Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – September 15, 2023

  1. Michigan House Bill Would Provide Tax Credit for High School or College Graduates Who Move to Michigan

Michigan House Bill 4934, which is pending in the House, would provide tax incentives for high school and college graduates outside of Michigan to move to the state. The bill would allow them to claim a tax credit the taxpayer paid on a qualified student loan during the tax year on student loans paid starting Jan. 1, 2024. 

Why it Matters: The bill would address two challenges: (1) the heavy burden of student loan debt for many young people, and (2) the “talent gap” faced by Michigan employers.


  1. Attorney Michael H. Perry Honored as “Lawyer of the Year” in Environmental Law in Lansing

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Michael H. Perry has been named the Best Lawyers in America© 2024 Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Lansing. This is a high distinction, as only one attorney in each practice area in each community is identified as “Lawyer of the Year.”

Why it Matters: “I am honored to be recognized by Best Lawyers© as a 2024 ‘Lawyer of the Year’ for Environmental Law in Lansing,” said Mike Perry. Because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers© is considered a singular honor. Only five percent of attorneys in Michigan are awarded the honor. Read more about Mike.


  1. Detroit Mayor Discusses New Land Value Tax Plan With Lawmakers

This week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan spoke to lawmakers at the House Tax Policy Committee hearing on his land value tax plan, which would change property taxes while encouraging economic growth across Detroit.

Why it Matters: According to the plan laid out online, if enacted, would replace certain tax rates for homes and property structures with a higher rate of tax on land, with the purpose of targeting unused, unproductive, or vacant land while providing benefits to homeowners and businesses.


  1. Michigan Cannabis Sales Exceed $276 Million in August

Cannabis sales surpassed $276 million in August, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $270,628,119.44, while medical sales came in at $5,643,278.24, totaling $276,271,397.68. 

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


  1. Business Education Series – Practical A.I. Business Solutions

Explore the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence in the business landscape during our Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Education Series. 

Why it Matters: From understanding the capabilities of AI models like ChatGPT to creating customized workflows using API integrations and automation tools, discover how AI can drive innovation and efficiency across industries. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman
Environmental Law | Mike Perry
Real Estate | Jared Roberts
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher 

US EPA Approves and Disapproves of Michigan’s Changes to the Inland Lakes & Streams and Wetland Protection Acts

EPAOn July 2, 2013, the Governor signed into law 2013 Public Act 98 which made some very significant changes to Michigan’s Inland Lakes & Streams and Wetlands Protection Acts which are known as “part 301” and “part 303,” respectively, of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. The federal Clean Water Act required the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) to approve or disapprove those changes in the law. According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the failure of Michigan to make legislative changes to comply with the federal Clean Water Act would have resulted in the USEPA’s termination of Michigan’s authority to regulate wetlands which are subject to the federal law.

On July 5, 2013, the State of Michigan requested the USEPA to approve 2013 Public Act 98. On December 11, 2013, the USEPA conducted a public hearing in Lansing and received more than 200 comments about this Act at that hearing. The USEPA also received many written comments about this legislation.

On December 13, 2016, three years after it held the public hearing, the USEPA released the results of its review of this public act. It approved some of the changes and disapproved others. The USEPA’s publication of its findings did not say whether it was going to withdraw or not withdraw Michigan’s authority to regulate federally protected wetlands. Odds are it will not do so.

The USEPA approved the legislation which exempted one from the need to obtain a permit to maintain an agricultural drain as long as that maintenance did not change the drain’s location, depth and bottom width as of July 1, 2014 and as long as that work was done either by the landowner or pursuant to Michigan’s drain code of 1956. The USEPA also approved the legislation which describes and defines the “best management practices” for drain maintenance. However, the USEPA disapproved the legislation which would have allowed a landowner to replace a culvert without a permit from the MDEQ.

The USEPA disapproved the exemption from the permit requirement for provided controlled access for livestock crossing. It also approved the new definition of an agricultural drain which is a human-made conveyance of water that does not have continuous flow, flows primarily as a result of precipitation induced runoff, serves agricultural production and was constructed either before January 1, 1073 or was built in compliance with Michigan’s wetland protection act.

The USEPA disapproved of the Michigan law which would have allowed a landowner to construct a water treatment pond or storm water detention facility, construct a new drain in upland property to remove excess soil from agricultural lands, and engage in an agricultural soil and water conservation practice to enhance water quality without obtaining a permit from the MDEQ. The USEPA also disapproved of the law’s provision that an area which becomes contiguous to a water body created by commercial excavation for sand, gravel or mining activities is not subject to regulation under the amended Act.

The USEPA also disapproved of the Act’s definition of whether a wetland is “continuous” to the Great Lakes or an inland lake, river or stream; it also disapproved the Act’s statement that the MDEQ shall not consider an agricultural drain in determining whether a wetland is continuous to such a body of water. The USEPA disapproved of the Act’s provision that a drainage structure such as a culvert, ditch or channel is not a wetland.

The USEPA also approved some changes in the law which impose new requirements for blueberry farmers and approved most of the Act’s technical changes to the permitting process such as those pertaining the fees which the MDEQ can charge and the time the MDEQ should take to issue a permit.

It remains to be seen how Michigan’s Legislature, the MDEQ, the agricultural community and persons commonly described as “environmental activists” will respond to the USEPA’s approvals and disapprovals of parts of Michigan’s 2013 changes to the Inland Lakes & Streams and Wetland Protection Acts. Stay tuned.

Additional Resources:

Click HERE for a complete look at the USEPA’s decision for each PA 98 revision, as well as supporting documents and additional information provided by the government.

Click HERE for a look back at history of this legislation and the process which culminated in the passage of 2013 Public Act 98.

Questions? Contact us to learn more.

perry-everett-web-blogAttorney Michael H. Perry is a shareholder and previous President of Fraser Trebilcock with over 35 years of environmental and litigation experience. You can contact Mike at or 517.377.08846.

Scott D. Everett is the Director of Legislative Affairs for Fraser Consulting, a subsidiary of Fraser Trebilcock law firm that provides full-service lobbying assistance. You can reach Scott at or 517.377.0839.

Will Volkswagen’s deliberate violations of the Federal Clean Air Act lead to the criminal prosecution of the company or any of its executives?

EPAOn September 18, 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency sent a Notice of Violation of the federal Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and Audi AG [collectively “Volkswagen”] Continue reading Will Volkswagen’s deliberate violations of the Federal Clean Air Act lead to the criminal prosecution of the company or any of its executives?

2013 Public Act 98 Significantly Changes Michigan’s Wetlands Protection Program

Michael H. Perry, Fraser Trebilcock Davis and Dunlap P.C.


            On July 2, 2013, Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 163 into law as 2013 Public Act 98 (“PA 98” or “Act”).  The Act significantly amends Parts 301 (inland lakes and streams) and 303 (wetlands) of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, MCL 324.101, et seq.[1]  PA 98 states that it is immediately effective.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA”) may have a contrary view in light of the State of Michigan’s failure to obtain the EPA’s prior approval of PA 98.[2]  This article briefly describes the history of Michigan’s wetland protection program and the events of the past 15 years that led to the adoption of PA 98. [3] Continue reading 2013 Public Act 98 Significantly Changes Michigan’s Wetlands Protection Program

New Wetlands Law Imposes Substantial Number of New Regulations, Leaves Farmers with Uncertainty

On July 2, 2013 the Governor signed Senate Bill 163 with immediate effect into Public Act 98 of 2013.  This new law is a dramatic policy change concerning the regulation of all privately owned drains and wetlands in the State of Michigan which has existed from October 1, 1980.

“This new law has imposed a substantial number of new regulations on Michigan landowners, “said Scott Everett, Director of Legislative Affairs at Fraser Consulting in Lansing. “The bottom line is that all landowners will need to consult with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regarding any work performed within a private upland drain or a private drain within a wetland.”

Continue reading New Wetlands Law Imposes Substantial Number of New Regulations, Leaves Farmers with Uncertainty

Is the Court playing politics with wastewater?

On April 25, 2011, in a case illustrating the partisan politics played in the Michigan Supreme Court, the Court issued a 4 to 3 decision to dismiss an environmental protection act case and vacate that Court’s December 2010 decision in the same matter on the ground that the case was “moot.”

Continue reading Is the Court playing politics with wastewater?