Late January 2023 Newsletter


Counties Seek A Larger Piece of State Revenue Pie
Among the list of legislative priorities the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) put forth in 2023 was the creation of a revenue sharing trust fund (RSTF) funded by a statutory earmark of the state sales tax. 

Currently, revenue sharing dollars are appropriated to municipalities from the general fund, which Deena Bosworth, director of government affairs for the MAC, said isn’t keeping pace with the growth of state revenue. 

Instead, Bosworth said the Association proposes the creation of a revenue sharing trust fund using a percentage of the state sales tax. 

Money appropriated to the fund would stay there for distribution to counties, cities, villages and townships, as opposed to lapsing into the state general fund at the end of each fiscal year. 

Funds would be split, with 50% going to county revenue sharing and 50% to revenue sharing in cities, villages and townships. Bosworth said this distribution method could potentially increase county revenue sharing in the first year by more than 40%. 

“This legislation’s method of carving out a percentage of the sales tax for the fund is what revenue sharing was originally designed to do: share in the state’s revenue,” she said. “If sales tax revenue goes up, local allocations go up. If sales tax revenue falls, so do allocations, just like it does for constitutional revenue sharing for cities, villages and townships.” 

Though Bosworth said the Association hasn’t made a recommendation on what percentage of the sales tax should go into the trust fund, the MAC was supportive of former Sen. Wayne Schmidt’s package that was introduced in 2022. 

SB 1160 and SB 1161 automatically directed 10% of the money collected from the 4% piece of the state’s 6% sales tax to the trust fund at a cost of $710 million in FY ’24.

Schmidt said he settled on the 10% because it was a number more likely to last and not be cut down the line. 

Those bills died in Senate Appropriations, but Bosworth said the Association has been fighting to improve county revenue sharing for decades, starting after a legislative deal during the Great Recession in 2002 that paused revenue sharing for counties in exchange for a temporary acceleration of property tax collections.

“It created this surplus when we accelerated the property tax collection, and each county was allowed to draw down on that surplus as a sum,” she said. “Once that account was exhausted, then we came back into the revenue sharing formula.”

Bosworth said counties ran dry at different times, and without inflationary increases, the result was a cut when they returned to the revenue sharing model. 

In FY’23, MAC Communications and Marketing Director Derek Melot said the appropriation for revenue sharing in the last state budget was about $245 million yearly. 

But Melot said look back to FY ’01, which he said was basically the last budget before “everything hit the fan,” take the revenue sharing appropriation and adjust it for inflation. He said if the state did nothing but adjust for inflation, the revenue sharing budget today would be closer to $308 million. 

“Remember, that gap has existed year after year after year,” he said, “even when the state was sending us revenue sharing. They’ve been saving a fortune off of us.” 

These cuts matter, Bosworth said, because revenue sharing is the most flexible form of state aid to counties and isn’t restricted to specific allocations, “so it can go to pay for pretty much anything that each individual county needs.” 

Though revenue sharing is a smaller percentage of county income than property taxes, which make up 55% to 60% on average, Bosworth said tax breaks and fluctuations can still leave counties with less. 

Pointing to Growth of Unions, AFL-CIO Wants Right to Work Repealed
As Michigan gears up for a fight over right-to-work legislation, the Michigan AFL-CIO is touting Thursday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics annual report that shows union membership in Michigan grew by nearly 50,000 people last year.

"For nearly 40 years, politicians in Lansing have unjustly inserted themselves into our collective bargaining agreements, tipping the scales in favor of corporations and millionaires. But yesterday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics annual report proves the resilience and power of Michigan’s labor movement," said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. "The growth in union membership demonstrates the urgent need for our pro-worker legislative majority to act upon the will of the people that elected them and restore their union freedoms and collective bargaining rights."

The Michigan AFL-CIO is the state’s largest labor organization, and it is calling on the Legislature to move quickly on bills that would repeal the state’s 2012 right-to-work law, which banned the mandatory payment of union dues or non-member agency fees.

Democrats have already introduced such legislation, with HB 4004 and HB 4005 and SB 5, and Republicans have vowed to work against them, calling efforts to repeal right-to-work "extreme."

Sen. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) is the sponsor for SB 5. He said the growth of unions demonstrates the need to repeal right-to-work laws, which he called "anti-union."

"Our new legislative leadership has the opportunity to take long-overdue action to remove existing restrictions and ensure workers are able to more freely negotiate the pay, benefits and protections they deserve," he said in a statement.

Other reports have shown that Michigan’s unions are operating with fewer member than they had a decade ago. In December, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which supported the passage of right-to-work laws, released an analysis showing that there were 143,000 fewer union members across the state’s 15 key unions, meaning that 26.5 percent fewer people are paying union dues now than they were in 2012.

The analysis from the Mackinac Center said that union membership dropped even as employment increased.

Still, liberal groups such as Progress Michigan have reported polls showing 42 percent of people surveyed supporting the repeal of right-to-work laws, with 26 percent opposing a repeal.

Conservative groups including Americans for Prosperity and the Freedom Fund have already announced campaigns against the repeal of right-to-work as Democrats took control of state government.

The AFL-CIO said in a press release that national support for unions is growing, though, citing a Gallup poll showing that 71 percent of Americans approve of labor unions, the highest level since 1965.

"With the resurgence of union organizing and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s significant investment in job creation, Michigan’s labor movement in gaining momentum," the press release from the labor organization said.

Supreme Court Dismisses Whitmer Abortion Suit in Wake of Prop 3
Litigation filed last year by Governor Gretchen Whitmer with aims to halt Michigan’s 1930s ban on abortion from becoming law was dismissed as moot on Friday by the Supreme Court.

The governor noted in a previous motion to withdraw a request to certify questions to the high court that voters have since passed Proposal 3 to codify reproductive rights into the Constitution.

Ms. Whitmer sued several county prosecutors to prevent them from reinforcing the 1930s ban following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Roe v. Wade precedent protecting abortion rights across the nation. The state’s existing ban would have become law again had Ms. Whitmer and others not acted through litigation, effectively holding the law at bay until voters had a say on Proposal 3 in 2022.

The governor asked that the questions Whitmer v. Linderman (MSC Docket No. 164256) be certified to the Michigan Supreme Court to get a blanket ruling on the constitutionality of the ban, but the bench only asked her to clarify what remedy she was seeking, and by doing so allowed the ballot initiative process to play out.

In an unsigned order issued Friday, the high court said Ms. Whitmer asked to withdraw the request on January 6, as the underlying case and appeal had been dropped and so denied the challenge as moot.

Justices of the Supreme Court remained mum as the case was working its way through the courts.

The litigation in state court was in its final appellate throes following injunctions preventing the law from being enforced, and the appellants had been waiting on word from the high court regarding a resolution.


ARTICLES OF POLITICAL INTEREST:

Whitmer:  Michigan Students Need Individual Tutoring and Soon

Michigan GOP to Democrats:  Don’t Mess With Income Tax Rollback

Michigan Sees Spike in 988 Mental Health Calls.  What Happens Next?

Trump Endorses DePerno in Crowded Race to Lead Michigan GOP

End May Be Near for Michigan Redistricting Panel


Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

THE DCD MARIJUANA TEAM:  YOUR COMPETITIVE EDGE!

DCD continues to exist as the premier resource helping municipalities navigate the waters of cannabis policy. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding medical or recreational cannabis policy, procedure, and more. DCD is available for presentations to municipal boards, for one-on-one meetings, and for consultations.

We are here to help you with: municipal lobbying, license application writing and assistance, business plans, state required operations manuals and compliance, facility design, corporate structure, and design and branding. 

We are experts in both medical and recreational cannabis policy and have been in the space for over ten years.  We welcome any opportunity to work with you in the future!


ARTICLES OF CANNABIS INTEREST:

The Legal Mess Behind Recreational Weeds Sluggish Start in Many Communities

Relief & Stress Greet Detroit’s New Recreational Marijuana Market

A Cannabis Consumer’s Dream at One Michigan Dispensary

Michigan Marijuana Sales Set December Record at $221 Million

Michigan Warns Marijuana Delivery Drivers About Uptick in Robberies


Doing Things Differently

DCD is rebranding, and our bottom line is your bottom line. We are striving to create and foster strong relationships with clients and lawmakers, deliver results with strong ethics and class, but above all else, out-hustle and out-smart our competition every day to be the very best. We’re making chess moves while others are playing checkers. Everything we do is with you in mind, we’re doing things we’ve never done before and aggressively pursuing opportunities. The time is now. DCD has taken our firm to the next level and your involvement and investment paired with our knowledge and expertise is going to launch the great state of Michigan forward.

Dunaskiss.biz | 248.693.1391

January 2023 Newsletter


Whitmer to Have Live Audience for State of the State for First Time in Three Years
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will deliver her fifth State of the State address Jan. 25, her office announced last week.

The speech — in which the governor sets out her agenda for the year — is expected to be delivered before a live audience at the state Capitol for the first time since 2020. In both 2021 and 2022, Michigan’s State of the State address was a virtual event because of COVID-19 concerns.

It will be the first time since 1983 that a Democratic governor has delivered a State of the State address while Democrats held majorities in both chambers of the Michigan Legislature. Democrats flipped both the House and Senate, by narrow margins, in the Nov. 8 election.

"The State of the State address is an opportunity to talk about the issues that make a real difference in people’s lives and focus on what we’re going to get done this year," Whitmer said in a news release. "I can’t wait to share my vision for our state as we move towards our bright future, and lay out my plans to lower costs, bring supply chains and manufacturing home to Michigan, and ensure Michiganders have unparalleled economic opportunity and personal freedom.”

Democratic priorities are well-known, and Whitmer touched on several of them in her brief inaugural address on the Capitol steps Sunday.

She talked about tax relief for seniors, measures to reduce gun violence, improving roads and water infrastructure, and making Michigan "an epicenter of innovation in clean energy, batteries, and (computer) chips." Whitmer pledged to continue to make record investments in education and to take steps to tackle climate change.

Not mentioned in Whitmer’s inaugural address was the repeal of the right-to-work law passed under Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in 2012, which has been identified as a priority by her and other Democrats. Whitmer also did not address the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline across the Straits of Mackinac, which she has pledged to shut down as an environmental hazard. The issue is currently before the courts.


Who Might Run for Stabenow’s Senate Seat
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s retirement announcement sets the stage for what is sure to be a hotly contested 2024 campaign for her open seat.

Michigan Democrats, coming off sweeping victories in 2022 and their third straight successful election cycle, have what is considered to be a deeper bench of current officeholders. Stabenow alluded to it in her statement, mentioning a "new generation of leaders" and noting gains for female candidates since she first ran for local and legislative offices in the 1970s.

Republicans see the announcement as an opportunity to flip a seat in a chamber that has seen only one Republican Michigan senator in the past 44 years, Spencer Abraham.

The last time the state had an open Senate seat, 2014, Democrat Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land ran unopposed in the primary. That may not happen this time, unless the parties can clear their fields before an expensive general election showdown in the battleground state.

It is very early. But one Democrat whose name is being mentioned a lot is third-term Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Lansing, a former CIA and Defense Department official who won a toss-up congressional seat in November.

Others include fifth-term Rep. Debbie Dingell of Ann Arbor, third-term Rep. Haley Stevens of Birmingham, former Rep. Andy Levin, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Attorney General Dana Nessel and state Sen. Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint Township said they will not run. Duggan said Thursday he already had heard from three prominent people who are interested. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has changed his residency to Michigan, said he is focused on his job and not seeking another one.

"I admire what Stabenow did here. Recognizing this crop of candidates and stepping aside is amazing," said Joe DiSano, a Democratic consultant. "Democrats have never been in better shape for a bruising Senate battle. It’s exciting."

Republicans, though, will have a better chance of flipping the seat without having to face Stabenow, who handily won re-election three times.

The GOP’s bench of current elected officials includes first-term Rep. John James of Farmington Hills, who ran for the Senate twice before, second-term Rep. Lisa McClain of Romeo and seventh-term Rep. Bill Huizenga of Ottawa County.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, a former congresswoman and secretary of state whom some Republicans wanted to run for governor, ruled out a Senate run.

Other possibilities include former one-term Rep. Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids; Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, who lives in Michigan; former attorneys general Mike Cox and Bill Schuette; former state Sen. Tom Barrett of Charlotte, who squared off against Slotkin; and various 2022 gubernatorial candidates, including self-funders Perry Johnson and Kevin Rinke.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon, who lost to Whitmer in the fall, said Stabenow’s retirement "gives Republicans the chance to coalesce behind a strong candidate, put in the work on the ground now, and prove why Joe Biden’s runaway spending and record of failure are hurting hardworking Michiganders." A person with knowledge of her thinking said she is not ruling anything out but is focused on helping Republicans win in 2024.

There is plenty of time to contemplate. The filing deadline to run will be in April 2024, more than 15 months from now.


FTC Proposes Ban on Employee Non-Compete Agreements
On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a proposed rule to prohibit employers from enforcing non-compete agreements against former employees, contractors, and other workers. The proposed rule defines “non-compete clause” broadly as “a contractual term between an employer and a worker that prevents the worker from seeking or accepting employment with a person, or operating a business, after the conclusion of the worker’s employment.”

Further, the rule prohibits broad non-disclosure agreements that “effectively preclude[] the worker from working in the same field” after separation. Notably, this rule does not prohibit agreements restricting outside work by employees during the term of their work for the employer. The rule also provides an exception for enforcement of non-compete agreements related to the sale of a business (or sale of such person’s ownership interest in a business) when the person restricted by the agreement is a “substantial owner [owning at least 25 percent of] … the business entity at the time the person enters into the non-compete clause.”

In addition to prohibiting enforcement of non-compete agreements, the proposed rule also imposes an obligation on employers to notify all employees subject to non-compete agreements that such contract is no longer in effect and may not be enforced.

The next steps for this proposed rule will be completion of a 60-day comment period, then the FTC will publish a final rule that will go into effect 180 days after publication. As with other recent federal agency rulemaking, this regulation is very likely to face legal challenges that may further delay or prevent enforcement.

We will continue to monitor this proposed rule and provide updates on progress and any significant legal challenges along the way. 


ARTICLES OF POLITICAL INTEREST:

Michigan Republicans Lost Badly Statewide, But Scored Big in County Races

Michigan Unemployment Agency Still Struggling with Covid Era Claims

End of Child Tax Credit Expansion Raises Fear of Resurgent Child Poverty

More Michigan School Districts Set to Electrify Bus Fleets in 2023

Michigan Average Gas Prices Up 13 Cents, Climbing Higher


Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

THE DCD MARIJUANA TEAM:  YOUR COMPETITIVE EDGE!

DCD continues to exist as the premier resource helping municipalities navigate the waters of cannabis policy. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding medical or recreational cannabis policy, procedure, and more. DCD is available for presentations to municipal boards, for one-on-one meetings, and for consultations.

We are here to help you with: municipal lobbying, license application writing and assistance, business plans, state required operations manuals and compliance, facility design, corporate structure, and design and branding. 

We are experts in both medical and recreational cannabis policy and have been in the space for over ten years.  We welcome any opportunity to work with you in the future!


ARTICLES OF CANNABIS INTEREST:

Whitmer Vetoes Several Medical Cannabis Bills

U of M Study Finds Chronic Pain Sufferers Turning to Medical Marijuana

A Look Back at the Michigan Marijuana Market in 2022

40 Weed Predictions Highly Likely to Come True in 2023

Marijuana’s Black Market is Undercutting Legal Businesses


Doing Things Differently

DCD is rebranding, and our bottom line is your bottom line. We are striving to create and foster strong relationships with clients and lawmakers, deliver results with strong ethics and class, but above all else, out-hustle and out-smart our competition every day to be the very best. We’re making chess moves while others are playing checkers. Everything we do is with you in mind, we’re doing things we’ve never done before and aggressively pursuing opportunities. The time is now. DCD has taken our firm to the next level and your involvement and investment paired with our knowledge and expertise is going to launch the great state of Michigan forward.

Dunaskiss.biz | 248.693.1391

December 2022 Newsletter


Lame Duck Recap
In the final hours of their two-year session, legislators passed dozens of bills and sent them to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for consideration.

Other measures — proposals to change Michigan’s presidential primary date, to scale back a potential spike in the tipped minimum wage and to expand a tax break for lower-wage workers — stalled and were left for the next Legislature, which will flip from Republican to Democratic control.

A spending deal that could have included a $200 million deposit into the state’s main economic development fund for an unspecified project in Delta County in the Upper Peninsula and exempted sales tax from businesses’ delivery and installation services fell through, too.

Convention center
Legislation would let the authority that oversees Detroit’s Huntington Place convention center enter into public-private arrangements, lift its spending cap, authorize new borrowing and expand the facility’s definition to include nearby roads. The action comes as the convention hall is working to encourage the construction of hotels on the nearby former site of Joe Louis Arena.

The definition of a convention facility would be revised also include bike paths, plazas, green space and roads necessary or convenient for use in connection with the facility. A $279 million spending cap on expanding or renovating Huntington Place would be lifted. The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority could issue new bonds not to exceed $299 million.

Convention authorities, which can use excess distributions from the Convention Facility Development Fund to pay down debt, could also spend the money on capital expenditures, including payments under a public-private arrangement.

QLine
The convention bills also would extend a $5 million annual subsidy for Detroit’s QLine streetcar for an additional 17 years. The state’s Convention Facility Development Fund, which is funded by hotel and liquor taxes and takes in roughly $100 million yearly, is primarily distributed to counties and the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority.

Since the 2019-20 fiscal year, the QLine has gotten $5 million a year — a subsidy that ended in the last budget year under current law. The legislation would continue the allotment through the 2038-39 fiscal year. The QLine opened in 2017.

Recycling
An eight-bill package is designed to boost Michigan’s 18 percent recycling rate, which lags the national average of 34 percent. It would revise landfill and waste diversion center regulations, increase fees for landfill construction and operating permits, require that landfills carry more financial assurances and mandate that counties have materials management plans.

There would be new rules governing the solid waste industry, including coal ash and recyclables, and certain waste haulers would have to provide recycling services for single-family residences. The Senate made late changes that backers said could reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills but which opponents said would allow for the burning of "hot garbage."

Nursing home visits
Legislation would cap how long state and local public health officials could prohibit or limit visits by family to patients in health care facilities during an epidemic or pandemic. After 30 days, an order could no longer prohibit or limit family members’ visits to patients or residents with a cognitive impairment.

The bill is a response to concerns raised early in the COVID-19 pandemic about restricted access to people who were near death or needed more support due to dementia, brain injuries, developmental disabilities or diseases.

CRA’s Final Yearly Meeting:  Some Notes & Takeaways as the Year Ends

The CRA held its final Public Meeting with the new director making his debut public meeting appearance. As with all the public meetings the CRA talked about its strategic plans and goals for the 2023 years which will be available in the next few weeks.  At the top of the list is improving consistency in all aspects of the licensing process, keep Michigan as a leader in the cannabis business world, and move forward with more strategic partners to better the communication between the agency and the public.

The director moved on to the happenings within the legislation in regard to cannabis mentioning that as the 2022 year is winding down so is Michigan’s legislation. With lame duck essentially over, DCD does not anticipate any more voting to happen, meaning any bills that have not been voted on will need to be resubmitted once the legislature is back in session. 

With that said, the house has been able to pass three bills, which we anticipate to be signed by the end of the year and will take effect 90 days later:    HB 5871 allows the transfer of medical marijuana from one facility to another, HB 5965 will update the license holder definition in the MMFLA, and, finally, HB 4266 prohibits the marijuana regulatory agency from denying an application for a license to commercially produce or distribute marijuana if the applicant’s spouse holds a state or federal government position. The spouse will be required to complete an attestation. The exemption doesn’t apply if the spouse’s position would create a conflict of interest or is involved with marijuana-related decision-making.  

No mention was made by the CRA regarding the potential pending changes that may be coming at the beginning of  2023 to the Administrative rules.  Some interesting insight coming out of the Consumer Connections Workgroup relates to the remediation of products and potential changes to labeling regarding this change.

Fiscal Year Starts With Slightly Lower Than Estimated General Fund
As reported by Gongwer, November revenues for the General Fund came in $59.9 million lower than estimates, the House Fiscal Agency said, marking a change in the trend of funding coming in higher than expectations for many months.

Most of the differential can be attributed to larger than expected income tax refunds, which HFA has detailed were coming in previous reports. The School Aid Fund was $119.6 million above estimates in November, HFA said.

In total, the state brought in $2.6 billion in November, $99.3 million more than in November 2021. November represents the first month of the fiscal year on a cash-collection basis, HFA noted.

Net income tax revenue totaled $868.9 million, which was $85.6 million less than a year ago. Net business tax revenue was $16.5 million lower than a year ago with higher Corporate Income Tax collections outweighed by more negative Michigan Business Tax amounts.

Sales tax, however, came in at $918.6 million, HFA said, marking the sixth consecutive month that sales tax has exceeded $900 million. Revenue from recreational marijuana came in at $12.2 million, which was also higher than a year ago by $9.3 million.


ARTICLES OF POLITICAL INTEREST:

Michigan Recounts That Won’t Change Election Outcomes Show Law Must Change

Michigan Hospitals Want Help Overcoming "Funding Crisis" Amid Staff Shortages

Judge Tosses Charges Against Snyder in Flint Water Water Case

Democrats May Pursue Universal Background Checks.  What the Research Says…

How Should Michigan Fund School Transportation? 


Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

THE DCD MARIJUANA TEAM:  YOUR COMPETITIVE EDGE!

DCD continues to exist as the premier resource helping municipalities navigate the waters of cannabis policy. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding medical or recreational cannabis policy, procedure, and more. DCD is available for presentations to municipal boards, for one-on-one meetings, and for consultations.

We are here to help you with: municipal lobbying, license application writing and assistance, business plans, state required operations manuals and compliance, facility design, corporate structure, and design and branding. 

We are experts in both medical and recreational cannabis policy and have been in the space for over ten years.  We welcome any opportunity to work with you in the future!


ARTICLES OF CANNABIS INTEREST:

Dispensary Removes Hemp Products From Stores After Illicit Marijuana Found at Site

Brian Hanna Named As Michigan CRA Executive Director

Consumers Rejoice as Retailers, Growers Balance Falling Marijuana Prices

Non-Regulated Marijuana Appearing at Michigan Dispensaries

Eau Claire County Supervisor Hopes to Legalize Marijuana in Wisconsin


Doing Things Differently

DCD is rebranding, and our bottom line is your bottom line. We are striving to create and foster strong relationships with clients and lawmakers, deliver results with strong ethics and class, but above all else, out-hustle and out-smart our competition every day to be the very best. We’re making chess moves while others are playing checkers. Everything we do is with you in mind, we’re doing things we’ve never done before and aggressively pursuing opportunities. The time is now. DCD has taken our firm to the next level and your involvement and investment paired with our knowledge and expertise is going to launch the great state of Michigan forward.

Dunaskiss.biz | 248.693.1391

Late-November 2022 Newsletter


Lame Duck:  Few Items of Interest, Few Days in Play
As reported by MIRS, the House and Senate are looking at meeting as few as two or three days after the Thanksgiving break before calling it a legislative session based on the current plans brewing under the dome.

One approach being considered in the House is to cram lame duck into the week of Dec. 5, with session being the 6th, 7th and maybe the 8th.

The Senate’s idea is to do a Tuesday-only calendar, with session days on Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and maybe Dec. 13.

Either way, the number of high-level items on the agenda are few at this point.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wouldn’t mind seeing some additional economic development money socked away beyond the $840 million that was put into the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) in September.

The perceived play is that Republican legislators are more likely than the incoming Democratic majority to support economic development dollars with few strings.

Republicans wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to the idea as long as they don’t need to pass a supplemental, which they fear will explode into a Christmas Tree if one becomes subject to negotiation.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jim Stamas (R-Midland) would rather settle the typical book closing business through transfers if that’s possible.

The Governor would also like to see the state’s presidential primary law changed to allow for Michigan to be one of the first states in the country to hold a contest if the Democratic National Committee breaks up the regular Iowa-New Hampshire-South Carolina-Nevada format.

This is more of a timing issue. Plans on the DNC’s primary schedule need to be made sooner rather than later and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D), the main advocate for the change, wants to make the point that Michigan is on safe legal footing to hold the state-run primary election.

An outstanding issue is what the Republican National Committee (RNC) has in mind with its primary schedule. The two parties typically operate on the same calendar and if Republicans hold a primary that doesn’t have the RNC’s blessing, will that mean a delegate cut or the worst hotel allocations at the 2024 convention in Milwaukee?

Over in the House, House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) would like to see more of his health care package passed back from the Senate, with the flagship bill being the $50 copay limit on insulin.

Wentworth also would love for the Senate to take up the House Ethics Commission bill and the Freedom of Information Act legislation that was sent over last year. 

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) has always frowned on the bills, but with the Democrats taking the gavel after the new year, there’s hope he’ll be more receptive to the discussion. Shirkey is big into legislative oversight and the ethics commission creates a bipartisan body to look into ethical concerns at the legislative level. With the D’s expected to craft an ethics package next session, the Republicans may not get a better deal than the one they have now.

The problem is Shirkey’s list of bills he wants passed is all of one item. Mental health integration for the Medicaid population.  Shirkey considers this a legacy piece and he’s disappointed that the Department of Health and Human Services isn’t as excited about the idea of integrating mental health services in with physical healthcare as he is.

There is compromise to be found on the subject. House Appropriations Committee Chair Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.)  has her own ideas on the issue, as well, but Shirkey isn’t excited about passing a bill he’d consider half-of-a-loaf that DHHS isn’t going to enforce with vigor anyway.

Another item floating in the ether is passing the State Officers Compensation Commission (SOCC) recommendations that would give 2% raises to legislators, the governor, the justices and the other statewide elected officers in both 2025 and 2026.

It would mark the first time since the 2002 reform that legislators or the governor would receive any type of pay increase. Several term-limited legislators are fine passing resolutions in the House and Senate to get this done, but they’re probably not going to do it for nothing.

Another big question over in the House is the goodbye speeches. Wentworth isn’t going to cancel them and there could be as many as 56 if every departing House member who could give a speech delivers one.

There are serious thoughts about limiting the length of the speeches. We’ve all heard that threat before, though (think of former Rep. John OLUMBA’s 30-minute, burn-the-house down rant).

Over in the Senate, there’s still 16 speeches that could be delivered if every Senator who is leaving the chamber opts to give one. Again, depending on length, (and they are typically longer), this may be a couple of days of sitting around.

Social Equity Program Sees Key Change in Cannabis Licensing
As reported by Gongwer, those seeking licenses in the regulated cannabis market from communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition who saw their prequalification status lapse will be able to apply again without paying the fee more than once.

More than 300 applicants could be helped by the change.

The social equity program is designed to encourage participation in the licensed industry by people who live in the 184 communities that were disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.

When a potential licensee applies for a marijuana license, they first submit various information to become prequalified – this includes background checks, and they are required to pay a fee. That status lasts for a year. If the applicant cannot find a location or do the other things necessary to apply for the license and start their business within that time, the prequalification status ends.

With the change announced Tuesday, those applying under the social equity program won’t have to pay the fee again if their prequalification status ends.

"Removing this barrier to entry for social equity program participants in the cannabis industry will lower the cost of doing business and promote sustainable small business growth in Michigan," Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. "This essential update will directly benefit business owners who have been most impacted by unfair laws and practices and ensure that Michigan continues leading the way in building an equitable, just, and prosperous cannabis industry."

The number of individuals who are eligible to participate in the social equity program is much higher than the number of active licensees as of September 2022.

At the Cannabis Regulatory Agency ‘s last quarterly meeting in September, former Executive Director Andrew Brisbo said there are 1,478 applicants who are eligible to participate and 677 have applied for adult use licensing. Of that, 525 have been prequalified and 197 have active licenses.

The applicants will have to submit a new prequalification application to start the background review process again.

"Listening to stakeholders is very important to the success of this industry and is one of my top objectives," said Acting CRA Executive Director Brian Hanna. "I am proud that my team has found a way to make this improvement to our processes a reality for our social equity participants."

CRC:  Autonomous Vehicles May Not Be The Future
An autonomous vehicle future isn’t as close as it once seemed, which means Michigan policymakers should focus on finding solutions to improve the condition, safety and operation of today’s transportation system, an article from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan argues.

"Michigan cannot be a leader in automotive by chasing transient technology trends," writes Eric Paul Dennis, an engineer and expert in civil infrastructure policy. "The industry appreciates that Michigan officials are interested and engaged in the development of new technologies, but there should be more reflection and less reflex when investing public resources. Such efforts distract from finding real solutions to real problems that exist today."

Mr. Dennis argues that the hype around autonomous vehicles is premature, as many of the biggest pushes toward developing self-driving cars have been lost to consolidation or bankruptcy.

He cites the closure of Argo AI in October 2022 as the most recent failure in the autonomous vehicle sector. Argo was viewed as an industry leader, and both Ford and Volkswagen invested billions of dollars into the company. But Ford decided to pull the plug citing a "strategic decision to shift its capital spending." In a statement, Ford President and CEO Jim Farley said he felt profitable, fully autonomous vehicles at scale were "a long way off."

Although automotive leaders are backing away from autonomous vehicle investments, the state has invested millions of dollars and initiated multiple efforts to support the development and deployment of self-driving cars, Mr. Dennis said.

One example is the Michigan Connected and Automated Vehicle Program, which anticipates vehicles with control systems integrated into their communication systems and that can work in concert with the vehicles around them. But this technology is still in the research phase and many never be commercially adopted, Mr. Dennis said, citing documents from the Federal Communications Commission.

Despite the lag in the expected technological capabilities of autonomous vehicles, there are still some projects seeking to "leverage these technologies to reimagine transportation systems and drive economic development," Mr. Dennis said.

He cites a project from the Michigan Department of Transportation that designated a 25-mile segment of Interstate 94 between Detroit and Ann Arbor as the Connected and Automated Vehicle Corridor. The CAV-corridor is envisioned to provide infrastructure that allows for a mix of connected autonomous vehicles traditional transit vehicles, shared mobility, and freight and personal vehicles, but Mr. Dennis argues that there are still too many open questions for such a corridor to be a viable solution.

Mr. Dennis also argues the Legislature has gotten ahead of the technology by granting MDOT the authority to designate any trunk line as an automated vehicle roadway and assign a tolling authority through PA 179, which was passed earlier this year.

"AVs aren’t going to be a solution to any of today’s problems," Mr. Dennis writes. "We have many issues to address regarding the condition, safety, and operation of our transportation system. These are hard problems. Building the infrastructure we need for the state we want to be will require focused, dedicated, long-term strategies. We cannot afford to be distracted by magic technology solutions."


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Flip of Michigan Legislature Highlights Role of Fair Maps

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Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

THE DCD MARIJUANA TEAM:  YOUR COMPETITIVE EDGE!

DCD continues to exist as the premier resource helping municipalities navigate the waters of cannabis policy. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding medical or recreational cannabis policy, procedure, and more. DCD is available for presentations to municipal boards, for one-on-one meetings, and for consultations.

We are here to help you with: municipal lobbying, license application writing and assistance, business plans, state required operations manuals and compliance, facility design, corporate structure, and design and branding. 

We are experts in both medical and recreational cannabis policy and have been in the space for over ten years.  We welcome any opportunity to work with you in the future!


ARTICLES OF CANNABIS INTEREST:

Expect Cannabis Banking Reform, Market Consolidation in 2023, MJBiz CEO Says

More Cannabis Coming to Michigan in January

Non-Regulated Marijuana Appearing at Michigan Dispensaries

Muskegon Tentatively Approves Drive Through Cannabis Sales

Increased Criminal Activity Against Licensed Marijuana Businesses


Doing Things Differently

DCD is rebranding, and our bottom line is your bottom line. We are striving to create and foster strong relationships with clients and lawmakers, deliver results with strong ethics and class, but above all else, out-hustle and out-smart our competition every day to be the very best. We’re making chess moves while others are playing checkers. Everything we do is with you in mind, we’re doing things we’ve never done before and aggressively pursuing opportunities. The time is now. DCD has taken our firm to the next level and your involvement and investment paired with our knowledge and expertise is going to launch the great state of Michigan forward.

Dunaskiss.biz | 248.693.1391

Mid-November 2022 Newsletter


**SPECIAL POST ELECTION NOTE**:

Dear Clients and Friends:

As we all acclimate ourselves to the new realities in Lansing and attempt to make plans for our businesses, we can anticipate much more new regulatory policy in the New Year.  The Democratic majorities in both houses of the Michigan legislature will look to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, attempt to repeal Michigan’s Right to Work law, and make changes to minimum and prevailing wage laws.  

This means that your business needs to be more vigilant now than ever.  It is highly likely that the new Democratic majority will start overhauling licensing and regulation to add additional professions and businesses and yours could well be one of those groups!

DCD has been fighting for our clients’ interests for years and we are ready to double down for our clients in this new political environment.  The faces and players have changed, but DCD is here as your ally in Lansing to help your business plan for the future.  Our clients will be looking to us now more than ever to understand the new regulatory landscape in the State of Michigan.

What is your business doing to maintain it’s competitive advantage in this new framework??

DCD is ready and willing to work with you and your business as we all plan for the future! 

Have questions?  Unsure of your next move? Need some insight?  Call DCD today @ 248.693.1391 


2023 In Michigan Could See $15 Minimum Wage, Right to Work Repeal
To understand what’s possible in Lansing in 2023, when Democrats control the Capitol for the first time in 40 years, you can take one of two approaches.

As reported by the Michigan Capitol Confidential, you can scour through MichiganVotes.com, finding bills introduced by Democrats, with many co-sponsors, that got no traction in the current Republican-controlled legislature. Or you could check the Twitter account of State Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, who, on election night told Michigan exactly what the future holds.

As the senator tweeted Wednesday morning, in the afterglow of victory: “ We got ALL the gavels. Get ready for some cha-cha-cha-changes here in Michigan.”

“Good news, labor!” Polehanki added. “Union-busting ‘Right to Work’ is gonna go bye-bye.”

Polehanki’s tweets are worth reading, both for the roadmap they provide, and the window they give into the mindset of Lansing’s new ruling party. The Democrats will pursue Progress, by any means necessary.

In March 2021, Rep. Abraham Aiyash, D-Hamtramck, introduced House Bill 4413, which would mandate a state minimum wage of $15 in 2026, up from $9.65. The wage scale would escalate a little each year after that.

How will the dollar amount and the timing be affected by one-party rule in 2023? Will $15 still be the number? Will it be phased-in? Or will Democrats jump in headlong, believing they’ve been given a change mandate?

House Bill 6340, introduced in July by Rep. Felicia Brabec, D-Ann Arbor, would, per MichiganVotes.org: “[R]equire the Senate Fiscal Agency to include a disparate impact statement based on race and ethnicity in the summary or analysis produced for a bill amending laws on criminal justice, economic stability, education, employment, health care, housing, or transportation.”

As the legislation reads, “if the bill involves criminal justice, economic stability, education, employment, health care, housing, or transportation, an analysis of whether the bill is likely to have a racially or ethnically disparate impact” is required, to be conducted by the Senate Fiscal Agency.

Senate Bill 725, introduced in March 2021 by State Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, would remove means testing for food stamp recipients.

As MichiganVotes.org explains, “the benefit would no longer be limited to beneficiaries who have few or no assets. Under current law and rules food stamp recipients may not have assets worth more than $15,000.”

Soon, there might be no limits — on eligibility, on spending, or on the involvement of state government in every aspect of your life and livelihood.

Whitmer Leads Democrats to First Majority in 40 Years
According to reporting in Gongwer, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer romped to a smashing reelection victory Tuesday, and, in the process, helped propel Democrats to full control of state government for the first time since their sweep of the 1982 elections.

As dawn neared, the Capitol community was wide-eyed as Democrats picked up a 19th seat in the Senate, assuring a 19-19 tie and control by virtue of Democratic Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist’s tie-breaking vote. Democrat Veronica Klinefelt of Eastpointe appeared highly likely to unseat Sen. Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Township) to deliver the 20th seat for Democrats and an outright majority, free of the complications brought by a 19-19 split.

The victory marks the end of a Senate Republican majority that dates to January 1984, and its realization, which long seemed a pipedream for a Senate Democratic Caucus, is only a few years removed from a 27-11 superminority.

Meanwhile, in the House, Democrats won a 56-54 majority, ending 12 years of Republican control.
Democrats also put Republicans on their heels in the U.S. House races. Democrat Hillary Scholten of Grand Rapids flipped the 3rd U.S. House District and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) survived a furious challenge from Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte). U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) was leading Republican Paul Junge of Fenton, though the race was too close to call. In a big surprise, Democrat Carl Marlinga was hanging around against Republican John James with James ultimately winning.
With voters passing all three ballot proposals, especially Proposal 22-3 to legalize abortion, plus Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel rolling to reelection, Democrats utterly demolished Republicans in a way not seen since the 1982 election. That year, Governor Jim Blanchard won the governorship, Attorney General Frank Kelley and Secretary of State Richard Austin won reelection and the party maintained control of the Legislature.

Never in the state’s history have Democrats stormed to a ticket-wide win in a midterm with a Democrat in the White House. That 1982 win came during President Ronald Reagan’s administration.
Republicans had exuded confidence in the race’s waning days and cited polls from Republican polling outfits showing various races in a dead heat. But it appeared the public polls from the state’s major newspapers, which showed Ms. Whitmer with a yawning lead over Republican Tudor Dixon, were on the mark.

The depth of the Democratic win sets up what is sure to be a massive legislative year in 2023 as the party, with its first state government trifecta since the 1980s, can deal with 40 years of pent-up legislative demand.

Brinks to be First Female Senate Majority Leader 
Several of her Democratic caucus members erupted in whistles and applause as Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) approached the media after a closed meeting – this time, as Michigan’s first-ever female Senate majority leader starting in 2023. 

In the last 63 years, there have been three Democratic majority leaders of the Michigan Senate. The most recent one was Westland Democratic Sen. William Faust, who was the chamber’s majority leader until Republicans took the Senate in 1984. 

Conservative lawmakers have steadily held a Senate majority until voters provoked a new shift on Tuesday, with Democrats securing 20 out of 38 state Senate seats for 2023. 

Senator-elect Sam SINGH, the former House minority leader, will be taking on the role of Senate majority floor leader in 2023. In a statement, Singh said, along with Brinks and the rest of the chamber’s Democratic caucus, he looks forward to "fighting for Michiganders from all walks of life" and that "the folks in our state deserve nothing less." 

"We’ve got 40 years of pent-up policy," Brinks said, illustrating there will be a continued focus on ensuring a strong economy for the state, making sure education systems are strong and making certain high school graduates have opportunities to advance their credentials and to build a life in Michigan. 

She also said Democrats will echo the issues that voters resoundingly approved on the ballot. 

"So affirming reproductive rights, affirming people’s ability to live their authentic selves . . . so we will be a state where equality is valued," Brinks said. "That’s just a taste of some of the things that we’re talking about already – I’ll guarantee you they’re gonna be in the mix." 

After Democrats secured a majority of seats in the state Senate, 20 out of 38, and the House with 56 out of 110 seats, one policy item considered to be up for repeal is Michigan’s Right-to-Work status. Right-to-Work was signed by former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013, prohibiting worker contracts from requiring union membership and paying union dues or fees as a condition for employment. 

When asked if repealing "Right to Work" was on the table, Brinks said "sure, all of the issues are on the table." 

"All of the things that we’ve been talking about for a long time are on the table. I think the important thing to remember is we value workers, and they deserve their fair share for the economic productivity that they helped create," Brinks said. 

In another part of the Capitol, Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), who was selected by his caucus members to be Senate minority leader in 2023, said he thinks the possibility of removing "Right to Work" is a bad idea. 

"I think it could go in the wrong direction. Just talk to any economic development folks. If she’s serious about developing our economy, then it’s about preserving some of these labor reforms that Governor Snyder and the Republican Legislature passed," Nesbitt said. "If she’s serious about site development and serious about investing here in the state, then we got to be serious about saying we’re open for business and not closing down for business." 

Nesbitt expressed that if "Right to Work" is repealed, it would be unfortunate for Gov. Gretchen WHITMER, who ran this year on developing Michigan’s economy. 

Another unique aspect for next year involves some of the Senate Democrats’ tightest races, especially in the case of Sen.-elect Veronica Klinefelt and Sen.-elect Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores). The two ran in Macomb County districts, where Democratic ad spending surpassed $8.5 million and Republican ad spending exceeded $5.3 million across the two different races. 

Klinefelt – who ran against Republican incumbent Sen. Michael D. Macdonald (R-Sterling Heights) in the 11th Senate district – had an ad commemorating her for calling out corruption within her own party, stating she places "taxpayers ahead of politics" and was "tough enough to take on the Lansing politicians" and eliminate retirement taxes. 

Hertel – who ran against House Education Chair and Republican Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Twp.) – had an ad with Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, a Democrat, stating that Hackel and Hertel shared the ability to productively collaborate with Republicans to "get the job done." 

"I stood up to my own party to give working people a tax cut and to support our police," Hertel said in the $221,677 ad-purchase titled "Brings People Together." 

When asked about the campaign promises candidates made to be moderate and independent-thinkers, Brinks said "I think you’re going to see policy that both improves lives and is popular with people all around the state, and there’s a lot of things that can be done that will meet that criteria." 

As for future tax cuts, Brinks told MIRS "you’re getting way ahead of me." 

"I don’t even know what the budget’s going to look like, what the Governor is gonna propose and what kind of things we’re going to need to pay for that we don’t have enough money for…we’ll get into all the details as we get going – but I can’t answer that right now," Brinks said. 

Brinks, the daughter of dairy farmers and Dutch immigrants, presently serves as minority vice chair of the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee. 

Brinks initially came to the Legislature in 2013 as a House member, after defeating incumbent Rep. Roy Schmidt 52.1% to 27.3% as a write-in candidate. Schmidt was connected to a political controversy when the Grand Rapids Republican lawmaker switched parties before the 2012 election filing deadline and then cut a deal with a friend of his nephew to run as a phantom candidate in the General Election.

"It’s very gratifying to be here. It’s been a very long journey, full of a lot of hard work. I’ve been through some really tough election cycles and election races personally. It gives me a very good taste of what our members have gone through, and I feel very prepared to lead having watched a number of leaders in the past – both minority and majority," she said. "I come out of the nonprofit world, and I’m a very collaborative leader. I like to have a lot of high quality voices in the room." 

Dems Make History With House Speaker And Floor Leader, Other Positions Still Up For Grabs
House Democrats made history during Thursday afternoon’s leadership elections when they elected Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) as the first-ever Black House Speaker, and Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) as the first Muslim Majority Floor Leader. 

Tate and Aiyash were the first Democratic House leaders chosen since the Republicans took control in 2010. Tate, a re-elected representative of the new HD-10, will serve his third term after four years representing District 2. 

On the historic nature of Tate’s appointment, he said it’s “a great opportunity.”

“But also a great responsibility,” he said. “Now, I’m going to bring my experiences, just like the Majority Floor Leader Elect is, to this role.” 

Tate had been considered a frontrunner for the Speaker position after serving as Democratic campaign finance chair and Democratic vice chair of the Appropriations Committee. 

He sits on General Government, Health and Human Services and Military and Veterans Affairs and State Police committees, along with the Appropriations Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and Insurance and Financial Services subcommittees. 

While serving as campaign finance chair, Tate reported raising more than $4 million to boost key races in the House that helped Democrats earn back a majority of seats, 56-54, along with a personal donation of $394,000 to help Dems win across the state. 

Q-3 contributions from his campaign PAC included multiple $10,000 gifts to the House Democratic Fund and the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee.

But Tate’s Leadership PAC listed donations to Reps. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills) and Jim Haadsma(D-Battle Creek), and new elects Joey Andrews, Reggie Miller, John Fitzgerald and Jasper Martus. 

Prior to his time in the legislature, Tate was an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, deployed twice to Afghanistan. 

Before his military experience, Tate attended Michigan State University as a three-year starter on the football team, earning a public policy degree and going on to play for three years in the National Football League, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons. 

Tate also earned Masters degrees in Business Administration (MBA) and Science in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan.

Aiyash, who is finishing out his first term representing District 4, added that “Joe is cool, calm, collected and collaborative. So we’re excited to be able to actually move into an agenda for working people across the state.” 

But Dems aren’t finished yet and other leadership positions were not decided on today after the elections, which began at 3 p.m. and stretched late until the evening. 

When asked why the decision took some time, Tate said, “It’s been 12 years since majority, so we had to clear up some of the kinks.” 


ARTICLES OF POLITICAL INTEREST:

Michigan is a Blue State Now

Absentee Voting Gave Democrats Big Leads Before Election Day

Tough Year For Incumbents: Nine Michigan Legislators Tossed Out By Voters

Michigan GOP Memo Blames Dixon’s Performance for Lost Majorities

Students Missing School at Alarming Rate–Especially in Detroit


Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

THE DCD MARIJUANA TEAM:  YOUR COMPETITIVE EDGE!

DCD continues to exist as the premier resource helping municipalities navigate the waters of cannabis policy. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding medical or recreational cannabis policy, procedure, and more. DCD is available for presentations to municipal boards, for one-on-one meetings, and for consultations.

We are here to help you with: municipal lobbying, license application writing and assistance, business plans, state required operations manuals and compliance, facility design, corporate structure, and design and branding. 

We are experts in both medical and recreational cannabis policy and have been in the space for over ten years.  We welcome any opportunity to work with you in the future!


ARTICLES OF CANNABIS INTEREST:

Marijuana Election Results 2022

Michigan Cannabis Chain Giving Away 1,700 Turkeys

Election Results Mixed for Marijuana Allies in US House

Metro Detroit Marijuana Ballot Proposals:  Results

Ric Flair’s Cannabis Brand Coming to Michigan Thanks to Mike Tyson


Doing Things Differently

DCD is rebranding, and our bottom line is your bottom line. We are striving to create and foster strong relationships with clients and lawmakers, deliver results with strong ethics and class, but above all else, out-hustle and out-smart our competition every day to be the very best. We’re making chess moves while others are playing checkers. Everything we do is with you in mind, we’re doing things we’ve never done before and aggressively pursuing opportunities. The time is now. DCD has taken our firm to the next level and your involvement and investment paired with our knowledge and expertise is going to launch the great state of Michigan forward.

Dunaskiss.biz | 248.693.1391