Honigman Capitol Report


Lansing Mayor Drops out of 7th Congressional Race

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor decided to pass on running for the 7th Congressional District seat left open by U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin after she announced her campaign for U.S. Senate. The focus now moves to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrym and former Senator Curtis Hertel, although several other potential candidates remain. Schor cited wanted to focus on being the mayor of Lansing and not wanting to sacrifice family and personal time as the main reasons for dropping out. The District is shaping up to be competitive race, which will pit the Democratic candidate against likely Republican candidate Tom Barrett in a potential 50/50 general election. Barret ran for the 7th District seat in 2022 but although the district favored President Donald Trump in 2020, Slotkin defeated him in a close race.


House Passes Safe Storage Bills

The Democratic-led House passed legislation on Wednesday that would implement safe storage requirements to prevent youth access to firearms. The package included four Senate bills and four House bills, which went through several changes before the full vote. The bills were met with varying support from Republicans with five Republicans voting for the main bill in the package. The House already passed legislation implementing universal background checks and the next step is for the chamber to pass bills for extreme risk protection orders or “red flag law.” 


Final Votes to Repeal Right-to-Work and Restore Prevailing Wage

The Legislature took final votes Tuesday to repeal “right-to-work” law and to reinstate prevailing wage, which requires higher wages and benefits to be paid on state-financed construction projects. The bills were approved on 56-52 and 20-16 party-line votes. The legislation sailed through the House and Senate within weeks and has been applauded by organized labor while receiving criticism from business and conservative groups. Governor Gretchen Whitmer will sign the bills and both will take effect in March 2024.


Nationwide Survey: Biden Beats Trump but ties with DeSantis

In a March 9-13 nationwide survey from the Quinnipiac University polling department, President Joe Biden sits ahead of former President Donald Trump 49% to 45%. The margin of error is +/- 2.3 percentage points. In the matchup, Biden wins independents by 8 points, loses the male vote by 14 points, but secures the female vote by 21 points, with senior voters split. However, the President does not fare as well against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Biden sits slightly ahead 47% to 46% against the challenger. Independents and men go to the Governor, but 56% of female voters prefer Biden over DeSantis.






Looking Ahead

Budget Focus Coming after Spring Break: Democrats have been moving their priorities at a breakneck pace, however, we expect to see the Legislature change focus and start to work on the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. Currently, budget subcommittees have yet to put forward suggested budgets, while the legislature is set to begin a two week recess referred to as legislative “spring break”. Subcommittee work will reconvene swiftly after the break as we anticipate budgets being sent to the full Appropriations Committee by mid-April. 


Once subcommittee work is over, the budgets will receive further review and await the spring Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference before final financial targets are set and the last tweaks are made. With democrats in control of the legislature, Governor Whitmer’s executive budget recommendations will factor more heavily in the process than during her first term. It is most unlikely, however, that decisions will be made on spending down an unprecedented $9 Billion plus surplus without receiving the imprint of the legislature.

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