Michigan Bills to ‘Raise the Age’ for Adult Prosecution Head to Governor

October 16, 2019

Detroit Free Press

Angie Jackson

Bipartisan legislation headed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk would raise the age at which teenagers are automatically prosecuted as adults in Michigan.

Michigan is currently one of four states that treat all 17-year-olds charged with crimes as adults, regardless of their offense. The “Raise the Age” legislation would increase the age of criminal responsibility to 18, meaning that cases involving 17-year-olds would be handled in the juvenile justice system. This would keep them out of prison and give them more access to services to help them stay out of trouble.

Advocates have pointed to statistics that illustrate how funneling youth through the criminal justice system and incarcerating them among adults can be detrimental to their health and safety, and also increase recidivism.

The Senate on Wednesday approved a multi-bill package that now heads to Whitmer. The governor’s administration supports “the overall goal” of the legislation, said Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown.

The reform garnered backing from the business community, law enforcement, prosecutors, court administrators, and organizations such as the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Supporters praised the legislation as an improvement for youth and communities.

Leaders of the Detroit Regional Chamber support the legislation from the standpoint that raising the age gives teens a better chance at entering the workforce.

“I think all the evidence suggests that 17-year-olds do better when they’re in the juvenile system,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations with the chamber. “It gives them a better chance to live a life without re-offending, and frankly keeps more doors open for them in the job market. And as we talked to our members, having a broad talent pool is top of mind.”

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Wacker Hosts Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer at Silicones R&D Center

 

Ann Arbor, MI July 18, 2019 – Wacker Chemical Corporation (WCC) today welcomed Governor Gretchen Whitmer to WACKER’s Americas Region Silicones R&D Center located in Ann Arbor, MI, where she met with David Wilhoit, WCC President & CEO. They discussed a range of subjects, such as the State of Michigan’s vision to attract new business, create jobs, repair infrastructure and position Michigan as a high-tech industry and manufacturing hub. Additionally, they reviewed WACKER’s global growth plans, specifically as it relates to Michigan and the Ann Arbor area. The governor’s visit included a guided tour of the Silicones R&D Center and a close-up view of WACKER’s industry-leading 3D printing ACEO® technology. WACKER pioneered this novel technology, offering the first worldwide service for 3D printed silicone elastomer parts.

“Companies like WACKER are doing crucial work to make Michigan a world leader in innovation,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I’m excited to partner with them to ensure our businesses can succeed and attract more to our state by making Michigan a home for opportunity again. That means passing a budget that raises the revenue we need to fix the roads, boosts public education, closes the skills gap, and cleans up our drinking water. That’s how we build strong communities, grow our economy, and ensure every business can thrive here in Michigan.”

“WACKER and I deeply appreciate Governor Whitmer’s commitment and partnership with the business community to build Michigan into a globally and nationally-recognized leader in high-technology innovation,” said President & CEO David Wilhoit. “Developing the talent we already have and attracting additional highly-educated people, ensures our continued competitiveness in a global economy. We fully support the Governor’s efforts to improve our infrastructure and elevate Michigan’s technical expertise so companies like WACKER can compete worldwide,” added Wilhoit.

Wilhoit explained that demand for silicones will continue to grow across all segments, with particular growth coming from the automotive, health care and personal care markets. As WACKER grows and expands in Michigan, the company is actively engaging the regional academic community through student programs such as the University of Michigan’s local chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) and the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS). WACKER also has a very robust annual internship program with 27 student interns working across its Michigan sites for the summer.

WACKER remains committed to Michigan with manufacturing process and operations investments continuing in Adrian, a newly opened Silicones R&D Center in Ann Arbor, and plans are in place to relocate its regional headquarters and technical center from Adrian to a new Innovation Center and Americas Region Headquarters in the Ann Arbor area in the next couple of years.

For further information, please contact:
Wacker Chemical Corporation
Gwendolyn Knapp
Manager, Corporate Communications
Tel: +1 517 264-8581
gwendolyn.knapp@wacker.com
www.wacker.com

The Company in Brief:
WACKER is a globally-active chemical company with some 14,500 employees and annual sales of around € 4.98 billion (2018). WACKER has a global network of 24 production sites, 22 technical competence centers and 50 sales offices.

WACKER SILICONES
Silicone fluids, emulsions, rubber grades and resins; silanes; pyrogenic silicas; thermoplastic silicone elastomers

WACKER POLYMERS
Polyvinyl acetates and vinyl acetate copolymers and terpolymers in the form of dispersible polymer powders, dispersions, solid resins and solutions

WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS
Biotech products such as cyclodextrins, cysteine and biologics, as well as fine chemicals and PVAc solid resins

WACKER POLYSILICON
Polysilicon for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries

Whitmer, Duggan unveil campaign to boost interest in skilled trades

July 8, 2019

The Detroit News

Christine Ferretti

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined Monday with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to announce a new campaign aimed at helping Michigan employers fill an estimated 545,000 skilled-labor jobs opening up through 2026.

The public-private partnership, Going PRO in Michigan, is spearheaded by the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan, an office focused on professional skilled trade occupations and industries, officials said.

The effort, unveiled at a news conference at the Wayne County Community College’s northwest campus, will seek to dispel stigma surrounding the trades and highlight career options including welders, millwrights and electrical line workers, anesthesia and surgical technologists, web developers and industrial mechanics.

The Detroit chamber is among eight regional chambers of commerce — along with Lansing, Traverse City, Flint, Saginaw County, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, Southwest Michigan and Grand Rapids — that support Going PRO.

The campaign is also supported by organized labor groups, including the Operating Engineers Local 324, IBEW Local 58 and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, among others.

“While fields like healthcare and information technology weren’t historically considered a part of the professional trades, that’s no longer the case,” SEIU Heathcare Michigan President Andrea Acevedo said. “These are well-respected careers.”

Research from the state’s talent department, officials said, showed interest in professional trades varies by region, with 8% of individuals in southeast Michigan expressing interest in pursuing a training certificate.

Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah said without sufficient workers with the skills employers need, businesses and regions like Detroit can’t stay competitive.

“Going PRO is a key element that we need to fix that gap,” he said.

View the full article here

Jeb Bush, done with politics, thinks a Democrat who preaches civility will win nomination

June 8, 2019

Detroit Free Press

Carol Cain

Washington is a “cesspool” right now and the landscape for the 2020 presidential contest promises to be “turbulent, chaotic and will define our country going forward.”

That’s the assessment from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose 2016 run was crushed by Donald Trump.

Bush was one of the headliners at the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference, where he spoke to business leaders about education reform.

Bush said Florida’s gain as a state and improving reading levels and other metrics, (which started during his time as governor, was accomplished by focusing on early learning and literacy.

His state adopted a third-grade reading law that called for reading coaches to be hired for each school. He added that too many students aren’t reaching their potential because, “we don’t have the guts to say some things are working and some things are not. In this dynamic world we are living in, the lessons of Florida suggest we need dynamic policies to reflect it.”

Gretchen Whitmer, almost six months into her job as governor of Michigan, spent her first week at the Governor’s Summer Residence on the island the week the chamber’s conference was held.

The residence was built in 1902 as a summer cottage for Chicago lawyer Lawrence Andrew Young. Later the Hugo Scherer family of Detroit owned it, and then in 1944 the Mackinac Island State Park Commission purchased the home.

The residence, which has 12 bedrooms, has been used by Michigan governors to host events with national and state leaders. During the chamber’s conference, many of Whitmer’s department heads stayed there too.

Whitmer gave me a quick tour and talked about its history. Sen. John F. Kennedy visited the residence to talk with Gov. G. Mennen Williams to seek his support as he ran for president. She also pointed to a picture on the wall of the first car to drive across the Mackinac Bridge.

Speaking of building bridges, Whitmer, who signed a bill at the conference that changes to the state’s no-fault auto insurance, to the delight of business leaders who applauded as the two parties come together, is looking to the next challenge — fixing roads and infrastructure.

“We don’t have to look like Washington,” she said “We can focus on issues, compromise and get serious about things.”

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On Mackinac Island, leaders champion working together

May 29, 2019

WoodTV

Rick Albin

The first full day of the Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island highlighted the idea of working together.

Officials are hoping Michigan is in a new era in divided government that produces results for the state. There was some evidence of that when Republican leadership and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer agreed to a deal to reform the state’s auto insurance law last week.

“When we meet our obligations as Michiganders, every one of us benefits. We have a historic agreement. We’ve done more in five months than anyone’s been able to accomplish on that in five years,” Whitmer said Wednesday. “I think this bodes well for where we are headed in our state and fixing roads and education.”

However, that big compromise did not sit well with all stakeholders. Several providers of long-term and critical care health services worry about the impact the law will have going forward.

But that bipartisan deal did seem to set the tone for other big endeavors. For example, Whitmer rolled out an ambitious plan to have multiple autonomous vehicles built and operating in just over a year.

That will fall to developers, universities and manufacturers already working on the technology, which will be featured at the 2020 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Michigan Governor Signs Overhaul to Cut High Auto Premiums

May 30, 2019

U.S. News

Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed into law an overhaul of Michigan‘s car insurance system that will let drivers forego unlimited medical benefits to cover crash injuries.

The Democratic governor signed the bill Thursday at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s policy conference on Mackinac Island. She was joined by lawmakers and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Whitmer says it’s a “historic day” because the cost of auto insurance will go down.

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Shirkey: Whitmer ‘moving the goal posts’ on no-fault reform

May 9, 2019

Crain’s Detroit Business

Chad Livengood

[…]

With the annual Mackinac Policy Conference about two weeks away, the possibility of a grand bargain on no-fault and road funding being hatched on the porch of the Grand Hotel seems remote.

These two sides aren’t even talking to each other directly about the high points of the highly complicated issue of auto insurance.

Whitmer argued allowing her insurance department to administratively prohibit the use of non-driving factors for setting rates doesn’t “cut it.”

“The public would be furious if something was passed into law and were told a problem was fixed and it wasn’t,” Whitmer told reporters at the Capitol. “That’s exactly what happened on the last gas tax — they were told the roads were fixed and everyone knew darn well they weren’t. I’m not going to play games.”

And Shirkey made it clear Thursday that the deadline to negotiate a resolution is fast approaching.

“This is days, not weeks, before it goes to the governor,” Shirkey said. “… And there’s no reason to let it sit around because 7 million policyholders are waiting to embrace the savings opportunties that we’re providing them.”

View the full article here

Whitmer threatens to veto any auto insurance reform bill that ‘preserves a corrupt system’

May 9, 2019

MLive

Malachi Barrett

[…]

Ananich said Senate Democrats are ready build a bill that passes the governor’s desk.

“I think we could announce something on the porch of the Grand Hotel at the Mackinac Policy Conference if people are serious about finding a solution,” he said. “If it’s just about jamming something through and trying to play a game of chicken with the governor, it’s unfortunate, but I think there’s an actual path here for the first time.”

Meanwhile, Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox accused Whitmer of playing “partisan games.” In a Thursday statement, Cox said Whitmer is unwilling to compromise with the GOP-led Michigan legislature.

“The ball is still in the legislature’s court,” Whitmer said. “They can either negotiate in good faith and send me a bill that actually protects consumers while we also continue to negotiate a budget that fixes the damn roads, or they can send one of the current bills to me … and we can start all over again.”

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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Reappoints Kyle R. Dufrane to the Michigan Military Appeals Tribunal

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Reappoints Kyle R. Dufrane to the Michigan Military Appeals Tribunal

Detroit – April 30, 2019 — Dykema, a leading national law firm, announced today that Kyle R. Dufrane, Detroit-based member in the Firm’s Financial Services Litigation Practice Group, has been reappointed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the State’s Military Appeals Tribunal for a term that expires in April 2023. Dufrane has now been appointed by Governors from both major political parties, with his first appointment to the Tribunal coming from Governor Rick Snyder in 2011.

The Military Appeals Tribunal was created by Act 523 of the Public Acts of 1980. It consists of five members and has appellate jurisdiction, upon petition of an accused, to hear and review the record in all decisions of a court-martial after the review provided in the Michigan code of military justice. It sits as a panel of three members with the concurrence of two members necessary for a decision. The tribunal also may promulgate administrative rules.

Dufrane’s law practice focuses on litigating consumer financial services disputes for national financial institutions, pharmaceutical and medical device defense, automotive product liability defense, toxic tort, complex commercial litigation, and insurance litigation. He represents some of the nation’s largest financial institutions in matters concerning mortgage and consumer lending.

Dufrane also maintains an active role in several professional and legal organizations. In addition to the Military Appeals Tribunal, he was also previously appointed to serve as a Hearing Panelist for Michigan’s Attorney Discipline Board, and continues to serve the State Bar of Michigan in this position.
Dufrane earned a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Detroit and a A.B. from the University of Michigan.

About Dykema

Dykema serves business entities worldwide on a wide range of complex legal issues. Dykema lawyers and other professionals in 13 U.S. offices work in close partnership with clients – from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies – to deliver outstanding results, unparalleled service and exceptional value in every engagement.

GOP states discover a tax hike they have to like: for roads

April 14, 2019

Washington Post

David Eggert

[…]

“It’s going to take $2.5 billion a year,” said Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah of Michigan’s road-building needs. “Anyone who thinks you can cut even half of that out of other elements of the state budget without having significant ramifications to real people, you’re smoking something that’s not legal.”

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won election last year after running on the slogan “Fix the Damn Roads.” Her plan would gradually add 45 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas by October 2020, which would be more than double the current 26-cents-per-gallon gas tax and make it the highest in the country. GOP legislative leaders have dismissed the proposed hike as way too much, but they are leaving open the prospect of passing a more modest increase in the face of intense pressure from the business community.

In some states, Republican-leaning interests have become the biggest backers of higher taxes for this purpose, which is seen as necessary for economic development.

While consumers are acutely conscious of prices at the pump, legislators are struggling to get around the difficult realities of the fuel surcharge that funds transportation projects. They are also facing the echoes of the tax cut promises they made in winning over many heartland states in the last decade — that getting tougher on spending wouldn’t mean worse services.

In most states, the excise tax rate per gallon is fixed and doesn’t rise with inflation. And the federal gas tax has remained unchanged since 1993. Meanwhile, consumers are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles or are driving less, depressing revenue. The real purchasing power of the federal gas tax has fallen by 40% over the past quarter-century, and repair costs rise significantly when roads decline to a rating of poor or worse.

This winter, Michigan’s Department of Transportation had to close 10 miles of Interstate 75 in suburban Detroit — one of the state’s most heavily trafficked stretches — because of vehicle damage from cracks and potholes.

View the full article here.