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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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 – June 17, 2022

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – June 17, 2022; Legal, Legislative, and Regulatory Insights

  1.  Court of Appeals Considers Arguments in Significant No-Fault Case

An important case involving Michigan’s auto no-fault law is before the Michigan Court of Appeals. The dispute in the case of Andary, et al v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, et al is focused on whether the no-fault reforms passed in 2019 apply retroactively for people injured before the law was passed. The plaintiffs in the case argue that retroactive application is unconstitutional.

Why it Matters: The circuit court in this case sided with insurers. To the extent that the appellate court reverses in favor of plaintiffs, it could create considerable uncertainty in the no-fault insurance marketplace in Michigan.


  1. Michigan Supreme Court Blocks Republican Candidates for Governor from Ballot

The Michigan Supreme Court recently denied requests by three Republican candidates for governor to be placed on the primary ballot, after state election officials ruled that their campaigns had submitted forged signatures. Fraser Trebilcock election law attorney Garett Koger was quoted by The New York Times in an article discussing the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision.

Why it Matters: The Republican primary for governor has been chaotic, to say the least. Five of ten candidates have now been removed from the primary ballot. Candidate Ryan Kelley was arrested by federal agents this week and charged with four misdemeanors related to his alleged attendance at last year’s U.S. Capitol riot. And former Detroit police chief James Craig announced that he is mounting a write in campaign for the August 2 primary. These different scenarios all highlight the need for experienced election law counsel.


  1. IRS Does Rare Mid-Year Adjustment to Mileage Rates

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that it has increased the 2022 mileage rates for the last six months of the year in response to high gasoline prices, including rates for business travel, deductible medical or moving expenses, and deduction for charitable contributions. Learn more about the new mileage rates here.

Why it Matters: Midyear increases in mileage rates are rare. Accordingly, 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 the changes.


  1. New Education and Information Requirements for Michigan Schools

New legislation was recently enacted requiring schools to provide informational materials on post-secondary education options. The Michigan Department of Education must create informational packets, including information about Advanced Placement programs, all public universities and community colleges in the state, and student loans and tuition assistance, that will be distributed to all students in 8th to 12th grades each year. In addition, by overwhelming margins, the Michigan House and Senate recently passed legislation that would mandate personal finance education at the high school level.

Why it Matters: To remain economically competitive, it is important that Michigan continues to focus on having a well-educated workforce in order to attract and retain employers.


  1. City of Detroit Faces Lawsuits Over Adult-Use Recreational Licenses

JARS Cannabis and House of Dank, two companies that own medical marijuana dispensaries licensed in Detroit, are suing the City of Detroit over the revised ordinance claiming that the new law would signal the end for existing medical marijuana facilities already in the area. The two companies pointed to a provision in the revised ordinance that prevents existing medical facilities in the area from getting a recreational license until 2027.

Why it Matters: State law mandates that municipalities cannot adopt “unreasonably impracticable” adult-use cannabis ordinances. As the City of Detroit faces multiple lawsuits over their revised ordinance, other municipalities may face the same issue.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Insurance Defense | Emily Vanderlaan

Election Law | Garett Koger

Business & Tax | Liz Siefker

Cannabis | Klint Kesto