Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – June 16, 2023

  1. Changes to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

Employers should be aware of recent actions taken by the Michigan legislature with respect to Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA). Governor Whitmer recently signed into law an amendment that extends the ELCRA’s prohibitions against discrimination to individuals who have terminated a pregnancy. On June 8, 2023, the Michigan House of Representatives voted to pass, which amends the definition of race within ELCRA to ban discrimination based on hair and other traits associated with racial or ethnic identity. Governor Whitmer is expected to sign this bill into law.

Why it Matters: Lawmakers who introduced the bills argue that the legislation will increase access to support services for domestic and sexual violence victims, and also will protect their privacy and shielding them from additional harassment.

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  1. CRA Publishes May 2023 Data, Average Price Hovers

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis is $90.64, a small increase from $87.76 in April. This is still a large decrease from May 2022, where the average price was $130.62.

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.

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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.

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  1. Detroit Mayor Unveils Land Value Tax Plan

At the Mackinac Policy Conference in May, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a proposal, called the Land Value Tax Plan, that if passed, 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.

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  1. CRA Revokes License for Marijuana Business for Illicit Products

The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency announced on June 15 that it was revoking the license for marijuana business Candid Labs, which operates as Layercake Farms 2, after they were found to have illicit and unlicensed marijuana, in addition to other license violations including an inoperable video surveillance system.

Why it Matters: A requirement that every marijuana business must adhere to is properly working video surveillance system that is in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at all licensee locations. Failure to comply will result in fines, possible license suspension and/or license being revoked. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Dave Houston
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Real Estate | Jared Roberts

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

  1. Michigan’s “Clean Slate” Law Takes Effect

Michigan’s Clean Slate law took effect on April 11, 2023, up to 1 million Michigan residents will see criminal convictions automatically expunged. Under the law, up to four misdemeanor convictions that were punishable by 93 days or more will be automatically expunged after seven years, while all misdemeanors that were punishable by 92 days or less will be automatically expunged after seven years. Up to two felony convictions can be automatically expunged after 10 years, subject to certain conditions.

Why it Matters: Having a criminal conviction on one’s record can be a barrier to employment, housing and other opportunities.

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  1. Income Tax Reduced for Tax Year 2023

For tax year 2023, the state income tax will be reduced to 4.05%, but will go back up to 4.25% the following year due to a 2015 statute that requires a reduction in the income tax when revenues to the General Fund exceed inflation plus economic growth.

Why it Matters: Individuals should see a slight increase to their take-home pay, but it will not last for long as the income tax rate will go back to 4.25% starting in tax year 2024.

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  1. Governor Whitmer Signs New Laws for Universal Background Checks and Safe Storage

This week, Governor Whitmer signed into law new legislation that will require individuals who purchase a firearm to undergo a background check. Additionally, anyone who owns a firearm, is required to lock it up.

Why it Matters: These laws will take effect 90 days following the end of the current legislative session.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Secures Principal Residency Exemption for Client

Fraser Trebilcock Shareholder Paul McCord won a principal residence exemption for an elderly Michigan snowbird couple. Without careful planning, a hard-earned retirement with the means to travel can cost many Michiganders who fly South to escape Michigan’s harsh winters dearly.

Why it Matters: As is generally the case, property owners that own more than one residence must take care to appropriately establish which home is their “principal residence.” The problem is often more complicated in cases of retired homeowners as they typically are not tethered to a fixed location for work or socially and travel often. Learn more.

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  1. Michigan Legislature Passes Amendment to Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to Protect LGBTQ Rights

The Michigan Legislature recently passed an amendment to the state’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) that explicitly includes protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

Why it Matters: Michigan entities covered by the ELCRA should ensure that their policies and practices protect against discrimination based on these amended protected categories.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Business & Tax | Ed Castellani

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – August 19, 2022

  1. Insurance Agents Who Make a Material Error on Policy Application Now May be Liable after Michigan Court of Appeals Ruling

On August 4, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in Holman v. Farm Bureau Gen. Ins. Co. of Michigan, No. 357473, that an insurance agent who makes a material error on a policy application may be liable.

Why it Matters: This case concerns the scope of an agent’s duty in preparing a policy application for a customer, and makes clear that an agent can be held liable for mistakes. While the court noted that a plaintiff’s duty to review the application could be taken into account when assessing fault, that does not bar a negligence claim against a defendant/agent.

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

The Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law on Tuesday, August 16, 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: Opponents of the new guidelines argue that pricing, sourcing and manufacturing rules, which require significant domestic sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing, are too aggressive and could result in most EVs not qualifying for the federal incentives—therefore stifling sales for many manufacturers.

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  1. Court Ruling Prohibits Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Under Michigan Law

The Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is discrimination prohibited by the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (the “ELCRA”) in the case of Rouch World, LLC, v. Department of Civil Rights.

Why it Matters: Employers with 15 or more employees were already prohibited by federal law from discriminating on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation under Title VII. However, small employers in Michigan are now also subject to the same rules.

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  1. Citizens for Better Social Equality Ballot Initiative Struck Down By Detroit Election Commission

A ballot initiative aimed at replacing the City of Detroit’s current marijuana ordinance was struck down by the Detroit Election Commission after it was determined the initiative did not have enough signatures required to secure a ballot spot under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.

Why it Matters: The group behind the proposed initiative, Citizens for Better Equality, were fighting an uphill battle as the Detroit City Council vehemently opposed the initiative and the city’s Law Department had stated that the group does not have enough valid signatures. This is the latest development in a turbulent time for the city as they have yet to establish and begin selling recreational cannabis. Fraser Trebilcock cannabis attorneys will continue to monitor the situation for updates.

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  1. Michigan Job Growth Projected Through 2030

Earlier this week, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget projected that Michigan’s job growth through 2030 would be 8.8%, or an estimated 374,930 jobs.

Why it Matters: Officials looking at industries who are seeing the highest growth rates are ones that are the result of the recovery from the pandemic. While it is observed that leisure and hospitality industries will lead the pack in terms of growth, other industries such as farming, fishing, and forestry, are at projected to decline.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Insurance Law | Emily Vanderlaan

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Michael Ashton

Labor & Employment | Aaron Davis

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Business & Tax | Ed Castellani