Review our Government Relations Update - Caucus Call: Lansing

Peter J. Langley

Caucus Call Lansing

This Week's Updates

The Michigan House and Senate will be in session Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.

No-Fault Changes Proposed

  • Who needs to know: Auto insurers operating in Michigan
  • Potential impact: Proposed changes to Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance law would change current fee schedule to promote rehabilitation services.

State Representative Phil Green is proposing legislation that would make significant changes to recently enacted reforms to Michigan’s automobile insurance law. Rep. Green seeks to create a fee schedule, rather than a fee cap, for services prescribed within the law. Currently, the law allows providers to charge 200% of Medicare rates for services, if no corresponding Medicare rates exists, then the provider may charge 55% of their current rates. Rehabilitation service providers have said that this level of reimbursement is not an adequate amount, and it has caused businesses to shut down and patients to go without care.

The legislation was announced during a lobby day for one of the groups supporting changes to the law but has yet to be formally introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives. Of note, is the sponsor indicated co-sponsorship from at least three members of the House Insurance Committee. Rep. Green said he did not have sign-off from House Republican leadership on the bill, but he has been working to keep them informed of his progress on this bill during its development.

Legislation Considered to Change Number of Judgeships in Michigan

  • Who needs to know: Attorneys practicing in Newaygo, Oceana, Lake, Mason, Wayne, Saginaw, Muskegon, Ottawa, Cheboygan, Presque Isle and Kent counties.
  • Potential impact: Numerous bills are being considered to address judicial changes in the above counties per a report by the State Court Administrative Office.

The House Committee on Judiciary took testimony on multiple bills that would address the SCAO’s Judicial Resources Recommendations report. The report is done every two years to make recommendations on the addition or deletion of judges based on caseload in the state of Michigan. These bills are the result of the 2019 report and reflects the workload from 2017, 2018 and 2019. Further, Tom Boyd from the SCAO’s office testified that COVID related issues have made a mess of the court’s workload, and they are still working to update the weighted caseload information.

Judicial changes that are considered in this package of bills include:

27th Judicial Circuit – Newaygo and Oceana counties, move from two judges to one if a vacancy occurs. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022 the Circuit would change to Newaygo and Lake counties.

51st Judicial Circuit – Lake and Mason counties – would maintain its single judgeship, however beginning Jan. 1, 2022, the Circuit would change to Mason and Oceana counties.

79th Judicial Circuit – Lake and Mason counties – would maintain its district of the first class and a single judge, however the Circuit would change to Mason and Oceana counties.

3rd Judicial Circuit – Wayne County – add an additional judge to the circuit effective Jan. 1, 2023.

10th Judicial Circuit – Saginaw County – maintain the current five judges in the Circuit.

14th Judicial Circuit – Muskegon County – create an additional judgeship effective Jan. 1, 2023.

20th Judicial Circuit – Ottawa County – create an additional judgeship effective Jan. 1, 2023.

89th Judicial Circuit – Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties – maintain the existing number of judges despite reductions that are currently in statute pending the vacancy of a judgeship.

Kent County – allows Kent County to have an additional probate judge effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Week Ahead:

  • Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee will be considering the Judicial Resource Recommendations report discuss above.
  • Tuesday, the House Regulatory Reform Committee will be considering legislation making changes to Michigan’s Industrial Hemp laws.
  • Tuesday, the Michigan Underground Storage Tank Authority Board of Directors will be meeting.
  • Wednesday, the House Energy Committee will be discussing Energy Storage.
  • Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee will be taking testimony on multiple bills making changes to Michigan’s Tobacco Products Tax.
  • Wednesday, the Michigan Municipal Stability Board will be meeting.
  • Thursday, the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee will be meeting to discuss prescription drug policy changes.
  • Thursday, the Environmental Rules Review Committee will be meeting.
  • Friday, the Juvenile Justice Reform Task Force will be meeting.
  • Friday, the Emergency Medical Service Coordination Committee will be meeting.

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