Gubernatorial and Ballot Initiative Updates
Gubernatorial Candidates Disqualified from Ballot
Following the submission of signatures by the Republican gubernatorial candidates hoping to face off against incumbent Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Bureau of Elections recommended to the Board of State Canvassers that they remove five of the ten GOP candidates.
Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, businessman Perry Johnson, Department of State Police Captain Michael Brown, Michael Markey, and Donna Brandenburg were all disqualified from the ballot due to evidence of fraudulent signature gathering. Evidence found in one or more of the candidate’s petitions include: identical sheets, signatures of voters who are deceased or have not lived at their given address for some time, misspelled names or common abbreviations, consistent misspellings with distinctive flourishes across signatures, full sheets written in the same handwriting, and round-tabling where a group of people pass around sheets to vary the handwriting styles. The bureau found that between 36 different circulators, there were at least 68,000 invalid signatures.
James Craig, Perry Johnson, Michael Markey, and Donna Brandenburg appealed this decision by the bureau to the Michigan Supreme Court, however the majority ruled they would not hear the cases because the arguments were ultimately deficient. As of this writing, Johnson and Craig announced they would continue to fight. So far, Johnson has filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
At this time, it is anticipated that Tudor Dixon, Kevin Rinke, Garrett Soldano, Ryan Kelly, and Ralph Rebandt will all appear on the ballot for the August 2 primary.
Update on Ballot Initiative Signature Collection Efforts
June 1 was the deadline for several groups to submit signatures for their respective petitions in order to appear on the November 2022 ballot.
Supporters of Let MI Kids Learn, a proposal that would allow taxpayers to claim credits for K-12 private school, did not turn in their signatures by the 5 p.m. deadline, stating they hope to see the GOP-led legislature pass the proposal to be considered for the 2024 ballot.
Unlock Michigan, an initiative to limit public health orders to 28 days unless the legislature votes to extend the order, is taking a similar approach by not turning in signatures. The group also hopes the legislature will enact the proposal, avoiding a veto by Governor Whitmer to secure a spot on the 2024 ballot.
In other related news, Secure MI, the initiative to require photo ID to vote, will continue to collect signatures for their petition. The group had to submit signatures by June 1 but is delaying submission in order to collect 500,000 signatures, although only 340,000 valid signatures are needed. Signature collections can occur for 180 days, but every day past this threshold, the group loses signatures it collected at the beginning of the 180 days.
This June 1 deadline does not apply to constitutional amendments, such as Reproductive Freedom for All, Promote the Vote, nor to two other proposals aiming to change election laws. Each would require 400,000 signatures be submitted by July 11.
Senate Passes Motor, Gas Tax Suspension Bills
On May 26, the Michigan State Senate passed a four-bill package, spearheaded by Republicans, to suspend the gas tax and 6 percent sales tax on motor fuel from June 15, 2022, until September 15, 2022.
Under the bill that would suspend the state’s gasoline tax, a substitute was adopted that would offset the revenue losses from this tax cut for local governments, providing a $300 million appropriation from the General Fund.
Senate Bills 972, 973, and 974, passed the chamber with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 36-1. The gasoline tax bill, which provided the $300 million appropriation, passed 30-7.
Previously, Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a piece of gas tax suspension legislation, but with respect to this new package of bills, Whitmer was “encouraged” and her spokespeople have indicated the administration is working with the legislature to find common ground on the issue.
Event Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Title IX
On Thursday, June 9, McCall Hamilton hosted a special event to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Title IX.
June 23 will mark the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking clause of the 1972 Federal Education Amendments, which stated that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The event, held at the McCall Hamilton offices, was spearheaded by Representative Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) and featured guest speakers, Raj Weiner – former Director of the Michigan Department of Public Health and a founding partner of our firm – as well as Reverend Faith Fowler, Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services. The group was also joined by Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) and the Michigan Women’s Commission CEO Cheryl Bergman.
The speakers acknowledged that it was this law that ultimately opened the door for women to participate in athletics and academics on a more equitable level. The anniversary is a salient reminder of the hard work that goes into making systemic changes. It is also a reminder that the work is not over; that it continues today.
MDHHS Updates Mobile Vaccination Program
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced changes to the mobile vaccination program as it relates to COVID-19.
Over the next few weeks, MDHHS will be making changes to their COVID-19 vaccination efforts in response to reduced vaccinations that have been provided through these mobile sites. The department will instead redirect resources to pharmacy-based vaccination sites, medical providers, health systems, local health departments, and community health clinics.
Community vaccination sites through the mobile clinics have already shifted to supporting long-term care facilities, homebound services, and other at-risk congregate settings through the month of June. At the start of July, all MDHHS mobile vaccination clinics will no longer be used.
To find a vaccine provider, residents can access that information here
Whitmer Signs Executive Directive Regarding Reproductive Rights
On Wednesday, May 25, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2022-5, which instructs State of Michigan departments and agencies to identify any avenues to increase, what she refers to as “protections for reproductive health care.”
Under this directive, departments that directly communicate with the public on reproductive health issues must provide information about the cost and availability of care while increasing awareness about contraception. Departments are to not cooperate or assist authorities in investigations against anyone obtaining, providing, or assisting someone accessing reproductive healthcare where it is legal. Departments are also encouraged to increase options for mental, physical, and reproductive health, as well as safeguard individuals’ privacy while assuring the safety of reproductive healthcare providers.
Previously, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that should the United States Supreme Court overturn Roe Vs. Wade, she would not use her position to enforce Michigan’s 1931 statute that criminalizes abortion in the state.