Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – June 21, 2024

  1. Michigan is Top Cannabis Market in Country by Sales Volume

The Detroit Free Press recently reported that Michigan surpassed California as the top cannabis market in the country by sales volume, despite having one quarter of California’s residents.

Why it Matters: The growth of Michigan’s cannabis market is significant over the last five years. However, despite having higher sales volume, the dollar volume of California’s sales is much higher ($5.1 billion in California vs. $3 billion in Michigan). Michigan’s market continues to be plagued by declining product prices and profitability.


  1. Michigan Enacts Legislation Requiring Equal Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Treatment

Governor Whitmer recently signed into law legislation (Michigan Public Act 41 of 2024) requiring insurance providers in Michigan to provide coverage for mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment in a manner equivalent to medical coverage.

Why it Matters: This means that insurance providers cannot impose greater financial (e.g., co-pays, deductibles, or out-of-pocket maximums) or quantitative restrictions (e.g., limits on frequency of treatment, number of visits, days of coverage) on mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment coverage in their plans than they would for medical coverage.


  1. Election Year Considerations for Exempt Entities

As another election season approaches and the candidates and issues begin to come into focus, now is a good time to review the regulations that govern exempt organizations and their involvement in politics.

Why it Matters: This article focuses on the direct activities of certain exempt entities and not on the use and function of affiliate organizations, such as a Political Action Committees (PACs). Exempt entities may find it useful to establish a PAC for use in organizing and operating the political and lobbying activities supportive of the organization’s exempt purpose. Read more from attorney Bob Burgee.


  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Obtains Full Dismissal for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock Shareholder and Real Estate Department Chair Jared A. Roberts obtained full dismissal of another Bureau of Professional Licensing complaint brought against a real estate brokerage and a salesperson.

Why it Matters: “The key to understanding and properly defending this case,” Jared advised, “was to perform a comprehensive review of all communications.” Once that was done “we were able to find party consent for an action that the Complainant and the Department were alleging was unauthorized.” As Michigan’s leading real estate broker defense attorney advises, carefully preserve all communications in your deal file – they may be instrumental in your defense. Learn more.


  1. The Ins and Outs of Cottage Succession Planning in Michigan (Part Two)

A cottage plan is an agreement that describes how a cottage will be shared, managed and passed on to future generations of family members. Cottage plans typically cover a range of issues that can impede the succession of a cottage if left unaddressed.

Why it Matters: There are significant advantages to having a cottage plan that utilizes an LLC or trust structure. There is no single option that is best for all families, so it’s important to consult with an experienced cottage law attorney to determine what option is right for you. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Real Estate Law | Jared Roberts
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – November 11, 2022

  1. Sixth Circuit Rules that Notice is Required to Terminate Contract for Successive Performances

Under Section 440.2309(2) of Michigan’s Uniform Commercial Code, a contract that “provides for successive performances but is indefinite in duration” may be terminated at any time (without cause). However, as a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision points out, reasonable notice of such termination must be provided, unless the requirement of notice is waived via the contract.

Why it Matters: The court’s ruling in the case of Stackpole International Engineered Products v. Angstrom Automotive Group is a reminder for buyers and sellers, especially in the manufacturing industry, who enter into contracts that provide for successive performances to work with experienced legal counsel in the drafting, review and enforcement of commercial contracts in order to avoid contractual disputes and litigation.


  1. Michigan Election Results: Governor’s Race, State House and Senate

In the hotly contested governor’s race, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer defeated Republican challenger Tudor Dixon and will continue to serve as Michigan’s Governor for the next 4 years. And, both the State House and Senate flipped to Democratic control.

Why it Matters: This is the first time since 1984 that the Governor’s Office, State House and Senate are all controlled by Democrats. As officials look towards new leadership in certain areas, Fraser Trebilcock’s election law team will continue to monitor and report on any significant changes happening in Lansing.


  1. Municipalities Vote on Marijuana

While adult-use recreational marijuana passed the ballot in 2018, each individual municipality has the control to allow adult-use recreational marijuana businesses to operate in their community. This election cycle saw numerous municipalities vote on this issue.

Why it Matters: According to data provided by the CRA prior to the November election, less than 10% of all municipalities in the state had opted in for adult-use recreational marijuana businesses. Following election results showing that more municipalities are allowing for adult-use recreational businesses to operate in their town, the issues that have plagued current license owners arise again for officials to handle.


  1. Passed – Prop 1: Term Limits and Financial Requirements

Following the November 8, 2022 election results, Prop 1, which proposed changes to term limits for state legislators and required elected officials to disclose financial information, passed.

Why it Matters: As we covered in an earlier newsletter, this development will permit lawmakers to serve 12 years in Lansing, and all of that time can 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.


  1. Controversial Landlord-Tenant Rules Proposed by State Court Administrative Office

The State Court Administrative Office unveiled proposed changes to Michigan Court Rule 4.201, that if enacted, would alter the way eviction cases are handled for both landlords and tenants. Some of the proposed amendments are the ability for tenants to get an automatic stay if they have applied for rental aid, and a requirement that tenants be served in person if a landlord wants an immediate default judgement.

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, some are against the new proposed rules as they believe it would increase the difficulty for landlords to evict non-paying tenants, and make the process of finding new tenants more difficult.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Election Law | Garett Koger
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Real Estate | Jared Roberts

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – October 14, 2022

  1. Lawsuit Challenges New Election Challenger/Poll Watcher Guidance

The Michigan GOP and the Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit seeking to rescind new instructions for election challengers and poll watchers issued by the Michigan Bureau of Elections. Among issues raised in the lawsuit is a new requirement having challengers obtain a credential using a form from the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office.

Why it Matters: There were many lawsuits filed in the wake of the 2020 election, and it’s likely that there will be many more arising from this November’s hotly contested races. Fraser Trebilcock’s election law team provides proactive guidance for political campaigns and causes, and representation in connection with election-law disputes.


  1. Student Loan Forgiveness Will Not Be Taxed

Earlier this month with legislative bipartisan support, it was announced that Michigan will not collect taxes as revenue on the federal student loan forgiveness or the state’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Individuals who are eligible can receive up to $20,000 of their student loans forgiven.

Why it Matters: In August, Fraser Trebilcock reported on President Biden’s announcement on student loan forgiveness of up to $20,000. This latest news comes as a relief for those who are participating in the loan forgiveness program.


  1. Changes Could Be Coming for Sales Tax on Automobiles

Pending a final vote, Michigan drivers will save some money when they purchase a vehicle. Previously, car buyers would be taxed the state’s 6% sales tax on the list price, but now under the proposed bills, it would now tax the amount the buyer purchased it for.

Why it Matters: The legislation could be another change for automobile owners in Michigan. If the bills pass, the sales tax would now have to consider the manufacturer incentives that may be present for certain cars.


  1. State Fines and Suspends Detroit-based Medical Marijuana Business

The Cannabis Regulatory Agency has suspended for 30 days and fined $75,000 a Detroit-based medical marijuana business for improperly handling marijuana products by not having the required identification tracking numbers on the products.

Why it Matters: In the highly regulated medical and recreational marijuana industry, businesses can face high fines and lengthy suspensions for failing to abide by the rules set forth by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Marijuana businesses are required to follow video surveillance rules in Michigan.


  1. October 14 Deadline: Medicare Part D Notice of Creditable (or Non-Creditable) Coverage

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 requires entities who offer prescription drug coverage to notify Medicare Part D eligible individuals whether their prescription coverage is creditable coverage. These notices of either creditable or non-creditable coverage are due for distribution prior to October 15 of each year.

Why it Matters: Failure to provide notice can result in a late enrollment penalty to those persons who go 63 days or longer without creditable coverage. Learn more here.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Election Law | Garett Koger
Business & Tax | Paul McCord
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Employee Benefits | Robert Burgee

The New York Times Feature

Fraser Trebilcock election law attorney Garett Koger was quoted by The New York Times recently on an article discussing the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision to deny requests by three candidates for governor to be restored to the August primary ballot. Fraser Trebilcock’s election law team of Thad Morgan and Garett Koger, aided by attorneys Paul McCord, Robert Burgee, Elizabeth Siefker, Matthew Meyerhuber, and summer associate Joshua Robertson worked on the matters.

You can view the full article HERE.

Fraser’s ballot and election law team has successfully counseled, planned, and litigated for campaigns including high-profile cases resulting in changes to Michigan’s Constitution and case law. Fraser’s team also has extensive experience in election administration, and access to professionals in public relations and communications.