Former Michigan Senate Chief of Staff joins firm’s government affairs group

Peter J. Langley, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekof, recently joined Plunkett Cooney as a senior attorney in the firm’s Lansing office.

A member of the Plunkett Cooney’s Government Relations, Public Policy and Regulatory Practice Group, Langley also assists clients as a member of the firm’s Environment, Energy and Resources Group.

“We are excited to add Pete to our growing team,” said Government Relations Practice Group Leader and former Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, Tom Leonard. “His strong reputation and experience at the highest levels of the Legislature and as an executive director for the American Petroleum Institute make him an invaluable resource to our clients.”

Langley’s public- and private-sector background includes consulting, business development and planning, contract management, strategic planning, government relations, advocacy and lobbying, coalition and public-policy development, and legislation drafting.

Prior to joining Plunkett Cooney, which is one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, Langley served as President of Strategic Policy Solutions, a full-service government relations and advocacy firm, specializing in energy, healthcare and regulatory issues. Langley also previously served as executive director of the American Petroleum Institute of Michigan where he represented some of the world’s largest energy producers. While there, he developed coalitions to move forward large infrastructure projects and energy priorities in the state.

In addition to his government relations and public policy expertise, Langley assists clients in the areas of environmental and energy law, regulatory compliance and related matters. He received his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2007 and his undergraduate degree from Northern Michigan University in 1997.

Plunkett Cooney’s Government Relations, Public Policy and Regulatory Practice Group focuses on policy development, strategic collaboration, coalition and relationship building, legislation monitoring and bill tracking. The firm works with clients in numerous industries to develop creative and proactive solutions designed to meet the challenges of dealing with local, county and state government.

Plunkett Cooney has also been a decade’s long partner in the effort to provide traditional energy sources and to develop and bring to market sources of alternative and renewable energy. Members of the firm’s Environment, Energy and Resources Law Group include attorneys with specific expertise in transactional and government-related areas of practice. These services include contract negotiation, employment law, business litigation, energy regulatory compliance, environmental matters, governmental relations, finance and many others.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of business and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 150 attorneys in seven Michigan cities; Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms.

For more information about Peter Langley joining Plunkett Cooney’s Government Relations, Public Policy and Regulatory Practice Group, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing and Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008; jcornwell@plunkettcooney.com.

####

Legislative Update: Raise the Age Unanimously Clears Senate Committee

The Chamber is a longstanding supporter of juvenile detainment reform. A package of 16 bills that raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18 recently cleared a Senate committee and is being prepared to move to Gov. Whitmer. Under these changes, 17-year-olds are subject to the juvenile justice system instead of state prisons. This legislation changes Michigan statute so that minors currently entrapped in the penal system can instead receive age-appropriate rehabilitation and then participate in Michigan’s workforce without the disadvantage of a criminal record.

Michigan’s Talent Shortage Requires Preparing All Types of Citizens

To ensure we are building the future workforce that the economy demands, the Detroit Regional Chamber is focused on supporting smart policy that will empower and prepare all types of Michiganders to fill the talent demand for employers across the region and state that tell us their top issue is a talent shortage.

The Chamber has advocated in the education and workforce space for decades with a focus on increasing postsecondary education attainment through policies such as increased dual enrollment and expanded, need-based financial aid, among other focuses on K-12 education.

There is a significant opportunity for the nearly 700,000 people in Detroit that have started college but “stopped out” before receiving a degree or credential to connect with the required education or training businesses need in their talent pool.

To get more of Michigan’s citizens into the workforce and continue to grow the economy, the Chamber supports:

  • Michigan Reconnect, to help connect a large portion of the adult population without degrees or certificates on a path towards continued education. This policy work is supported by the Chamber’s education and talent strategy program work that is already reengaging adult students with some or no college experience in the Detroit region to get them on a track to a degree or training certificate.
  • Going Pro in Michigan, to upskill and rescale adults who find themselves left behind in our rapidly changing economy.
  • Criminal Justice Reform, to reduce lengthy and costly sentences and provide age-appropriate rehabilitation. Currently, the Chamber is advocating for a six-bill expungement reform package is going through the Michigan House of Representatives that will open up the expungement process to many Michigan residents who struggle to find a job because of past criminal records and open up eligibility for a number of low-level offenses such as traffic offenses that are ineligible under the current expungement law.
  • Immigration Reform, to fix the broken immigration system and provide businesses with global talent that will help keep our economy competitive.

The data shows that getting our high school graduates into the right universities or skilled trade programs is not enough to produce the workforce pipeline needed to be competitive in a 21st-century economy and beyond. By engaging all kinds of populations, Michigan can meet the talent demands businesses require and be an economically competitive state.

 

Detroit Regional Chamber’s Core Principles on Auto Insurance Reform

With auto insurance debates heating up in Lansing, the Detroit Regional Chamber is highly involved in the discussions working with bipartisan legislators and the governor’s office. The Chamber membership and Board are united in the recognition that the high cost of auto insurance is a critical issue that impacts our state’s economic development, talent attraction, and citizen well-being, and must be addressed.

The Chamber is eager to support legislation that meets the following criteria:

  • Result in a statewide and quantifiable reduction in auto insurance rates.
  • Recognize that rate reduction must be even greater in urban areas. Even a 20% reduction in urban areas leaves auto insurance unaffordable for low-income residents.
  • Reduce the number of uninsured drivers through rate reduction and increased mobility options for low-income residents.
  • Maintain Michigan’s high-quality health care delivery system.
  • Reduce insurance related fraud.

Detroit Regional Chamber Reform Vision

Auto insurance is a statewide issue that demands to be addressed. While our membership does not have a consensus view regarding detailed solutions, the Chamber supports the following core principles.

  • Reform should provide additional oversight of attendant care, particularly when delivered by relatives of the injured.
  • Michigan should pursue insurance fraud at all levels through a strong fraud authority or another enforcement mechanism.
  • Any proposed regulation of reimbursement rates should consider:

– The impact on motorists requiring catastrophic care, particularly care in trauma centers.

– The ability of health care providers to provide quality care.

– The need to lower rates for drivers across geographic, socioeconomic, and other demographic factors.

– Michigan’s insurance rates are high across the state, however, drivers in urban areas are disproportionately impacted. Reviewing the factors that cause high rates should be a special focus of policymakers.

  • Uninsured drivers in high-cost areas, like the city of Detroit, are left with few alternatives to driving illegally because of the region’s lack of effective and efficient public transportation. The number of uninsured drivers is a key component of insurance costs and the region’s consistent failure to provide mobility options has exacerbated the problem.

The Chamber Board endorsed these principles in 2017. The Chamber’s Government Relations team urges that all impacted parties must be at the table and compromise equally – there is no one single aspect of this challenge that can solve this problem – or can escape reform.

MICHauto Investors Gather in Lansing for Annual Meetings with Legislators

“Meeting with legislators is crucial to ensuring that policymakers understand the industry’s issues, opportunities, and our collective economic impact,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

On Tuesday, April 16, the Chamber’s MICHauto initiative gathered executives from 25 automotive companies to meet with 25 legislators in Lansing for the 2019 Automobility Day at the Capitol. Automotive experts and executives discussed the industry’s impact with legislators including MICHauto’s 2019 policy priorities. This year’s priorities focus on the further development of talent, technology, and trade as the key drivers of progress.

“The MICHauto policy priorities were created with the automotive industry and represent their thoughts on what we need to focus on to ensure future economic success,” Stevens said.

MICHauto values the opportunity to foster collaboration between industry leaders and the state government, which will ultimately strengthen Michigan’s economy and reinforce its standing as the automotive capital of the world. Many individuals contribute to this shared effort, and each year MICHauto recognizes one of them for their commitment to supporting the automotive and mobility industry in Michigan.

This year, MICHauto named Rep. Rebekah Warren Legislator of the Year for her dedication to driving next-generation vehicle R&D, her sponsorship and creation of the framework to allow the establishment of the American Center for Mobility, and her appointment on the Michigan Council on Future Mobility.

The sixth annual Automobility Day at the Capitol highlighted how a strong partnership with Michigan’s political leadership will continue to promote a promising future for the state’s automotive and mobility industry.

 

Top Automotive Executives to Meet with Legislators On MICHauto Policy Priorities; Rep. Rebekah Warren Named Legislator of the Year

LANSING, MICH, April 16, 2019 – Today, MICHauto, a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, convenes executives from 25 automotive companies for meetings with 25 state legislators in Lansing. For the sixth consecutive year, MICHauto has brought together the automotive industry and legislators to discuss the impact of the industry across the state. For the second year, industry leaders identified policy priorities that are most important to their continued growth.

The 2019 policy priorities focus on the following areas:

  • Industry Talent Pipeline: Development of a strong talent pipeline for the automotive industry and next-generation mobility development.
  • Connected, Automated, Shared and Electric Vehicle R&D and Testing: Ensure that Michigan remains at the forefront for companies and research institutions.
  • International Trade: Encourage productive efforts to promote fair trade through the pursuit of high-standard trade agreements.

View the full policy priorities.

“The MICHauto policy priorities were created with the automotive industry and represent their thoughts on what we need to focus on to ensure future economic success,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Meeting with legislators is crucial to ensuring that policymakers understand the industry’s issues, opportunities, and our collective economic impact.”

Additionally, each year, MICHauto recognizes a distinguished legislator for his or her commitment to the state and the automotive industry. This year’s honoree state Rep. Rebekah Warren (D-MI 55) will be recognized during a luncheon reception between meetings.

Rep. Warren’s commitment to driving next-generation vehicle R&D, her sponsorship and creation of the framework to allow the establishment of the American Center for Mobility, and her appointment on the Michigan Council on Future Mobility all serve as compelling testaments to her leadership in supporting Michigan’s largest industry.

“I am honored to be named Legislator of the Year for MICHauto, and I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that Michigan is positioned to lead the transformation to next-generation mobility,” said Rep. Warren. “The automotive industry is our state’s signature, as well as a key economic driver of our state with tremendous potential for growth. I am proud to partner with industry leaders and state policymakers to protect the future of this critical sector, which will benefit all of our state’s residents.”

Past recipients of the Legislator of the Year award include Senator’s Steve Bieda (D-Warren), Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), Mike Kowall (R-White Lake), and Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City).

About MICHauto

MICHauto, Michigan’s only automotive cluster association, is a statewide economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber. Dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive and next-generation mobility industry in Michigan, MICHauto embodies a public-private strategy, championing Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive industry and providing a platform for collaboration on advocacy, business attraction and retention, and talent attraction. To learn more, visit MICHauto.org.

Top Automotive Executives to Meet with Legislators on MICHauto Policy Priorities; State Senator Wayne Schmidt Named Legislator of the Year

DETROIT (May 17, 2018) – Today, MICHauto, a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, convenes 23 automotive executives for meetings with 27 state legislators in Lansing. For the fifth consecutive year, MICHauto has brought together the automotive industry and legislators to discuss the impact of the industry across the state. This year, industry leaders identified policy priorities that are most important to their continued growth.

The 2018 policy priorities focus on the following areas:

  • Industry Talent Pipeline: Development of a strong talent pipeline for the automotive industry and next-generation mobility development.
  • Connected and Automated Vehicle R&D and Testing: Ensure that Michigan remains at the forefront for companies and research institutions.
  • International Trade: Encourage productive efforts to promote fair trade through the pursuit of high-standard trade agreements.

View the full policy priorities.

“The MICHauto policy priorities were created with the automotive industry and represent their thoughts on what we need to focus on to ensure future economic success,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Chamber. “Meeting with legislators is crucial to ensuring that policymakers understand the industry’s issues, opportunities, and our collective economic impact.”

Additionally, each year, MICHauto recognizes a distinguished legislator for his or her commitment to the state and the automotive industry. This year’s honoree state Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) will be recognized during a luncheon reception between meetings.

Sen. Schmidt’s commitment to automated vehicle R&D, his sponsorship and advocacy on behalf of the Good Jobs for Michigan legislative package, and his support for modernization and expansion of the Soo Locks, all serve as compelling testaments to his leadership in supporting Michigan’s largest industry and creating jobs across the state.

“I am honored to be named Legislator of the Year,” Schmidt said. “The policy priorities outlined by MICHauto highlight the importance of protecting our state’s legacy automotive industry. As Michigan positions itself to lead the industry’s transformation, I look forward to working with our industry to protect its future.”

Past recipients of the Legislator of the Year award include Sens. Steve Bieda (D-Warren), Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) and Mike Kowall (R-White Lake).

Economic Impact of State’s Auto Suppliers Key Topic at Annual MICHauto Legislative Reception

MICHauto’s fourth annual Supplier Fair and Legislative Reception connected more than a dozen suppliers with state lawmakers to continue the discussion on the economic impact of suppliers across the state. The reception, held May 3 at Troppo in Lansing, featured more than 50 attendees, including 25 legislators and six legislative staff members.

Suppliers at the event included American Axle & Manufacturing, BorgWarner, DENSO International America Inc., HELLA Inc., Lacks Enterprise Inc., Magna International Inc., MAHLE Industries Inc., Phoenix Contact, Shiloh Industries, and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America.

The evening included a presentation of MICHauto’s Legislator of the Year award to state Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, for his service to the state and his ongoing commitment to Michigan’s automotive industry. Horn was a key author of legislation that supports the testing and development of autonomous and connected vehicles in Michigan.

Chamber Continues to Urge Lawmakers to Reform Michigan’s Energy Law, Looks to the New Year

As the 2015-2016 legislative session comes to a close, the Detroit Regional Chamber continues to advocate for strong, pro-business policies in Lansing. With only one week tentatively left, the Chamber is urging lawmakers to pass a comprehensive reform of Michigan’s Energy Law (Senate Bills 437-438), which would set new procedures for building new plants, ensuring adequate infrastructure, require alternative electric suppliers to provide greater guarantees for their power supply, increase the percentage of electricity that must be generated from renewable sources from 10 to 15 percent, and establish new net metering regulations for customers who generate their own power.

In addition, the Chamber continues to monitor legislation that would assist Detroit’s collection of city income taxes (Senate Bill 1127) to ensure that taxpayers are adequately protected, and House Bill 5578 that would alter the assessments of large retail properties.

In a recent victory for Michigan’s automotive industry last week, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation expanding the regulation of autonomous vehicles, maintaining Michigan’s role as the leader of the mobility revolution.

Looking towards 2017, the Chamber will be re-introducing other reforms that have made substantial progress but were not able to reach final passage in 2016, including comprehensive reform of the Michigan Tax Tribunal (House Bill 5765) and equitable treatment of taxpayers with the Department of Treasury (House Bill 4461).

The Chamber will also continue to educate lawmakers on innovative tax incentive proposals that spur economic development in the region, including an expansion of tax increment financing (TIF) to encourage large, transformational projects (Senate Bills 1061-1065).

Jarrod T. Smith Joins Dykema’s Lansing Office

Dykema, a leading national law firm, today announced the addition of Jarrod T. Smith to its Corporate Finance Practice Group as a senior in the firm’s Lansing office. Prior to joining Dykema, Smith served as Assistant Attorney General, Finance Division for the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

Smith has more than 12 years of experience with public finance work dating back to when he joined the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s Finance Division upon graduating from law school. He progressed from Staff Attorney to Senior Attorney before eventually becoming Section Head in 2013. In that role, he served as counsel to the Michigan Department of Treasury, specifically for matters involving the Bureau of Bond Finance and the Michigan Finance Authority, and he served as counsel to the Michigan Strategic Fund and various other state agencies and authorities.

“We are extremely excited to have Jarrod join our Corporate Finance practice in Lansing,” said Jin-Kyu Koh, Director of Dykema’s Business Services Department. “He is well-regarded in the public finance community, and for good reason, and he strengthens the depth of the Firm’s bench of experienced bond lawyers.”

Smith, who is active in the National Association of Bond Lawyers, received a J.D., cum laude, and a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Applications, with a specialization in environmental economics, from Michigan State University.

About Dykema

Dykema serves business entities worldwide on a wide range of complex legal issues. Dykema lawyers and other professionals in 15 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.

To learn more, visit www.dykema.com and follow Dykema on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Dykema.