Dear Clients and Friends:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Michigan GOP Memo Blames Dixon’s Performance for Lost Majorities

Students Missing School at Alarming Rate–Especially in Detroit

Marijuana News, Updates, & Articles of Interest


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.

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