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Honigman Capitol Report

December 14, 2021

Economic Incentive Package Moves Forward

A proposed economic development incentive program moved forward in both the House and the Senate last week in an effort by the state to stay competitive for multi-billion dollar business investments for projects such as manufacturing. The proposed fund was introduced following frustrations over Michigan companies investing in out-of-state facilities rather than developing within the state. 

Supporters of the bills expressed concerns that the state may fall behind in the electric vehicle market and lose standing in the manufacturing industry if incentives were not provided. Opponents raised concerns that the bills favor major corporations over small businesses. 

Further movement of the bills is expected next week before the Legislature wraps up for the year.

ICRC Continues to Face Controversy

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission’s closed session should not have been held outside of public view according to an opinion issued by Attorney General Dana Nessel last month. The opinion was issued approximately a month after Senator Ed McBroom (Republican) and Senator Jeff Irwin (Democrat), requested Nessel provide an opinion on whether the ICRC violated the Constitution by entering a closed session. Lawyers for the redistricting panel have urged the commission to keep the memos discussed during the closed session private in spite of calls from the public, several legislators and the attorney general to release them.

A lawsuit has been filed by three Michigan newspapers with the Michigan Supreme Court against the ICRC in the latest attempt to get the commission to release the memos. The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press and Bridge Michigan previously filed Freedom of Information Act requests for the memos which were denied. In addition to the release of the memos, the complaint also asks the Court to compel the ICRC to release the recording of the closed session and other materials used to draw maps.

Whitmer Changes Strategy in Line 5 Case

Governor Whitmer dismissed her federal lawsuit seeking to shut down Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 pipeline last month in order to allow Attorney General Nessel’s case in Ingham County Circuit Court to move forward. With the dismissal at the federal level, the state case can now proceed. Whitmer issued a statement that the “goal remains the same: protecting the Great Lakes, protecting Michigan jobs, and protecting Michigan’s economy.”

However, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey chastised the governor for trying to shut down the pipeline and Representative John Damoose stated that “the governor and attorney general are trying to eliminate a major source of energy for the Upper Peninsula and other areas of the state.”

Earlier last month, the Canadian government filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court case indicating that diplomatic discussions and negotiations were in progress to decide if Whitmer’s actions in pursuit of shutting down the pipeline violated international law.

12th Candidate Confirmed in Republican Governor Race

Kevin Rinke

Bloomfield Hills business man Kevin Rinke confirmed last month that he is joining the race to be the Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2022. Rinke may be the best funded candidate so far and has stated he plans to put $10 million of his own money into the campaign. So far, Detroit Police Chief James Craig leads fundraising efforts with $1.4 million through October 20.

In additional to Rinke and Craig, 10 other candidates have announced their bid for Michigan governor. Candidates have until April 16 to collect at least 15,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the 2022 primary.

About Honigman's Government Relations and Regulatory Practice

Mark A. Burton 


Kevin M. Blair 


Doug E. Mains 

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