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Legislative Update – January 5, 2022

Roth, O’Malley to seek separate House seats

Reps. John Roth and Jack O’Malley announced yesterday that they would both be seeking re-election to the Michigan State House in 2022 but in separate districts.

Expected to be a competitive district, O’Malley will run in the new 103rd District, consisting of Traverse City and Leelenau county. Roth will run in the neighboring 104th District, which includes rural Grand Traverse County and parts of Antrim, Kalkaska, Benzie and Manistee counties.

A joint statement from both campaigns said “We have worked together in Lansing to represent the people of this region to provide child care funding, record education funding, and support for our tourism industry. While the Redistricting Commission has chosen to divide this region, we are going to continue to work together to do what’s best for the people. That is why today we are announcing our re-election efforts and our support for each other’s candidacy.”

The pair are the first to publicly reach such an agreement.

OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard

The Supreme Court on Friday will hear arguments on whether President Biden’s vaccination mandate for federally funded health care facilities and employers with more than 100 employees can take effect nationwide.

The Supreme Court is made up of six Republican-appointed judges and three Democrat-appointed judges.

Whitmer Establishes Office of Rural Development

Governor Gretchen Whitmer yesterday signed an executive directive (ED) establishing the Office of Rural Development within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). The Office of Rural Development will focus on all rural matters, provide guidance on pressing issues in rural Michigan, and offer insight on how the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration can invest in thriving rural communities.

“Rural Michigan is a fundamental part of Michigan’s economy,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “By creating the Office of Rural Development, we are recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities in our rural communities and implementing policies and making investments to put Michiganders first. “This new office will play a crucial role in supporting MDARD’s efforts and leading new ones as we all work together to build a more prosperous rural economy.”

A new senior leader at MDARD, the Deputy for Rural Development, will run the Office and be the state’s point of contact for community leaders on urgent rural issues.

“The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is thankful to Gov. Whitmer for establishing the Office of Rural Development to focus on investment in rural communities” said Alliance Chair Sarah Van Horn.

“This very idea was conceived in part from conversations with Alliance members and business leaders. We are proud to have played a role in the establishment of this office and look forward to working with the Deputy for Rural Development to move northern Michigan forward.”