AG, McBroom Have Spoken On Election Report; Probe Review UnderwayAn investigation into individuals who knowingly spread and profited off misinformation surrounding claims of fraud in the 2020 election could be coming soon, Attorney General Dana Nessel said Friday in referencing conversations had with the Senate Oversight Committee Track chair this week following the release of a report on the general election.

The committee, helmed by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), released a report earlier this week which not only concluded that no fraud occurred in the November 2020 general election but that individuals continuing to perpetuate claims of misinformation and profit over such allegations should be investigated.

At a press conference Friday, Ms. Nessel said that Mr. McBroom has since approached her regarding the report, and that the two have had: “discussions about specific things in the report that he found to be especially troubling and areas of concern he had.”

Declining to go into details of the conversations, Ms. Nessel said Mr. McBroom did alert her department to “things that were concerning to him” and he pledged full cooperation with the Department of Attorney General should an investigation commence.

“I believe we are in the process right now of ensuring that all the materials that were given to the Senate Oversight Committee Track, and that they reviewed as part of their report, will be turned over to us so that we can analyze those materials. … I will tell you that we have made a decision within our department to at least analyze and evaluate and review all of those materials,” Ms. Nessel said. “I think it’s safe to say that we have begun an investigation to that extent. We’re going to be reviewing all of that and taking a look and seeing what things are that troubled Sen. McBroom so much, as well as the other members of the Oversight Committee.”

While she declined to name names, the report itself highlights two individuals who could become the focus of an investigation: Former Republican Sen. Patrick Colbeck and attorney Matthew DePerno.

Both individuals have become known for their involvement in continuing to push election fraud claims long into 2021. Mr. Colbeck has continued to erroneously claim that modem chips were embedded in the motherboards of voting systems used on Dominion machines, which could be hacked and see voting data manipulated.

Mr. DePerno has also continued to push claims of fraud after first becoming involved on the subject after filing a demonstrably false lawsuit over the combination of human and software error in Antrim County, claiming that it was proof the election was tampered with.

On Thursday, Mr. DePerno issued a lengthy statement on Twitter continuing to push his election fraud narrative, which concluded with saying that “the issue of election fraud will not disappear while (lawmakers) attend summer barbeques; nor do we think their constituents will be happy with their unconstitutional attempts to suppress the truth. More reports on election fraud to follow.”

Mr. Colbeck, similarly, has posted several tweets on Senate report which lambasted its integrity.

“MI Senate report is disgraceful in so many ways, but I ask you to reflect upon its most shameful element,” he wrote. “It deliberately pushes for infringement of our constitutional rights to free speech, free press and the redress of our grievances. Direct violations of their oaths of office.”

In a statement posted Wednesday, Mr. Colbeck continued to call for an audit similar to what is transpiring in Arizona and erroneously claimed that in failing to do so legislators are violating their oaths of office.

Dems Stop Effort to End Federal $300 Unemployment Top-Off Early

The Republican-led Legislature sent to the Governor today legislation that ends early the federal government’s $300-per-week top-off of workers’ unemployment benefits, but the bill is functionally dead on arrival.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer isn’t likely to sign HB 4434. Still, Senate Democrats held off enough votes to deny the bill immediate effect. It means the Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R-Richmond) bill that ends a federal bonus that’s supposed to go away Sept. 6 wouldn’t go into effect until late March 2022 if signed.

Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association CEO Justin Winslow implored the Governor to support ending the benefit so the unemployed would have an incentive to go back to work. The supplemental benefit was needed during the height of the COVID-19 emergency, he said, but no longer.

“We now live in a restriction-free Michigan with an abundance of safe and effective vaccines, yet restauranteurs and hoteliers are unable to fill innumerable openings at wages rising at twice the rate of any other industry,” Winslow said.

HB 4434 passed the House on Jun. 17, with Rep. Pauline Wendzel (R-Watervliet) having targeted the boost on grounds that the enhanced federal benefits “disincentivize reentering the workforce.”

Sens. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Paul Wojno (D-Warren) each offered amendments to secure aid that were shot down by Republicans on the floor.

Wojno’s alteration aimed to unfasten the legislation, keeping families equipped with federal assistance until the September deadline. However, Moss’s amendment would have expanded the Work Share program, where employers can bring back workers with decreased hours and employees are given unemployment benefits to make up for a fragment of lost wages.

Whitmer wrapped this concept into her Back to Work incentive, adding at her Monday press conference “we need the Legislature to help us on that.”

“This is about making sure that Michigan comes out of this pandemic in the strongest possible shape,” she said. “To wage this kind of class warfare that some want to win and penalize people who are on the fringes, struggling to get by, I think it’s the wrong thing and it hurts too many people, and that’s why we want to use these resources as incentives to bolster a paycheck.”

The bill passed the Senate on a party-line 19-16 vote. The House concurred in the Senate changes and sent it to the Governor, 59-49, with Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit) and Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) joining Republicans in voting yes.

Later this afternoon, the Michigan AFL-CIO issued a press release condemning Republican lawmakers for their actions against the Back to Work incentive, describing it as “yet another political stunt” to strip away $300 of weekly assistance instead of “passing much-needed COVID relief aid dollars and finishing the state budget by their own self-imposed July 1 deadline.”

“Republicans should stop trying to take money out of the pockets of folks who are unemployed through no fault of their own,” said President Ron Bieber of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “The Legislature should be working to make sure every Michigander share in the gains from that recovery, not launching attacks on people who were hit hardest by last year’s economic collapse and trying to ship unemployment aid funds back to Washington, D.C.”

On Wednesday, the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) reported 47% of small businesses described finding and keeping employees as the biggest problem facing their operations, while more than half increased employee wages since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to SBAM’s survey, conducted from Jun. 8-18 with 600 responses, 50% of Michigan’s small businesses are expecting to increase the size of their workforce over the approaching six months.

In the Detroit Regional Chamber’s massive polling data released on Jun. 7, individuals who were employed before the COVID-19 pandemic and were back on the job hunt described their biggest barriers toward finding access into the work sector as:

– 22.9% said they did not feel safe or cited virus safety
– 14.3% said it was a lack of good pay or benefits
– 11.4 expressed it being due to their age or health
– 8.6% described a need for childcare

“The data demonstrates multiple factors are preventing employees from returning to work. While 14.3% of respondents indicated ‘lack of good pay,’ which likely encompasses the impact of the federal $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefits, other factors are likely the primary reasons for workers not returning to the workplace,” the Chamber provided as its insight on “The Labor Shortage in Michigan.”

Delta-8 THC Bills Head To Governor’s Desk

An intoxicating derivative of hemp that is currently allowed to be sold outside of the regulated marijuana system would fall under the Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s purview under a package of bills heading to Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

HB 4517 would define the Delta 8 derivative while also ensuring hemp products continue to be regulated under the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with the Marijuana Regulatory Agency continuing its work to regulate cannabis in the state.

HB 4740, HB 4741, HB 4742, HB 4743, HB 4744, HB 4745 and HB 4746 are companion bills in the package.

Industry stakeholders and the MRA are supportive of the legislation.

Products made with Delta 8 imitate the intoxicating effect of traditional cannabis, but can be sold at regular retailers, like gas stations, instead of being regulated and limited to dispensaries.

HB 4516, which would create a cause of action against a marijuana licensee if it sold marijuana to a minor or visibly intoxicated person, causing damages, was also sent to the governor.

All of the bills were passed in the Senate and concurred on in the House before being enrolled. The Senate change dealt with the effective date of the bills, making it 90 days after being enacted.

Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association Executive Director Stephen Linder praised the bills’ final passage.

“We applaud the Legislature for taking this critical step toward requiring all products that mimic a cannabis high to be regulated by the MRA, which will help promote the health and safety of all Michiganders for decades to come,” Mr. Linder said in a statement. “Any product that mimics a cannabis high that is either inhaled or ingested should follow the same strict high testing, health and safety guidelines enforced by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency and adhered to by licensed growers and processors. We greatly appreciate the Legislature’s leadership on this critical issue, which will go a long way toward promoting the health and safety of Michigan consumers.”

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