bar Association, a national bar association with members in all 50 states. “I am honored to be elected to the Board of Directors, and I look forward to continuing the mission of the Catholic Bar Association,” said Andrew Moore.

Why it Matters: Andrew focuses his practice on general litigation matters, insurance defense, estate and trust administration, real estate transactions, family law, and criminal defense. His experience covers a range of practice areas, from out of court matters such as assisting clients in estate planning and business and tax matters to representing clients at trial in insurance, divorce, and criminal defense proceedings. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Lansing Catholic Lawyers Guild. Read more.

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  1. Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Required to Redraw Seven House Districts

A three-judge panel ordered this week that the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission redraw seven state House districts by February 2nd, after it was ruled unconstitutional.

Why it Matters: Last year, a group of voters sued the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission alleging that the Commission had violated the federal Voting Rights Act by drawing maps that impacted black voters’ opportunity to elect their preferred candidates.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Insurance Law | Danielle Lofton
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Litigation | Andrew Moore
Election Law

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – December 23, 2022

  1. New Bills Passed to Expand Affordable Housing in Michigan

Governor Whitmer recently signed a package of bills (Senate Bills 362364422 and 432) intended to support the development of more affordable housing units in communities across Michigan, with a particular focus on creating new housing units in cities.

Why it Matters: Lack of affordable housing is a big problem in Michigan and throughout the country. From an economic standpoint, when there is a lack of affordable housing, it makes it difficult for employers to attract and retain workers. According to the Resilient Homes Michigan coalition, Michigan is short about 203,000 affordable rental homes for the 320,000 renting households in the state that have incomes at or below 30% of the median income for their area.

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  1. Michigan Slips Slightly in Economic Benchmarking Report

Michigan dropped two spots, to 31st nationally, in the Business Leaders for Michigan’s annual benchmarking report that ranks states’ economic performance. While Michigan improved over last year in some key metrics, other states did as well, leading to Michigan falling slightly in the rankings.

Why it Matters: As the national economy softens, it’s more important than ever for Michigan business and government leaders to focus on sound economic policy to help maintain—and improve—the state’s competitiveness. The report highlighted, for example, how Ohio jumped from 33rd in the rankings last year to 23rd this year.

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  1. New NIL Legislation Takes Effect December 31, 2022

Michigan House Bill 5217 which was passed into law in 2020, takes effect December 31, 2022 and sets new standards for how student-athletes can earn compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) in Michigan.

Why it Matters: Student-athletes, covered higher education institutions, and businesses must ensure that NIL deal comply not only with NCAA rules and regulations, but also with the new standards that will apply in the State of Michigan starting in 2023. For example, higher education institutions are prohibited from paying a student-athlete compensation directly for the use of their NIL rights, or revoking or reducing a student-athlete’s athletic scholarship because they earned compensation from an NIL deal.

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  1. Cabinet Changes Announced for Governor Whitmer’s Second-Term

Governor Whitmer recently announced changes in leadership for several state departments. Some of the changes include Dan Eichinger taking over as acting director of the Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy, Shannon Lott will become the acting director of the Department of Natural Resources, Michelle Lange chosen as the acting director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and Brian Hanna will become director of the Cannabis Regulatory Agency.

Why it Matters: Further changes may be in the future as the new directors in their respective departments take over and implement their policies. Fraser Trebilcock attorneys will monitor and report on any important situations.

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  1. Officials Unveil $2 Million Grant to Support High-Tech Talent Workforce in Michigan

Earlier this month, Governor Whitmer along with officials from the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, and the Detroit Regional Chamber, unveiled a two million dollar grant program to MichAuto to support and build up the high-tech talent workforce in Michigan.

Why it Matters: Investing in Michigan’s workforce and talent pipeline is key for the state to keep workers from leaving and relocating to other states. It builds on the state’s MI Future Mobility Plan to continue attracting businesses and workers to work in the state related to the future of transportation.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Real Estate | Jared Roberts
Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman
Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Election Law | Garett Koger

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – December 16, 2022

  1. Cabinet Changes Announced for Governor Whitmer’s Second-Term

Last week, Governor Whitmer announced changes in leadership for several state departments. Some of the changes include Dan Eichinger taking over as acting director of the Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy, Shannon Lott will become the acting director of the Department of Natural Resources, Michelle Lange chosen as the acting director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and Brian Hanna will become director of the Cannabis Regulatory Agency.

Why it Matters: Further changes may be in the future as the new directors in their respective departments take over and implement their policies. Fraser Trebilcock attorneys will monitor and report on any important situations.

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  1. Michigan Slips Slightly in Economic Benchmarking Report

Michigan dropped two spots, to 31st nationally, in the Business Leaders for Michigan’s annual benchmarking report that ranks states’ economic performance. While Michigan improved over last year in some key metrics, other states did as well, leading to Michigan falling slightly in the rankings.

Why it Matters: As the national economy softens, it’s more important than ever for Michigan business and government leaders to focus on sound economic policy to help maintain—and improve—the state’s competitiveness. The report highlighted, for example, how Ohio jumped from 33rd in the rankings last year to 23rd this year.

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  1. Tax Changes Incoming for Research & Experimental Expenditures

For tax years beginning in 2022, research and experimental (R&E) expenditures are no longer immediately expensed but rather must be amortized over five years (15 years for foreign expenditures). This change to the tax treatment of R&E expenditures was included as a revenue raiser for the federal government to help pay for other tax breaks in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed at the end of 2017.

Why it Matters: Guidance is needed immediately for the 2022 tax year, especially for corporations that must prepare financial statements. The post-2021 tax treatment of R&E expenditures is inconsistent with financial accounting principles that requires most research and development costs to be expensed immediately. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. Parties Ask Court to Decide on Paid Sick Leave / Minimum Wage Increase by February 1

Earlier this week, a 3-judge appellate panel heard arguments from both parties on whether to overturn the July 2022 ruling to adopt and amend two 2018 ballot initiatives that would increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour, increased tipped wages, and would significantly alter paid sick leave laws in the state forcing businesses to have to change their policies.

Why it Matters: Both parties have requested a decision by February 1 from the Court of Appeals, as the July 2022 ruling had a stay enforced until February 19. Depending on the court’s decision, businesses in the state may have to alter their paid sick leave policies and increase their minimum wage and tipped wage levels. We will continue to monitor the situation and report on any new developments.

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  1. CRA Publishes New Monthly Data, Average Price Lowest Ever Been

According to recent monthly data published by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail flower price of an ounce of cannabis is $95.12, an all-time low and a 50% decrease compared to last year.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Election Law | Garett Koger
Business & Tax  | Paul McCord
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – November 11, 2022

  1. Sixth Circuit Rules that Notice is Required to Terminate Contract for Successive Performances

Under Section 440.2309(2) of Michigan’s Uniform Commercial Code, a contract that “provides for successive performances but is indefinite in duration” may be terminated at any time (without cause). However, as a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision points out, reasonable notice of such termination must be provided, unless the requirement of notice is waived via the contract.

Why it Matters: The court’s ruling in the case of Stackpole International Engineered Products v. Angstrom Automotive Group is a reminder for buyers and sellers, especially in the manufacturing industry, who enter into contracts that provide for successive performances to work with experienced legal counsel in the drafting, review and enforcement of commercial contracts in order to avoid contractual disputes and litigation.

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  1. Michigan Election Results: Governor’s Race, State House and Senate

In the hotly contested governor’s race, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer defeated Republican challenger Tudor Dixon and will continue to serve as Michigan’s Governor for the next 4 years. And, both the State House and Senate flipped to Democratic control.

Why it Matters: This is the first time since 1984 that the Governor’s Office, State House and Senate are all controlled by Democrats. As officials look towards new leadership in certain areas, Fraser Trebilcock’s election law team will continue to monitor and report on any significant changes happening in Lansing.

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  1. Municipalities Vote on Marijuana

While adult-use recreational marijuana passed the ballot in 2018, each individual municipality has the control to allow adult-use recreational marijuana businesses to operate in their community. This election cycle saw numerous municipalities vote on this issue.

Why it Matters: According to data provided by the CRA prior to the November election, less than 10% of all municipalities in the state had opted in for adult-use recreational marijuana businesses. Following election results showing that more municipalities are allowing for adult-use recreational businesses to operate in their town, the issues that have plagued current license owners arise again for officials to handle.

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  1. Passed – Prop 1: Term Limits and Financial Requirements

Following the November 8, 2022 election results, Prop 1, which proposed changes to term limits for state legislators and required elected officials to disclose financial information, passed.

Why it Matters: As we covered in an earlier newsletter, this development will permit lawmakers to serve 12 years in Lansing, and all of that time can be spent in the House or Senate, or it could be divided between the two chambers. Additionally, elected officials would have to disclose their assets, income and liabilities, and their involvement in any businesses, nonprofits, labor organizations or educational institutions.

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  1. Controversial Landlord-Tenant Rules Proposed by State Court Administrative Office

The State Court Administrative Office unveiled proposed changes to Michigan Court Rule 4.201, that if enacted, would alter the way eviction cases are handled for both landlords and tenants. Some of the proposed amendments are the ability for tenants to get an automatic stay if they have applied for rental aid, and a requirement that tenants be served in person if a landlord wants an immediate default judgement.

Why it Matters: If enacted, these rules would allow commercial and residential tenants more time to pay their landlords if they fall behind on payments. However, some are against the new proposed rules as they believe it would increase the difficulty for landlords to evict non-paying tenants, and make the process of finding new tenants more difficult.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Election Law | Garett Koger
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Real Estate | Jared Roberts

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – October 28, 2022

  1. Governor Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Election Bills

Governor Whitmer recently signed a package of election law bills which impact how clerks process ballots, including those coming from members of the military overseas. Michigan Public Act 195 permits clerks to pre-process absentee ballots two days prior to Election Day, changes requirements for ballot drop boxes to increase security, and requires clerks to more frequently review and update qualified voter files to remove dead voters. Public Act 196 allows military members serving overseas to submit ballots electronically.

Why it Matters: Polling shows that voters are highly energized and polarized leading up to the midterm elections. These laws are meant to address certain voting-related issues, such as ballot box integrity, that have led to controversy in the past. If you have questions about these bills, or election law issues in general, please contact a member of our election law team.

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  1. Department of Labor Issues New Proposed Rule on Independent Contractors 

The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, if adopted, would change the standard for analyzing a worker’s classification as either an employee or independent contractor.

Why it Matters: Employee misclassification can result in severe financial consequences. Businesses and employers should remain diligent in analyzing their workers’ classifications. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. Michigan Court of Claims Rules in Prevailing Wage Policy Case

Judge Douglas Shapiro of the Michigan Court of Claims recently ruled in favor of the state’s Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB), when it implemented its prevailing wage policy. The Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan (ABC) in July 2022 filed a preliminary injunction claiming that due to the 2018 repeal of Michigan’s prevailing wage law, that the state cannot require the wage rate, which the Court denied and agreed that DTMB did not violate separation of powers when implementing its prevailing wage policy.

Why it Matters: October 31 is the deadline for ABC to appeal the decision. If this decision stays, this signals changes to the way organizations do business with the state of Michigan. Learn more on DTMB’s prevailing wage.

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  1. New CRA Director Vows to Crack Down on Black Market Sales

This week, Brian Hanna, the Cannabis Regulatory Agency’s acting director, spoke to media and highlighted the agency’s focus on cracking down on cannabis that is continuing to illegally enter Michigan’s market.

Why it Matters: Though official numbers have not been confirmed, it is known that illicit cannabis is continuing to enter Michigan’s medical and adult-use cannabis markets, causing widespread effects on prices and profits for legal and law-abiding businesses.

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  1. State Court Administrative Office Proposes New Landlord-Tenant Rules

The State Court Administrative Office unveiled new proposed rules that if enacted, would alter the way eviction cases are handled for both landlords and tenants. Rules such as a requirement that tenants be served in person if a landlord wants an immediate default judgement, and the ability for tenants to get an automatic stay if they have applied for rental aid.

Why it Matters: If enacted, these rules would allow commercial and residential tenants more time to pay their landlords if they fall behind on payments, however landlords are against the new proposed rules as they believe it will make the process of finding new tenants more difficult.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Election Law | Garett Koger
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Real Estate | Jared Roberts

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – October 14, 2022

  1. Lawsuit Challenges New Election Challenger/Poll Watcher Guidance

The Michigan GOP and the Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit seeking to rescind new instructions for election challengers and poll watchers issued by the Michigan Bureau of Elections. Among issues raised in the lawsuit is a new requirement having challengers obtain a credential using a form from the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office.

Why it Matters: There were many lawsuits filed in the wake of the 2020 election, and it’s likely that there will be many more arising from this November’s hotly contested races. Fraser Trebilcock’s election law team provides proactive guidance for political campaigns and causes, and representation in connection with election-law disputes.

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  1. Student Loan Forgiveness Will Not Be Taxed

Earlier this month with legislative bipartisan support, it was announced that Michigan will not collect taxes as revenue on the federal student loan forgiveness or the state’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Individuals who are eligible can receive up to $20,000 of their student loans forgiven.

Why it Matters: In August, Fraser Trebilcock reported on President Biden’s announcement on student loan forgiveness of up to $20,000. This latest news comes as a relief for those who are participating in the loan forgiveness program.

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  1. Changes Could Be Coming for Sales Tax on Automobiles

Pending a final vote, Michigan drivers will save some money when they purchase a vehicle. Previously, car buyers would be taxed the state’s 6% sales tax on the list price, but now under the proposed bills, it would now tax the amount the buyer purchased it for.

Why it Matters: The legislation could be another change for automobile owners in Michigan. If the bills pass, the sales tax would now have to consider the manufacturer incentives that may be present for certain cars.

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  1. State Fines and Suspends Detroit-based Medical Marijuana Business

The Cannabis Regulatory Agency has suspended for 30 days and fined $75,000 a Detroit-based medical marijuana business for improperly handling marijuana products by not having the required identification tracking numbers on the products.

Why it Matters: In the highly regulated medical and recreational marijuana industry, businesses can face high fines and lengthy suspensions for failing to abide by the rules set forth by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Marijuana businesses are required to follow video surveillance rules in Michigan.

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  1. October 14 Deadline: Medicare Part D Notice of Creditable (or Non-Creditable) Coverage

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 requires entities who offer prescription drug coverage to notify Medicare Part D eligible individuals whether their prescription coverage is creditable coverage. These notices of either creditable or non-creditable coverage are due for distribution prior to October 15 of each year.

Why it Matters: Failure to provide notice can result in a late enrollment penalty to those persons who go 63 days or longer without creditable coverage. Learn more here.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Election Law | Garett Koger
Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Employee Benefits | Robert Burgee

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – October 7, 2022

  1. Michigan Legislature Allocates $846 Million for Economic Development Projects

Michigan legislators recently approved $846.1 million to support economic developments projects in the state. The funding will be administered through the state’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund.

Why it Matters: As the economy slows, these funds will inject a needed boost for business and entrepreneurship in Michigan. In 2021, $1 billion in SOAR funds were distributed to aid corporations planning major projects.

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  1. Lawsuit Emerges as City of Detroit’s Adult-Use Marijuana Ordinance is Challenged Again

A new lawsuit challenging the City of Detroit’s adult-use marijuana ordinance was filed recently in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan alleging that the revised ordinance the Detroit City Council passed still has the same issues as the original ordinance that led to multiple lawsuits.

Why it Matters: In August, a judge threw out two lawsuits that claimed the revised ordinance gave an unfair advantage to certain residents and that the new law would signal the end for existing medical marijuana facilities already in the area. Fraser Trebilcock cannabis attorneys will continue to monitor the situation for updates.

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  1. New Legislation Will Allow Preprocessing of Absentee Ballots

A package of bills recently passed by the Michigan legislature with bipartisan support would allow local clerks two days to preprocess absentee ballots prior to election day. Additionally, enhanced security measures will go into effect, such as routinely removing deceased voters from the Qualified Voter File, and requiring a chain of custody logs for ballots placed in drop boxes. The recent changes are effective now, leading up to the November election.

Why it Matters: The legislation before us would remove the sunset to allow clerks to again use this tool to efficiently and securely process absentee ballots,” said Senate Elections Chair Committee Chair Ruth Johnson.

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  1. New Scholarship Program Aimed at Helping Michigan’s Middle Class

The new Michigan Achievement Scholarship program will help Michigan families reduce the costs of attending various post-high school education programs. Public university students who are selected will receive up to $5,500 a year for five years, independent university students will be able to get up to $4,000 a year for five years, private trade school students $2,000 a year for two years and community college students $2,750 a year for up to three years.

Why it Matters: The Michigan Achievement Scholarship program is projected to double the number of the recipients who receive financial aid through the state’s various programs. And the new program seeks to reduce or eliminate the need for student loans for families across the state.

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  1. Importance of Signing an Operating Agreement for Your LLC

It happens more often than individuals think and something small businesses should heed is the need to adopt an operating agreement at the start of your LLC. It may seem like an unnecessary step when you are starting out but waiting until the time is right or until you get big enough can often lead to forgetting about it completely.

Why it Matters: Failure to sign an operating agreement for your LLC may lead to issues for your small business that would otherwise be avoided. Learn more from a Fraser Trebilcock attorney on this topic.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Klint Kesto
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Election Law | Garett Koger

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – September 23, 2022

  1. CRA’s Fines Eight Cannabis Businesses Over Late Financial Reports

The Cannabis Regulatory Agency recently published their monthly disciplinary reports and eight cannabis businesses across the state have been fined for failing to submit annual financial reports by the required deadline.

Why it Matters: What comes with the territory of operating a business in a highly regulated arena, business owners both medical and recreational will need to be aware of deadlines for required financial reporting of their cannabis business operations.

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  1. Majority of Legislators Could Run Again If Prop 1 Passes

A new analysis from the Citizens Research Council says that a majority of legislators, 89% of the 737 Michigan legislators, could run again for a seat if the Prop 1 (term limits and financial disclosures) ballot proposal passes.

Why it Matters: If this ballot proposal passes, the majority of past legislators have the option of running again for a legislative seat. Fraser Trebilcock election law attorneys will continue to follow and update news surrounding this ballot proposal.

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  1. Importance of Signing an Operating Agreement for Your LLC

It happens more often than individuals think and something small businesses should heed is the need to adopt an operating agreement at the start of your LLC. It may seem like an unnecessary step when you’re starting out but waiting until the time is right or until you get big enough, can often lead to forgetting about it completely.

Why it Matters: Failure to sign an operating agreement for your LLC may lead to issues for your small business that would otherwise be avoided. Learn more from a Fraser Trebilcock attorney on this topic.

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  1. Whitmer Names New Head of Cannabis Regulatory Agency

Brian Hanna, formerly an analyst in the Lansing Computer Crimes unit at the Michigan State Police, and deputy for the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, was tapped by Governor Whitmer to lead Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency (“CRA”). Immediately prior to his interim appointment, which took effect September 19, Hanna was the CRA’s manager of field operations, inspections and investigations.

Why it Matters:  Hanna replaces former CRA executive director Andrew Brisbo, who will now lead the state’s Bureau of Construction Codes. In a statement, Hanna said “I look forward to reconnecting with stakeholders to ensure we have a clear and concise regulatory framework for oversight of this industry to promote continued growth in Michigan.”

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  1. Will Electric Vehicle Incentives Under Inflation Reduction Act Actually Hurt Sales?

The Inflation Reduction Act includes billions in incentives for electric vehicle adoption, including $7,500 tax credits for EV purchases. However, many automotive manufacturers are not happy with the rules the bill imposes for vehicles to qualify for the credits.

Why it Matters: The opposition argue that the manufacturing, sourcing, and pricing rules, which require significant domestic sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing, are too aggressive and could result in most EV’s not qualifying for the federal incentives – therefore stifling sales for many manufacturers.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Michael Ashton

Business & TaxRobert Burgee

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Election LawGarett Koger

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – September 2, 2022

  1. President Biden Announces Student Loan Forgiveness

On Wednesday, August 24, President Biden announced the federal government will extend the current pause on monthly student loan payments. President Biden also stated that the federal government plans to forgive up to $20,000 worth of student loan debt for those who qualify.

Why it Matters: President Biden is relying on the HEROES Act of 2003 [20USC 1098bb] to extend the pause on student payments as well as forgive certain amounts of student loans for qualifying individuals. There may be challenges to the President’s reliance on this statute to forgive student loan debt in the future. Learn more here from our attorney covering the news.

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  1. How Michigan Car Insurance Rates Stack Up Nationally

Following an influx of new car insurance companies into the state, Michigan has dropped from being the nation’s leader in cost of car insurance to fourth. The major effort in reducing costs is attributed to the 2019 auto insurance reform, which saw prices for automobile premiums drop considerably.

Why it Matters: Reduced costs for automobile owners is a positive sign for Michiganders. Elected officials are working towards providing consumers a choice for their automobile insurance, which in turn will reduce costs across the board.

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  1. Term Limits Will Be Prop 1 on November Ballot

It was recently announced that changes to Michigan’s term limits and financial disclosure requirements will be on November’s ballot as Prop 1. In 1992, Michigan voters voted in favor of a constitutional amendment for term limits. Since then, Michigan House members have been limited to three two-year terms and Michigan Senate members to two four-year terms— a maximum of 14 years between the two chambers.

Why it Matters: If Prop 1 passes, it would permit lawmakers to serve 12 years in Lansing, and all of that time could be spent in the House or Senate, or it could be divided between the two chambers. Additionally, elected officials would have to disclose their assets, income and liabilities, and their involvement in any businesses, nonprofits, labor organizations or educational institutions. Learn more here.

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  1. Voting Rights Proposal Fails to Make November Ballot

A voting rights proposal that would make changes to Michigan’s elections—including establishing early voting—failed to make this fall’s ballot. Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on whether to certify the Promote the Vote amendment for the ballot.

Why it Matters: The amendment would have increased absentee ballot access and preempted efforts to enact stricter voter ID rules for those casting ballots in person and for absentee voters. Promote the Vote indicated it would challenge the decision in court.

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  1. Michigan to Receive $50 Million from Federal Government for Historic 2020 Flooding

The Federal Highway Administration said Wednesday it will provide $50 million in emergency relief funds to Michigan to reimburse the state for repairs it made to roadways and bridges following severe flooding that took place in mid-Michigan in 2020.

Why it Matters: The money comes as part of a $513 million package the federal government is distributing across different states and territories. Only California and Puerto Rico will receive more than Michigan.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Insurance Defense | Emily Vanderlaan

Election Law | Garett Koger

Trusts & Estates | Elizabeth Siefker

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – August 5, 2022

  1. August 2 Michigan Primary Election Results

The outcome of the August 2 Republican primary for Governor saw candidate Tudor Dixon prevail. In the November general election, she will face incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer who ran unopposed. In the newly drawn 3rd congressional district, Republican John Gibbs defeated incumbent Peter Meijer.

Why it Matters: As November and the general election gets closer, stay tuned for more insights as Fraser Trebilcock’s election law team will be closely monitoring the action.

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  1. MEDC to Make $237 Million Available to Help Michigan Small Businesses

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation 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 on the topic here.

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  1. Ballot Initiative Aims to Increase Minimum Wage Targets 2024 Ballot

The Raise the Wage MI ballot initiative proposal aims to raise Michigan’s hourly minimum wage to $15 over the course of five years. The organizers behind the ballot initiative are reported to have secured more than 610,000 signatures and delivered them to Michigan officials last week.

Why it Matters: The issuance of a stay until February 19, 2023 follows the ruling by the Michigan Court of Claims stating that the state legislature’s adoption and alteration of a 2018 ballot initiative that would have raised minimum wage to $12 by 2022 was unconstitutional. This ruling has been appealed, but even if it gets overturned, Michigan may still see an increase to minimum wage if the Raise the Wage MI initiative is passed.

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  1. New Law Allows Non-Profit Corporation to be a Member of Limited Liability Company

Senate Bill 926 was recently signed into law by Governor Whitmer, which changes the definition of a person in the limited liability company act, allowing nonprofit corporations to be members of limited liability companies (“LLC”).

Why it Matters: Michigan now joins other states that allow nonprofits to create LLCs that do not involve any financial gain or profit to perform certain functions while still maintaining their nonprofit status.

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  1. Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Texting While Driving Bills

The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee approved a package of bills expanding the scope of Michigan’s texting while driving laws, which would make requirements more stringent and penalties for violations more costly. The bills explicitly address social media use and live streaming.

Why it Matters: Distracted driving is dangerous. In 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Distracted driving is also costly for drivers, as those who violate distracted driving laws tend to see their insurance rates shoot up.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Election Law | Garett Koger

Business & Tax | Robert D. Burgee

Business & Tax | Ed Castellani

Insurance Defense | Emily Vanderlaan