Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – January 5, 2024

  1. Reminder: Michigan LLCs Must File Annual Report by February 15

With the new year upon us, we want to remind you that limited liability companies formed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs must file their annual report (called an Annual Statement) by February 15.

Why it Matters: LLCs that fail to file are subject to fines. More importantly, failure to file an annual report after two consecutive years results in an LLC falling out of good standing with the state of Michigan, which may lead to the dissolution of the entity. Contact a Fraser Trebilcock lawyer if you require help with corporate filing and reporting requirements.

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  1. Michigan Minimum Wage Increased After New Year

Now that we’re into calendar year 2024, Michigan’s minimum wage has increased per the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018 which establishes the annual schedule of increases. The minimum hourly wage increased to $10.33 per hour; the 85% rate for minors aged 16 and 17 increased to $8.78 per hour; the tipped employee rate of hourly pay increased to $3.93 per hour; and the training wage of $4.25 per hour for newly hired employees ages 16 to 19 for their first 90 days of employment remains unchanged.

Why it Matters: It’s important to be aware of new laws, and changes to existing laws, that have taken effect as of January 1, 2024. Contact us with any questions.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Announces Department Chairs for 2024

Fraser Trebilcock announces new Department Chairs for 2024: Sean P. GallagherAdministrative LawRobert D. Burgee and Paul V. McCordBusiness & TaxRobert D. BurgeeEmployee Benefits: Welfare/HealthDavid J. HoustonLabor, Employment, and Civil RightsMichael P. DonnellyLitigationJared A. RobertsReal Estate; and Marlaine C. Teahan and Mark E. KelloggTrusts and Estates.

Why it Matters: A new year brings a renewed commitment to leadership within our firm. When it matters in Michigan, we are the trusted advisor for businesses and individuals requiring planning and consulting services, or facing legal and regulatory challenges, and our capabilities extend to wherever clients require counsel. Read more.

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  1. Reminder: Prevailing Wage Act Being Reinstated in Michigan in 2024

It’s important for businesses to be aware of laws that will take effect in 2024. One is the reinstatement of Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Act (the “Act”), which will require contractors and subcontractors in Michigan to pay the prevailing wage and benefit rates to employees working on most state funded construction projects.

Why it Matters: A prevailing wage law was in effect in Michigan from 1965 until 2018 when the law was repealed. On March 24, 2023, Governor Whitmer signed the Act into law. It will take effect in March of 2024.

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  1. How do you Defend an Amazon Neutral Patent Evaluation?

Amazon’s Neutral Patent Infringement Program (NPE) is Amazon’s version of a quasi-judicial court to resolve patent infringement disputes between sellers. It is akin to an arbitration or mediation overseen by an experienced and vetted patent practitioner. NPE is not a court of law, so any of the rulings are not prejudicial on any platform or marketplace other than Amazon.com. However, it aims to provide a more cost-effective method to resolve patent disputes between sellers.

Why it Matters: The program is initiated once a patent holder submits a complaint to Amazon through Amazon’s seller portal. The accused product is immediately removed from its Amazon listing and the accused infringer is notified. The accused infringer then may negotiate a settlement directly with the rights holder or agree to participate in the NPE program. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals 

Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – December 8, 2023

  1. Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order for State Vehicles to be Zero-Emission by 2040

On Tuesday, Governor Whitmer signed an executive directive mandating the state government to convert its fleet of cars and trucks to zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

Why it Matters: In a statement accompanying the directive, Governor Whitmer stated that the transition would reduce air pollution, help boost demand for Michigan-made electric vehicles, and lower fuel costs. The directive comes on the heels of Governor Whitmer signing legislation that will impose a new 100% clean energy standard for utilities to hit by 2040.

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  1. Patentable vs. Infringing: What’s the Difference?

The patent system is intended to spur innovation, incentivize inventors, and protect against infringement. One of the big challenges innovators face in this realm is understanding patentability and what constitutes infringement.

Why it Matters: The distinction between what is patentable and what is infringing is defined by the scope of the patent claims. For instance, a new invention that improves upon a patented product may still be patentable even though the envisioned product itself may infringe on the patented claims. On the other hand, a product that is not patentable may also infringe granted patents. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. Michigan Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Minimum Wage

Earlier this week, the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the “adopt-and-amend” actions on two ballot initiatives from 2018 that alter the state’s minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements were constitutional.

Why it Matters: The Michigan Supreme Court is anticipated to make a decision in 2024. If the Supreme Court upholds the adopt-and-amend process that the Court of Appeals deemed constitutional, then employers will operate under the current minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements. However, if the process is found unconstitutional and the Supreme Court overrules the lower court’s decision, then it would reinstate the original 2018 initiatives on minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements.

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  1. Ohio Senate Passes Bill Altering Legal Cannabis Program

On Wednesday, the Ohio Senate voted on a proposal that would alter the state’s legal cannabis program, after voters passed Issue 2 in November, allowing the sale of recreational cannabis to adults 21 years or older.

Why it Matters: The bill now moves onto the House, and if it passes, the Governor has indicated he will sign it. Some of the proposed changes include reducing the number of homegrown plants allowed to 6 (from 12), increasing the tax on sales from 10% to 15%, allowing medicinal shops to sell to recreational users, and altering the way tax revenue would be spent, allocating funds to different programs.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Sales in Third Quarter Nearly $75 Million More than Second Quarter

Michigan cannabis sales totaled $827,737,257.25 in the third quarter of 2023, a nearly $75 million increase from the second quarter in which sales totaled $752,770,513.25.

Why it Matters: Marijuana sales remain strong in Michigan, particularly for recreational use. However, there still are significant concerns about profitability and market oversaturation that the industry is contending with.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Sean Gallagher
Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – December 1, 2023

  1. Michigan Overhauls K-12 Evaluation Process

Governor Whitmer signed two bills into law (SB 395 & SB 396) on November 22, 2023, transforming the evaluation methods for teachers and school administrators in K-12 education.

Why it Matters: This new legislation substantially alters how teachers are evaluated, including streamlining rating categories, adjusting the evaluation criteria to prioritize teacher performance, and requiring educator participation in creating evaluation instruments.

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  1. Governor Whitmer Signs Package of Clean Energy Bills

Earlier this week, Governor Whitmer signed a package of clean energy bills, including one that 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.

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.

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  1. Cannabis Consumption Lounges Set for Detroit

The City of Detroit back in August announced its second round of recreational cannabis licenses, which included licenses for consumptions lounges. These lounges would be a place for adults 21 years or older to meet and safely consume cannabis that was legally purchased elsewhere.

Why it Matters: For some residents in Detroit, these consumption lounges can be the only safe and legal spot to consume cannabis. It is important to understand the rules and regulations tied to these lounges to ensure compliance.

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  1. Michigan Minimum Wage Set for Increase for 2024

Michigan’s minimum wage is set to increase on January 1, 2024, per the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018 which establishes the annual schedule of increases. The minimum hourly wage will increase to $10.33 per hour; the 85% rate for minors aged 16 and 17 will increase to $8.78 per hour; the tipped employee rate of hourly pay increases to $3.93 per hour; and the training wage of $4.25 per hour for newly hired employees ages 16 to 19 for their first 90 days of employment remains unchanged.

Why it Matters: As we approach the new year, t’s important to be aware of new laws, and changes to existing laws, that are set to take effect as of January 1, 2024. Contact us with any questions.

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  1. Streamline Corporate Transparency Act Reporting with a FinCEN Identifier

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), announced and elaborated on the use and availability of FinCEN identifiers. Under this new guidance, FinCEN identifiers may be crucial for business owners, particularly for those managing multiple entities.

Why it Matters: A FinCEN identifier is a unique number assigned by FinCEN to individuals and reporting companies, streamlining the reporting process under the CTA. Businesses will need to be prepared come 2024 for the new reporting requirements. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorneys.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Sean Gallagher
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – November 24, 2023

  1. Michigan Minimum Wage Set for Small Increase for 2024

Michigan’s minimum wage is set to increase on January 1, 2024, per the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018 which establishes the annual schedule of increases. The minimum hourly wage will increase to $10.33 per hour; the 85% rate for minors aged 16 and 17 will increase to $8.78 per hour; the tipped employee rate of hourly pay increases to $3.93 per hour; and the training wage of $4.25 per hour for newly hired employees ages 16 to 19 for their first 90 days of employment remains unchanged.

Why it Matters: As we approach the new year, t’s important to be aware of new laws, and changes to existing laws, that are set to take effect as of January 1, 2024. Contact us with any questions.

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  1. Streamline Corporate Transparency Act Reporting with a FinCEN Identifier

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), announced and elaborated on the use and availability of FinCEN identifiers. Under this new guidance, FinCEN identifiers may be crucial for business owners, particularly for those managing multiple entities.

Why it Matters: A FinCEN identifier is a unique number assigned by FinCEN to individuals and reporting companies, streamlining the reporting process under the CTA. Businesses will need to be prepared come 2024 for the new reporting requirements. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorneys.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Sales Exceed $262 Million in October

Cannabis sales surpassed $262 million in October, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $258,474,612.51, while medical sales came in at $4,416,590.58, totaling $262,891,203.09.

Why it Matters: Marijuana sales remain strong in Michigan, particularly for recreational use. However, there still are significant concerns about profitability and market oversaturation that the industry is contending with.

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  1. Package of Clean Energy Bills Head to Governor’s Whitmer’s Desk

A package of bills, including one that 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, is on its way to Governor Whitmer’s desk for signature after passing both the Senate and 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.

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  1. CRA Issues Bulletin for Product Recall

On November 20, the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), issued a bulletin for a voluntary product recall, after it was discovered that the product exceeds the maximum dosage of 10mg of THC per serving.

Why it Matters: It is important for cannabis producers to adhere to the rules and regulations when handling medical and adult-use cannabis, otherwise they can face product recalls and fines and/or penalties.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Sean Gallagher

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – December 16, 2022

  1. Cabinet Changes Announced for Governor Whitmer’s Second-Term

Last week, Governor Whitmer announced changes in leadership for several state departments. Some of the changes include Dan Eichinger taking over as acting director of the Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy, Shannon Lott will become the acting director of the Department of Natural Resources, Michelle Lange chosen as the acting director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and Brian Hanna will become director of the Cannabis Regulatory Agency.

Why it Matters: Further changes may be in the future as the new directors in their respective departments take over and implement their policies. Fraser Trebilcock attorneys will monitor and report on any important situations.

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  1. Michigan Slips Slightly in Economic Benchmarking Report

Michigan dropped two spots, to 31st nationally, in the Business Leaders for Michigan’s annual benchmarking report that ranks states’ economic performance. While Michigan improved over last year in some key metrics, other states did as well, leading to Michigan falling slightly in the rankings.

Why it Matters: As the national economy softens, it’s more important than ever for Michigan business and government leaders to focus on sound economic policy to help maintain—and improve—the state’s competitiveness. The report highlighted, for example, how Ohio jumped from 33rd in the rankings last year to 23rd this year.

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  1. Tax Changes Incoming 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. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. Parties Ask Court to Decide on Paid Sick Leave / Minimum Wage Increase by February 1

Earlier this week, a 3-judge appellate panel heard arguments from both parties on whether to overturn the July 2022 ruling to adopt and amend two 2018 ballot initiatives that would increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour, increased tipped wages, and would significantly alter paid sick leave laws in the state forcing businesses to have to change their policies.

Why it Matters: Both parties have requested a decision by February 1 from the Court of Appeals, as the July 2022 ruling had a stay enforced until February 19. Depending on the court’s decision, businesses in the state may have to alter their paid sick leave policies and increase their minimum wage and tipped wage levels. We will continue to monitor the situation and report on any new developments.

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  1. CRA Publishes New Monthly Data, Average Price Lowest Ever Been

According to recent monthly data published by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail flower price of an ounce of cannabis is $95.12, an all-time low and a 50% decrease compared to last year.

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.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Election Law | Garett Koger
Business & Tax  | Paul McCord
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

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

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. 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. There is also work ongoing in the Legislature’s lame-duck session that might affect the 2023 minimum wage. 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.

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


Attorney Robert D. Burgee

Robert D. Burgee is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock with over a decade of experience counseling clients with a focus on corporate structures and compliance, licensing, contracts, regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisitions, and a host of other matters related to the operation of small and medium-sized businesses and non-profits. You can reach him at 517.377.0848 or at bburgee@fraserlawfirm.com.

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – August 12, 2022

  1. Court Ruling to Raise Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave Stayed Until February 2023

The recent Michigan Court of Claims ruling that the legislature’s “adopt and amend” strategy used in 2018 to limit the impact of ballot initiatives was unconstitutional has been stayed until February 2023.

Why it Matters: Had it not been stayed, the ruling would have required Michigan businesses to, within 21 days, significantly increase minimum wages and paid sick leave for employees. This would have posed a big challenge for many Michigan businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry.

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  1. Michigan Plans Statewide Electric Vehicle Charging Network

Michigan submitted a plan to deploy $110 million over the next five years to install quick-charging stations for electric vehicles across the state. The plan was required to receive funds under last year’s federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Why it Matters: Given the significant credits expected to be available for the purchase of electric vehicles under the federal Inflation Reduction Act (pending passage), there are likely to be even more electric vehicles on the road, and a new charging infrastructure will likely help Michigan attract more of those drivers to its roads for tourism and other purposes.

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  1. Inflation Reduction Act Includes New Minimum Corporate Tax

The U.S. Senate recently passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the “IRA”). At present, the IRA is only a draft bill and has not been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives nor signed by the President (although its eventual passage and enactment is anticipated). One of the provisions in the proposed bill is a new 15% corporate alternative minimum tax that would be imposed on the adjusted financial  statement income of certain large corporations for tax years beginning after December 31, 2022.

Why it Matters: The proposed corporate alternative minimum tax would apply only to certain very large corporations, like Amazon, that have, or are part of, certain related groups that have considerable financial statement income. The Congressional Research Service also indicates that the corporate alternative minimum tax would raise an additional $313 billion in corporate revenue over the 10-year budget window, about half of which would be collected from manufacturing businesses.

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  1. Citizens for Better Social Equality Initiative Heads to Detroit Election Commission

A ballot initiative aimed at replacing the City of Detroit’s current marijuana ordinance is heading to the Detroit Election Commission to determine whether or not there are enough valid signatures to place the issue on the upcoming November 2022 ballot.

Why it Matters: The group is facing an uphill battle, as the Detroit City Council vehemently opposes the initiative and the city’s Law Department has 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 GDP Increases Slightly While Nation’s GDP Decreases

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Michigan was one of a number of select states to have a positive increase to their overall GDP, compared to the nation’s GDP decrease of 1.6%.

Why it Matters: While federal officials have been in a deadlock over whether to declare that the country is in a recession, jobs available have declined by 1.5 million, and overall, the national unemployment rate has decreased to 3.5%. The upcoming November elections can be pivotal as voters will almost certainly be focused on electing candidates they perceive as best equipped to bolster economic growth.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Paul McCord

Labor & Employment | Aaron Davis

Energy, Utilities & Telecommunication | Michael Ashton

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – August 5, 2022

  1. August 2 Michigan Primary Election Results

The outcome of the August 2 Republican primary for Governor saw candidate Tudor Dixon prevail. In the November general election, she will face incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer who ran unopposed. In the newly drawn 3rd congressional district, Republican John Gibbs defeated incumbent Peter Meijer.

Why it Matters: As November and the general election gets closer, stay tuned for more insights as Fraser Trebilcock’s election law team will be closely monitoring the action.

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  1. MEDC to Make $237 Million Available to Help Michigan Small Businesses

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that Michigan has been approved for up to $237 million in State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Why it Matters: Small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for funds through private lenders and the MEDC would back the loans through the SSBCI program. Learn more on the topic here.

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  1. Ballot Initiative Aims to Increase Minimum Wage Targets 2024 Ballot

The Raise the Wage MI ballot initiative proposal aims to raise Michigan’s hourly minimum wage to $15 over the course of five years. The organizers behind the ballot initiative are reported to have secured more than 610,000 signatures and delivered them to Michigan officials last week.

Why it Matters: The issuance of a stay until February 19, 2023 follows the ruling by the Michigan Court of Claims stating that the state legislature’s adoption and alteration of a 2018 ballot initiative that would have raised minimum wage to $12 by 2022 was unconstitutional. This ruling has been appealed, but even if it gets overturned, Michigan may still see an increase to minimum wage if the Raise the Wage MI initiative is passed.

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  1. New Law Allows Non-Profit Corporation to be a Member of Limited Liability Company

Senate Bill 926 was recently signed into law by Governor Whitmer, which changes the definition of a person in the limited liability company act, allowing nonprofit corporations to be members of limited liability companies (“LLC”).

Why it Matters: Michigan now joins other states that allow nonprofits to create LLCs that do not involve any financial gain or profit to perform certain functions while still maintaining their nonprofit status.

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  1. Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Texting While Driving Bills

The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee approved a package of bills expanding the scope of Michigan’s texting while driving laws, which would make requirements more stringent and penalties for violations more costly. The bills explicitly address social media use and live streaming.

Why it Matters: Distracted driving is dangerous. In 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Distracted driving is also costly for drivers, as those who violate distracted driving laws tend to see their insurance rates shoot up.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Election Law | Garett Koger

Business & Tax | Robert D. Burgee

Business & Tax | Ed Castellani

Insurance Defense | Emily Vanderlaan

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – July 29, 2022

  1. New Laws Phase Out COVID-19 Employer Liability Protections for Employers

Governor Whitmer recently signed three bills into law that initially roll back COVID-19 protections for both employers and employees and then repeal the laws outright on July 1, 2023. For example, one of the laws being repealed granted employers immunity from liability lawsuits if an employee was exposed to COVID-19 at work, provided the employer followed state and federal regulations.

Why it Matters: While these bills signal a continuing shift away from laws and regulations enacted during the onset of the pandemic, employers must keep in mind that they still have obligations to maintain safe working conditions pursuant to OSHA, MIOSHA and other federal, state and local laws and regulations.

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  1. Michigan Minimum Wage Increase May be on the Ballot in 2024

Organizers behind the Raise the Wage MI ballot initiative reportedly secured  more than 610,000 signatures and delivered them to Michigan officials in an effort to qualify the proposal for the 2024 ballot. The proposal would raise Michigan’s hourly minimum wage to $15 over the course of five years.

Why it Matters: Last week the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that the state legislature’s adoption and alteration of a 2018 ballot measure that would have raised the minimum wage to $12 by 2022 was unconstitutional. That ruling has been appealed, but even if it gets overturned, Michigan may still see a minimum wage increase if the Raise the Wage MI initiative is passed.

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  1. New Proposed Rule on Independent Contractor Classification Sent to White House

Earlier this month, a new proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding the classification of workers as independent contractors was sent to the White House for review. The rule is expected to make it harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors.

Why it Matters: Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, “employees” are entitled to minimum wage, overtime pay and other benefits. Independent contractors are not entitled to such benefits, nor must employers withhold taxes or pay the employer portion of social security taxes for independent contractors. Penalties for misclassifying workers as independent contractors can result in fines for employers.

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  1. New Michigan Budget Passed for Upcoming Fiscal Year

Governor Whitmer recently signed a $73 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year beginning October 1, 2022. The budget was passed in the legislature with bipartisan support.

Why it Matters:  The budget funds a range of investments meant to support the Michigan economy, including: (i) $55 million to help employers train and upskill their new and existing workforce, (ii) $25 million for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, (iii) an increase in per-pupil funding to $9,150 per student, and (iv) $55 million for Michigan Reconnect, a program that provides tuition-free paths to higher education or skills training.

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  1. New Law Intended to Crack Down on Organized Retail Crime in Michigan

Public Act 174 of 2022 defines the theft of a product with intent to resell in exchange for profit as a racketeering offense in Michigan.

Why it Matters: This bipartisan legislation is intended to combat the increase in retail crime that has affected many retailers in many large cities across the country.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Ed Castellani

Labor & Employment | Aaron Davis