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Here is your Government Affairs Update for August 16, 2022

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.

Other

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.

Gubernatorial Election

  • Conservative Commentator Tudor Dixon overwhelmingly won the Republican gubernatorial race and will face Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November.

U.S. House

  • 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.

  • State Representative Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit) prevailed in the 13th Congressional District, beating out State Senator Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) in a closely watched race. He is expected to win in November in this comfortable Democrat seat.

  • Democrat incumbent Congresswoman Haley Stevens beat out Democrat incumbent Congressman Andy Levin after redistricting led to a face-off in the new 11th District.

Michigan Senate

  • Incumbent Senator Kim LaSata (R-St. Joseph) lost to Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Jonathan Lindsey in the 17th Senate District – a comfortable GOP seat.

  • In a similar faceoff between incumbent Lana Theis (R-Brighton) and Trump-endorsed candidate, Mike Dettmer, Senator Theis prevailed and is headed to the general election in a comfortable GOP seat.

  • In a closely-watched race between two incumbent Democrat Senators – Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) and Senator Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit) –Senator McMorrow won handily and is expected to win 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).

  • According to MIRS News, the number of state Senators from Detroit will drop from five to two, in large part due to redistricting.

Michigan House

  • Two House Republicans lost their elections largely as a result of redistricting:

    • State Senator Doug Wozniak (R-Shelby Township) who was drawn into a district with Senator Ruth Johnson chose to run for the House and beat out incumbent Representative Terence Mekoski (R-Shelby Township).

    • Incumbent Representative Rodney Wakeman (R-Frankenmuth) lost to former Tuscola County Commissioner Matthew Bierlein as redistricting left him with some fairly new territory to cover

  • Representative Andrew Beeler (R-Fort Gratiot) defeated Representative Gary Eisen (R-St. Clair) in the only House Republican race featuring two incumbents.

  • According to MIRS News, the number of state representatives from Detroit will drop from seven to six. Again, in large part due to redistricting.

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.

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