Post- General Election Updates
Friday, November 11th, 2022Legislative Break (Returning on 11/28)
Friday, November 11th, 2022Veterans Day (State Holiday)
Friday, November 18th, 2022Lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree
Thursday, November 24th, 2022Thanksgiving
Democrats Take Majority in the State Legislature; Proposals Pass with Record Turnout
For the first time in almost 40 years, the Michigan State House of Representatives, Senate, and Executive Branch will all be controlled by the Democratic Party. Governor Gretchen Whitmer will be reelected for another four-year term after beating her Republican opponent Tudor Dixon. Whitmer won with almost 55% of the vote. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel also won their reelections against Republicans Kristina Karamo and Matt DePerno, respectively.
In the House, Democrats will have the majority for the first time in 12 years, holding 56 seats. Republicans will hold 54 seats in the chamber. Senate Democrats will have a 20 to 18 majority, controlling the chamber for the first time in 38 years.
Democrats also saw major wins in all statewide education posts. This includes the State Board of Education, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University.
Michigan set a new record in voter turnout for a midterm election with 4.4 million voters showing up to the polls on November 8. Of this total, 1.8 million were absentee voters. Michigan’s previous record was 4.3 million voters that showed up in the 2018 midterm elections.
According to multiple political pundits, the high voter turnout was in part due to Proposal Three, an initiative that would enshrine abortion rights in Michigan’s constitution. Prop Three passed with 55 percent of the vote. Proposal One, which creates new term limits and financial disclosure requirements, and Proposal Two, which enshrines the right to vote, among other things, passed with 65 percent and 58 percent of the vote, respectively.
Election results are not yet official as county boards have until November 22 to verify election results. Similarly, the Board of State Canvassers has until November 28 to certify results.
Senate and House Fiscal Agencies Report Higher Revenue Collections in 2021-2022
The Senate and House Fiscal Agencies reported 14.9 percent higher revenue collections in 2021-2022 than the previous fiscal year, according to the most recent October revenue update issued by those agencies.
According to the House Fiscal Agency, collections were $4.6 billion higher than the previous fiscal year with General Fund (GF) collections at $1.6 billion above the projected amount and School Aid Fund at $317.9 million above consensus estimates for the fiscal year. The Senate report showed similar numbers with the GF collections at $1.5 billion above consensus estimates and School Aid Fund collections at $414.7 million above consensus estimates. However, the agency stated that the above-consensus GF collections are likely to be partially offset by individual income tax refunds that came in below forecast.
State Announces New EMS Protocols
On November 2, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that emergency responders will now be permitted to carry emergency contraception and sexually transmitted infection treatment (post-exposure prophylaxis). These new protocols serve as another measure to improve Michigan’s sexual assault response to ensure survivors have access to appropriate medical care.
The Quality Assurance Task Force recently voted unanimously to approve new Medical Control Authority protocols proposed by the Whitmer Administration for critical follow-up care for sexual assault patients. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) also adopted the new protocols, advocating for more prevention and response tactics.
MDHHS will be providing training to all EMS agencies to better aid survivors. The protocols align with research that indicates there has been an increase in sexual assault survivors seeking medical care. Additionally, emergency department visits for sexual assault have been 15 times higher in the past decade.
This development comes after Governor Whitmer signed an executive directive 2022-05, for all state departments to identify opportunities to increase protections for reproductive healthcare.
Open Enrollment Begins in Michigan
On November 1, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) released a statement reminding Michiganders that the annual Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period began on November 1 and will end on January 15, 2023.
DIFS Director, Anita Fox, expressed that recent changes have increased access to health insurance. Michiganders are able to choose from 308 plans, 52 more options than last year. They encourage Michiganders to sign up for a plan during open enrollment to take advantage of newly extended subsidies to get low- or no- cost coverage.
The Inflation Reduction Act extended increased health insurance subsidies through the end of 2025. These expanded subsidies aim to help middle-income Michiganders afford comprehensive health insurance. Additionally, the U.S. Treasury Department recently took action to redefine what is considered “affordable,” to enable family members of employees to qualify for a subsidy rather than only the employee being covered.
Lastly, $4 million in Navigator grants have been awarded to three Michigan organizations to help expand access to qualified Navigators who provide free assistance to consumers who need help signing up for health insurance.
U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge in Redistricting Case
On Monday, November 7, Banerian v. Benson, a lawsuit challenging the adopted U.S. House redistricting plan, was dismissed as moot by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case was filed on January 20, 2022, by a group of Michigan Republicans, including conservative activists, former lawmakers, and at least one sitting lawmaker – Rep Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) –against the Michigan Secretary of State, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC), and the Commission’s members. The lawsuit alleges the adopted redistricting plan violates the U.S. Constitution, specifically the one person, one vote requirement. Plaintiffs also alleged the commissioners defied the communities of interest standard set forth in the Michigan Constitution.
In April, the map was upheld after a three-judge 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously denied the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction against the new congressional map. Judge Raymond Kethledge, who oversaw the case, wrote that the population deviation was not sufficient to warrant disapproval of the commission’s work. The commission was also said to follow the communities of interest standard. Mr. Kethledge additionally wrote that the plaintiffs did not identify an alternative plan that would better preserve communities’ interests while equally resembling the population.
Wayne County Judge Dismisses Claims of Election Violations
On Monday, November 7th, Wayne Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny dismissed a lawsuit from Kristina Karamo – the GOP Secretary of State candidate – requesting to change Detroit’s absentee voting processes ahead of the November 8 general election.
Judge Kenny wrote in his dissenting opinion that there was insufficient evidence to Karamo’s claims of election law violations in Detroit. The court could not single out one community in the state for a case that “did not provide evidence in any of the 12 alleged election code violations” (Docket No. 22-012759).
The suit, upon its filing, asked the court to require the city only to count absentee ballots submitted in person. However, the plaintiffs tried to change the nature of their wording after the fact. The plaintiffs specifically sought an injunction to require the Detroit clerk’s office to comply with election law by validating signatures on absentee ballots.
Judge Kenny dismissed the lawsuit as moot, claiming that the request for relief in future elections means there is no present claim before the court. He also made it clear that the plaintiff’s complaints were untimely and would potentially disenfranchise tens of thousands of Detroiters in the November 8, 2022, general election.