Review our Government Relations Update - Caucus Call: Lansing
This Week's Updates
The Michigan House and Senate will be in session Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.
Cannabis Caregiver Legislation Reported From House Committee
- Who needs to know: Attorneys / consultants who work with unlicensed growers at the caregiver level
- Potential impact: This legislation would drastically change the cannabis regulatory structure, as it pertains to the caregiving system.
A six-bill package that changes the rules for caregivers providing cannabis to patients outside of the dispensary model. House Bills 5300, 5301, 5302, 5318, 5320, and 5321 was passed out of the House Regulatory Reform Committee last week. This package evoked a very emotional response from caregiver and patient advocates. Bill sponsors described the proposal as a way to protect patients by making sure that all cannabis was tested and held to the same standards. Opponents to the legislation framed the proposal as an attack on the caregiver model and an attempt by the Legislature to force caregivers into the more corporate model.
The package now moves to the House floor for further consideration. It is widely expected that the package will receive consideration before the Legislature takes its two-week hunting break at the end of November.
Community Solar Legislation Discussed in Committee
- Who needs to know: Businesses that are impacted by the high cost of energy in Michigan. Developers looking to grow their “green” appeal. Property owners that are looking for opportunities to rent own acreage for small solar farms.
- Potential impact: An MSU study recently found that the addition of 900 megawatts of solar energy projects could contribute more than $1.4 billion in gross state product and create approximately 18,500 jobs.
The House Energy Committee took testimony last week on House Bills 4715 and 4716, legislation to allow for community solar projects in the state of Michigan. The bills would have the Michigan Public Service Commission create a regulatory scheme for the projects, that allows for subscribers to receive a credit on their electric bills. Twenty-one other states allow for these types of projects. These projects create resiliency and diversity in the generation grid and allow for solar projects in smaller, more remote areas of the state.
DTE and Consumers Energy both opposed the legislation, arguing that they are in a better position to be able to provide industrial scale renewable energy to the state than programs like these.
Campaign Update – One Year Out From 2022 Election
- Who needs to know: Anyone interested in statewide politics and policy
- Potential impact: How are national politics, COVID-19 policies and general economic conditions impacting next year’s statewide races?
Democrat incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer showed impressive fundraising numbers from the last quarter. She raised $3.1 million in the most recent reporting period, bringing her total cash on hand to $12 million. A significant amount of this total was raised in excess of usual limits due to an ongoing recall effort against the Governor. State law allows a candidate that is subject to a recall effort to accept donations above normal limits.
Republican candidates for Governor include former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Garrett Soldano, Tudor Dixon, and Kevin Rinke. Perceived frontrunner Craig reported raising $1.4 million during the last quarter, leaving him with $966,000 cash on hand. Soldano has raised nearly $500,000 for the quarter and has $470,000 on hand. Dixon raised $415,000, with $165,000 remaining. Rinke did not list any donations for the last quarter.
Democrat incumbent Attorney General Dana Nessel reported raising over $450,000 in the last quarter, giving her a total of $1.4 million in remaining cash.
Republican candidates for Attorney General include Plunkett Cooney’s own Tom Leonard who has raised over $350,000 this quarter, giving him $409,000 in the bank. Representative Ryan Berman took in $202,000 for his campaign, with $180,000 remaining. Matthew DePerno reported $76,000 in donations, with $47,000 remaining in his account.
Secretary of State:
Democrat incumbent Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson collected $450,000 in donations, leaving her with $1 million in available cash.
Republican candidates for Secretary of State include Kristina Karamo who raised almost $100,000 for the quarter, and she has $116,000 available in cash. Representative Beau LaFave recently announced his run, reported receiving $5,700 in donations. Chesterfield Township Clerk Cindy Berry announced her candidacy recently but didn’t report any fundraising activity yet.
While these key elections are still a year away, races are starting to become more defined at the statewide level. Issues like the economy, COVID-19 related policies and national politics are starting to affect these races. As expected, incumbents in the statewide offices, as well as individual House and Senate districts did well with their fundraising. What remains to be seen is the impact of the new Independent Citizens’ Redistricting Commission’s efforts to redraw legislative lines and how that will impact caucus in-fighting and priorities.
- The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission will continue their public meetings on proposed elections maps this week.
- The House Regulatory Reform Committee has a lengthy agenda for Tuesday that includes bills on industrial hemp, medical marijuana and business entities.
- The Michigan Liquor Control Commission will have a meeting on Tuesday.
- The Transportation Asset Management Council will meet on Wednesday.
- The House Health Policy Committee will meet on Thursday and has a lengthy agenda that includes bills on prescription drugs, mental health and patient directives.
- The Michigan Commission for Logistics and Supply Chain Collaboration will meet on Thursday.
- The Michigan Public Service Commission will meet on Thursday.
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