Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – November 3, 2023

  1. Michigan Senate Passes Package of Clean Energy Bills

Three bills recently passed by the Michigan Senate would require companies to make 100% of their energy through renewables such as solar and wind by 2040, and also seeks to reduce energy waste, among other objectives. The bills have now moved to the Michigan House.

Why it Matters: Clean energy legislation is a major priority for Michigan Democrats but is opposed by Republicans and has received pushback from many business groups, who argue the legislation would increase energy costs.


  1. Fraser Trebilcock Welcomes Andrew G. Martin to the Firm

Fraser Trebilcock is pleased to welcome Andrew G. Martin to the firm’s Lansing office, focusing his practice on intellectual property law, business law, health law, and litigation.

Why it Matters: Andrew is an experienced registered patent attorney with history working in the automotive, electrical, agricultural, and medical device industries. He regularly advises startups and small businesses on the patent and trademark prosecution process, assisting clients from start to finish. Andrew also provides general business and legal governance counseling to a variety of firms and individuals. Learn more about Andrew.


  1. Client Update: Corporate Transparency Act Report of Beneficial Ownership Information

Pursuant to the Corporate Transparency Act of 2021, beginning on January 1, 2024, most newly formed entities will be required to report to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network information (FinCEN) about the identity of the entity’s beneficial owners and senior officers. And by the end of 2024, nearly all companies will have to report.

Why it Matters: There are roughly 1 million entities in good standing in the State of Michigan and at some time in 2024, most will need to make a beneficial ownership report to FinCEN. While there are numerous exemptions available, their application is limited to large enterprises and businesses that operate in industries that are already highly regulated. Therefore, it is important to remember that the reporting requirement will extend hundreds of thousands of entities. Learn more.


  1. Cass County Circuit Court Rules that Growing Cannabis is an “Agricultural Operation” Under Michigan’s General Property Tax Act

HRP Cassopolis, LLC (“HRP”) owns real property located in LaGrange Township, located in Cass County, Michigan. The property, which consists of two parcels, is leased to a cannabis grower and retailer. LaGrange Township’s assessor classified both parcels as “Commercial” under the Michigan General Property Tax Act (“GPTA”). In response to the classification, HRP submitted a petition to the board of review, which denied the petition. HRP then appealed to the State Tax Commission, which also upheld the decision to classify the parcels as commercial. HRP then filed a Claim of Appeal with the Cass County Circuit Court.

Why it Matters: On appeal, the appellee argued that the assessor properly classified the property as commercial because HRP did not establish that growing cannabis is an “agricultural operation” under the GPTA. The GPTA defines an agricultural operation as “growing and harvesting any agricultural, horticultural, or floricultural commodity.” The Circuit Court rejected the appellee’s arguments and ruled in favor of HRP. The court explained that caselaw requires it to give the words in a statute their plain and ordinary meaning, and in this case, according to the court, “cannabis cultivation falls squarely within [GPTA’s] definition of an agricultural operation.”


  1. November Member Mixer in the Boji Tower

Join us for the November Member Mixer on Tuesday, November 14, at the historic Boji Tower, Lansing’s tallest and most historic building.

Why it Matters: Averaging 100+ attendees, Member Mixers occur on the second Tuesday of every month and provide an opportunity to gather and network, meet other members and business professionals and get a glimpse of a local business. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Sean Gallagher
Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher