Early June 2024 Newsletter


BUDGET TARGET DISCUSSIONS UNDERWAY
Discussions on budget targets are ongoing, and sources speaking on background say there’s still "a long way to go" before the House, the Senate and the governor’s office reach an agreement.

Among the key dynamics: Senate Republicans are threatening to withhold immediate effect votes on the budget if it contains the reduction in payments on public school retiree health care Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed, and the Legislature has approved so far.

Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt (R-Porter Township) alluded to as much last week during the Mackinac Policy Conference.

"We’re making progress with our partners in the Senate and Budget Office and are confident we will soon set targets and meet our budget deadline," said Amber McCann, press secretary for House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit), in a written message on Friday.

The State Budget Office provided a similar comment on targets.

"The administration continues to work with the Legislature and are confident we will have a balanced budget by the statutory deadline," the statement said.

The statutory budget deadline for the Legislature to complete work on the budget is July 1.

No one from the Senate was immediately available for comment on Friday.


$66M FROM BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW WILL GO TO AIRPORTS
Michigan’s Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Gerald R. Ford International Airport are set to receive $66.3 million from the Federal Aviation Administration through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Michigan Infrastructure Office announced Friday.

The funding will contribute to projects to increase efficiency and safety and to respond to ongoing infrastructure needs the airports may have.

"The latest announcement of more than $60 million for Michigan airports will ensure residents and visitors have a better travel experience and drive economic growth. By modernizing our aviation network, we are building on Michigan’s strength as a hub for commerce and tourism and moving our state forward," Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. "We’re continuing to improve our infrastructure and support good-paying jobs for Michiganders thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure law and our congressional delegation."

Roughly $62 million of the funds will be directed to DTW for projects including an overhaul of Dingell Drive, the main roadway access to the airport’s McNamara Terminal, and its service road, tunnels and other fixtures. The remaining $4 million will head to the Ford airport to expand its existing snow removal equipment facility.

"Both Detroit Metro Airport and Gerald R. Ford Airport are a key part of Michigan’s transportation system and serve as important economic drivers for our state," U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township) said in a statement. "It’s absolutely critical that these airports have the infrastructure and resources needed to maintain safe and efficient operations. I was proud to support the bipartisan infrastructure law that is providing this funding to upgrade airport roadways and purchase the equipment necessary to keep planes running safely and on time across our state."

Michigan Infrastructure Office Director Zachary Kolodin noted in his statement that Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids had more than 3.7 million passengers fly through in 2023, a 6 percent increase from 2019, the last time a travel record was broken. An economic impact study conducted in partnership with Grand Valley State University and released last month showed the airport supports roughly 40,000 jobs, contributes to $7.7 billion in economic activity, $10.3 million in fiscal impact and a total of $1.3 billion in household income in West Michigan. DTW, Michigan’s largest airport, saw more than 31 million passengers in 2023.

"Today marks a significant milestone for Michigan as we celebrate a $66 million federal investment into our airports," Kolodin said. "This funding will enhance infrastructure, efficiency and safety responses. Airports are vital economic drivers, fueling growth, and prosperity both regionally and statewide. With these investments, we are ensuring that our airports remain state-of-the-art facilities that support Michiganders and travelers for generations to come."

Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Chad Newton thanked the state’s congressional delegation and Whitmer for helping secure funding to complete the multi-year Dingell Drive project.

"This grant through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law helps fund our Dingell Drive Tunnels and Roadway Rehabilitation program launched earlier this year," Newton said in a statement. "The project will improve the travel experience for our customers and workers who navigate the roadways on DTW’s campus each day."


SOAR REFORM MAY OPEN DOOR TO RENCEN REVAMP
Democrats are considering linking next year’s budget to an economic development reform proposal that could transform Detroit’s Renaissance Center from General Motors’ headquarters to new housing and a regional hub for mass transit. 

Behind the scenes, General Motors, the Renaissance Center’s owners and mega-developer Dan Gilbert’s Rocket Companies are pushing to reform Michigan’s corporate incentive fund – the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund – which is already positioned to receive $500 million in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget in corporate income tax revenue, multiple sources tell MIRS.

Specifically, during the Detroit Regional Chamber conference on Mackinac Island, Dave Massaron, General Motors’ chief economic development and real estate officer, and Jared Fleisher, the vice president of government affairs for Rocket Companies, were pushing lawmakers and other interest groups to get behind the proposal.

The legislation on the table – HB 5651, HB 5652 and HB 5653 – sets aside $600 million annually into the SOAR Fund over the next 10 years. Of that, $250 million annually is dedicated for grants to large corporate developments, $200 million for significant transit projects and $100 million to affordable and workforce housing, among other things. 

Fleisher testified in support of the bills during this week’s House Economic Development and Small Business Committee hearing. He argued that the right-sizing of SOAR means good transit and affordable housing that creates communities that people want to live in. The alternative, he asserted, is driving Michigan into a “dead-end road with no direction."

“This is a package that brings it all together,” he said.

MIRS has learned that the idea – if some Democrats decide to take a leap – won’t be as simple as the state writing a check for developers to transform the Renaissance Center into a hub of apartments and new commercial occupants. 

Instead, there will be an array of projects – ranging from infrastructure to transit to local education opportunities – attempting to ensure the surrounding area is so desirable that chances of the Renaissance Center becoming vacant are diminished. 

The Renaissance Center project wouldn’t be the only recipient of the dollars set aside for grants to corporations, as the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is sitting on several other projects it would like to move on. 

However, revamping what is arguably the state’s most iconic skyline in Detroit is a priority. The idea of the skyscraper becoming abandoned blight or torn down altogether isn’t likely to be something elected leaders want to see happen on their watch. 

Instead, if the riverfront property is transformed into a hub for business with links to the airport, Oakland and Macomb Counties and other parts of Southeast Michigan, it could preserve its regional importance. 

One idea being considered is tying the entirety of the $600 million per 10 years into one large bond proposal, so the money can be used up front to make the transformative vision of Downtown Detroit, along with numerous other major projects across the state, happen. 

The Renaissance Center – or the RenCen – is a complex of seven connected skyscrapers facing the Detroit River, and has been occupied by General Motors since 1996. 

In April, the automotive manufacturer announced it would be moving out of the RenCen in 2025, relocating its headquarters to a smaller space in the new Hudson’s building, which is owned by Gilbert’s real estate firm, Bedrock. 

Bedrock, will be involved in repositioning the Renaissance Center following General Motors’ move next year. In General Motors’ April press release, it pointed to a report indicating that 80 percent of current office occupiers have adopted or will adopt a hybrid work schedule in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

MEDC and its affiliated Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) confirmed to MIRS that they recognize the RenCen as "certainly an iconic component of the City of Detroit." 

However, MEDC Public Relations Manager Danielle Emerson said the landmark building has "no specific designations or protections assigned to it by either the MEDC or the State Historic Preservation Office." 

On Thursday, when MIRS asked MEDC Chief Executive Officer Quentin Messer, Jr. if MEDC was looking to do anything to save the RenCen, he didn’t say no. 

"I think that there are ongoing conversations," Messer said. "With regard to the Renaissance Center, there’s always going to be conversations, and I think there will be subsequent opportunities to really delve more deeply into that." 

Senate Economic and Community Development Chair Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) – one of the most vocal advocates for reforming the SOAR Fund – said the idea of General Motors and Bedrock retrofitting the RenCen as housing is "super exciting to me," but she hasn’t been a party to any legislative conversations about it specifically. 

When asked if legislators have a responsibility in ensuring the RenCen does not become an abandoned landmark, McMorrow said "I think there’s a balance." 

"Our majority has been particularly critical of the amount of funding that has gone to developing new sites on green fields versus redevelopment of empty sites or brownfields, so we’re looking at ways to better incentivize re-use through economic development," she said. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor), a lead sponsor behind the House’s SOAR Fund reform, said there have been several rumors about what his legislation would do, and the one coining it as solely a RenCen rescue fund is "a new one to me."

"We aren’t setting anything in place right now about what kind of things would be funded with this program," Morgan said. "As far as I’m aware, this is just one of many rumors, and you know, quite frankly, I think as I’ve listened to the rumors about this package, I think some folks really are just having a tough time accepting that we really can do things differently in the Legislature. We truly can have a package that has a whole bunch of great things that pull together all of what everyone is looking for in terms of economic development." 

He said housing, transit, community revitalization and other shared priorities can be put forward in a collaborative package, "and it just is as good as it seems" without not being straightforward. 

As for believing legislators have a role to play in preventing the RenCen from becoming blight, Morgan said he doesn’t know, and he just honestly hasn’t thought about it. 

In a setting where Democrats are divided on how much the state should invest in preserving the RenCen, they could find it difficult to get Republicans to join the crusade – if they seriously decide to take the task on. 

For example, Rep. Tom Kunse (R-Clare) said he is unwilling to go to any of his district’s constituents, and say to them that they need to pay more in taxes to help the RenCen, especially because "General Motors has not exited. It has abandoned the RenCen." 

"The 100th (House) district is the poorest district in the state of Michigan," Kunse said. "How do I go to people in Mecosta County . . . and say ‘you know what, we need to send your tax dollars to Detroit?’ How could you possibly make that argument?" 

He said he loves Detroit, believes Downtown is awesome, but after General Motors was the beneficiary of $666.1 million in SOAR Fund incentive grants in 2022, it is "absolutely not" the Legislature’s role to cover the tab in preventing its headquarters from becoming vacant. 

Moreover, while Kunse is not the official voice for the House Republican Caucus, he said he would feel very confident in saying Republican representatives don’t have much appetite for becoming engaged in RenCen rescue bucks. 

He added that the present-day system of corporate incentives in Michigan has become "the Novocaine drip," because "once you start, it’s never enough." 

"Unfortunately, they can’t get away from it, but they don’t know how to quit," Kunse said. "The Democrats have created a monster, and now…you can’t feed it enough." 

As for the general topic of SOAR Fund reform, the Governor’s Press Secretary Stacey LaRouche told MIRS that the Governor feels the House bills "will deliver long-term and fiscally responsible resources to ensure our state continues to win major job-creating projects." 

The Governor’s office is hoping the reform will get done “alongside a balanced budget,” which legislators have until July 1 to complete for FY ’25. 


DCD OUT AND ABOUT:

DCD’s Jake German, who also serves on the Spectrum Human Services Board of Directors, was happy to participate in their annual golf outing fundraiser last week at the Northville Hills Golf Club.  This was the biggest outing yet for the Spectrum Team, raising a record amount of money for the non-profit organization. Each day, more than 1,450 children, teens and adults who deal with mental, physical, emotional and/or behavioral challenges find help in a Spectrum program and fundraisers like this one help to ensure the organization’s future.

Senator Mat was happy to meet and visit with his old friend, Mike Trout, from the Michigan Department of Transportation at the Capitol Region International Airport recently to discuss all things aeronautics and get an update on what is happening in that exciting industry.


DCD IS A FULL-SERVICE, BI-PARTISAN, MULTI-CLIENT LOBBYING FIRM

REMEMBER ALL OF DCD’S SERVICES:

***Talk to us about REFERENDUMS & BALLOT INITATIVES***

**WORK WITH US ON LOCAL LOBBYING & DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS**

***CAMPAIGN SIGNATURE GATHERING***

***ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDING: GRANTS – CDBG’S – BROWNFIELD – TIF’S***

***FEDERAL, STATE, & LOCAL REGULATORY CHALLENGES***

OUR TEAM LEVERAGES OUR MUNICIPAL CONTACTS AND ASSETS AND HELPS INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES NAVIGATE THROUGH ANY REGULATORY ISSUES!  WE SPEAK THE DUAL LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS & GOVERNMENT THAT HELP YOU TRANSLATE YOUR VISION INTO REALITY!


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Michigan Supreme Court Rejects Effort To Revive $15 Minimum Wage Proposal

See How Your Michigan Area Road Conditions Rate From 1 to 10


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:

Michigan Mired In Bitter Pot Fight Three Years After Massive Marijuana Recall

Four Dispensaries Greenlit In New Buffalo Township, Submitted Ahead Of Deadline

Michigan Surpasses California In Number Of Cannabis Products Sold

Native Michigan Remedies Opens Marijuana Microbusiness

DeSantis Vetoes Hemp Ban Bill


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-May 2024 Newsletter


SOME HOUSE DEMS HOPEFUL POLICY BILLS WILL BEGIN TO MOVE
The House will return to policy discussions THIS week after abstaining from committee meetings in favor of moving the budget.

What will move out of committee and be taken up for a vote on the floor remains an open question, with the budget remaining top priority for leadership.

"I’m just not sure what’s going to happen in the next couple of weeks," Rep. Reggie Miller (D-Van Buren Township) said. "That’s anyone’s guess."

House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) has made it clear that his number one priority in the coming weeks is to deliver a balanced budget on time, but House Democrats are hoping there’s more than they can get done before they return to their districts to campaign for the summer. Gongwer News Service spoke to several House Democrats facing potentially competitive reelection campaigns in November against Republican challengers who all said they had significant policy legislation they want to see move.

Paradoxically, Tate has seemed disinclined to move anything that could put vulnerable Democratic incumbents at risk.

Although it’s common for the Legislature to avoid controversial bills in an election year, the House has not moved much since November. The lack of legislative activity for six months is not the norm, but the House was split 54-54 for the first four months of this year’s session, which meant Democrats couldn’t move anything without Republican buy-in.

Still, many Democrats are hopeful there will be time to move policy bills and the budget now that the House is back up to full strength.

Miller said she’d like to see bills on right to repair move and would like to have conversations about landfill tipping fees, but she knows that the House is running out of time before the summer recess.

"We all have our priorities," Miller said. "It’s just – we’re running out the clock here."

Rep. Jenn Hill (D-Marquette) said she’d like to see policy to bring corrections officers back into the pension system move.

"There’s a bill package that Senator Cherry has been leading on (SB 165 , SB 166 , SB 167 ), and I’m going to be the House sponsor on. It is connected to the budget," she said. "You’re going to need a policy change to turn them back into pensions."

Housing is another priority, Hill said.

"Anything to do with housing is going to be my number one concern," she said. "Of great concern in my district is the housing situation. There is literally nowhere to live. There are no apartments. There are no houses. People are accepting jobs, and then having to turn them down."

Other members also mentioned housing as a priority, with one person acknowledging that although there are dollars for housing in the budget, it would be good to move some policy bills to do more to solve the current crisis the state is facing.

Members also thought that legislation on mental health support, polluter pay and short-term rentals could also come into play in the next few weeks. Economic policy legislation would likely be more difficult to move through the House as there are several Democratic caucus members who don’t like the Strategic Outreach Attraction and Reserve (SOAR) fund and would be unlikely to vote on any legislation that didn’t retain the changes made by the Senate. Governor Gretchen Whitmer, however, has signaled she is not supportive of the Senate legislation as it was passed.

Rep. Denise Mentzer (D-Mt. Clemens) said she hoped the Legislature would move some bills focused on environmental issues, including microplastics.

"One of the bills that I just recently got passed from the Senate and I hope the governor is going to sign is a bill on disposable wipes," she said, referring to HB 4596 , which was presented to Whitmer on Thursday.

Mentzer also mentioned HB 4688 , which would allow staffing levels for police and fire to be part of collective bargaining.

"It causes (Mt. Clemens) a lot of difficulty, and I would really like to see some kind of mandatory bargaining on staffing levels," she said.

In the House Education Committee , Chair Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth) said he was looking at what could be moved of the school safety package and hoped to advance the Senate’s dyslexia bills, SB 567  and SB 568 .

Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi) said she wanted to prioritize human trafficking legislation in the House Judiciary Committee  before summer recess.

Several members said that there were people within the Democratic caucus who were willing to use their votes on the budget as a bargaining chip to get other priorities across the finish line.

No-fault auto insurance is an issue that several members may be looking to advance, and it might be the stumbling block for House budget proceedings, members speaking on background said.

The Senate passed no-fault auto insurance bills last year prior to sine die, but they have sat inactive in the House Insurance and Financial Services Committee  ever since.

Other House Democrats were confident that even if some members of their caucus weren’t willing to vote on the budget to move their priorities, there was space to work across the aisle on the budget.

Above all, Mentzer said she just wanted to get bills passed.

"I’d like to go out in July with a clean conscience that we’ve done as much work as possible and passed as many good bills for Michiganders as we can," she said. "I’d like to get some stuff done."


SBAM:  90% OF BUSINESS OWNERS EXPERIENCING HIGHER COSTS
Ninety percent of businesses owners are dealing with high costs compared to last year, a recent survey from the Small Business Association of Michigan found.

In its spring member survey, SBAM heard small businesses are concerned about hiring and retaining workers, inflation and potential expansions in unemployment insurance system.

"SBAM’s membership has enjoyed a relatively stable economy in the past several years and been able to staff up and plan ahead for a rainy day," SBAM President Brian Calley said in a statement. "The results of our latest survey show that rainy day could be coming sooner rather than later, as inflationary pressures and a lack of available labor continue to impair small business owners."

The survey showed members opposed three-to-one proposed expansions of unemployment insurance from 20 weeks to 26 weeks and increasing the cash maximum from $362 a week to $602 per week.

Legislation has been introduced to expand unemployment benefits but hasn’t been seriously taken up.

Additionally, 62 percent of respondents said they are having a hard time finding talent and keeping their business fully staffed. Sixty-six percent said they’ve offered increased wages to attract and retain employees.

The survey of small business owners, administered in April of 2024, was completed by over 450 SBAM members.


LOCAL GOVERNMENTS REMAIN INCREASINGLY OPEN TO EV POLICY, DESPITE CHALLENGES
A new study from the University of Michigan indicates an increasing willingness among local government leaders to plan for and accommodate electric vehicles in their communities, but persistent challenges keep the number of communities implementing new policies low

Main challenges to expanding electric vehicle infrastructure is cost and lack of interest among residents, a report from the University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State and Urban Policy released this week found.

A survey of government leaders from fall 2023 within the Michigan Public Policy Survey revealed that while percentages of leaders who’ve considered or adopted EV policies for their communities are still low, around 13 percent, that figure is double the amount who considered EV policies in 2019.

The report also noted that although only around 33,000 EVs were registered in Michigan as of 2022, that is an 89 percent increase year-over-year, and electric and hybrid vehicles are expected to comprise fully 51 percent of all sales by 2030.

"Michigan has been preparing for the increase in future EV use, with millions in state and federal funds being devoted to bolstering the state’s EV infrastructure," the report said. "In addition to government investment, private companies have made significant investments regarding EVs in Michigan, while also acknowledging rising uncertainty around consumer demand, foreign competition, and federal emissions standards."

Statewide, 39 percent of local leaders said planning for electric vehicles is somewhat relevant or very relevant. Twenty-eight percent said it wasn’t at all relevant, which was a nearly 40 percent decrease from surveys conducted in 2019.

The pitfalls of EV accommodation perceived by local leaders are also outlined in their responses: 53 percent cited costs associated with adding new EV charging stations and 51 percent cited a lack of interest among residents as being among the barriers to EV expansion in Michigan communities.

Nearly a third of the leaders said their communities have too few publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations.

The most common type of EV policy being considered by the communities surveyed was adding electric vehicles to a municipal vehicle fleet, followed by adding EV policies to community master plans and disseminating information about EV charging locations in the community to the public.

Overall, communities classified as suburban or urban were more likely to be considering electric vehicle policies, compared to their rural counterparts, only 16 percent of whom said they were actively considering or had previously considered EV policies for their communities.


DCD IS A FULL-SERVICE, BI-PARTISAN, MULTI-CLIENT LOBBYING FIRM

REMEMBER ALL OF DCD’S SERVICES:

***Talk to us about REFERENDUMS & BALLOT INITATIVES***

**WORK WITH US ON LOCAL LOBBYING & DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS**

***CAMPAIGN SIGNATURE GATHERING***

***ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDING: GRANTS – CDBG’S – BROWNFIELD – TIF’S***

***FEDERAL, STATE, & LOCAL REGULATORY CHALLENGES***

OUR TEAM LEVERAGES OUR MUNICIPAL CONTACTS AND ASSETS AND HELPS INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES NAVIGATE THROUGH ANY REGULATORY ISSUES!  WE SPEAK THE DUAL LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS & GOVERNMENT THAT HELP YOU TRANSLATE YOUR VISION INTO REALITY!


ARTICLES OF POLITICAL INTEREST:

Would Tax Break For MI Data Centers Bring Economic Boon, Or Climate Doom?

Michigan AG Nessel Plans To Sue Fossil Fuel Companies Over Climate Change

A Mileage Tax For Michigan Motorists? Lawmakers Want $5M For Pilot Program

Financial Disclosures Paint A Cloudy Picture of Accountability in Michigan Politics

Young Michigan Voters Reveal Deepening Political Problems For Biden


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 Edibles, Vape Pens In Michigan Schools Prompt Calls For Reform

Marijuana Reclassification: MSU Experts Anticipate Side Effects

New Documentary "Cannabusiness" Goes Behind The Green Curtain in Michigan

Marijuana Money Funding 50 Acre Park, Swim Area In Jackson County Township

Teamsters Unionize Another Cresco Marijuana Store In Illinois


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-April 2024 Newsletter


WEISS, SCHUETTE TALK CONTROL OF THE STATE HOUSE
House Democrats and House Republicans are both vowing to work hard until November to secure control of the majority.

House Republican Campaign Committee Chair Rep. Bill Schuette (R-Midland) and House Democratic Campaign Chair Rep. Regina Weiss (D-Oak Park) sat down with MichMash, the podcast partnership between Gongwer News Service and WDET Detroit Public Radio, to discuss their respective caucuses’ strategy for victory this fall.

Republicans are ready to go to the mat with strong candidates in all 110 districts, Schuette said.

"I’m very excited about the deep bench and deep slate of candidates that we have where we have primaries," Schuette said. "That will help – iron sharpens iron – have a set of strong candidates for the elections in the fall."

Democrats aren’t taking their slim 56-54 majority for granted, Weiss said.

"I am immensely humbled by the amount of work this Legislature has been able to get done … but at the same time, we know that having a very narrow majority, a one-vote majority, has made it challenging to get every single piece of legislation across the finish line that we may have wanted, and we also know it doesn’t leave us any room for error."

Schuette said Republicans plan to target the seven seats they lost by fewer than 2,000 votes in 2022.

Those seats are the ones currently held by Rep. Joey Andrews IV (D-Saint Joseph), Rep. Jaime Churches (D-Wyandotte), Rep. Betsy Coffia (D-Traverse City), Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek), Rep. Nate Shannon (D-Sterling Heights) and Rep. Denise Mentzer (D-Mt. Clemens).

Other seats that Schuette said could be ripe to flip are those that Trump won in 2016 and 2020 that are currently represented by a Democrat.

"If you look at the 2022 election, which was unfortunately a tough year for the Republicans, it was still an incredibly close election at the State House level," he said. "We were 1,400 votes away from holding the gavel right now … we’re shaping up to have a much more competitive general election environment."

On the Democratic side, Weiss said the 28th House District seat, currently held by Rep. Jamie Thompson (R-Brownstown Township) was one her caucus thinks it can flip in November. The 46th District, currently held by Rep. Kathy Schmaltz (R-Jackson), is another contender to go blue, Weiss said.

Having former President Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket will help turn out the base in November, Schuette said. Despite being a polarizing figure, Schuette said Trump’s personality isn’t what’s on the ballot.

"This is going to be an election about ‘Were you better off under the presidency of President Trump, or are you better off under Joe Biden?’" Schuette said. "People can look at how their savings are eroded under Joe Biden. They can look at how their paychecks are going less far at the grocery store, on their energy bills, under Democrat leadership and they can look at the crisis on our southern border. And the contrast is clear."

Even in districts where Trump is distinctly unpopular, Schuette said House Republicans have candidates that match their districts.

Weiss said Democrats weren’t too concerned about how the top of the ticket would factor into House races.

"The majority of our candidates in our frontline races tend to outperform the top of the ticket, and that’s because they’re out in their communities. They’re talking to voters, they’re doing the work and building relationships," she said. "Even in areas where the top of the ticket has lost, we have members who have won their seats because of the work they’re doing."

Still, Weiss said Democrats needed to educate people about what the Biden administration has achieved.

"We just want to make sure that voters know about it so that they come out in support, because when people know about it, they’re excited and they’re motivated," she said. "They want to come out, and it’s not simply voting against somebody."

Although Schuette said Democrats will likely center reproductive rights during the campaign season, he said that issue was already decided as a result of Proposal 2022-3.

"There’s a right to an abortion for any reason enshrined in our state’s Constitution. There’s not anything that I as a legislator or any other member of the Legislature can do to change that," he said. ‘I’m sure Democrats will try to use it as an issue, but I think voters are smarter than that … people will be voting on their pocketbooks."

Weiss said reproductive rights are still an issue for voters.

"Just because the ballot initiative passed, because we’ve done more to strengthen reproductive freedom and reproductive health care in Michigan, we know that we also need to protect those freedoms," she said. "We also know that issue continues to resonate with voters. We hear it time and time again when we talk to voters out in the community, out on the doors, and so they’re paying attention to this issue."

In addition to reproductive rights, Weiss said Democrats would be running on investing in education and families.

Democratic policy changes, particularly the energy package passed late last year, will be a detriment to House Democrats on the campaign trail, Schuette said.

"People are frustrated with the price of their utilities Downriver and in Macomb where you’ve seen some very vulnerable Democrat incumbents," he said. "In Traverse City along the lakeshore and in Marquette, they’re not happy with the state control of the ability to put a windmill or a solar panel right outside their front door."

The energy package is about climate change Weiss said, which is an issue young voters care a lot about.

"People want to make sure that we are doing everything in our power to address climate change in our state," she said.

The legislation also addresses improving infrastructure and is an economic issue.

"We also know that folks care a lot about having the ability to have control, especially folks in our rural communities, want to have control over what they can do with their own land, and these bills enabled them to do that," she said.

Schuette said Democrats’ budget decisions to spend down the $9 billion surplus would also be detrimental.

And, lest they forget, Schuette said the HRCC will have the resources to remind them.

"It’s already at the front of mind of Michiganders because they’re paying these bills that are going up and up," Schuette said. "That’s why I’m glad that (Minority Leader Matt Hall) and our team have assembled the resources we need to communicate the message to connect the dots."

Another issue Democrats will need to contend with is the ongoing war in Gaza.

Weiss said that House Democrats would be reminding people that the state of Michigan can’t affect international relations.

"It’s really not our job as state legislators," she said. "We also encourage our folks to get out into the community and meet people where they are. It is a very divisive issue for so many reasons. There is a lot of pain in the Jewish community. There is a lot of pain in the Muslim community, and we just want to make sure that everyone feels like they’re listened to, and they’re being supported."

The HRCC isn’t concerned about the primary challenge or the Democratic opposition in Hall’s district, Schuette said, but he encouraged them to spend their money there.

"Can you imagine just blowing all this money over a lost cause just because of a personal vendetta?" he said. "Leader Hall has done a good job representing his district, locking down his district. Democrats are welcome to waste their money on seats like that, we’ll just go and take back the majority in November."

Democrats aren’t concerned about the primaries in their sitting members’ districts, either.

"This is something that we have to deal with every single cycle," Weiss said.

She also attributed some of the primary challenges to the recent House redistricting.

"All of our returning members are confident in their ability to protect their seat, come back in their primary, but also continue to do work to support those seats that we need to bring back in November and the seats that we need to flip," she said.


APPROPS PANEL MOVES BUDGETS
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees last Wednesday moved eight budgets each to their respective chamber floors.

The House Appropriations Committee  reported the budgets for community colleges (HB 5504 ), universities (HB 5505 ), the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (HB 5509 ), Department of State Police (HB 5510 ), the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (HB 5511 ), the Department of Natural Resources (HB 5512 ), the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (HB 5513 ) and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (HB 5514 ).

The Senate Appropriations Committee reported the department budgets for School Aid (SB 751 ), Corrections (SB 756 ), the judiciary (SB 757 ), Agriculture and Rural Development (SB 758 ), Natural Resources (SB 759 ), Military and Veterans Affairs (SB 762 ), State Police (SB 763 ), and Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (SB 768 ).

The House plans to report all of its budget recommendations to the House floor by the end of this week.

In both chambers, the budgets were reported unchanged beyond the subcommittee recommendations. Democrats voted in support of each of the budgets while Republicans voted to abstain or against the budgets.

In the House, Republicans put forward several amendments, but none of the changes were adopted.

Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale) put forward an amendment on HB 5509 , HB 5511  and HB 5512  that would prohibit state or federal funding from being used to provide services, grants or programming to people who are not in the country legally.

Rep. Denise Mentzer (D-Mt. Clemens) voted in support of the amendment, but it didn’t ultimately pass.

Rep. Phil Green (R-Watertown Township) said that he wished the budget was written in a way more people could support.

He gave the example of natural disaster relief funding in the Department of State Police budget, which makes mention of increased instances of natural disasters due to climate change.

Green said that although he supports more money for locals, he couldn’t vote for budgets that made mention of something that was "unquantifiable," like climate change.

"It’s a great virtue signal, but it just doesn’t work when you work with the letter of the law," he said.

Fink said that although real work gets done in budget subcommittees, the process once budgets arrive to the full appropriations committee can be frustrating as very procedural.

In the Senate, Wednesday’s hearing moved quickly, with few offered amendments prior to final votes.

An amendment offered by Sen. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) for SB 751  would have removed language in the School Aid budget that would reduce the state’s required contribution to the Michigan Public Employees’ Retirement for retiree health care by about $670 million.

The amendment failed by a 5-13 vote along party lines.


PFAS PHASED OUT WITH HOUSE DEMOCRATIC PACKAGE
Manufacturers of a wide range of products with intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) would have to start phasing them out starting Jan. 1, 2027, under a two-bill package introduced by several House Democrats this week.

Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing), who said she introduced the legislation for Earth Day this week, said the bills will take a “significant step towards a healthier, safer future for generations to come.” 

HB 5657, sponsored by Tsernoglou, and HB 5658, sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck), deal with PFAS in products like apparel, carpets, cleaning products, cookware, cosmetics, dental floss, fabric treatments, products for children, menstrual products, textile furnishings, ski wax and upholstered furniture. 

Tsernoglou’s HB 5657 requires that beginning on Jan. 1, 2027, companies with intentionally-added PFAS should submit notice to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) with a description of the product and information on the amount of PFAS included. 

For companies whose products have no feasible alternative to PFAS, the state would then review the product and issue a written waiver. Starting in 2027, no products containing PFAS in the categories listed above, like apparel or cookware, could be sold without a waiver. 

Then, starting Jan. 1, 2032, the sale or distribution of any product containing intentionally added PFAS without a waiver would be prohibited. 

The bill also bans the manufacture and use of class A or B firefighting foam with intentionally-added PFAS starting in 2027, and sellers of firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) must also provide a written notice to a purchaser if the equipment contains intentionally added PFAS, along with the reason for adding it. 

A first violation of the legislation would result in a 93-day, $1,000 misdemeanor penalty, while a second offense would result in a fine of $1,500. A third offense would be a two-year, $2,000 felony charge. 

Aiyash’s bill, HB 5658, updates sentencing guidelines for a third felony offense.

He said, “for over a decade, we’ve known the harmful effects of PFAS on our planet and people, referencing the widespread use of PFAS in household and industrial products due to their water and oil resistance, along with their growing notoriety due to potential environmental impacts and their link to health complications, like birth defects and cancer. 

“We have a responsibility to be better stewards in protecting the air, land and water,” Aiyash said. “Our future generations depend on it.” 

Both bills were read in this week, and were referred to the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee. 


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ARTICLES OF POLITICAL INTEREST:

State of Senate Races in Michigan After Meijer Drops Out

‘Taylor Swift’ Bills Would Stop Bots From Hoarding Concert Tix in Michigan

After Billions in Fraud Payments, Unemployment Agency Declares New Day

Whitmer Signs Cardiac Emergency Bills At NFL Draft

Oakland GOP Eyes New Challenger For County Executive


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:

CRA Announces Claire Patterson as Director of New Cannabis Reference Lab

Michigan’s Cannabis Industry Employs More Than 46,000 Workers

Lume Cannabis Plans $50K Community Reinvestment

Here’s How Much Michigan Cities, Counties Made From Marijuana Sales in 2023

Tootsie Roll Legal Threat Prompts Cannabis Manufacturer to Rebrand Edible


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-April 2024 Newsletter


CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION ANNOUNCES PFAS REGULATIONS
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) has introduced three pieces of legislation related to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoralkyl substance chemicals, calling on Congress to pass them following the Biden Administration’s release of the first national drinking water standard for the chemicals.

The new regulation requires PFOA and PFOS chemicals, two of the most common types of PFAS, to clock in at four parts per trillion or less. Other types are capped at 10 parts per trillion.

Kildee said on a press call today that he’s looking for support on the VET PFAS Act, which would allow Veterans’ Affairs centers to provide healthcare and benefits to military veterans and their families after they are exposed to PFAS.

His second piece of legislation, the Expanding Seniors’ Access to PFAS Testing Act, would require Medicare to cover PFAS blood testing. The final act is the Better Care for PFAS Patients Act, which would provide medical professionals with updated best practices and advice on how to treat PFAS-exposed patients.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) said she has been pushing the U.S. Department of Defense to understand its obligation to clean up PFAS contamination on military bases in Grayling and Oscoda, which have been points of concern for those invested in the “forever chemicals.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) said that since her day one in office, she’s been calling for a national drinking water standard to replace the guideline that was more lenient than the Michigan standard. 

“We have more contamination sites than most do because we’re looking for it,” Dingell said. 

Dingell called herself “Debbie Downer” before stating that Michigan still has PFAS in too many places. She called for Congress to pass legislation to get PFAS out of fire fighting equipment like their protective gear and tools they use as well as eliminating wrappers at fast food restaurants from containing PFAS.

“It’s in our socks. It’s in our aprons. With the noise we’ve made, (PFAS) hasn’t been banned. But, you know, I’m a lousy cook. I use Teflon pans because I don’t want it to stick,” Dingell said. 

Implementation in the state may cause strain to smaller water treatment systems when they purchase and maintain the equipment and practices to meet the new standard. Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) said it can be expensive to retrofit older water systems and that as municipalities come to the state, they will help the municipalities figure out a combination of local, state and federal funding sources.

“I’m spending more time on water and sewers. Water may be a little more glamorous than sewers,” Dingell said.

Dingell said today’s announcement has been scientifically screened, and that elected officials have to be “working smart” to figure out the best policies and funding sources for implementation. 


COUNTIES UNCERTAIN OF COURT FUNDING WITHOUT SUNSET EXTENSION
Courts across Michigan are being advised to review the way they assess costs ahead of the anticipated sunset of the law that currently allows courts to impose costs in criminal cases that are reasonably related to the actual costs incurred by the court.

The state court administrator, Thomas Boyd, sent a memo last week to circuit, district and municipal court judges, administrators and county clerks across the state advising them of the expected sunset on May 1.

Without the current law, courts cannot impose court costs, including salaries and benefits for court personnel, good and services necessary for the operation of the court, necessary expenses for the operation and maintenance of court buildings and facilities. Boyd advised the courts to begin preparing for implementation of the change and discussing its financial ramifications.

This could cost courts across the state a total of $50 million annually, said Samantha Gibson, governmental affairs associate for the Michigan Association of Counties. That works out to roughly $1 million a week.

"We’re looking at a significant portion of operational court funding lost, with May 1 coming and going and without the extension of the sunset," Gibson said. "The county will then be responsible for backfilling those costs and making up for the funding gap."

Lawmakers are currently considering extending the again through December 2026 under HB 5392, which already cleared committee and is on Third Reading.

The bill is tie barred to another piece of legislation, HB 5534, which would require the State Court Administrative Office to determine the amount of potential lost revenue for trial courts, the minimum operational cost for trial courts and the additional funds needed. The legislation also would require the office to submit a report to the Legislature with recommendations on how to cover additional costs of trial courts after the elimination of fees.

The Legislature would then be responsible for passing policy to fund the courts without using costs the Supreme Court has ruled problematic.

Several Republicans have argued against the tie bar, and with time running short before the May 1 deadline, it’s unclear if HB 5392 will cross the finish line to keep the courts funded.

If the law sunsets, the courts will impose costs "direct and indirect, to which the plaintiff has been put in connection with the civil infraction," according to current law, the memo states. The costs ordered must not exceed $100 for civil infractions and must not exceed $500 for municipal civil infractions. The costs are payable to the general fund of the plaintiff.

"Please review your existing practices for processing civil infractions and ensure you are

only assessing costs reasonably related to the costs of prosecution — not any costs for operating the court," the memo said. "Courts that assess plaintiff’s costs under these statutes should be able to provide SCAO auditors with documentation as to how these plaintiff’s costs were calculated."

Gibson said that logistically, she doesn’t know what that will look like for counties.

"I don’t know what a docket looks like. How does a judge operate after May 1 without their authority to impose those fines and fees," Gibson said. "We’ve not really run into this circumstance."

The last sunset extension happened in October 2022. Then, the Legislature passed the extension after the deadline and the state appropriated money for the backfill. Gibson said she would expect the same thing to happen this year if lawmakers can’t get the bill to the governor before May 1.

"If the Legislature can’t come to a consensus on this issue, it should not be the county’s responsibility to backfill lost court funding," Gibson said.

The tie barred bill is the major sticking point for Republicans, with some arguing that it needs more work, while others have said it would take away local control.

Local governments, though, have been supportive of both bills.

"That bill (HB 5534 ) does not change any funding structure or mechanism. All that bill does is require the state court administrator’s office to do data collection," Gibson said. "No fee authority is in it. It’s simply data collection."

The Michigan Association of Counties supports HB 5534, though its priority is extending the sunset so courts can be funded.

"We are supportive of all five of the trial court funding commission recommendations," Gibson said. "(HB 5534) is moving us in the direction toward addressing the policy recommendations from the trial court funding commission."


$160M ECONOMIC IMPACT POSSIBLE VIA NFL DRAFT IN DETROIT
Downtown Detroit businesses could net a positive economic impact of about $160 million while the city hosts the National Football League draft later this month, according to an economic consulting firm’s review.

East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group, LLC, in an analysis released Monday said it estimated a direct economic impact of about $97.5 million for the city of Detroit as well as $35.1 million in expenditures by attendees.

The firm in a release stated that its analysis followed a methodology considering direct costs and other factors including the lost spending from people who normally would spend time in the downtown area but instead avoided the event.

Expenditures weighed in the analysis include hotel costs, bar and restaurant spending and the buying of merchandise.

"Hosting the NFL draft is another exciting win for Detroit and presents invaluable opportunities for the city to showcase its culture on a national stage, once again potentially fostering long-term tourism and investment prospects," Tyler Theile, vice president and director of economic analysis and public policy for the firm, said in a statement.

The NFL draft is a three-day, free event in downtown Detroit. The firm said the event being free increases accessibility but reduces the economic effect of ticket revenue.

As a nationally televised and highly anticipated event, the NFL draft is a yearly event that is sought after by large cities nationally as a host site, similar to major sporting events including the Super Bowl, professional all-star games or college postseason tournament events.


DCD IS A FULL-SERVICE, BI-PARTISAN, MULTI-CLIENT LOBBYING FIRM

REMEMBER ALL OF DCD’S SERVICES:

***Talk to us about REFERENDUMS & BALLOT INITATIVES***

**WORK WITH US ON LOCAL LOBBYING & DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS**

***CAMPAIGN SIGNATURE GATHERING***

***ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDING: GRANTS – CDBG’S – BROWNFIELD – TIF’S***

***FEDERAL, STATE, & LOCAL REGULATORY CHALLENGES***

OUR TEAM LEVERAGES OUR MUNICIPAL CONTACTS AND ASSETS AND HELPS INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES NAVIGATE THROUGH ANY REGULATORY ISSUES!  WE SPEAK THE DUAL LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS & GOVERNMENT THAT HELP YOU TRANSLATE YOUR VISION INTO REALITY!


ARTICLES OF POLITICAL INTEREST:

Michigan House Special Elections May Put Democrats Back In Charge

Michigan Schools Hired 874 Mental Health Staffers–Under Program Set to End

Michigan’s Top Watchdog Slammed as "Partisan Hack" by Democratic State Party Chair

Judge Dismisses GOP Lawmakers’ Effort to Undo Michigan Elections Changes OK’d by Voters

Michigan Protestors Chanted "Death to America."  Why is Whitmer Silent?


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:

Legal Marijuana Purchases In Michigan Reach A New Record in March

What’s New & Trending in the Marijuana Market?

Florida Voters Will Decide on Marijuana Legalization in November

IRS Issues New Guidance for Cannabis Companies That Receive Over $10K in Cash

Michigan Business Accused of Illegally Selling Marijuana Product to Minors


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

Early March 2024 Newsletter


MORSE WANTS STEADY GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION FUNDING
State money for community violence intervention programs designed to cut down on shootings in problem areas would be reduced in the Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget proposal, but the chair of a key House subcommittee is pushing back.

According to Everytown For Gun Safety, community violence intervention (CIV) programs have been shown to reduce gunshot injuries and deaths in neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence by taking more of a public health approach to fighting violence.

Rep. Christine Morse (D-Kalamazoo), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, said after several years getting the state Office of CVI off the ground, the funding should be maintained for some time.

“(Gun violence) is not a problem that is two or three years in the making,” Morse said. 

For Fiscal Year (FY) 2025, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed allocating a total $5.5 million towards CPI in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) budget, maintaining the $5 million in one-time federal funding for CVI grants, but bumping ongoing funding down to $500,000 from the General Fund for the state Office of CVI’s expenses.  

Morse said after town halls in east Detroit with Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit), Saginaw with Rep. Amos ONEAL (D-Saginaw), south Lansing with Rep. Kara Hope (D-Lansing), Kalamazoo and Kent County, she has a better understanding of individual community interventions and what those communities need.

“We wanted to go and talk to the communities that are especially hard hit by community violence, to find out, what are those community orbs and governmental orbs that are working in the space. What are they doing? Why are they doing it? Is it evidence-based? Is it not? Have they gotten funding from any source?” she said. 

Dr. Sarah Lyon-Callo, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) senior deputy director of public health administration, presented this week on past and current funding for the state office, starting with Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, when the office of CVI was established. 

In FY ‘23, the budget included an $800,000 appropriation to get the office up and running, combined with a one-time $5 million appropriation for grants, and in FY ‘24, the office was again allocated $5.8 million. 

Lyon-Callo said $2.5 million was used to strengthen existing CVI programs, like expanded specialized case management, workforce development, increased street outreach, mentorship, geographic data mapping and “transformational healing for people at the center of violence.” 

Funding was also used to support existing Wayne County programs specifically, which Lyon-Callo said was necessary due to Wayne County attaining the highest homicide crude death rate in Michigan in 2020, with 19.3 deaths per 100,000 people. 


HOEKSTRA: ESTABLISHMENT DONORS WILL RETURN, BUT PARTY MUST PLAY CATCH UP
(GRAND RAPIDS) – Newly recognized Michigan Republican Party Chair Pete Hoekstra said today he’s confident that establishment donors who stepped away from the party will return, but they all must now play catch up. When asked about conversations with establishment donors, like the DeVos family, Hoekstra said conversations have been ongoing, and “they have not stepped away" from Republican politics.

“They stepped away from giving to the Michigan Republican Party,” he said. “But they’ve been very active in forming other groups to carry out the functions that they normally would have expected the MI GOP to do.

“The good thing is, the work didn’t stop,” he said. “It just went through other vehicles.” 

Now, his faction of the party is beginning to plan for the next eight months ahead, and on how to best bring the GOP back into that network, Hoekstra said. 

But, he believes his faction’s recent track record is going to be a big point of attraction for these donors, including an initial win in court, an endorsement by former President Donald Trump, who won nearly 98 percent of the vote at today’s nominating convention and a Republican National Committee (RNC) certification of the state committee’s action to remove former Chair Kristina Karamo. 

“A lot of these major donors are business people,” he said. “They would look at this track record and say, ‘Yeah, we think it’s probably pretty likely that this is the Michigan GOP that we’re going to see through the election.’” 

When asked about fundraising efforts so far, and if he believes the party has begun to “catch up,” Hoekstra responded, “Are you kidding me? I just got the court order on Tuesday.” 

“The donors that sat on the sidelines, they want(ed) to make sure that if they wrote a check to the MI GOP, that there was no possibility it…might go back to the old MI GOP," he said, explaining how the party has since begun to fundraise. 

Hoekstra said his faction of the party has set up an alternate process to collect funds, because until 5:30 p.m. Friday, they didn’t have access to the bank. 

“So we’re making progress,” he said, though he added that he does not yet have access to all the party’s bank accounts, due to the state party’s lawsuit with the owners of the trust. 

Hoekstra said former Congressman and legal counsel Mike Bishop filed the paperwork this week to “establish himself as attorney of record for those lawsuits. 

“As soon as the judge rules on that, then we will . . . work with Comerica and the trust to remove those lawsuits, and then, you know, we still need to get access to some social media accounts and those types of things.” 

For now, he said, “We’re just going to come back on Monday morning and go back to work, putting in place the plans and the organization and the money to run a successful campaign in November."

For her part, Karamo fired off a couple of shots on social media today. On Hoekstra’s post on X that he was looking at ways to credential some delegates because rules weren’t followed, Karamo wrote, “Rules . . . what a joke. They did follow the rules and submitted their delegate list to the elected party secretary. Additionally the Call to Convention filed with the county clerk per Michigan law listed the purpose as being a convention at the Huntington Place in Detroit. What about that law!"

Karamo also responded to a tweet from reporter Jonathan Oosting about the lawsuit regarding MRP Party headquarters where she wrote, “Really . . . we never said our objective for the lawsuit was to sell the building. That was the talking point the corruption-club had to put out as a straw man, to distract people from the merits of the lawsuit. We want clarification over who owns assets and liabilities. Asking for a friend, how can an LLC, DBA as a political party? They would be conducting business, for example potentially taking out loans in the party’s name without our knowledge. I think that’s a problem. However I guess if a former congressman tells us it’s ok, and that our concerns are “insane”, we should stop asking questions!”


CONSUMERS GIVEN PSC APPROVAL FOR $92M RATE HIKE
Consumers Energy Company residential ratepayers will later this month see a rate increase of 1.6 percent on their monthly bills following the approval of a $92 million rate increase Friday by the Public Service Commission .

The rate hike approved by regulators is less than half of the $216 million originally requested by the utility, although that figure was reduced to a requested $170.8 million during the review process.

A key part of what the utility sought with the rate increase, its first since a $155 million hike approved in January 2023 as part of a settlement agreement, was to cover spending related to reliability improvements, a release from the PSC said.

Items the increase would cover, according to the PSC, include spending on generation distribution assets, safety and legal compliance, enhanced technology, increased operations and maintenance expenses along with rising costs for financing.

The average residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month would see a monthly bill increase of $1.53, or 1.6 percent.

Within Friday’s order, there were several equity-related items to be put in place by Consumers.

The utility was told to provide in upcoming rate cases and other items before the commission environmental justice and equity-related information, to develop with PSC staff a way for interested parties to request and use geographic information system data, and the provide regression analysis in support of reliability spending on its distribution system in future filings.

Consumers must also provide a full summary of environmental justice and equity considerations as part of its next rate case.

More information was also directed to be provided on people having contact with electric lines as well as to work with the commission, other utilities and interested parties on identifying methods for energy security and the prevention of heat-related illnesses and deaths.

Consumers was directed to propose a pilot program in which it would work with a third party to provide a resource for medically vulnerable residential customers that meet low-income requirements to work toward maximizing the use of various utility and government incentives for household energy waste reduction, solar and energy storage.

The company was also told to engage with affected parties and communities when getting feedback for future distribution plans so their concerns and needs can be weighed in designing distribution system programs, projects and sites.

Under Friday’s order, Consumers was given partial approval for its proposed investment recovery mechanism for efforts to improve electric distribution system reliability. Its distribution spending plans must be shared with the PSC and interested parties as soon as possible for year one of its plans and by November 1, 2024, for year two of its plans.

Consumers must also file information in its next general electric rate case connecting performance in operational metrics to proposed incentive compensation. The PSC said operational metrics will be reviewed more rigorously in future cases.

A transportation electrification plan must also be filed by July 1, 2024, and include updated projections on the costs of electric vehicle adoption and the effects on its plans. At least two public hearings are to be scheduled on its plans.

The utility is also to study penetration levels for direct current fast charging EV chargers as well as a study on the chargers and Level 2 EV chargers to see whether the chargers should have separate tariffs. Consumers is expected to include the results of these studies in its next general electric rate case.

An analysis was also ordered on line-clearing cycles, to include data on the customer costs of outages, the costs of restoring service and the costs of line clearing. This analysis is due to be filed with the PSC by September 3, 2024.

Attorney General Dana Nessel in a statement said her department was an intervenor in the case and had pushed back on several of the Consumers proposals and projections as being unreasonable.

"Today the commission saw fit to slash Consumers Energy’s requested rate hike by more than half," Nessel said. "My department will continue to advocate for Michigan consumers at every opportunity, and we will intervene to defend ratepayers as appropriate based on our careful study of these corporate filings and consultation with industry experts."


DCD IS A FULL-SERVICE, BI-PARTISAN, MULTI-CLIENT LOBBYING FIRM

REMEMBER ALL OF DCD’S SERVICES:

***Talk to us about REFERENDUMS & BALLOT INITATIVES***

**WORK WITH US ON LOCAL LOBBYING & DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS**

***CAMPAIGN SIGNATURE GATHERING***

***ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDING: GRANTS – CDBG’S – BROWNFIELD – TIF’S***

***FEDERAL, STATE, & LOCAL REGULATORY CHALLENGES***

OUR TEAM LEVERAGES OUR MUNICIPAL CONTACTS AND ASSETS AND HELPS INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES NAVIGATE THROUGH ANY REGULATORY ISSUES!  WE SPEAK THE DUAL LANGUAGE OF BUSINESS & GOVERNMENT THAT HELP YOU TRANSLATE YOUR VISION INTO REALITY!


DCD OUT AND ABOUT:

DCD’s Jake German joined the Common Ground Leadership Team at their new East Lansing Resiliency Center with Senator Sam Singh, Rep. Julie Brixie, Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou, and Rep. Emily Dievendorf for a tour and Q & A Session to create awareness of Common Ground’s continued commitment to support those impacted by the February 2023 shooting on the MSU campus. Common Ground has been in business for over 50 years serving the State of Michigan wherever crises turns to hope.

Jake German was happy to join Hazel Park City Manager Edward Klobucher at the annual Hazel Park Promise Dinner in Warren on February 27th.  Ed has been a longtime client and friend and DCD is happy to support the Promise Zone in their lofty mission to help provide educational scholarships for local high school graduates.


ARTICLES OF POLITICAL INTEREST:

MSU Board Asks Whitmer to Weigh Removal of Two Board Members

Trump Dominates MI Caucuses Over the Weekend, Builds Delegate Lead

Gotion Submits Site Plan to Mecosta County for EV Battery Factory

Justin Amash Seeking GOP Nomination for Michigan Senate Seat

Michigan Presidential Primaries Offer Warning Signs for Both Trump & Biden


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:

Michigan Local Governments Getting $87M From Marijuana Sales

Michigan Wants to Study Marijuana’s Health Benefits.  It’s Not Easy.

Can You Buy Recreational Marijuana in Michigan and Bring It Back to Ohio?

The Top Ten Michigan Marijuana Tax Revenue Recipients By City, County

Study: Marijuana Legalization Linked To ‘Decline In Beer Sales,’ Indicating Substitution Effect


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 February 2024 Newsletter

 


TENSIONS HIGH AS POST-EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS CHANGES TO BE DEBATED
There will be tension as lawmakers and stakeholders debate a proposal from Governor Gretchen Whitmer to redirect payments previously used to prefund retiree health care for public school employees, Sen. Sarah Anthony said in an interview this week.

Anthony (D-Lansing), appearing on “MichMash,” the podcast partnership between Gongwer News Service and WDET Detroit Public Radio, also said lawmakers remain committed and motivated to take more action on gun violence prevention following the slew of bills passed last year after a mass shooting on Michigan State University’s campus.

“This is going to be a debate this year,” said Anthony, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee , of the administration’s proposal to redirect some of the payments for public school employee retiree health care for other K-12 programs.

Whitmer’s office said the unfunded liability for retiree health care, also known as other post-employment benefits, is set to be paid off this fiscal year, so it is no longer required to continue putting the same amount of money into that component of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. A bill to effectuate the change is needed, however.

Anthony noted Republicans before her were aggressive in paying down debt, which is a benefit now.

“I do feel like there is this tension around that if we have paid down significant debt, how can we start to invest now in critical areas we know need help now,” she said. “We can’t afford to wait. There is going to be a tension there. I do see both angles. But ultimately, I do believe that we can find a middle ground there that we can ensure that we are still responsible in paying down debt and we’re not neglecting current and urgent needs we need to address now.”

With the one-year anniversary of the MSU mass shooting and the gun control efforts already passed by the Legislature taking effect this week, Anthony said there is more work to be done but reflected on the last year.

“Gun violence prevention was going to be part of the Democratic majority’s plan to try to address, I tell you that moment just jump started the caucuses to act quicker and to really listen to student voice,” she said. “And when kids came to our office, they were not looking for political talking points. They weren’t looking to take a selfie with me and make it a political comment. … But I have reminded those same young people that their voices mattered. And because of the sense of urgency after that tragedy, they created space for us to say ‘we have to do something.'”

Anthony said she is a responsible gun owner and believes in the Second Amendment.

“I also believe that with all of our rights they also have limits,” she said. “I have been a vocal

advocate for comment sense reforms. And there are many of us who are still motivated to find commonsense solutions to these issues.”

Anthony said when she entered the Senate in 2023 and Democrats were celebrating their majorities, she was also mourning a friend who died due to gun violence. Anthony said she can see the spot where her friend was shot in Lansing from her Capitol office.

“This is pervasive in many of our communities. It’s not just a mass shooting we see on school campuses,” she said. “It is every day.”

On the budget, Anthony was particularly excited about the streamlining of higher education financial aid and housing resources. She also said transparency in the process improved during the last budget cycle, noting enhancement grants included sponsors for the first time.

“Many of the negotiations do happen in a room in the Capitol in which we kind of duke it out and get to the nitty gritty. But isn’t that what our citizens expect of us,” she said. “That they don’t have to worry about line by line by line, because they are literally paying a full-time salary to members of these committees to do just that.”

Anthony also said she wants to see the Legislature go as far as practically possible in its legislation to expand the Freedom of Information Act to include the governor’s office and Legislature.

“I am going to be pressing us to go further than most of some of the concepts we have seen in the past,” she said. “But also, we have to be practical. And we have to be sure we have the resources to implement these kinds of bills.”


DUELING MIGOP CONVENTIONS LOOM AS HOEKSTRA RAMPS UP
Pete Hoekstra is moving to assert power as the undisputed chair of the Michigan Republican Party, armed with the Republican National Committee’s decision that he, not Kristina Karamo, is the leader of the MIGOP.

Hoekstra told Bridge Michigan and The Detroit News on Friday he plans to announce a different location for the party’s March 2 convention to decide the allocation of most of the state’s presidential delegates to the Republican National Convention than the one Karamo had set for Huntington Place in Detroit.

Messages left with Hoekstra and a spokesperson on the possibility of a dueling convention were not returned prior to publication Friday night.

Having two separate conventions would raise the specter of each precinct delegate elected Thursday at county conventions across the state having to decide which one to attend. Given the RNC’s recognition of Hoekstra as chair, it seems likely it would recognize the convention he organizes as the legitimate one, but it will be another chapter to resolve in this dispute.

In an interview earlier Friday with Gongwer News Service, Hoekstra touted a letter from the state’s six Republican U.S. House members recognizing him as chair as the latest momentum toward extinguishing Karamo’s hold on the party.

Further, his team is talking with social media companies about having the official Michigan Republican Party accounts turned over to them.

Hoekstra said he’s in the process of hiring staff. Following the RNC’s ruling, there’s an agreement on who will come aboard as the party’s executive director, he said.

But the biggest issue Hoekstra said he continues to address is finances. While his team has established committees under state and federal campaign finance law, it also is working with banks to freeze the party’s official accounts under Karamo’s control, he said.

Next week could prove decisive.

Several hearings are scheduled at the Kent Circuit Court, where Hoekstra’s allies in the party have filed a lawsuit to have a judge declare Karamo was removed properly under party bylaws.

A hearing on Karamo’s motion to dismiss is set for Tuesday. Then there are hearings Wednesday and Thursday on the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction declaring Karamo was properly removed. Should the judge rule for the plaintiffs on that motion, it could resolve the dispute. Karamo told Bridge she would abide by a court order.

“It’s always hard to predict what the courts are going to do but that’s why we’re in the courts,” Hoekstra said. “We’re in the courts, and we’re pushing this aggressively to try to get them to move as quickly as possible.”

Hoekstra has scheduled fundraisers for the accounts supporting party activities his team has created for February 25 and 26.

Asked if the party’s traditional funders have agreed to write big checks, Hoekstra said they are becoming more engaged.

“They’re businesspeople. They’re saying, ‘Pete what are going to do? Where are you and what are you going to do?'” he said. “As soon as I get ahold of the books, I’ve told them you are more than welcome to come take a look at the books. I’m going to be totally transparent.”

Hoekstra said he has told the party’s traditional donors, who have refused to support the party under Karamo, to help him design the plan for the next eight months.

“As soon as they feel ownership and they feel good about a plan, at that point in time I expect they’ll help fund the plan that we jointly developed and put in place,” he said.

Karamo, meanwhile, continues to accuse traditional forces in the party of conspiring to undermine her.

She posted a 10-minute video Thursday night mainly devoted to slamming the Warner Norcross + Judd law firm that has worked with the plaintiffs seeking a court order confirming her ouster.

After a kerfuffle at the Oakland County Republican Party convention Thursday over her appearance, she posted on X that it’s comical people feared her speaking.

“The Grey Poupon Good Ole’ boys club hate that they can’t control me, and that we’ve disrupted their corruption club,” she said in a separate post that night. “Our movement isn’t going away. We are bringing a Righteous Renaissance to the Republican Party. We are Constitutional-Conservatives on a mission to save our Republic. It’s a reason the majority of our State Committee want me to continue as chair. They know the stakes are too high to let the political oligarchy push us out.”

Oakland GOP Chair Vance Patrick fired back that she improperly entered the 9th District caucus when she’s a precinct delegate in the 11th District.

“Your improper intrusion was disruptive to the normal business of our county convention,” he said in a post on X.


OPTIMISM FALLS AMONG MICHIGAN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
Michigan small business owners aren’t as optimistic about the next six months as they once were, according to a survey conducted by the Small Business Association of Michigan.

About half of the 400 association members surveyed said they’re somewhat or very optimistic about their prospects during the next six months, but that’s down from 57 percent a year ago.

Business owners feel better about their long-term prospects, though, with 66 percent of those surveyed saying they feel somewhat or very optimistic about the survival of their business.

“Small business owners tend to be optimistic people. This survey suggests that while they are experiencing many challenges today, most expect improved conditions in the future,” Brian Calley, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, said in a statement. “Inflation, availability of labor and the economy remain top concerns for small businesses. Their biggest concerns center around cost pressures and underscore the strong opposition small businesses have expressed in recent surveys against new, costly government mandates.”

Of the business owners surveyed, about 28 percent are pessimistic about the next six months and about 20 percent are pessimistic about their long-term survival.

Small business owners are feeling more pessimistic on a national scale, according to the latest report from the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index.

January was the 25th consecutive month where the optimism index score was below the 50-year average of 98. Last month’s score was 89.9.

“Small business job creators continue to be discouraged about their ability to find and keep qualified employees and to afford the necessary goods they need to operate,” NFIB Michigan State Director Amanda Fisher said in a statement. “As the election season ramps up across Michigan and candidates claim to stand up for small business, it is well to remember the votes of lawmakers that make Main Street business owners’ jobs harder and harder.”

Fisher went on to cite policies including the repeal of Michigan’s right-to-work laws and restoration of prevailing wage, which recently went into effect.

The most pressing issue for business owners in Michigan is the state of the economy, according to the Small Business Association of Michigan survey. Of those surveyed, 23 percent ranked the economy as their primary challenge. Inflation was the next biggest problem, at 21 percent, followed by availability of labor at 19 percent.

More than half of the small businesses surveyed reported that the new restrictions from the U.S. Department of Labor, which limit independent contractors, will have a substantial or moderate impact on their business.

About a third of small businesses say that they’ll benefit from the research and development tax credit currently being considered by lawmakers in Lansing.

Regarding new technology, 26 percent of small businesses reported they’re using artificial intelligence for marketing, data analytics, virtual assistants and business operations. Those tools could be cut back though, as 44 percent of small business owners say they’re preparing for a possible recession by reducing expenses.


 

DCD IS A FULL-SERVICE, BI-PARTISAN, MULTI-CLIENT LOBBYING FIRM

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ARTICLES OF POLITICAL INTEREST:
Early Voting in Michigan a ‘Significant Challenge’ for Clerks
Trump Rallies Supporters:  “If we win Michigan, we win the election.”
Michigan Cord Cutting Accelerates; Cable Customers Fall 13% in 2023
Tax Return Scam Sparks Warning from Michigan AG
Tlaib Endorses Protest Vote Against Biden in Michigan 


Senator Mat was happy to take part in one of the remembrance ceremonies last week at the new Common Ground East Lansing Resiliency Center. As we all remember the horrible events that occured at MSU one year ago, it is great to know that Common Ground and their Director of Victim Services, Jamie Ayers, is there to help!

For more on the new resiliency center click here.


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 Dispensary Broken Into by Masked Men in Tekonsha Township

More Than A Dozen Michigan Marijuana Shops Faced Disciplinary Actions in January

Michigan’s Cannabis Industry Turns Five This Year:  What to Expect?

Hookah Shop Shut Down for Selling Marijuana to Minor’s, Police Say

Wisconsin GOP Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill Dead For Now


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