Late September, 2021 Newsletter

Redistricting Commission Hits Halfway Mark In Drawing House Districts

Fifty-five of the state’s 110 House districts have been reconfigured by the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Track as of Friday, when the group met in Mount Pleasant to draw borders for the Thumb, metro Detroit and some more rural parts of the state.

Meeting population targets while respecting the need to preserve communities of interest was the focus of Friday’s meeting as the group began by picking up where it left off on Thursday. In total, commissioners outlined or altered boundaries for almost 20 districts over the course of their meeting.

The commission met in Mount Pleasant and set immediately to picking apart what was drawn up around Pontiac. Thursday, the meeting had ended with a C-shaped district around the city, drawn to include Waterford, Auburn Hills and Lake Angelus.

That area – dubbed as District 39 – was ultimately smoothed out so that Waterford and Pontiac were kept together with the Lake Angelus area, but Auburn Hills was pulled from the configuration as commissioners felt it fit better with Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills.

Commissioner Anthony Eid argued that Waterford and Pontiac had more in common demographically than Auburn Hills did with either locality, which was why it made sense for the two to be kept in the same district.

As a result, Auburn Hills was thrown into a district that spans from a small portion of the south side of Oxford Township, encapsulates all of Orion township, slithers south to keep the Auburn Hills area and hooks slightly west to grab the Bloomfield area. That region was referred to as District 30.

The remainder of the C-shape District 39 – which touches White Lake Township to the west and the southern part of Orion Township to the north – became District 40.

That district features the entirety of Independence Township, the western portions of Lake Angelus and the rest of Waterford not already taken by the district holding Pontiac. It initially also included all of Springfield Township before being chunked roughly in half so that the population of the district would not drastically exceed commission targets.

Population size was a worry that came up several times during Friday’s meeting. The commission is shooting for each redrawn area to fall within 3 percent of 91,612 residents, in addition considering the racial, faith and voting demographics.

What was left of the western and northeastern parts of Springfield Township was later drawn into the area referred to as District 34, which features the entirety of White Lake, Highland and Milford townships, along with some areas north of Wixom in Commerce Township.

Mapping efforts then moved across the state to the Metro Detroit area, where Sterling Heights was separated into two districts, split along Mound Road. The city’s population is too big to fit into a single district.

To the west, District 41 comprised mostly townships south of Utica and east of the M-53 freeway but also a long slip reaching into Sterling Heights. Its southmost border butted up to 14 Mile Road, with Commissioner Juanita Curry wanting to preserve the Bangladeshi community of interest outlined in the district drawn between Warren and Madison Heights and extending southward.

Toward the east, District 42 was a sort of puzzle piece to its neighbor, District 41. District 42’s southernmost boundary stretched downward into Warren, past 14 Mile Road, with its northernmost boundary stopping at M-59 and the corner tip of that region stopping at Waldenburg.

To respect the request from individuals out of the Shelby and Macomb township areas, a district was also drawn capturing the two municipalities that stretched from Yates Township at its easternmost boundary to Macomb Township at its westernmost. These districts came about mostly to hit population targets, and were picked apart and put back together to come closer to that 91,600 number.

In the Thumb region, much like in Sterling Heights, an area was broken into two pieces to better reflect communities of interest – this time the shoreline community of eastern Michigan and the rural communities just outside of that region. One of these districts spanned from Arcadia Township down to Dryden Township, east to Greenwood Township and then again south to Columbus and Armada townships, creating a box of sorts.

The coastal community it butted up against ran along the St. Clair River and north toward Lake Huron, with Worth Township as its northernmost point and St. Clair Township as its southernmost.

From the northernmost boundaries of both of those districts, another was formed comprising more than 50 townships, which took care of the remainder of mapping in the Thumb. The westernmost part of that district spanned to Marlette Township, with its eastern boarder being Lake Huron. It was explained that this, too, encompassed a community of interest for farmers dealing in cash crops like sugar beets, corn and beans.

A district was also formed in the central Michigan region, containing all of Isabella County and spanning south to also pick up the cities of Alma and Ithaca, stopping at the southern border of Arcadia Township and running to the easternmost parts of Bethany and Emerson townships. Its northern border would be Wise Township in the east and Coldwater Township in the west.

What caused the most fuss, however, was the division of Flint and Lapeer and whether such a district should span the length between the two cities. At first, a district was drawn running from Lapeer into Grand Blanc before commissioners began questioning what possible communities of interest could exist in this jurisdiction.

That mapping was then changed to create a district that, rather than spanning east-west, ran north and south of Flint, with its topmost part hitting a portion of Genesee Township just above Burton and its bottommost area being the southern border of Goodrich Township.

As for the city of Lapeer, it was drawn into a district spanning from Metamora and Hadley townships in the south, with an eastern boarder being created by Lapeer, Mayfield and Deerfield townships. A western boarder made up of Elba, Oregon and Marathon was considered, though the district ended up stretching over Flint and stopping at the western border of Clio.

Two additional districts were drawn prior to the end of the meeting: One starting with the intent of also being a shoreline district before morphing into a more Tri-Cities focused district, and another that unintentionally but completely swallowed the city of Saginaw.

An effort to map from Akron Township, around the Saginaw Bay and north into Standish Township saw some on the commission express their hesitancy to draw a lakeshore district that also captured Bay City and left an awkward no-man’s land between it and Midland.

Instead, the district was reconfigured to top out at Pinconning and Mount Forrest townships, while stretching east-west from Midland Township to Hampton Township and still holding Bay City in its midst.

The last district the ICRC attempted to draw Friday – though, as luck would have it, both the commission was dissatisfied with the results and the program would seem to crash, thus erasing work done on only this district – was somewhat of a behemoth that spanned from Wheeler and Lafayette townships in the west to Frankenmuth Township in the east.

This district would capture – in addition to the three aforementioned townships – Jonesfield, Lakefield, Fremont, Richland, Swan Creek, Thomas, James, Spaulding, Tittabawassee, Kochville, Frankenlust, Zilwaukee, Buena Vista, Portsmouth, Merritt and Blumfield townships. When the suggestion was made to add Bridgeport Township too, the commission realized that Saginaw Township, the city of Saginaw and Carrollton Township were effectively surrounded by what would potentially be District 55.

Rather than end up with a doughnut of sorts – with the Saginaw-area making up the “hole” – commissioners decided to call it quits and come back Monday for a fresh start.

A map showing the day’s districts, as well as district configurations drawn in previous sessions, are available to view online and for public comment.

Craig Tries To Exude Strength On Mackinac; Other Candidates Make the Rounds

(MACKINAC ISLAND) — As MIRS reports, Republican James Craig’s gubernatorial campaign pushed an air of inevitability and political strength this weekend as the former Detroit police chief was paraded around the Michigan Republican Party leadership conference.
Not unlike John James, who was given rock star-like treatment at the 2019 biennial event, the lines to meet Craig were long and the Chief didn’t disappoint by agreeing to numerous selfies and small chats.

Media was encouraged to video a couple hundred college Republicans parading to the Grand Hotel to AC/DC’s Back In Black with their navy blue long-sleeved Craig shirts to portray the visual that the entire island was about Craig.

Media wasn’t encouraged to ambush the Chief with scrums. Instead, select outlets were led to private conversations in a more controlled environment.

In general, his message was Gov. Gretchen Whitmer needed to be “evicted” and he was the one to do it. MIRS did catch up with Craig after his appearance at a U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman event aboard the historic “402” boat. He said “leadership” was among the issues folks are bringing up to him.

“They want change. They’re excited about the potential of me running and becoming the next governor of Michigan,” he said.

Outside of that, public safety, education and the current governor’s impact on businesses have been consistent issues, he said.

All the while, at least eight other gubernatorial candidates made varying levels of public appearances throughout the island, opting against the tactic used by Garrett Soldano to hold an alternate event or Kevin Rinke, who did nothing public facing this weekend.

None of the other candidates had an army of t-shirted volunteers running around or taking steps to push favorable results in the straw poll conducted by The Detroit News.

Soldano and Rinke said they felt the Michigan Republican Party (MRP) leadership was in the bag for Craig based on MRP Chair Ron Weiser’s political connection with members of Craig’s campaign team. Weiser greeted young Craig supporters who marched to the Grand Hotel porch wearing Craig T-Shirts and carrying his banner. That may be because several were from U-M, where Weiser is a trustee.

The thinking was if Craig’s folks were flooding the event and presumably stuffing the straw poll ballot box, why bother? Craig did win the straw poll of 740 conference attendees with 58% of the vote.

“There are 1,500 team members here who are going to help the Republican Party win the governor’s race,” said Capt. Mike Brown. “You have to respect that and their commitment to team.”

Ryan Kelley held a reception at Mary’s Bistro and shook hands with whomever he could greet on the Grand Hotel porch Friday night.

“If you’re running for governor, it’s important that you’re able to be around everyone, speak to everyone, connect with everyone,” he said. “Even if you disagree with some of them, you need to be able to show leadership.”

Also making the rounds at numerous social events was radio commentator Tudor Dixon, viewed as a candidate most likely to emerge on a primary ballot and possibly Craig’s toughest obstacle to the nomination. She hosted a well-attended ice cream social at Sadie Ice Cream parlor, attached to the Grand Hotel.

“We’re in a situation where it’s so important to engage the entire Republican Party and independents, as well. I want to go out there and make sure my message is being heard by all of these folks,” Dixon told MIRS Monday.

“If you think there is a preferred candidate at this conference, why wouldn’t you want to be here to show who you are?”

Pastor Ralph Rebandt held a private event and was making the rounds. Other media outlets spotted Bob Scott, Austin Chenge, Donna Brandenburg and Articia Bomer.

MIRS did not see any evidence Evan Space was on the island, although his odds of making the ballot are extremely long. Dixon took second in the Detroit News straw poll with 19%. Kelley was third at 8.4%. Soldano was fourth at 8.2%. The rest of the field was at 3% or less.

In the short interviews done with the perceived more serious candidates, MIRS asked:

– Craig if he would support Michigan doing a forensic audit of the 2020 election.

“I would welcome an audit. Audits are not something unfamiliar to me. In fact, we were having some issues at one of our precincts about discriminatory behavior. I launched basically a forensic audit and we were able to determine that there were systematic issues in that station that we were able to address.

“So investigative work, audits, inquiries are good, especially when you want to get to the truth of the matter and this is all about getting to the truth.”

– Brown on what he believes people mean when they use the term RINO, “Republican In Name Only?” Is that the new way for activists to label those who are anti-Donald Trump?

“I think there’s four or five issues there . . . you’ve got whether you’re committed to Trump. Election integrity. Some of the lockdown stuff. And then there’s a segment of people who believe that if you haven’t been a Republican for a long time, you’re not in tune with their positions on those issues. I’m not buying it.”

– Kelley on how many people recognize the name “Ryan Kelley” considering he’s been in the race for most of 2021.

“We have put a lot of signs all over the state. I’ve been putting in a lot of work. I’m doing anywhere between six and 10 events all over the state every week, six days a week, so the name is definitely getting out there.

“I’ve done a lot of door knocking, as well, as I’ve travelled around to be able to connect with people. I don’t think many gubernatorial candidates are doing very much door knocking.”

– Dixon on whether she would recommend people get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“For me, it was the right choice. For someone else, I can’t make that recommendation because I don’t know their personal health history . . .

“I think vaccination is a personal choice. I went through the entire medical system on my own and it’s given me a different perspective because, facing cancer, I was able to go from place to place and find out exactly what type of medical treatment I wanted.

“I went to three different hospitals because that decision is so personal to anybody who is facing some sort of disease. Now we’re all facing a disease. That is an individual decision.”

Budget Sent To The Gov; Here’s Top 3 Things Legislative Leaders Like About It

Around $53 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 spending was sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this morning after the House and Senate gave quick approval to the widely praised spending document.

SB 0082 — a $50.7 billion general government omnibus passed the House, 99-6, less than 24 hours after the Senate adopted the same spending document unanimously. Spending for state universities and community colleges passed 97-8 passed shortly before 11 a.m. The Senate put its stamp, 34-2, on the spending document before noon.

Nearly every legislator found a unique reason to support a budget that starts nine days from today. With no shortage of federal or state income tax and sales tax revenue, several of the Governor’s spending priorities and Republicans’ fiscal management goals were met.

While the House and Senate put several restrictions on public health mandates in the budget, the Governor’s office announced this afternoon that its aware of the “likely unenforceable or unconstitutional language.” “The legislature is doing their work this week,” said the Governor on Mackinac Island. “They’re going to send it to us soon.  As it comes, we will do our task of going through line by line of the budget to see what is enforceable, what might not be enforceable, and then I will do my action and get it signed and make some changes if necessary.” She emphasized that she “negotiated all of the budget items” with the Legislature and that leaders “agreed on the vast majority of them, some we still don’t see eye-to-eye on, that’s OK.” When asked directly if she felt she had the authority to nix boilerplate, she responded, “You’ve seen me do it, so yes.” That could be the case for threatening the funding for county health agencies that impose mask mandates in schools, but House Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Albert (R-Lowell) said banning the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) from spending money to create a vaccine passport is rock solid.

Ten House members took turns praising different aspects of the budget before it passed with only a spattering of conservative Republicans voting no.

Asked which three things they are most happy with passing in the FY 2022 budget the following leaders said:


1. Prohibiting state government entities from requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of accessing any state services or facilities and additional restrictions on the production of a vaccination passport.

2. The $150 million for the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund so employers — who pay 100% into the fund — are not stuck paying for the fraudulent claims that were paid out during the pandemic.

3. The emphasis on supporting crisis pregnancies and maternal health, making sure those moms-to-be are connected with resources.

House DHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.):

1. “We had 30 recommendations coming out of the adoption and foster care task force and over half of them were able to be put right into this budget . . . from having a way to have funds for caseworkers when the go rescue somebody to getting that child food or some clothes.”

2. An “historical” $9 increase for the private agencies who take care of foster children from $46.20 per diem to $55.20 per diem, plus a 12% increase to independent living. The total spend is $21.3 million

3. Behavioral health, particularly money for early intervention services and expansion of a program that addresses psychological and physical health needs for the state’s most at risk populations.


1. The “huge investment” in Michigan’s families through the $1.5 billion in child care access expenditure, which goes to increase eligibility while raising provider rates.

2. The $135 million in additional funding for job training programs like Going Pro (employer-based training grants), Michigan Reconnect (tuition free community college for those 25 and older) and Futures for Frontliners (free community college for “frontline workers).

3. The 5% increase in higher education. “We haven’t had that since I’ve been here. Instead, we’ve seen 30 years of disinvestment from higher education and I’m very excited that we could get there in a bipartisan way.”

House Appropriations Committee Minority Vice Chair Joe Tate (D-Detroit):

1. “I know we talked a lot about childcare, but that’s such a huge piece. It’s just a big for a lot of households.”

2. “There’s funding for water infrastructure grants and that’s helpful for my district. We’ve had to hold back the Detroit River with sandbags and other temporary dams.”

Budget Director Dave Massaron:

1. The child care package is something the Legislature and the Governor’s office will be proud of and something that he believes is sustainable in the long run.

2. “We had the largest deposit ($500 million) into the Rainy Day Fund in the state’s history.”

3. “Marking smart decisions for the long-term future of the state is something we should all be proud of.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jim Stamas (R-Midland):

1. “The ability to work with Director Massaron and Rep. Albert. I think that they both brought a professionalism and a spirit for a great discussion that is positive for Michigan families and businesses.”

2. “Both childcare and the School Aid Budget that we passed out earlier. We add individuals to child care, but don’t create a long large clip for them in the future.”

3. “Public safety and funding for our local communities. Also, we were able to help our hospitals with multiple projects.”

On the House floor, 10 members took turns highlighting specific points in the budget.

Rep. Brad Paquette (R-Niles) highlighted a Department of Education budget and the injection of $1.5 billion in child care funding.

Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Mt. Pleasant), as a former factory worker, highlighted the return-to-work programs.

Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) called passing the budget the “morally right thing to do” due to the money put toward better flood control, erosion mitigation and lead line replacement efforts in Benton Harbor.

Whiteford stressed the funding for the child welfare system, foster care, adoption, independent living options for vulnerable adults, grants to senior centers, human trafficking and the $2.35 an hour increase for direct care workers.

Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) praised the additional funding for bridges in his area, which are in such poor repair truck traffic is running though neighborhoods to prevent the rumble and tumble of the roads.

Rep. Annette Glenn (R-Midland) stressed $19 million for dam safety grants and $14 million to address PFAS remediation

Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi) heralded the improved access to childcare the $1.5 billion in federal money will bring. She said the money will also “dramatically increase the quality of caregivers.”

Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Twp.) brought up the $6.7 million for sickle cell anemia, a condition that disproportionately impacts African Americans, and $31.8 million in initiatives to address health disparities, such as why Black women are more likely to die from pregnancy than a white woman.

Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Springfield Twp.) supported the $809,400 for a wellness program steered toward Department of Corrections workers and the $7.3 million that’s going to hire more corrections officers to prevent mandatory overtime.

Those voting no on SB 0082 included: Reps. Ryan Berman (R-Commerce Twp.), Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers), Steve Johnson (R-Wayland Twp.), Matt Maddock (R-Milford) Luke Meerman (R-Polkton Twp.), and John Reilly (R-Oakland).

Asked why he was a no vote, Johnson quipped, “I’m opposed to reckless spending.” The $70 billion budget is, by far, the largest budget, even when adjusted for inflation, in at least the last 25 years. That’s primarily due to the large infusion of federal money.

Those voting against the higher education budget were the aforementioned six conservative House members along with Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming) and Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale),

In the Senate, the HB 4400 passed 34-2 with Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) and Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) voting no.

Berman said he sponsored a bill to implement a per-pupil funding model for universities that was adopted in the House.

“Unfortunately, the final budget passed today moves away from that equitable funding model,” Berman said.


Plan would put $200 million in COVID-19 relief funds toward Michigan tech startups

WHO looks to revive probe into COVID-19 origins: report

Michigan health group pushes for statewide school mask mandate after officials threatened

Debbie Dingell, Marjorie Taylor Greene get into shouting match on US Capitol steps

Up to 1,300 Afghans to be resettled in Michigan in coming months, state says

Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

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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! 


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Mid September, 2021 Newsletter

Senate Incumbents Facing Big Changes With Map So Far

The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Track still has a ways to go to finish its draft map for the 38 Senate seats, but with 26 seats drawn or partially drawn so far, some features are coming into focus.

One is that the Apol criteria, named for Bernie Apol, who was instrumental in putting together the 1981 plan and emphasized that districts be compact, contiguous and break as few municipal and county lines as possible, are gone. This was as expected based on Proposal 2018-2, which demoted the importance of local boundaries below compliance with the U.S. Voting Rights Act, respecting communities of interest and assuring the map is fair to both major political parties.

Another aspect that has frustrated virtually everyone is the lack of availability of high-quality images of the maps drawn so far. That makes it hard to determine exactly how many county lines have been broken. A review of what is available shows at least 19 counties split between at least two districts. The current map has just six counties with portions of their territory attached to districts in other counties.

There also are new approaches to large cities, with Grand Rapids and Lansing split between two districts even though both have populations well below the ideal Senate district size.

Another trend is the significant changes incumbents eligible for reelection will face to their districts.

The ones staring at the biggest problems right now are those drawn into the same district.

So far, those are Sen. Jon Bumstead R-Newaygo) and Sen. Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes), who would be in a new 33rd District. Mr. Bumstead would lose most of Muskegon County and head east. Mr. Outman would lose the northern territory of his district, like Isabella County, and head west.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) and Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) would be in a new 14th District that stretches from Royal Oak northwest through Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield and Commerce Township. Ms. McMorrow would lose most of her district to the new 16th, which would have Troy, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township and curiously some of Sterling Heights. Ms. Bayer would lose the northern parts of her district, like Pontiac, Auburn Hills and northern Oakland turf, to other seats.

If those boundaries hold, the new 16th will be much tougher hold than Ms. McMorrow’s current district, where heavily Democratic Royal Oak provides a big vote margin for her party. The new 14th would be a relatively easy hold for a Democrat compared to Ms. Bayer’s current seat.

Then there are the incumbents looking at wholesale changes to the territory they represent:

  • Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) will lose most of his current seat, dropping counties like Wexford, Lake, Kalkaska, Crawford, Roscommon, Ogemaw and Osceola and Missaukee and picking up Oceana and most of Muskegon County.
  • Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) will lose suburbs in southeast Kent County, as well as northern Grand Rapids, and pick up suburbs that border the southern part of the city.
  • Rep. Mark Huizenga(R-Walker), soon to be a member of the Senate, would lose large portions of Kent County and pick up northern Grand Rapids and part of Ottawa County in a district that would be far more competitive than the one he is now seeking.
  • Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Township) would see wholesale changes, losing half of Berrien County and all of Cass and St. Joseph counties. She instead would move northeast, picking up parts of Van Buren, Allegan and Kent counties.
  • Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) also would see wholesale changes, losing part of Van Buren, all of Allegan and the portion of Kent County he now has. Instead, he would have parts of Berrien, Van Buren, Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Branch counties and all of Cass and St. Joseph.
  • Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) would face major trouble, losing all of Clinton and Shiawassee counties and picking up significant parts of Ingham County, including most of Lansing. This would be a Democratic district.
  • Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) would lose almost her entire district in southwest Wayne County but keep her home base of Taylor and add Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and more.
  • Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) would lose the Downriver part of her district. How the Detroit portion would look is unknown at this point.
  • Sen. Jeremy Moss would lose Farmington/Farmington Hills and Madison Heights and pick up an equivalent population from northwest Detroit, taking turf now represented by Sen. Betty Alexander (D-Detroit) and Sen. Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit).
  • Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) would lose Novi, Wixom, Lyon Township and Commerce Township and pick up Pontiac and Auburn Hills.

There are some senators whose districts would be relatively stable: Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), Sen. Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway), Sen. Lana Theis(R-Brighton), Sen. Roger Victory (R-Georgetown Township) and Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).

Still other incumbents are awaiting word because their areas have not been drawn: Sen. Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), Sen. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek), Sen. Kevin Daly (R-Lum), Sen. Michael McDonald (R-Macomb Township), Sen. Paul Wojno (D-Warren), Sen. Ruth Johnson (R-Groveland Township), Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia), Ms. Alexander, Mr. Bullock, Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) and Rep. Doug Wozniak (R-Shelby Township), who will soon be elected to the Senate.

One area on which those watching the process agree is that this map will change, possibly considerably.

The unallocated Kalamazoo-Battle Creek area has too much population for one district and too little for two, so adjustments will be needed to the surrounding districts, creating a ripple effect. There’s a pocket of Monroe County that is well below the size of a Senate district that needs to be allocated.

Further, the decision to draw the city of Detroit’s districts last has surprised many because the top priority under the Constitution is compliance with the U.S. Voting Rights Act, meaning there cannot be fewer majority-minority districts than in the previous map. Detroit’s Black population fell to 493,212 in 2020, meaning there are not enough people within the city to support two full majority-minority districts.

That forces the use of the suburbs to create others. Mr. Moss’ district, as drawn, would be a majority-minority district. How the commission gets to five could force redrawing the maps as they currently stand.

Then there is the partisan fairness criteria that could require further tinkering.

Auto Wreck Providers Claim Insurers Aren’t Paying Up

Lawmakers’ $25 million fund created before the summer break to provide brain injury clinics and home care providers financial relief from the 45% rate cut implemented in July as part of the auto insurance reform isn’t working, those providers say.
That’s because insurance companies are delaying and denying claims "across the board," even claims for patients that insurers used to pay promptly, according to Tom Judd, president of the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council.

And providers can’t apply to the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) for the financial relief offered through SB 0028 until the insurer has paid the reduced reimbursement.

Judd believes it "is a coordinated effort to dismantle the post acute continuum of care in Michigan."

"From our side, it is pretty clear what is going on here. They are waiting it out. They are not paying right now, they are waiting it out," he said. "They’ve made claims that it is because of premium reductions, but let’s be real here. It is about getting rid of this post acute care system that we have in Michigan that provides lifetime care.

"They can say people have benefits all day long, but it doesn’t matter if they have benefits if there is no one to provide services to fulfill those benefits. It is kind of like having a warranty on your car and then you have an accident or you need a tune up and there is no mechanic to fix your car."

Erin McDonough, executive director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan (IAM), calls Judd’s comments "irresponsible" and "false allegations” intended to distract from the fact that long-term care providers are trying to evade and avoid accountability measures passed by lawmakers.

Auto insurance reforms passed in 2019 cut reimbursement rates for brain injury care providers, both clinics and in-home care givers. Under that reform, beginning in July providers were mandated to charge 200% of Medicare rates or, if no Medicare equivalent code was applicable, cut their rates to 55% of 2019 levels.

In June, a $25 million plan attributed to House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell) was developed to give those providers financial assistance if they could demonstrate financial losses as a result of the reduced rates. The bill was quickly passed before the break and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

But Judd notes that the rate cut was effective July 1 and the relief bill wasn’t signed until mid-month. The form had to be developed through DIFS and was not available until mid-August. And it is not a simple application, he said.

"Theoretically, people could have been submitting applications by now, but they are not getting paid. If they are not getting paid, they can’t even start to apply," Judd said.

Bob Mlynarek, co-owner of 1st Call Home Healthcare which provides in-home services across southern Michigan, said that under the new rates his business is "upside down" and "basically self-financing the care for our patients."

"We charged $28 per hour to take care of a basic traumatic brain injury patient for personal care, monitoring, supervision, assistance with meals, dressing, bathing and they want to pay us $15.40," Mlynarek explained. "Well, we are paying aides $16, $17 for that service. And then you add in 20% payroll taxes, we are up to $18 or $19 just for our costs of goods sold, right!? Then on top of that, we have our office overhead, rent, utilities and software and billing and recruiting and training and orientation and nurse oversight."

In the past, his business has charged $70 per hour for a nurse for a high acuity quadriplegic. Mlynarek would pay the nurse $35 to $40. The new rates would reimburse at $38, he said.

"By the time October rolls around, we are going to be pretty much bankrupt and we are going to be dropping our 45 patients. Really, the reason why they have an agency is because they don’t have family to take care of them," Mlynarek said. "We have been trying to tell our lawmakers that we will not survive. They all thought that we had such a large charge master that we are going to be able to sustain a 45% cut. At the end of the day, I have a 10% profit margin."

On top of the rate cut, Mlynarek said, about half of his reimbursements are not being paid promptly now, including claims for patients that were paid on time before July 1.

"We have notified all of our patients that if there is not a fix by Oct. 1, we are going to start discharging them after that," he said.

Often family members have to step up to give care to discharged patients, Judd explained. Others end up in nursing homes. Some have to be moved to a hospital until placement can be found.

Two companies have already closed up, according to Judd, Home Health Partners, which laid off 500 employees and discharged "a couple hundred patients," and Aspire Rehabilitation, which discharged 20 to 30 patients.

"Rather than throw stones inside glass houses, Mr. Judd should be holding his own members accountable for undermining and circumventing the no-fault system," McDonough said in a statement issued today. ". . . We have numerous reports of long-term care providers refusing to submit sufficient information for a carrier to pay a claim or submitting suspicious information. We have received reports of long-term care providers refusing to disclose their 2019 charge masters or average charges, billing at higher amounts than they did prior to reform, and performing multiple procedures that were only done once prior to reform."

Michigan’s auto insurance industry is committed to ensuring the auto no-fault system works for everyone, McDonough said. The industry has spent the last two years working to implement the reforms passed by the Legislature and the Governor, she contended.

Elizabeth Piner, a case manager and owner of Ambrose Care Management in Okemos, said she meets regularly with case managers from 25 companies and all are experiencing delays and denials, even for claims that used to be paid promptly in the past.

A variety of reasons are given, she said, but one of the most frequent is that the provider has failed to submit its 2019 charge master.

Piner said she doesn’t know why any provider would fail to turn in a charge master and believes most of them actually do.

"Every invoice I send, absolutely every one of them has my charge master included," Piner said. ". . . We really had only one fee back in 2019. It wasn’t hard."

But every time she follows up on a claim, Piner said, the insurer asks for the charge master.

Judd hopes that when the Legislature returns to session "it will see the error in its way, if you will."

"This is a legislative-made problem and the only way it can be fixed is through the Legislature," Judd said.

DIFS has very little ability to control the issue or be an advocate for consumers, he said. ". . . We have other options if they want to sit down at the table, but people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake right now."

Republicans Fuming At Biden Vaccine Mandate; Dems Are Quiet

President Joe Biden’s announcement that his administration is ordering employers of 100 or more to require their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly, estimated to affect about 80 million Americans, was ripped by Republicans calling it an intrusion on medical freedom and by several employer organizations who said the government should not interfere with how they work with their employees.

Some top Michigan Democrats, however, had little to say about the dramatic proposal, which Mr. Biden said is necessary because the refusal of 30 to 40 percent of the country to be vaccinated is allowing the virus to continue ravaging the nation instead of being brought under control.

Medical groups did praise the move and again urged the public to be vaccinated against a virus that has killed 656,000 nationally and 20,506 in Michigan.

Mr. Biden, in a speech said, the unvaccinated minority "can cause a lot of damage, and they are," The Associated Press reported. Without the formal order made public, it was difficult to discern its full impact, but the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators, in a memo, said it appeared it would apply to school employees in Michigan in districts with more than 100 employees

Bobby Leddy, press secretary to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has resisted the idea of mandating vaccinations, said the administration is reviewing Mr. Biden’s plan.

"Our top priority remains slowing the spread of COVID-19 so that businesses can keep their doors open, schools can keep students in the classroom and the state can continue our strong economic jumpstart," he said. "The science shows that vaccines offer unparalleled protection against this deadly disease, including the Delta variant. Governor Whitmer shares the president’s goal to tackle this virus, and our office is reviewing the president’s plan to understand what this means for Michiganders. In the meantime, we are encouraging all Michiganders to find a COVID-19 vaccine location near them at to protect themselves and their families."

Messages seeking comment from four Michigan U.S. House members – U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Township), U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib(D-Detroit – were not returned prior to publication.

Dr. Pino Colone, president of the Michigan State Medical Society, said the organization hopes Mr. Biden’s announcement will lead to more vaccinations.

"Whether the vaccine is required or not, it is safe and it works. Getting it is the single best thing a person can do to survive COVID 19," he said.

John Walsh, president and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, which has strongly encouraged people to get vaccinated, warned against the Biden plan.

"Broad stroke employment mandates fail to recognize the unique nuances of each workplace, workforce and community," he said in a statement. "Flexibility to implement suitable workplace safety policies is critical to employee safety, talent recruitment and retention, and the ability to compete in a global economy. MMA has also had a strong position of support for vaccination as the best method to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Voluntary incentive programs to promote vaccination make sense. However, government mandates that place enormous costs and logistical burdens on employers while they struggle with fragile supply chains and talent shortages could be devastating to our burgeoning economic recovery. In short, government using employers as a pawn is an improper exercise of authority. Providing incentives is the logical and most successful approach to dealing with the pandemic."

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) said Mr. Biden lacks the authority to mandate vaccinations via executive order.

And U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Midland) questioned the constitutionality of the order.

"The federal government has no right to impose this requirement on private businesses or private citizens," Mr. Moolenaar said in a statement. "President Biden declared that America was free from COVID restrictions in July, but now he is reluctant to let the American people make their own decisions. This federal overreach is alarming and every American should be concerned about how this president and future presidents will abuse the power of the federal government to make Americans do what they want. I encourage everyone to get one of the vaccines and protect themselves from COVID-19, and I trust Michigan residents to do what is best for them and their families."

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), in a tweet, noted he has "been a vocal supporter of the COVID vaccines, but this unfortunate overreach by the Biden Admin will disincentivize folks from getting the shot & hurt our economic recovery. I expect the courts to strike down this Executive Order which lacks the force of law."


Justice Amy Coney Barrett concerned about public perception of Supreme Court

Biden vaccine mandate: What’s it mean for Michigan schools, those who refuse?

Michigan reports a skyrocketed daily average of COVID-19 cases

End of eviction moratoriums adds urgency for 3.5 million Americans behind on rent

Up to 1,300 Afghans to be resettled in Michigan in coming months, state says

Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

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! 


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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. | 248.693.1391

Late August, 2021 Newsletter

Michigan’s largest public companies ‘encouraged’ by second-quarter rebound

Michigan’s largest publicly traded companies have mounted a strong comeback since the COVID-19 pandemic sent them reeling last year.

The latest corporate financial filings from the state’s biggest employers show their revenues in the second quarter (Q2) of this year rebounded to levels achieved in the same period in 2019 — before the coronavirus devastated the global economy.

Combined, revenues for 30 of these firms dropped 40 percent last year — from $128 billion in Q2 2019 to $77 billion in Q2 2020 — then rose 60 percent to $123 billion this year.

Many of the companies have demonstrated optimism that the recovery will continue by reinstating share buybacks, increasing dividends, paying down debt, and issuing improved financial outlooks for the remainder of the year.

“We’re encouraged by the healthy sales pipelines and new wins we’re seeing across all of our businesses,” Peter Quigley, CEO of Troy-based staffing company Kelly Services, said in a statement. “Our reinstatement of a dividend for the quarter reflects the progress we’re making . . . and our confidence in the economic recovery.”

On Kelly’s quarterly call with industry analysts, Quigley noted that “the temporary labor market is approaching pre-COVID levels, the unemployment crisis in the US has eased with three months of strong job growth, and demand for staffing and other workforce solutions continues to grow.”

Michigan’s recovery mirrors the national picture: in Q2 2021, U.S. economic output surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time. Gabe Ehrlich, an economic forecaster at the University of Michigan, said the U.S. government’s $5.2 trillion fiscal response to the pandemic bolstered household incomes and helped fuel the recovery — but the comeback is not complete.

“We have had a strong recovery so far. Big business has done well,” Ehrlich said. “That’s great news, but it’s not the whole picture. Small businesses have had a harder time during the pandemic and there is still a jobs shortfall.”

The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in July but, compared with February 2020, the labor force has shrunk by 213,000 people and 256,000 fewer Michigan residents are working, according to data from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Some people who left the labor force during the pandemic won’t return to work, Ehrlich said, including individuals who retired earlier than they planned and women who quit to care for children and manage other family responsibilities.

Meanwhile, some Michigan-based public companies are concerned that the recovery is susceptible to inflation, supply chain vulnerabilities, and the resurgence of COVID.

The international microchip shortage is particularly concerning to the auto industry. Ford reported that its quarterly profits fell by half largely due to the shortage of computer chips, and GM CEO Mary Barra said the impact on production will likely extend into 2022. Production shutdowns cost Cooper Standard, a supplier based in Northville, $200 million in Q2.

As consumer demand drives the economic recovery, supply chain issues will continue to create bottlenecks — and this disconnect between demand and supply is expected to cause moderately higher inflation, Ehrlich said.

Economists are optimistic about blue collar employment, he added, noting that the construction sector is strong, logistics jobs are rebounding, and the warehousing and utilities sectors have surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

Hiring for jobs requiring a college degree will be less robust than the blue-collar segment, he said, but better than the service sector. Bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues may continue to struggle as working-from-home and reduced business travel become the norm.

“Due to COVID and how it’s changed the way we do business, (the hospitality sector) remains at risk,” said Ehrlich, who directs the U-M Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (RSQE).

Overall, forecasts suggest the U.S. economy won’t fully rebound until at least the end of 2023. “Closing that last-mile gap is going to take some time,” he said.

The revenues of the 30 companies cited above show variations by industry sector:

  • Automotive: At GM, Ford, Gentex, Lear, Visteon, Meritor, and Cooper Standard, Q2 revenues nearly rebounded to 2019 levels. At Gentherm, Borg Warner, and Penske Automotive, they surpassed them by 75 percent to 95 percent.
  • Office Furniture: Herman Miller and Steelcase fell short of 2019 levels by 7 percent and 32 percent, respectively.
  • Food: Kellogg’s and SpartanNash, a grocery distributor and retailer based in Byron Center, did not experience a Q2 pandemic dip in 2020. Their revenues were flat across the second quarters of 2019, 2020, and 2021.
  • Fast Food: Grand Rapids-based Meritage Hospitality Group operates more than 300 Wendy’s and other restaurants in 16 states. Its revenues were flat in Q2 2020 and grew 20 percent this year. Domino’s second-quarter revenues grew 13 percent in 2020 and 9 percent this year.
  • Footwear: Wolverine Worldwide, whose brands include Merrell, Saucony, and Sperry, saw Q2 revenues drop from about $570 million in 2019 to $350 million last year – and climb to $630 million this year.
  • Financial Services: Ally Financial and Flagstar delivered steady Q2 growth in both 2020 and 2021. For Ally, quarterly revenues climbed 11 percent in 2020 and 19 percent in 2021. Flagstar was up 80 percent last year and 27 percent this year.
  • Building Supplies: Masco and Universal Forest Products were flat in Q2 2020 and grew revenues  22 percent and 125 percent, respectively, this year.

Rounding out the list ( all results are Q2 revenues for 2019, 2020 and 2021):

  • Dow (chemicals): $11 billion, $8.4  billion, $13.9 billion.
  • Whirlpool (appliances): $5.2 billion, $4 billion, $5.3 billion.
  • Stryker (medical devices): $3.7 billion, $2.8 billion, $4.3 billion.
  • Universal Logistics (transportation and logistics): $383 million, $258 million, $423 million.
  • Kelly Services (staffing): $1.4 billion, $975 million. $1.3 billion.
  • Perrigo (consumer self-care products):  $1.1 billion, $949 million, $981 million.
  • Trimas (consumer goods): $191 million, $200 million, $219 million.
  • Neogen (food and animal safety): $110 million, $109 million, $127 million.
  • Sun Communities (manufactured housing communities, RV parks, and marinas): $312 million, $303 million, $604 million.

While most of Michigan’s publicly traded companies are heartened by the comeback, they also are acutely aware that COVID remains a cloud on the economic horizon.

“The most important thing from here,” Ehrlich said, “is what the pandemic is going to do. It’s still in the driver’s seat.”

Evictions Across the U.S. Can Resume

Evictions can resume across the country after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a temporary ban imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In Michigan, however, the Michigan Supreme Court’s July administrative order that allows for a 10-day period after the moratorium lifts for tenants to pay or move remains in place, court spokesperson John Nevin said.

"The key element of the new procedure is giving renters time to access resources, and we know that eligible applicants in 80% of counties statewide are receiving assistance within the 45-day time frame provided in the order," he said. "Moreover, where renters are at risk of eviction, especially in areas where processing times are slower, cases are being prioritized to get assistance faster.

"This pioneering reform is saving lives and helping to resolve cases, getting landlords paid and keeping families safe in their homes," he added.

An estimated 26,000 Michigan families have received more than $160 million in assistance, with more to come, Nevin noted.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s late Thursday order from the conservative majority said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lacked the authority to re-impose the moratorium on Aug. 3 under federal law without congressional authorization.

"It is undisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant," the unsigned order reads. "But our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends . . . It is up to Congress, not the CDC, to decide whether the public interest merits further action here."

Justice Stephen Breyer writing for the three liberal justices who dissented, noted the increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant is one reason the court should leave the moratorium in place.

"The public interest strongly favors respecting the CDC’s judgment at this moment, when over 90% of counties are experiencing high transmission rates," Breyer wrote.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during this afternoon’s daily press update that Biden would support congressional action, but to date there has been none.

"Our objective is to keep as many people around the country in their homes as possible," she said. ". . . If there were enough votes to pass an eviction moratorium in Congress, it would have happened; it hasn’t happened."

Secretaries for the U.S. Department of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development today called on all governors, mayors and state courts to "put in place their own moratorium" and to get Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds flowing to those tenants in need. Six states and the District of Columbia have implemented their own moratoriums.

Matthew Paletz, a Troy-based attorney who specializes in representing landlords, believes the state Supreme Court’s grace period should be invalid in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.

"If the moratorium is no longer valid, then anything springing from that should, therefore, not be valid; that’s my opinion," he said.

That said, Paletz noted that his Michigan landlords are not looking to immediately evict tenants as many have "consistently been diligently working with their tenants" to assist them, including helping to get them into the system to receive ERA help.

Paletz said the issue has been recovering that back rent and restoring landlords’ constitutional right to control who occupies their private property.

Paletz said the expected wave of evictions is not the real threat. Rather, he noted, the threat is the tenants who write off the mostly unsecured debt in bankruptcy proceedings.

"The landlords will be left holding all that bad debt and that isn’t going to help anyone as far as trying to bring some stability to an already precarious affordable rental housing market," he noted. "That’s going to be a major problem for the landlord and the landlords are not going to make it."

MI’s Colleges, U’s Slated To Receive $1.7B+ In Federal COVID Relief Funds

Thanks to three separate federal packages which provided funding to deal with fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Michigan’s public colleges and universities have obtained more than $1.7 billion to assist in areas such as direct student financial aid and with supplanting lost revenue.

Estimates from a recent Senate Fiscal Agency report note that while the pandemic has created immense and unprecedented operational challenges for postsecondary education institutions, Congress has allotted a total of $76.2 billion in spending across three COVID relief bills to help mitigate those issues.

Three of six COVID relief packages – the CARES Act, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan – specifically provided funds to postsecondary institutions, with roughly 40 to 45 percent of those funds being earmarked for student aid, scholarships, grants or distance learning, grants for students’ basic needs and more.

Within the first shot of funding through the CARES Act, Michigan’s public universities and community colleges received a combined, estimated $289.2 million – $192 million for the universities, $97.1 million for the community colleges – which were provided directly to each institution from the U.S. Department of Education and were not subject to the state appropriations process.

Under the second, given through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, Michigan’s public universities and community colleges received a combined total of $519.1 million. Divided up, that translates to $307.2 million for public universities and $221.9 million for the state’s public community colleges.

Finally, under the American Rescue Plan – the money of which is not yet paid out in full – Michigan’s higher ed institutions are expecting to receive at least $897.5 million.

Allocation tables for the 7.5 percent tranches of the rescue plan formula were not available as of the time the SFA published its memorandum. It is anticipated the state’s public universities will receive $537.2 million while its community colleges receive $360.3 million.

In all, that allots $1 billion in federal COVID funding for Michigan’s public universities and $669.3 million for its community colleges.


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Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

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! 


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Mid August, 2021

Democrats’ divisions could still derail infrastructure bills

Joe Biden’s economic vision has taken a major step toward becoming reality after the US Senate passed two infrastructure measures, but widening political divisions within the Democratic party could yet derail the entire legislative package.

The Senate last week advanced a sprawling $3.5tn budget blueprint for “soft” infrastructure projects to tackle climate change and health care, a day after approving a $1tr bipartisan infrastructure bill to rebuild the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges.

But even as Senate Democrats congratulated themselves on pushing through both measures, the fate of Biden’s economic priorities rests on House Democrats clearing several more looming hurdles as well as uniting the party’s left and right.

The challenges facing the two infrastructure measures reflects the difficulty in trying to force bipartisan compromise in a deeply divided House and Senate where the Democrats possess only narrow majorities.

Liberal Democrats who have bristled at seeing their top climate and social priorities jettisoned as Biden sought an elusive bipartisan compromise with moderate Senate Republicans may seek to change elements of the package, which could upend the delicate legislation.

At a minimum, progressives have insisted the House delay considering the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes a far larger climate and health bill – something not expected until the fall, and against the hopes of centrist House Democrats.

In order to deliver the president’s agenda, Democrats are pursuing a two-track approach that involves Congress passing both measures, starting with the $1tn bipartisan compromise that funnels $550bn of new money into traditional infrastructure projects.

The second half of the strategy involves the House and Senate passing the climate and health bill, crafted on the basis of the $3.5tn budget blueprint, and passed using reconciliation, a fast-track process that allows Democrats to bypass a Republican filibuster – a procedural convention that can derail legislation.

The Democrats’ plan is backstopped by a commitment from the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, that the House will not take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate first passes the reconciliation bill, which will take weeks to hammer out in the 50-50 Senate.

The move by Pelosi is aimed at trying to balance the competing demands between progressives demanding maximum spending and more fiscally conservative centrists – all while ensuring that both measures are in the end enacted.

When the speaker navigated through a similar two-track strategy to approve the Affordable Care Act under President Barack Obama in 2010, the bill passed notwithstanding the defections of three Democrats in the Senate and three dozen in the House.

Pelosi now holds such a razor-thin majority in the House that she can afford only three Democratic defections to pass the bipartisan bill and the reconciliation bill if the votes are along party lines. Protest votes from either faction could sink the entire effort.

But growing discontent about the legislation on both sides on Capitol Hill signals the prospect of an even more bitter and protracted intra-party fight over the future of the legislation in the coming weeks and months.

The speaker on Wednesday reaffirmed her position to House Democrats during a closed-door caucus meeting that the Senate would have to first pass the $3.5tr reconciliation bill before the House would move to consider the bipartisan bill.

“The votes in the House and Senate depend on us having both bills,” Pelosi told House Democrats, referencing the thin majorities in both chambers, according to a source familiar with the speaker’s remarks.

That means the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, will need his committee chairs to finalize the language for the reconciliation bill and gain the approval of centrist Senate Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin before the House can proceed.

In an added complication, both Sinema and Manchin have sounded the alarm in recent days over the cost of the $3.5tr budget blueprint that will guide the reconciliation bill, though they joined their colleagues in voting to allow the framework to pass.

The possibility that Democrats could get both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill has outraged Republicans, who have vowed to try to derail the $3.5tr package, which Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell likened to a “reckless tax-and-spending spree”.

Challenges in the House also returned on Friday after a group of nine House Democratic moderates threatened in a letter to vote against the $3.5tn budget blueprint when the House returns the week of 23 August, if Pelosi didn’t pass the bipartisan bill first.

The missive called on the speaker to abandon her two-track timetable so members vulnerable in 2022 could sell the bill to voters. “We will not consider voting for a budget resolution until the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passes the House and is signed into law,” the nine moderates wrote in a letter, which a House Democratic leadership aide described as “highly problematic”.

Threats from moderates have infuriated progressive Democrats, who, emboldened by their successful effort to twist the Biden administration to introduce a new eviction moratorium, have repeatedly warned House Democratic leaders not to deviate from their original plan.

In a letter to Pelosi on Tuesday, the leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said a poll of their 96 members confirmed a majority would withhold their support for the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passed the reconciliation bill.

White House officials have said that they remain closely attuned to the growing tensions in the House and Senate. Pelosi and Biden speak regularly, and aides have started holding thrice-weekly conference calls, according to sources familiar with the matter.

But top Democrats in Congress see no alternative to the path they are headed down and are hopeful that the two-track strategy will prove successful as in 2010. “I am very pleased to report that the two-track strategy is right on track,” Schumer said.

MI Is Second 'Slowest Growing' State, Detroit Population Falls, West MI Sees Surge

Michigan ranked second in the country for "slowest growing" population in the initial 2020 U.S. Census data, with Detroit's population dropping by 10.5% over the last decade, according to numbers released today.
From April 2010 to April 2020, Michigan's population grew by nearly 2%. However, other Midwest states experienced population jumps of more than 2% during the same time period. Wisconsin grew by 3.6%, Ohio by 2.3% and Indiana by 4.7%.

In Detroit, the population plunged from 713,777 in 2010 to 639,111 in 2020, marking the seventh consecutive decade of the city's population decline. Flint's population fell by 20.7% from 102,434 residents in 2010 to 81,252 in 2020, while also still remaining Michigan's seventh most populous cities.

Ultimately, 52% of all United States counties now have smaller populations.

As for the state's most populous counties, Wayne County's population fell by 1.5%, Macomb County bounced by 4.8%, Oakland County increased by nearly 6% and West Michigan experienced a unique surge of residents.

"It's heartening to see strong and continuing growth in Oakland County with the Census numbers showing 72,033 more people living here than in 2010," said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter in a statement. "Oakland County's population has grown every 10 years and our economic strength, status as a welcoming county and exceptional quality of life contribute to that expansion."

Other metro areas across the country had a 9% population growth from 2010 to 2020, meaning 86% of American citizens resided within these areas in comparison to 85% in 2010.

But when it came to Detroit -- where the U.S. Census data showed there were merely 254,000 occupied households -- Mayor Mike Duggan emphasized that the shortcomings were the product of an inaccurate count.

In October 2020, Duggan and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) described the Bureau's counting efforts as "deficient and (haphazard-ous)," as the city was providing a self-response rate of 51%, the lowest of any American city where more than 500,000 individuals resided.

"This is exactly what Rep. Tlaib and I predicted on (Oct. 28) when we were joined by Census workers who shared their stories about how Detroit neighborhoods were being undercounted and were upset that the count was shut down a month before originally planned," Duggan said in a press release.

He said the Detroit-headquartered DTE Electric Co. recorded nearly 280,000 residential households have been currently paying electric bills.

"At a minimum, the Census somehow failed to count 25,000 occupied houses with running electricity," Duggan said. "It appears the Census Bureau has undercounted Detroit's population by at least 10%. We will be pursuing our legal remedies to get Detroit an accurate count."

Four of Michigan's counties to receive the most positive population changes were along and near the state's western lakeshore, including 12.3% for Ottawa County, 9.5% for Grand Traverse County, 9.2% for Kent County and 8.2% for Allegan County.

Bridge Michigan described the peak in residents as West Michigan reversing the Chicago exodus, which occurred when Kent County lost more than 600 recent college graduates to Cook County, Illinois from 2000 to 2009.

However, the article shared that Greater Grand Rapids gained more than twice as many people from the Chicago Metropolitan Area than what it lost in the previous decade.

While Kent County hosted its 9.2% spike, Cook County had a 1.6% boost.

Early estimations from the U.S. Census Bureau showed West Michigan growing upward by 6.3%, Central Michigan by 2%, Southwest Michigan by 1.7%, the Northern Lower Peninsula by 1.5% and Southeast Michigan by .1%.

However, the Thumb and Lake Huron Shore region was anticipated to drop by 4.4% and the Upper Peninsula by 4.9%.

Five of the state's six fastest shrinking counties are located in the U.P -- Luce County with a 19.5% drop, Ontonagon County by 14.2%, Gogebic County by 12.5% and Baraga and Alger counties both by 7.9%.

Finally, Michigan is also growing in terms of diversity, with the fastest growing demographic in the state being individuals who describe themselves as belonging to two or more races -- a demographic that spiked by 404,996 residents to now equating to 6.3% of the population from 2.3% in 2010.

Although Michigan's African American population -- both those identifying solely as African American and within a combination -- remained at 15.2% of the state's population from 2010 to 2020, Hispanic and Latino residents grew from 4.4% to 5.6% of the population.

Asian-American residents also went from making up 3% to 4.3% of Michigan's population. 

MRA Undergoing Latest Rule Adjustments As Industry Still Taking Shape

The marijuana industry is constantly evolving in Michigan with the agency in charge of its regulation putting forth more rule adjustments related to statutory changes and clarifications following a set of consolidated rules last year to bring the medical and recreational markets closer together.

Track Executive Director Andrew Brisbo in a recent interview noted consolidation rules were first put forward last year as the agency wanted to bring the medical and recreational industries under the same umbrella.

"This is still an evolving industry so we expected to be under constant evaluation for the rules and making adjustments where we saw the need for that," he said.

On September 27, 2021, the MRA will hold its public hearing on 10 rule seats dealing with: disciplinary proceedings (MOAHR 2020-117), hearings (MOAHR 2020-118), infused and edible products (MOAHR 2020-119), licenses (MOAHR 2020-120 and MOAHR 2020-121), operations (MOAHR 2020-122), sales and transfers (MOAHR 2020-123), sampling and testing (MOAHR 2020-124), employees (MOAHR 2020-110), and declaratory rulings (MOAHR 2020-029).

After the consolidated rules were adopted last year, Mr. Brisbo said the real-world effect showed where changes might need to be made. There are also statutory changes that facilitate rule changes, he said.

Additionally, a racial task force convened and had some suggestions related to microbusinesses – a recreational license type that allows one entity to grow, process and sell marijuana products in small quantities – with a version ending up in the new rule set.

"We did come up with something in the draft that I think addresses some of the concerns we heard," Mr. Brisbo said, adding the agency did not make the exact change the task force recommended.

The proposed rules would expand the number of plants allowed and loosen the restriction against processing to help licensees save money and reduce start-up costs. Businesses could source from other processors under the rule.

Other changes include clarity on those employed by multiple marijuana licensees. There is a statutory restriction in an individual having ownership interest in more than one facility and the rules are less clear on those who are employees.

"It is more about working in two places where there is a specific statutory distinction and the need for … checks and balances," Mr. Brisbo said.

The rules will also expand on limited contact or contactless transactions, which were sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. Many retailers provided curbside service, and there were others interested in drive-thru transactions.

"We were trying to look at that concept of low contact point of sale more holistically," Mr. Brisbo said.

Mr. Brisbo said the rules include certain requirements like ensuring age verification, security, the person receiving the product is the person who ordered, and as long as the approach meets those criteria, it would be allowed.


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Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

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! 


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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. | 248.693.1391

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
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900 S. Lapeer Rd., Oxford, MI 48371

Early August, 2021 Newsletter

Carl Levin, Intellectual Giant Of Michigan Politics, Has Died

Carl Levin, whose intelligence, trustworthiness, ferocious investigative skills, elite constituent service and common touch earned him a Michigan-record 36 years as U.S. senator, died Thursday. He was 87 and undergoing treatment for lung cancer.

He was a giant in Michigan politics, virtually untouchable, a liberal Jew from Detroit who would regularly crush Republicans in deeply Republican areas of the state to roll up big wins. He was a force in Congress who never lost his connection to his constituents, thanks to his unassuming manner, relatability, accessibility and a constituent service operation that was the stuff of legend. Residents of the state knew that if they had a problem that involved the government, they could call Mr. Levin’s office and his team would fix it.

So feared and talented was he as an investigator that The New York Times headline on his obituary published Thursday night memorialized him as the "scourge of corporate America."

It is impossible to overstate Mr. Levin’s status in the state’s Jewish community. The first Jew to win a U.S. Senate seat and perhaps the first Jew to win a major Michigan statewide election when he won his first of six terms in 1978, Mr. Levin helped pave the way for a generation of Jews, Democratic and Republican, to win office.

Mr. Levin’s look became legendary, punctuated by his ever-present combover and penchant for wearing his eyeglasses on the bottom of his nose so that he could peer over them.

Born in Detroit on June 28, 1934, Mr. Levin graduated from Detroit Central High School in 1952 and graduated with a bachelor’s in political science from Swarthmore College in 1956. Following that, he attended Harvard Law School and earned a juris doctor in 1959 where, shortly after, he was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan.

Mr. Levin would go on to use his knowledge of the law to serve as general counsel for the state’s Civil Rights Commission from 1964 to 1967, using that role to help form the Detroit Public Defender’s Office – now known as the State Appellate Defender’s Office. Eventually, he would serve as special assistant attorney general, as well as chief appellate defender for Detroit, shortly after his tenure with the commission.

It would still be some time yet before Mr. Levin would enter the career that would garner him the title longest serving U.S. senator in Michigan’s history, holding that position for 36 years. After his time with the commission and Department of Attorney General, Mr. Levin would turn his sights to the Detroit City Council, where he was elected to the body in 1969.

Serving two four-year terms, which concluded in 1977, Mr. Levin was a formidable force for the council. As president – a title he held during his last four years in office – he would go on to be dubbed then-Mayor Coleman Young’s (the city’s first Black mayor) right hand man by Forbes magazine, due to their close relationship.

His 1978 U.S. Senate victory was remarkable.

As the former president of the Detroit City Council, it seemed improbable that he could topple U.S. Sen. Robert Griffin, appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1966 after the death of U.S. Sen. Patrick McNamara. Mr. Griffin then won two terms, beating a pair of Democratic legends, former Governor G. Mennen "Soapy" Williams in 1966 and then-Attorney General Frank Kelley in 1972.

While the Levin name had become a presence on the statewide scene thanks to cousin Charles Levin, a Michigan Supreme Court justice, and brother Sander, a two-time Democratic nominee for governor in 1970 and 1974, Carl Levin did not seem to pose a major threat at first, particularly considering the unpopularity of Democratic President Jimmy Carter. He also had to get through a crowded Democratic primary that included three state legislators, a former member of Congress and newspaper publisher Phil Power.

He won that primary decisively and then took on Mr. Griffin, who had made himself vulnerable in 1977 when he declared he would not seek reelection. He had just lost his position as Senate minority whip. He would eventually change his mind and decide to run.

Mr. Levin would put together a winning coalition that geographically looks utterly bizarre compared to the state’s current political map. Unsurprisingly, he ran up a huge margin in Wayne County. He also carried union-heavy working class counties like Macomb, Monroe, Genesee and Bay as well as the northeast Lower Peninsula and most of the Upper Peninsula. He won 52.1 percent to 47.9 percent.

Mr. Levin pushed for new blood in Congress (Mr. Griffin had served since 1957, including his time in the U.S. House) though he would eventually set the longevity record in passing Arthur Vandenberg as the state’s longest-serving senator. Mr. Levin had been prompted to run after his anger at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development while he was a member of the city council and HUD would not demolish blighted homes in the city they controlled.

His second-term victory in 1984 would be his last close race. He faced astronaut Jack Lousma and an impending Republican landslide led by President Ronald Reagan, who would carry the state with 59.2 percent of the vote. Mr. Levin, however, hung on, winning 51 to 47 percent.

From there, Mr. Levin would win increasingly easy victories. He won comfortably over then-U.S. Rep. Bill Schuette in 1990, Ronna Romney in 1996, state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski in 2002 and state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk in 2008. It was not until 1996 that Mr. Levin finally got the benefit of a Democratic wave at the top of the ticket. In 1978, 1984 and 1990, the Republican at the top of the ticket (Bill Milliken, Mr. Reagan and John Engler) all won.

In his 2008 victory, when he finally had a major national Democratic wave at his back, Mr. Levin won 63 percent of the vote and an astonishing 77 counties.

Mr. Levin managed to thread the difficult needle of retaining deep roots in his state and becoming a powerhouse in Washington. He spent many years as the Senate Armed Services Committee chair. It was there he brought to bear his investigative skills and brought heavy focus on the Department of Defense’s purchase of routine items like a hammer for exorbitant prices. He was the sponsor of the Competition in Contracting Act to reduce federal procurement costs.

During his time in Congress, Mr. Levin would serve on a number of committees including the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Committee on Small Business Entrepreneurship and chairing the Committee on Armed Services. Yet, even though he twice chaired Armed Services, Mr. Levin had never served – a fact that he admitted, telling CQ Roll Call that he joined the committee as he was interested in learning more and felt it was his own way of "providing service."

With that said, Mr. Levin would go on to become one of the most powerful members of the Armed Services Committee, pushing for more transparency in government especially in regard to the Iraq War and on the subject of al-Qaeda. Mr. Levin opposed then-President George W. Bush’s push into Iraq post-9/11, and later said the administration handled the situation poorly.

Mr. Levin would eventually lead the Senate into probing the conditions of prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, which eventually resulted in the Detainee Treatment Act that prohibited the use of torture on U.S.-captured detainees.

He would become instrumental, too, in weakening laws which prevented LGBT Americans from serving in the military, passing the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act which would ensure an end to the legislation which propagated the U.S. Army’s "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy.

Armed services, however, was not the only topic Mr. Levin was well-versed in (or became well-versed in) during his more than three decades in the Senate. He was a strong supporter of the U.S. Department of Education (and its creation), was responsible for promoting energy policies which were beneficial for the environment and pushed for the first effective disclosure requirements for federal lobbyists.

Fitting with his efforts on ethics, he authored the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Ethics Reform Act of 1989.

Beyond the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Levin was a feared investigator. He became chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, digging into the 2008 financial crisis and much more.

Politically, Mr. Levin was a champion of ending Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s status as the first presidential caucus and first presidential primary. He never could succeed in dislodging them from their perches.

There were disappointments, of course. In his memoir, Mr. Levin noted he sought to be named the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan while he was on the city council. He did not receive the appointment.

And while Mr. Levin persuaded a lot of Republicans to vote for him, he could definitely get under the GOP’s skin. Some would mock him as the "self-proclaimed conscience of the Senate."

He did all of this while looking as, inevitably, what would become his near-trademarked style: perpetually frumpy. So known for this look he was that comedian Jon Stewart occasionally referred to him as Grandpa Munster.

Brother Sander joined Mr. Levin in Congress in 1983 after winning a U.S. House seat in 1982, and they would serve together, perhaps Michigan’s most famous family political dynasty, for 32 years.

During Mr. Levin’s early years as senator, Michigan regularly voted Republican for president. But his accessibility and constituent operation meant voters trusted him and he became unbeatable.

In a 2013 interview with Gongwer News Service, Mr. Levin said the key to having a strong constituent service operation is "you really have to care about your constituents. It’s got to be kind of a genuine caring of people dealing with their problems in the federal bureaucracy." Members of Congress cannot be cowed or intimidated by a federal department or agency, he said.

Mr. Levin’s nephew, Andy, is now a U.S. House member. In a statement on his uncle’s death, he summed up well the appeal he held with voters everywhere.

"Throughout my adult life, wherever I went in Michigan, from Copper Harbor to Monroe, I would run into people who would say, ‘I don’t always agree with Senator Levin, but I support him anyway because he is so genuine, he tells it straight and he follows through,’" he said.

Near the end of his Senate career, Mr. Levin took a swing at loopholes in federal campaign finance laws, or what he called the "failure of the IRS to enforce our tax laws and stem the flood of hundreds of millions of secret dollars flowing into our elections, eroding public confidence in our democracy."

In 2013, at the age of 80, Mr. Levin decided not to seek a seventh term. He felt well then but worried about his fitness when his term would be over. And in fact, in 2017, he would be diagnosed with lung cancer. He also wanted to spend more time with his wife, Barbara, back in Michigan.

In his post-Senate years, Mr. Levin went on to join the Detroit-based law firm Honigman LLP and found the Levin Center at Wayne State University’s Law School. While working at the firm, Mr. Levin would also chair the WSU center and co-teach courses. His goal was to pass on what he had learned about how government bodies can investigate. He also helped mediate the Flint water lawsuits.

In an interview with Gongwer, Mr. Levin said the retirement decision was maybe hardest on his older brother, Sander.

"It’s very hard on my brother," he said. "It’s maybe harder on him because we’re very close. Kind of life-long best buddies. We were together in law school. We were together as kids. Slept in the same room. We’ve played probably 15,000 games of squash together in Washington."

Andy Levin recalled the connection between his father, Sander, and uncle, Carl.

"From my earliest memory to this moment, perhaps above all, he has defined with my dad how close two brothers, two siblings, two people can be. In the end, these two Jewish boys from Detroit, these grandsons of immigrants each served 36 years in Congress, 32 of them together, becoming by far the longest co-serving siblings in the 232-year history of this place," he said. "As heartbroken as we are in this moment, I feel so grateful to have experienced this love and legacy."

In the 2013 interview, Mr. Levin was asked where he and his wife, Barbara, would live. He had lived in Detroit virtually his entire life other than when he attended Swarthmore for his undergraduate education and Harvard for law school.

"It won’t be Washington," he said. "It’s hard to imagine I’ll live anywhere other than Michigan. We’re very rooted in Michigan, very rooted in Detroit."

Gov. Extends Driver’s License, Registration Validation From 2020 Expirations

The Governor signed into law legislation extending the renewal date for Michigan driver’s licenses and personal ID cards 120 days from its expiration — its tie-bar to mandating Secretary of State branches open themselves back up for in-person services no longer seeming so controversial.

"These bills put Michigan drivers first by giving Michiganders the flexibility they need to renew their driver’s license and IDs," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in today’s press release. "It is crucial that we continue to offer services at our Secretary of State that fit the needs of all residents as we move forward."

SB 0507 from Sen. Kevin Daley (R-Lum), SB 0508 from Sen. Ruth Johnson (R-Holly) and SB 0509 from Sen. Curtis Vanderwall (R-Ludington) allows driver’s licenses and vehicle tabs that expired between March 31 and Aug. 1 to remain valid for 120 days after their expiration date.

Initially, the legislation locked the Secretary of State into resuming in-person services by restraining the department from assessing any late renewal fees — which account for an estimated $965,000 average collected by the department per month — until nonappointment in-person services and same-day transactions were provided at each branch office.

"You need options for people," said Johnson — who served as Secretary of State for eight years before Jocelyn Benson — in May. "They can’t transfer a title when they buy or sell a vehicle. People are driving on expired licenses. They can’t get in for certification exams they need to do their jobs, such as mechanics."

Earlier, Daley also made the argument that residents shouldn’t have to wait multiple months for "what should be a 30-minute appointment."

"People should not be getting tickets from the same government that is preventing them from completing the process to avoid the ticket," Daley said.

However, now the department believes it has fulfilled the ambitions of the GOP-charged SB 507, SB 508 and SB 0509 by opening itself up to walk-up traffic, but not entirely to walk-in services.

"All of our offices are open to any residents who need in-person services, which they can access by walking up or scheduling their visits online or by phone," Benson said.

While visiting branch sites in Novi and Livonia on July 29, Benson said the department’s "efficiency levels are through the roof" after kicking off a new service-driven operating model, explaining "we’re seeing people complete 10 transactions per hour per person, which is significantly higher than in the past."

In June, the office added 350,000 appointments by reducing the appointment time slot from 20 to 10 minutes. At the time, Benson explained the modification would authorize branch offices to serve 25% more customers than anticipated.

"Right now, anyone can access in-person services at our 130 branch offices by walking up, calling ahead or going online to schedule a visit, and no matter what they choose every Michigander is now provided accurate information on when they will be served and the certainty that their office visit will take on average just 20 minutes," Benson later expressed on July 7.

However, this week Benson reminded the public that the department is experiencing 80 vacancies throughout Michigan. She is also continuing to advocate for legislators to approve $5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for enlarging office efforts — a financial hand that Benson said could allow Secretary of State branches to be open beyond 5 p.m.

At the start of June, Benson described the "take a number and wait" system as one that was failed, inefficient and broken.

"Michiganders were regularly forced to wait half a day or more in our offices with no clarity as to when their names would be called for service. Even at offices that offered appointments, forcing a ‘take a number’ system on those who couldn’t make one only led to frustration, inequity and hours-long wait times that often stretched long into the evenings," Benson said. "It was a mess."

The Governor also signed into law today:

– SB 0060 sponsored by Sen. Roger Victory (R-Hudsonville), allows someone to be licensed as a heating and cooling worker after three years or 6,000 hours in the field, among other requirements.

– SB 0372 sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), ends the printing and distributing of traditional phone books 

– SB 0459 sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), allows an individual to apply for a neighborhood enterprise zone certificate after a building permit has already been issued for a project.

– HB 4735 sponsored by Rep. Graham Filler (R-DeWitt), renames a section of Highway U.S. 127 after Private Ronald James Fitch and a portion of Highway 50 in Eaton County after Ensign Francis Flaherty.

– HB 4656 sponsored by Rep. Sarah Cambensy (D-Marquette) allows the Marquette Circuit Court to bring on another judge 

– HB 4980, sponsored by Rep. Scott Vansingler (R-Grant) allows drag racing at Silver Lake State Park’s scramble area 

Runestad Drafting Bill In Response To Whitmer Campaign Windfall

A Senate Republican announced Friday he is crafting legislation to rein in candidate donations for officials facing recall following the posting of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s latest campaign finance report showing significant fundraising due to her use of an exemption in law on donor limits for officer-holders facing an active recall campaign.

Conservative groups cried foul Monday after Ms. Whitmer reported raising $2.88 million using a 36-year-old declaratory ruling from the secretary of state regarding recall elections. The funds, in response to longshot recall efforts against her launched last year, provided a way for her to raise money beyond the current $7,150 limit on contributions to statewide candidates.

Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) in a Friday release was the first Republican lawmaker to take a step seeking to address the exemption Ms. Whitmer used to enhance her reelection campaign haul. Ms. Whitmer raised a reported record $8.65 million during the most recent campaign finance reporting period.

The bill is being drafted and has not yet been introduced. Mr. Runestad said his proposal would require any contributions to an anti-recall effort above the current contribution limits for candidates to be placed into a separate account. Those funds would have to be refunded to the individual donors if a recall effort is not conducted.

"It has recently come to light that Michigan’s governor has misused a nearly 40-year-old declaratory ruling to receive millions in out-of-state campaign contributions for her reelection campaign," Mr. Runestad said in a statement. "This unorthodox flood of funds into one candidate’s campaign is a direct attack on measures set forth to ensure fair elections in this state."

Under the declaratory ruling, officeholders can exceed contributions limits so long as a committee has been organized to gather petition signatures and to promote a specific officeholder’s recall.

The source of the move by the Whitmer campaign is a 1984 declaratory ruling from then-Secretary of State Richard Austin. During 1983 Senate recall efforts it was concluded that in the recall format at that time, a yes or no decision to recall an elected official, there were no campaign contribution limits on either side.

In 2012, changes to the state’s recall system were made for nearly every elected official to become an election against another candidate or candidates instead of a yes to recall, no to stop the recall decision. The governor was an exception, meaning contribution limits are in place for all recalls except for the governor.

Mr. Runestad questioned the Whitmer campaign’s interpretation of the former secretary of state’s declaratory ruling.

"This disingenuous interpretation of these declaratory rulings is (a) slap in the face to campaign finance law, misleading to donors and, ultimately, is harmful to voters, who should be able to trust that their candidates are playing by the same rules and are competing fairly," Mr. Runestad said. "Any funds raised to combat a recall effort should be accounted for separately from general campaign funds and returned to donors if a recall effort never materializes."

A request for comment Friday to a spokesperson for Ms. Whitmer was not immediately returned.


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Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest

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! 


Feds free trucker accused of sneaking 2,270 pounds of pot into Detroit: ‘I got justice’

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Frankenmuth Credit Union launches new program to service cannabis businesses despite legal grey area 

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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. | 248.693.1391

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*

why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

900 S. Lapeer Rd., Oxford, MI 48371

Early July, 2021 Newsletter




Attorney Behind Antrim Election Fraud Suit Wants To Run For AG
A Portage attorney who has been vocal about 2020 election fraud told a podcaster today that he is “looking at running for Attorney General.”

The comment from Matthew DePerno, who continues to champion election fraud claims in Antrim County as well as Arizona, came during today’s Bannon’s War Room podcast with Steve Bannon, a former political strategist for former President Donald Trump, who opened the interview with a question.

“Are you under potential prosecution because the Republican Legislature up there has basically given a go signal to the Attorney General” to investigate “Patriots” still fighting alleged election fraud, Bannon asked.

“That’s exactly right,” DePerno replied.

Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday that her department has accepted the Senate Oversight Committee’s request to investigate accusations that unnamed individuals made false claims about the 2020 election for personal profit.

DePerno told Bannon that Nessel is “using the force” of the state police “to come after me and other people in Michigan who have been speaking out against this election.” He continues to assert that he has evidence showing fraud, and he cites “forensic” reports.

“The real reason Dana Nessel is doing this is she’s heard that I’m talking to other people about running for Attorney General here. So this is a political hit,” DePerno said. “. . . Listen, Dana Nessel is my opposing counsel in the case here in Michigan, and she’s going to announce that she’s going to investigate opposing counsel? It’s ludicrous. So, she wants to stop what we’re doing; it’s very political with her.

“She’s a straight up Marxist, and we got to get up her up out of office and that’s why I’m looking at running for Attorney General here in Michigan,” he added.

When asked for comment about DePerno’s statements, AG press secretary Lynsey Mukomol said: “I refuse to dignify Mr. DePerno’s comments with a response.”

DePerno started a fund on a crowdfunding site, which he says is to “defend and to protect the integrity of elections in the United States.”

Likely to run as a Republican, DePerno, who represented former lawmaker Todd Courser, who resigned in 2015 after his affair with a fellow lawmaker became public, might be welcomed by Republicans who still question the integrity of the presidential election.

DePerno’s client in Antrim County challenged election results there after the county mistakenly preliminarily reported a win for President Joe Biden. Election officials quickly found the error and attributed the mistake to human error. A hand recount showed Trump gaining 12 votes.
The lawsuit was dismissed, but DePerno told Bannon that he expects to file “more lawsuits” in Michigan.

Nessel is up for re-election in November 2022.

Supreme Court: Unidentified Metabolite Insufficient For OWI ConvictionMetabolites are not sufficient to prove the presence of a controlled substance in a person while driving, the Supreme Court ruled Friday, overturning a Court of Appeals decision that the metabolites were sufficient to support the conviction of a defendant.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments May 5 on whether to grant leave to appeal in People v. Stock. Kellie Stock was convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing a serious impairment of a bodily function.

In 2017, Ms. Stock was allegedly driving recklessly in Detroit without a valid driver’s license. There was a crash with another vehicle, killing Bennie Sims and seriously injuring Classie Butler.

During the trial, a Detroit police officer testified he saw Ms. Stock drive her vehicle the wrong way down a one-way street. A high-speed chase ensued and Ms. Stock drove through a red light, striking the vehicle driven by Mr. Sims. A toxicology report showed Ms. Stock had a cocaine metabolite in her urine. She was convicted.

The Court of Appeals reversed in an unpublished 2019 decision Ms. Stock’s convictions for operating a motor vehicle without a valid license causing death and serious injury but upheld the convictions for operating while intoxicated causing death and serious injury. The court found that her license had merely expired. On the intoxicated charges, the court held that drug metabolite proves the drug was ingested at some point.

Instead of granting leave, the Supreme Court on a 5-2 vote reversed the Court of Appeals’ upholding of the two intoxication convictions.

Prosecutors failed to show that the metabolite in question met the definition of a controlled substance, the Supreme Court held in an order with Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, Justice Richard Bernstein, Justice Megan Cavanaugh, Justice Elizabeth Clement and Justice Elizabeth Welch in the majority.

“Further, the prosecution’s evidence showing the mere presence of an unidentified metabolite, but nothing more, was not sufficient to prove that the defendant had any amount of cocaine in her body at the time of the motor vehicle collision,” the court held in its order.

The court remanded the case to the Wayne Circuit Court to determine whether resentencing on the defendant’s remaining convictions is required given the Court of Appeals reversals of two convictions and the Supreme Court’s reversal of two convictions. Ms. Stock still remains convicted of reckless driving causing death, first-degree fleeing and eluding, second-degree fleeing and eluding and reckless driving causing a serious impairment of a bodily function.

The Wayne Circuit Court had sentenced Ms. Stock to concurrent terms to 19 to 50 years in prison for each of the convictions because she was sentenced as a fourth-offense habitual offender.

Justice Brian Zahra, in a dissent signed by Justice David Viviano, held that the metabolite was in fact sufficient evidence to convict of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death and operating a motor vehicle causing serious injury.

“Because a cocaine metabolite only ever appears in a person’s body if the person has ingested cocaine, the presence of cocaine metabolites necessarily establishes that defendant ingested cocaine at some prior point in time,” Mr. Zahra wrote. “And given that defendant was taken to the hospital immediately after her accident, it is unlikely that she ingested cocaine in the roughly four and a half hours between the accident and her urine test. It was therefore reasonable for the jury to infer that defendant had ingested cocaine prior to her motor vehicle accident.”

Redistricting Commission Doesn’t Get Deadline Extension For New Maps

The Michigan Supreme Court today denied Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s and the state redistricting commission’s request to extend the deadline to draw the state’s new political maps to December.
Benson and the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) petitioned the Supreme Court in April, alleging the current constitutional deadline is untenable because the public comment period should begin Sept. 17, but the U.S. Census Bureau won’t have official data until Sept. 30 — 13 days after finalized maps are to be available to the public to meet a constitutional Nov. 1 deadline.

Justice Elizabeth Welch, who concurred, said the court’s decision “is not a reflection on the merits of the questions” asked or how the court might resolve a future case.

“It is indicative only that a majority of this Court believes that the anticipatory relief sought is unwarranted,” she wrote.

“By our decision today, we have declined the invitation to clothe the commission or the Secretary of State with any lawsuit-proof vest,” Welch’s statement, which Justice Megan Cavanagh joined, reads. “The risk of future lawsuits — however likely and however inconvenient to the commission’s ongoing work — is insufficient reason to justify the relief requested.”

ICRC spokesperson Edward Woods III said: “in modeling fairness and transparency,” the commission’s request to the Supreme Court came due to the six-month delay in receiving tabulated Census data — the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, hurricanes and wildfires, the Census has said.

The justices heard arguments in June and today they acknowledged the ICRC’s challenge, saying Benson and ICRC “made the sensible decision to alert the Court and the public,” but the commission’s counsel had already implied the commission intends to follow its delayed schedule with or without the court’s approval.

The League of Women Voters of Michigan criticized the court’s decision, saying it doesn’t give the ICRC “enough time to provide the 45-day public comment period on its proposed new legislative maps.

“This is the opposite of what voters asked for when they voted to amend the Michigan Constitution and create a citizen-led commission,” LWV President Christina Schlitt said in a statement.

Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Wesier, who called the ICRC’s request “unnecessary,” disagreed, noting that the commission has “ample time and resources necessary to complete their task” as their “own Democrat attorney has already acknowledged.”

Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politician, the grassroots group behind the constitutional amendment that put citizens in charge of redistricting in Michigan, agreed that today’s decision “does not impede the Commission in any way from faithfully serving the people.”

Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, said voters enshrined the Nov. 1 map deadline in the state’s constitution and “they expect results, not excuses.

“Today’s ruling both upholds the constitution and puts the commission on the clock,” she said in a statement. “It’s time to deliver.”

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