The House has unanimously approved a five-bill package of legislation (SB 425-429) that will allow people to register to vote online; Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped to 4 percent in September. The number of jobless in the state fell below 200,000 last month for the first time since September 2000; Legislators have finished session work and headed back home to hit the campaign trail until the 14 scheduled session days in lame duck; The state's attempt to have some existing unlicensed marijuana businesses close by Sept. 15 ended up in court. So now the state has issued a new set of rules and made the deadline Oct. 31 instead; Legalization of the use of CBD oil, or cannabidiol, without the need of a medical marijuana card, has passed the House and been sent to the Senate; and the first case of chronic wasting disease in the Upper Peninsula has been confirmed by the Department of Natural Resources. It is the first deer to test positive among the 625 deer tested this year. Click here for the October 2018 Karoub Report for further information on these and other legislative issues.

Michigan voters will not be able to vote a straight-ticket when they go to the polls in November. Voters will not decide on paid sick leave or a $12 minimum wage. In a late move to take control of the citizen initiated petitions, the House and Senate passed the measures with the intent of Republican leadership to come back in lame duck to amend one or both of them.

The statewide ballot proposals in the November general election are:
• Proposal 1 would allow personal possession and use of marijuana by people older than 21 while regulating the distribution and commercial production of recreational marijuana.
• Proposal 2 would end partisan gerrymandering in Michigan by creating a non-partisan, transparent, and citizen-driven Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.
• Proposal 3 would amend the state constitution to authorize automatic and Election Day, voter registration, no-reason absentee voting and straight-ticket voting; and add current legal requirements for military overseas voting and post-election audits to the Michigan Constitution.

The Michigan Department of Corrections plans to close the Ojibway Correctional Facility in Gogebic County on Dec. 1. Two other prisons have been closed in the past two years – Pugsley Correctional Facility in Grand Traverse County and the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon County. Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer are planning three televised debates and chose their lieutenant governor running mates. Schuette tapped former state representative and Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons and Whitmer named Garlin Gilchrist II of Detroit as her running mate. U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain has issued a permanent injunction stopping the state from enacting Public Act (PA) 268 which eliminated the option of straight-ticket voting in the foreseeable future for Michigan voters. Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration is recommending sales tax collected from online retailers outside of Michigan – more than $200 million – be spent to fix roads. Governor Snyder has announced new plans that would provide universal access to highspeed internet for every Michigan resident, business, region and community and the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Ann Arbor and Clio school districts’ ban on anyone bringing a weapon into a school building will stand. For more information on these and other legislative issues, click here for the August 2018 Karoub Report.

The Aug. 7 Primary Election set a modern day voter turnout record with the number of ballots cast expected to exceed 2 million. Michigan voters will hear “Fix the Damn Roads” and “I have been endorsed by President Trump” for the next three months as Democrat Gretchen Whitmer and Republican Bill Schuette won their respective primaries. Campaigning will continue to see who will succeed Governor Rick Snyder as state's next Governor in the November general election. In his first foray into politics, John James, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and businessman, defeated venture capitalist Sandy Pensler to win the Republican primary. James will run against three-term incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Delta Twp.) in November’s election. Other state senator and representative primary race winners are also highlighted in the Special Election Karoub Report.

Lawmakers have only 30 days of session scheduled for the remainder of the year with the House actually at 29 days. The House will return to session after Labor Day for the month of September, although three of those weeks are just two-day session weeks. The Senate meets one extra day that month. But the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV) says lawmakers should return to Lansing immediately to undertake investigations as to why the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 2012 did not take a staffers report connecting PFAS chemical contamination to various diseases and health issues. Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law legislation (SB 652, 653 and 654) that gives him the power to appoint three new commissions within the DEQ. Closing arguments have been held in a 24-day preliminary exam on whether Department of Human Services Director Nick Lyons had individual legal duty by statute or otherwise to notify the public about Flint’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in 2014 and 2015. The Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) recently heard oral arguments from both sides of the Voter Not Politicians (VNP) ballot proposal to have an independent commission redraw Michigan’s political districts. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has mounted a legal challenge to a ballot proposal that is designed to put an end to gerrymandering in the state. The paid sick leave and minimum wage increase ballot proposals are opposed by Michigan Opportunity, a ballot question committee affiliated with the Michigan Restaurant Association. Michigan Opportunity has filed a complaint in the Court of Appeals alleging the minimum wage increase proposal “unlawfully seeks to amend the current law by reference and without re-enactment and publication of that law as required.” Michigan drivers need to keep their distance from bikers, allowing at least three feet of space while passing bicyclists on the road under legislation (HB 4198, 4185 and 4265) signed into law by Gov. Snyder. Click here for more details in the July 2018 Karoub Report.