Legislative Updates & Schedule
The Michigan House and Senate are adjourned for much of July and August. We do not expect legislative activity to resume until September. There will be limited session days leading up to the November election. After the election, the Legislature will return in late November the final push of the 2021-2022 legislative session, known as “lame duck”. Major issues, such as the fate of behavioral health reform, could be on the negotiating table at the end of the year.
Michigan Primary Election
Michigan’s primary election took place on Tuesday, August 2. Candidates for the Michigan House, the Michigan Senate, the U.S. House, the Governor’s office, and several court seats were on the ballot.
Historically, primary elections don’t bring many surprises as incumbents seldom lose. This year shaped up to be decidedly different with new district lines and several Republicans challenged by candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Overall, the former president saw five of his endorsements lose and five of his endorsements win their races.
After voting for the impeachment of former President Trump, Republican Congressman Peter Meijer fell to Trump-endorsed candidate John Gibbs in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District. The district is a toss-up and Democrats are hopeful that their candidate, Hillary Scholten of Grand Rapids, can prevail in November.
Three Republican House Members will likely move to the Senate after winning their primaries: Representative Annette Glenn (R-Midland), Representative Joseph Bellino (R-Monroe), and Representative John Damoose (R-Harbor Springs).
The November general election will take place on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
Update on Reproductive Health in Michigan
Michigan continues to grapple with the new reproductive health landscape in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
On July 29, Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, who issued the injunction temporarily blocking the state’s 1931 abortion ban, denied a motion from Republicans in the Legislature to disqualify her from the case Planned Parenthood vs. Attorney General, challenging the constitutionality of the 1931 law. Concerns from Republicans stemmed from Judge Gleicher’s previous ties to Planned Parenthood and personal campaign contributions to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel.
On Monday, August 1, the Court of Appeals ruled that the abortion ban does not apply to local county prosecutors (who are not under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Attorney General), potentially opening the door for felony charges to be brought against physicians who perform abortions. Hours later, however, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham granted Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request for a temporary restraining order to prohibit enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 statute criminalizing abortion. In effect, local county prosecutors remain prohibited from criminally prosecuting abortion in Michigan while the order is pending.
During a hearing on August 3 in the Oakland County Circuit Court, the restraining order was extended and another hearing on August 17 is scheduled. It is possible the order could be extended for an indeterminate period.
Separately, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s newest filing calls on the Supreme Court to immediately consider the April lawsuit which asked the court to decide if the state’s constitution protects the right to abortion.