Honigman Capitol Report
Flint Water Settlement Gets the Green Light
After a long and tumultuous battle, a federal judge granted final approval to the unprecedented $626.25 million partial settlement resolving multiple civil lawsuits against former and current state employees related to the Flint Water Crisis. The settlement will be paid out by the state, city of Flint, McLaren Regional Medical Center and Rowe Professional Services, with 80% of the payments going to those who were under 18 at the time of the crisis.
While numerous objections were filed against the settlement, the judge’s order denied all objections and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich hailed the decision as “an important declaration that the State will be held accountable when its actions – or inactions – cause irreparable harm.”
Civil litigation is still pending against multiple engineering firms and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Federal Vaccine Mandate criticized by Michigan Legislature & Business Groups
The Michigan Legislature, led by the Republican majority, issued a legal brief joining Petitioner States in calling for the workplace Covid-19 vaccine mandate to be stopped. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey opined that the mandate is “unnecessary, unwarranted, unproductive and indefensible.”
Secure MI Ballot Initiative wins in the Michigan Supreme Court
Protect MI Vote’s (PMV) request to the Supreme Court to rule that Secure MI Vote’s (SMV) petition was improperly approved by the Board of State Canvassers was denied this week.
SMV’s petition seeks to prevent donations from outside sources to run elections including “in-kind contributions” and requires photo ID for in-person voters and absentee ballot applications. Critics claim an unintended consequence of preventing outside donations will be to stop communities from using churches free of charge as polling locations, churches currently account for 20% of polling locations statewide.
ICRC Enters Final Stage of Map Adoption
The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is inching closer to the finish line. An upcoming public comment period on choosing Michigan’s next Senate, House and Congressional district lines will be followed by a late December meeting of the commission to choose from 15 published maps. The final meetings are scheduled for November 18 and December 2, 16 and 30. The months long process continues to draw criticism. A bill to clarify the Open Meetings Act has been introduced to the Senate in direct response to the commission’s decision to discuss advice from its general counsel behind closed doors last month.