Wednesday, January 25th, 2023State of the State Address
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023Release of the Governor’s Executive Recommendations
Supreme Court Dismisses Abortion Lawsuit
The Michigan Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit brought forward by Governor Gretchen Whitmer that asked the high court to rule on the constitutionality of Michigan’s 1931 law that banned abortions.
With the passage of Proposal 3 in November 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court dismissed Whitmer’s case as moot. This comes after Governor Whitmer asked the court to withdraw her request. The request, which she originally filed following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, kept Michigan’s 1931 ban on abortions from going into effect until residents had a chance to vote on Proposal 3.
Senate Passes Supplemental; MICRC Given $1.5M
As previously reported in Updates from the Capitol, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) sued the state Legislature for failure to properly fund the commission on December 12, 2022. The commission expected the Legislature to appropriate around $3.1 million to the commission for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, but a year-end supplemental was not passed prior to adjournment.
On January 18, the Senate passed two close-of-books supplemental appropriations bills to provide funding for multiple departments for FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23. The supplementals included $1.5 million for MICRC’s expenses, about half of what the commission originally asked for in 2022.
Senate Bill 7 appropriates $146.3 million for FY 2021-22 and $1.5 million for FY 2022-23. Senate Bill 8, a School Aid supplemental, appropriates $45.6 million for FY 2021-22 and $27.9 million for FY 2022-23. Both bills have been transmitted to the House for further consideration.
Whitmer Makes Appointment to Board of State Canvassers
On January 13, Governor Whitmer announced the re-appointment of Mary Ellen Gurewitz and Richard Houskamp to the Board of State Canvassers. Mary Ellen Gurewitz of Detroit was appointed to represent Democrats and Richard Houskamp of Grand Rapids is appointed to represent Republicans. Both of their terms begin on February 1, 2023 and will expire January 31, 2027. Their appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.
The Board of State Canvassers canvasses and certifies statewide elections, canvasses nominating petitions and state-level ballot proposals and their petitions, approves electronic voting systems for use in the state and, when necessary, conducts recounts for state-level offices. The Board is currently composed of four members with two members from each major political party.
Let MI Kids Learn, Secure MI Vote Withdraw Petitions
Three petitions were withdrawn following outcomes of the 2022 election. Let MI Kids Learn withdrew its two initiative petitions and Secure MI Vote withdrew its one petition on December 28, 2022. The Secure MI Vote ballot initiative would have made a law requiring identification to vote, while the Let MI Kids Learn ballot initiatives would establish a scholarship program to provide grants to low-income students for education expenses and allow those who donate to claim tax credits.
Both initiatives were circulated with the expectation that the Republican-led House and Senate would vote them into law, but the signatures were filed after the deadline that would put the initiatives on the 2022 ballot, pushing them out to the 2024 ballot. With a Democratic trifecta in Lansing, the initiatives likely would have been defeated or ignored by lawmakers, especially after the passage of Proposal 22-2 which enshrined voting measures into the state’s constitution.
Clement Selected as Chief Justice
On Wednesday, January 4, Justice Elizabeth Clement was unanimously elected to serve as chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court for the two-year term following the resignation of former Chief Justice Bridget McCormack.
Chief Justice Clement was first appointed to the bench by former Republican Governor Rick Snyder. She will lead the 4-3 Democratic-appointed majority that will also be majority female with the recent addition of Justice Kyra Harris Bolden.
Hovey Appointed as Director MSHDA
Following approval from federal officials, Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has officially named Amy Hovey as the executive director.
Hovey served as a contract consultant for MSHDA while awaiting the finalization of her appointment as executive director. Hovey’s priorities include collaborating with the Housing Partnership Advisory Board to implement their housing goal of creating 75,000 new housing units across Michigan over the next five years. This is in accordance with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order signed in September which created the Housing Partnership Advisory Board to ensure federal funding for affordable housing and housing equity.