Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – June 23, 2023

  1. Client Alert: PCORI Fees Due by July 31, 2023!

In Notice 2022-59 the Internal Revenue Service set forth the PCORI amount imposed on insured and self-funded health plans for policy and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2022, and before October 1, 2023.

Why it Matters: Notice 2022-59 sets the adjusted applicable dollar amount used to calculate the fee at $3.00. Specifically, this fee is imposed per average number of covered lives for plan years that end on or after October 1, 2022, and before October 1, 2023. For self-funded plans, the average number of covered lives is calculated by one of three methods: (1) the actual count method; (2) the snapshot method; or (3) the Form 5500 method. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. Michigan Legislation Aims to Make it Easier to Hire Teachers and Counselors

On Thursday, the Michigan House passed legislation—which cleared the Michigan Senate in April—that aims to reduce barriers for out-of-state teachers and school counselors to work in Michigan’s schools. Senate Bill 161 would change Michigan’s teacher certification requirements, and Senate Bill 162 would similarly ease the way for out-of-state counselors to work with Michigan students.

Why it Matters: Michigan schools, like many in other parts of the country, have faced staffing shortages similar to those other employers have struggled with.

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  1. What You Need to Know About Pet Trusts

A pet trust is a legal document that allows you to provide for the care of your beloved pet if you become incapacitated and after you pass away. A pet trust can be created as a standalone document, or as part of a revocable (living) trust or will. In addition, a durable power of attorney can provide instructions to an agent for the care of a pet during your lifetime.

Why it Matters: Estate planning with pets in mind is an increasingly popular way for pet owners to ensure that their furry companions are taken care of, even when the owners can no longer care for themselves. Learn more about how to effectively care for your pets if you become incapacitated or pass away.

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  1. New Distracted Driving Law Goes into Effect June 30

Beginning June 30, Michigan motorists will be prohibited from using any mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle, even if at a stop sign or red light. This includes sending/receiving texts, accessing social media, or recording videos.

Why it Matters: First time offenders will face a $100 fine and/or 16 hours of community service, in addition to one point being added to the individual’s driving record. Penalties will increase for repeated violations, and on the third offense, individuals may be required to take a drivers improvement course.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Obtains Dismissal for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Jared Roberts recently obtained a dismissal in a circuit court case brought against a brokerage and salesperson.

Why it Matters: In this case, which involved interpretation of transaction documents, a county “Time of Sale” well and septic inspection ordinance and water quality issues, Mr. Roberts obtained dismissal in the first responsive document. Learn more about their practice and how they may be able to assist.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Employee Benefits | Bob Burgee
Employee Benefits | Sharon Goldzweig
Trusts & Estates | Elizabeth Siefker
Real Estate | Jared Roberts

What You Need to Know About Pet Trusts

A pet trust is a legal document that allows you to provide for the care of your beloved pet if you become incapacitated and after you pass away. A pet trust can be created as a standalone document, or as part of a revocable (living) trust or will. In addition, a durable power of attorney can provide instructions to an agent for the care of a pet during your lifetime.

These documents must be set up during your lifetime and allow you to:

  • designate a caretaker for your pet,
  • provide funds for their care and well-being,
  • designate a charity to receive funds remaining after your pet’s death,
  • give specific instructions for your pet’s care, dietary requirements, and medical treatments, and
  • provide for your pet to remain with you for as long as possible, at home, or at a facility.

Estate planning with pets in mind is an increasingly popular way for pet owners to ensure that their furry companions are taken care of, even when the owners can no longer care for themselves.

To learn more about how to effectively care for your pets if you become incapacitated or pass away, please contact us.

This alert serves as a general summary, and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Attorney Elizabeth M. Siefker

Elizabeth M. Siefker is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock in the trusts and estates practice group focusing on estate planning, elder law, and business planning. You can reach her at esiefker@fraserlawfirm.com, or at 517.377.0801.

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – February 3, 2023

1. Michigan Legislature Expands EITC Credit

The Michigan legislature recently passed a bill expanding Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The approved legislation retroactively increased the state’s EITC to 30% of the federal credit, where it is estimated to impact over 700,000 low-income workers.

Why it Matters: Per the Michigan League for Public Policy, upping the state’s EITC credit means that for individuals and their families who are eligible can receive an average of $750 credit per family.

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2. CRA Publishes December 2022 Data, Average Price Drops

According to recent monthly datapublished by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail flower price of an ounce of cannabis is $90.68, an all-time low and more than a 50% decrease compared to last year’s December 2021 average price of $184.90.

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 attorneysif you have any questions.

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3. Michigan Legislature Approves $1.1 Billion Supplemental Spending Bill

The Michigan Legislature on Thursday approved a supplemental spending bill totaling $1.1 billion over two years. The spending includes $150 million to deposit into the state’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund, which the state has used to pay major incentives to manufacturers with plans to build batteries and electric vehicles, and $150 million to develop a tax credit program to reduce housing costs.

Why it Matters: The bill, one of the first acts of the Democrat-controlled legislature, generated some controversy. Republicans complained that there was insufficient time to review the bills, and raised questions about how some of the spending is to be allocated.

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4. Upcoming Changes to 529 Plans Following SECURE Act 2.0

President Biden signed the SECURE Act 2.0 into law on December 29, 2022. Under certain conditions, Section 126 of the Act will amend the IRS Code to allow tax and penalty free rollovers from 529 accounts to Roth IRAs.

Why it Matters: There has been a decline in 529 accounts because families are worried about needing to take non-qualified withdrawals of leftover funds within the account, thus incurring a penalty. Section 126 will provide individuals with an option to make better use of leftover funds within a 529 account. Section 126 will become effective with respect to distributions after December 31, 2023. Learn more on the topic.

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5. What You Need to Know About Pet Trusts

A pet trust is a legal document that allows you to provide for the care of your beloved pet if you become incapacitated and after you pass away. A pet trust can be created as a standalone document, or as part of a revocable (living) trust or will. In addition, a durable power of attorney can provide instructions to an agent for the care of a pet during your lifetime.

Why it Matters: Estate planning with pets in mind is an increasingly popular way for pet owners to ensure that their furry companions are taken care of, even when the owners can no longer care for themselves. Learn more about how to effectively care for your pets if you become incapacitated or pass away.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Trusts & Estates | Elizabeth Siefker

SECURE Act 2.0 and Changes to 529 Accounts

President Biden signed the SECURE Act 2.0 into law on December 29, 2022. Under certain conditions, Section 126 of the Act will amend the IRS Code to allow tax and penalty free rollovers from 529 accounts to Roth IRAs.

Under this Section, a beneficiary of a 529 account is permitted to rollover up to $35,000 over their lifetime from any 529 account in their name to a Roth IRA.  These rollovers will be subject to Roth IRA annual contribution limits, and the 529 account must have been open for more than 15 years.

There has been a decline in 529 accounts because families are worried about needing to take non-qualified withdrawals of leftover funds within the account, thus incurring a penalty. Section 126 will provide individuals with an option to make better use of leftover funds within a 529 account. Section 126 will become effective with respect to distributions after December 31, 2023.

This alert serves as a general summary, and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Attorney Elizabeth M. Siefker

Elizabeth M. Siefker is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock in the trusts and estates practice group focusing on estate planning, elder law, and business planning. You can reach her at esiefker@fraserlawfirm.com, or at 517.377.0801.

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – January 6, 2023

  1. The Federal “Speak Out Act” Takes Effect

The Speak Out Act took effect on December 7, 2022, which prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign pre-dispute agreements that contain nondisclosure clauses or non-disparagement clauses that would have the effect of silencing employees concerning claims of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

Why it Matters: Requiring employees to sign such agreements is now a violation of federal law. Employers should review their current employee confidentiality agreements and revise them as necessary, keeping in mind that many state laws also limit what terms can be included in an NDA or similar agreements.

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  1. IRS Announces 2023 Standard Mileage Rates

The IRS announced the 2023 standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes. Beginning on January 1, 2023, the rate for business use is 65.5 cents per mile, an increase of 3 cents from the 2022 midyear rate.

Why it Matters: Self-employed individuals who operate an automobile for business use, as well as employers who reimburse employees who use their own vehicles to conduct business, should take note of these changes.

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  1. FTC Proposes Rules Banning Noncompete Agreements for Workers

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a proposed rule that would effectively ban the use of non-compete clauses in most employment agreements. The FTC’s guidance in proposing the rule says that 1-in-5 American workers are bound by some form of non-compete clause or agreement.

Why it Matters: These regulations (if adopted) will have wide-ranging impacts across many sectors of the economy. Employers should keep a close eye on these rules and be prepared to amend or revise their employment agreements accordingly.

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  1. Fed Issues Final LIBOR Replacement Rule

The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), announced that the U.S. dollar LIBOR will cease after June 30, 2023. On December 16, 2022, the Federal Reserve Board issued its final rule governing the replacement of LIBOR as an interest rate benchmark.

Why it Matters: The final rule is complex. Businesses using LIBOR as a benchmark or index should make note of this upcoming change. Fraser Trebilcock attorneys will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates. Contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. Estate and Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption Update

Per the IRS, the 2023 Estate and Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption has increased from $12.06 million to $12.92 million. Additionally, the use of electronic signatures for Estate and Gift Tax forms has been extended to October 31, 2023.

Why it Matters: Individuals should take note of the increase in 2023 and plan accordingly. If you have any questions, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock estate planning attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Business & Tax | Mark Kellogg
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Business & Tax | Norb Madison
Trusts & Estates | Marlaine Teahan

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – December 9, 2022

  1. Probate Court May Appoint Guardian Even Though Patient Advocate Already in Place

In the case In re Guardianship of Tyler J. Newland, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in an unpublished decision that a probate court may appoint a guardian for an individual who already has a patient advocate in place. The case involved a hospital that petitioned the probate court for the appointment of a guardian, alleging that a guardian was needed because the advocate for one of the hospital’s patients was not acting consistent with the patient’s best interests.

Why it Matters: This case highlights the need for experienced and effective estate planning legal counsel. For help with your estate planning needs, please contact a member of Fraser Trebilcock’s Trusts & Estates team.

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  1. Minimum Wage Set to Increase, With or Without Court Action

On Monday, December 5, 2022, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity announced the effective minimum wages for 2023, setting the standard minimum wage at $10.10 per hour.

Why it Matters: The Department’s notice cautioned that the announced rates were subject to change, pending a decision by the Michigan Supreme Court regarding the Michigan Legislature’s amendment to a successful 2018 ballot initiative. In any event, workers and employers can expect higher wage rates in the new year, just how much higher will be determined in the coming weeks and months. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. The Demise of the Open and Obvious Defense? (Michigan’s Evolution of Premises Liability Law)

Premises liability cases are often litigated in Michigan with considerable difficulty. In a premises liability claim, a possessor of land owes a duty to an invitee to exercise reasonable care to protect them from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a dangerous condition on the land. However, plaintiffs frequently find difficulty in successfully making claims under a premises liability theory due to the “open and obvious” defense.

Why it Matters: Michigan courts have traditionally held that the hazards presented by snow, snow-covered ice, and observable ice are open and obvious and do not impose a duty on the premises possessor to warn of or remove the hazard. However, the courts appear to be slowly eroding this traditional approach. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. Tax Changes Coming 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.

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  1. Judge Upholds CRA’s Decision to Suspend Licenses for Flint Marijuana Business

As we covered in a previous newsletter, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency suspended Green Culture’s medical and recreational licenses after they were found to have sold unregulated products that may have contained several contaminants, such as mold and/or bacteria. Following a two-day hearing, a judge sided with the state agency and upheld the suspension.

Why it Matters: Marijuana businesses should heed this as a warning, the CRA are cracking down on businesses that do not follow the strict guidelines and rules laid out by the state agency. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals
Trusts & Estates | Melisa M. W. Mysliwiec
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Insurance Law | Laura DeMarco
Business & Tax  | Paul McCord
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Now is the Time to Optimize Your Tax-Planning Strategies for 2022 and Beyond

With year-end quickly approaching, reducing taxes is on many people’s minds. It’s been a tumultuous few years, with many changes to people’s individual circumstances and tax laws at state and federal levels. Now is the time to focus on your year-end taxes and engage in estate and income tax planning opportunities.

At Fraser Trebilcock, our tax attorneys have made sure you don’t have to start your preparations from scratch with year-end tax considerations.

Estate and Gift Tax Planning

The IRS recently announced that, due to inflation, the estate tax exemption will be increased to $12.92 million for individuals in 2023 ($25.84 million for married couples), up from $12.06 million in 2022. Currently, the lifetime gift tax exemption amount tracks the federal estate tax exemption for decedents of $12.06 million (and $12.92 for 2023). Keep in mind, however, that the lifetime estate and gift tax exemption amount is set to be cut in half at the start of 2026.

If you’re thinking about beginning an annual gifting program, or want to continue a program you’ve already started, there are some things you should know. From an estate and gift tax planning perspective, the most commonly used method for tax-free giving is the annual gift tax exclusion. This method allows you to give up to $16,000 for 2022 (increasing to $17,000 in 2023) to each donee, without reducing your estate and lifetime gift tax exclusion amount. It’s also important to note that there is no limit to the number of people to whom you may make such gifts, and that the annual gift tax exclusion is applied on a per-donee basis.

Additionally, you and your spouse could choose to combine your exemptions into a single gift from either of you. By sharing in the gift of one spouse, married donors may double the amount of the exclusion to $32,000 in 2022, or $34,000 next year. This method of transfer could help you save family income taxes, where income-earning property is given to family members in lower income tax brackets, who are not subject to the “kiddie tax.”

Have children in college? Qualifying tuition payments may also be made or continued, in addition to medical payments. These amounts do not count against the annual exclusion limit.

Another thing to remember is that if you’re required to submit a written valuation in connection with your annual gifting program, you might be able to utilize a single valuation, for gifts made in December of 2022 and January of 2023.

Income Tax Planning

Since we know that everyone would love to potentially reduce their overall tax liability for 2022, it’s important to consider various income tax planning techniques before years’ end. When evaluating appropriate planning techniques, you should review the overall impact of any such planning for the two-year period of 2022 and 2023.

Traditional income tax planning options include the postponement of income until 2023, as well as accelerating deductions into 2022. This strategy might allow you to claim larger deductions, credits, and other tax breaks for 2022 that are phased out over varying levels of adjusted gross income (AGI). If there’s a chance you might be in a lower tax bracket next year, it may be advantageous to try to arrange with your employer to defer a bonus that you may be entitled to until 2023.

With regard to accelerating deductions, consider using a credit card to pay deductible expenses before the end of the year, including charitable contributions. This can increase your 2022 deductions, even if you don’t pay your credit card until after the end of the year. If you expect to owe state and local income taxes when filing your return next year, consider asking your employer to increase withholding of state and local taxes (or pay estimated tax payments of state and local taxes) before the end of the year, so that you might deduct those taxes for 2022.

Other common elements of income tax planning may also include selling capital assets (such as stock investments) for the purpose of generating a capital loss to offset any capital gains that you have already realized for the year. When considering year-end tax planning moves, it is also important to take into account the potential impact of such planning on the alternative minimum tax for 2022, so be sure to consult with your tax attorney.

If you’re on the higher end of income earners, be wary of the additional 0.9% Medicare tax that applies to individuals receiving wages with respect to employment in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly and $125,000 for married couples filing separately).

Retirement Planning for 2022

It’s never the wrong time to put a little extra focus on your retirement planning, especially towards the end of the year as tax-saving opportunities continue. As a taxpayer, you still have the ability to convert funds in a traditional IRA (including SEPs and SIMPLE IRAs), §401(a) qualified retirement plans, §403(b) tax-sheltered annuities or §457 government plans into a Roth IRA. You also might want to consider converting money which is currently invested in depressed stocks (or mutual funds) into a Roth IRA if you are eligible to do so.

These are just a few of the year-end tax planning considerations that you can make before the calendar turns to 2023, so make sure to consider your options while you still have time. And don’t forget that your taxpayer circumstances are unique, so not all of these suggestions will benefit everyone. To ensure that your specific needs are considered, discuss any techniques with a qualified tax advisor before making any changes.

This alert serves as a general summary, and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Attorney Elizabeth M. Siefker

Elizabeth M. Siefker is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock in the trusts and estates practice group focusing on estate planning, elder law, and business planning. You can reach her at esiefker@fraserlawfirm.com, or at 517.377.0801.

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – November 4, 2022

  1. IRS Announces 2023 Cost-of-Living Adjustment for Retirement and Health and Welfare Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced 2023 cost-of-living adjustments for retirement and health and welfare benefit plans. The significant adjustments reflect the increase in inflation over the last year. The adjustments are detailed in IRS Notice 2022-55. For example, the contribution limit for a Simple 401(k) will increase to $15,500 in 2023 from $14,000 in 2022, and for a Health FSA, limits will increase to $3,050 in 2023 from $2,850 in 2022.

Why it Matters: Business owners and employers should be aware of these adjustments and share this information with employees as we approach the new year. If you have any questions regarding these adjustments, please contact our Employee Benefits team.

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  1. Viridis North, LLC Can Proceed with Lawsuit Against CRA

In November 2021, the CRA (formerly known as the MRA), issued its largest ever marijuana recall because of concerns over safety tests conducted by two companies, Viridis Laboratories, LLC, and Viridis North, LLC. These two companies filed a lawsuit against four individuals who were employed by the CRA in their individual capacities. Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney granted an order in part motion to dismiss all claims alleged by Viridis Laboratories, LLC, and Viridis North, LLC, except for, “Plaintiff Viridis North’s claim for violation of its substantive due process rights.” Viridis Labs. v. Kluytman, 1:22-cv-283, 12(W.D. Mich. Oct. 27, 2022).

Why it Matters: The decision by the Court allows Viridis North LLC to proceed with its lawsuit in determining whether or not there was a violation of their substantive due process rights stemming from the November 2021 marijuana recall. Fraser Trebilcock attorneys will monitor the situation as developments continue.

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  1. Year End Gift Tax Planning Perspective

If you’re thinking about beginning an annual gifting program, or want to continue a program you’ve already started, there are some things you should know. From an estate and gift tax planning perspective, the most commonly used method for tax-free giving is the annual gift tax exclusion. This method allows you to give up to $16,000 for 2022 (increasing to $17,000 in 2023) to each donee.

Why it Matters: The method allows you to give up $16,000 without reducing your estate and lifetime gift tax exclusion amount. It’s also important to note that there is no limit to the number of people to whom you may make such gifts, and that the annual gift tax exclusion is applied on a per-donee basis.

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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: Employers who misclassify employees can face severe financial consequences. That’s why it is important that organizations remain diligent in analyzing their workers’ classifications. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. EV Company Relocating to MI Recipient of Funds from MSF

A Utah-based electric vehicle company that is set to relocate their headquarters to southeastern Michigan, received a $2.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund to aid in the move.

Why it Matters: Officials in Michigan have been working hard to grow Michigan’s economy, and these programs are an incentive for businesses that are looking to relocate or expand their footprint in the state.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Employee Benefits | Robert Burgee
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Trusts & Estates | Elizabeth Siefker
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications | Michael Ashton

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

President Biden Announces Student Loan Forgiveness

On Wednesday, August 24, President Biden announced that the federal government will extend the current pause on monthly student loan payments, which means that borrowers will not have to resume making payments until at least January. President Biden also stated that the federal government plans to forgive up to $20,000 worth of student loan debt, for those who qualify.

First, in order to qualify for loan forgiveness, student loan debt must be through the federal government, meaning that individuals who have private loans will not be eligible. Second, unmarried individuals must earn less than $125,000 per year to be eligible for up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness. If you are married and file joint tax returns, or are a head of household, you will qualify for up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness if your annual income is less than $250,000. Finally, if you meet these income requirements, and received a Pell Grant while in school, you could be eligible for $20,000 in forgiveness.

President Biden is relying on the HEROES Act of 2003 [20USC 1098bb], in order 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 in order to forgive student loan debt in the future. For more information, please go to https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation.


Elizabeth M. Siefker is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock in the trusts and estates practice group focusing on estate planning, elder law, and business planning. You can reach her at esiefker@fraserlawfirm.com, or at 517.377.0801.