Monday, September 5th, 2022Labor Day
Tuesday, September 20th, 2022Tentative Senate Session Day
Wednesday, September 21st, 2022Tentative House Session Day
Wednesday, September 28th, 2022Tentative House Session Day
Wednesday, September 28th, 2022Tentative Senate Session Day
Dixon Chooses Hernandez as Lt. Governor, MI GOP Supports
On Friday, August 19, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon announced her choice of former state representative Shane Hernandez as her running mate. The announcement was made ahead of the August 27th Michigan Republican Party Convention, which was held to nominate statewide candidates for the November election.
Hernandez, who was nominated by attorney general candidate, Matt DePerno, at the convention, overwhelmingly won the nomination as Dixon’s running mate via a secret, paper ballot. Hernandez amassed approximately 80 percent of the vote, despite concerns that the Macomb County delegation and allies might attempt to thwart the nomination.
In related news, Dixon and Governor Gretchen Whitmer will have two televised debates prior to the November 8 election. The first will be hosted in Grand Rapids on October 13, while the second will be hosted in Detroit on October 25.
Board of Canvassers Deadlock on Promote the Vote and Reproductive Freedom for All Ballot Initiatives
The Board of State Canvassers met on August 31 to consider the staff reports from the Bureau of Elections recommending that both the Promote the Vote and the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiatives be certified for the general election ballot.
The Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on voting to certify the Promote the Vote initiative, with the two Republican members, Chairman Tony Daunt (R-DeWitt) and Richard Housekamp (R-Grand Rapids) voting against certification. The two members agreed with those challenging certification that it was unclear what in Michigan’s Constitution would be changed under this proposal.
The board later deadlocked once again in voted on the Reproductive Freedom for All proposal. The challenger to the proposal, Citizens to Support Women and Children, argued the lack of spaces between the words on the petition rendered them non-sensical and that the petition violated statutory requirements. It was also argued that the board has denied certification on previous matters due to this same reason. Democrat members of the board who voted for certification were Mary Ellen Gurewitz (D-Detroit) and Jeannette Bradshaw (D-Ortonville). Gurewitz argued that the 700,000 people who signed the petition “obviously found it easy to read”.
At this point, the proposals will not be on the November ballot unless the Michigan Supreme Court intervenes and orders the board to certify. Proponents for both Promote the Vote and Reproductive Freedom for All have indicated they intend to take legal action to ensure the proposals end up on the November ballot. The Board did vote to approve the 100-word summaries for both petitions that would appear on the ballot in the event the Supreme Court intervenes and the measures move forward.
Court Rules No-Fault Changes Not Retroactive
The approximately 17,000 who saw their catastrophic care coverage severely limited following the enactment of the 2019 auto no-fault law had a major win on August 25 when the Court of Appeals ruled that the retroactive application of the reform violated the Contracts Clause in the Michigan Constitution.
In the opinion for Andary v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, issued by Judges Douglas Shapiro and Sima Patel, the judges found that the Legislature failed to clearly specify that the law was to apply retroactively. Those who were injured prior to the new law, under their previous insurance contracts, were guaranteed medical expense care and reimbursement at levels set in those contracts.
Changes in the auto no-fault law, which went into effect in July of 2021, limited reimbursement for family-provided attendant care to 56 hours a week. It also capped a health care provider’s reimbursement for services not covered by Medicare by 45 percent of the fees set in January 2019.
*Andary v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company *was remanded to the Ingham Circuit Court where prospective coverage could be considered. An attorney for the insurance company has said they plan to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.
Whitmer Kidnap Plotters Found Guilty
On August 23, a federal court jury found Adam Fox and Barry Croft, two individuals who conspired to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer, guilty of conspiracy to kidnap and use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. This unanimous verdict came after the first attempt to prosecute the men ended in a mistrial.
Deliberations were delivered in less than 24 hours after a two week-long retrial. Two other men involved in the kidnapping plot – Brandon Caseta and Daniel Harris – were both acquitted in the first trial. Attorney for Ty Garbin, another man involved in the plot who agreed to a plea deal in the initial trial, filed a request with the court to reduce his sentence by 36 months, stating that Garbin provided significant assistance to convict Fox and Croft.
Following the verdict, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the following statement: “Today’s verdicts prove that violence and threats have no place in our politics and those who seek to divide us will be held accountable. They will not succeed, but we must also take a hard look at the status of our politics. Plots against public officials and threats to the FBI are a disturbing extension of radicalized domestic terrorism that festers in our nation, threatening the very foundation of our republic.”
State Expands Access to Birth Control
On August 29, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) announced the decision to guarantee access to generic oral birth control prescriptions beginning on September 1.
In May, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Directive 2022-05 (previously reported on here, which called on departments to identify and assess opportunities to increase protections for reproductive health care. As a result, DTMB decided to add oral contraceptives to the Michigan Public School Employees’ Retirement System (MPSERS) Non-Medicare Master Healthcare plan, which covers approximately 200,000 retired school employees and their families. Members of the Non-Medicare plan will also have access to this coverage. Previously, oral contraceptives were only available under the Medicare plan.
In the press release from the Executive Office of the Governor, it was stated that almost 600 requests for birth control were denied in the state. DTMB will be working with the almost 600 individuals who were denied medication in the past 12 months to notify them of the new coverage.