- 1 Ways to Resist
- 2 Updates
- 3 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 Healthcare
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Benefits / Tax Cuts
- 11 Housing/Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations and Events
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
- 20.1 Lansing
- 20.2 Ann Arbor
- 20.3 Detroit
- 20.4 Flint
- 20.5 Ypsilanti
- 20.6 Grand Rapids
- 20.7 Kalamazoo
Ways to Resist
- Contact your elected officials:
- Governor Rick Snyder (R): Assumed office in January 2011. Reelected in 2014. Term limited, not eligible for reelection in 2018.
- Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley (R): Assumed office in January 2011. Reelected in 2014.
- Get involved with local organizations.
- Find organizations with state and local presences working in your area.
- Check out our Tools of Resistance.
- Look for upcoming events and opportunities and state and local events.
There are no recent updates.
To see past updates for Michigan, click here.
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Michigan lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
- No bills identified.
Harmful bills proposed by Michigan lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- HB 4643 Increases fines for “mass picketing” and makes it easier for courts to shut down such demonstrations.
- HB 4331 would allow religious officials to refuse to celebrate weddings on religious grounds..
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you're registered to vote. Register to vote here. The deadline is 21 days before Election Day in person or 30 days by mail. Bring proof of identification the first time you vote. A photo ID is requested every time you vote.
2018 Competitive House Districts
- Michigan District 11 is a competitive district with the potential to flip to blue. Representative David Trott (R) won the 2016 election with 54.3% of the vote. Trump won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 49.7% of the vote.
- Michigan's 31st State Senate District is set to hold Special Elections, dates pending.
- Upcoming Elections
- The City of Detroit will hold elections for Mayor in 2017.
- The City of Detroit will hold elections for City Council in 2017.
- The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation found that under the ACA, the success of regional insurers over national insurers, particularly Medicaid-managed care organizations, contributed to the general success of competition in Michigan compared to other states.
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 979,000 people in Michigan (or 9.9% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 887,000 people (or 8.9% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/28/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.)
- The number of uninsured people in Michigan is predicted to be 508,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 1,226,000, a 141.3% increase.
- Michigan is among the states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Michigan could pay up to 32% more for the same coverage as men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- Repealing the ACA removes safeguards against the "donut hole" prescription gap. Michigan seniors saved an average of $1,176 on prescription medications in 2015 due to the ACA.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 101,000 jobs could be lost in Michigan in the event of repeal. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- Both Democratic US Senators in Michigan support the ACA. Debbie Stabenow is up for reelection in 2018.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay strategy, young adults in Michigan could pay $547 more in 2018.
- 80 people have been killed by police in the state of Michigan from 2013 through 2016.
- 36% of the people killed by police were black.
- The Detroit Police Department has a homicide rate of 14.01 for all people, and 5.114 for black people..
- In 2013, immigrants made up 7.2% of the state’s workforce, or 349,138 workers.
- In 2012, undocumented immigrants comprised 1.6% of Michigan’s workforce, or 75,000 workers.
- Undocumented workers make up $1.7 billion of the GSP (Gross State Product).
- A study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimated that undocumented immigrants paid $10.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2010.
- Foreign studentspaid $356 million in tuition and $169 million in living costs between 2008 and 2012.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Michigan does not allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement that that DACA recipients could be granted drivers’ license and personal IDs.
- Michigan allows undocumented immigrants to attend public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens. Colleges and universities including Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, and Lake Superior State University have opted for a “tuition equality” policy for undocumented students, so that they receive in-state tuition.
- In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order (DACA) that defers deportation for children who were brought to the country as children. The action allows them to work lawfully but does not create a pathway to citizenship or give them legal status in the United States. In Michigan, 9,794 people have benefited from the order.
- In 2014, there were 130,000 undocumented immigrants in Michigan.
- If the state deported all undocumented immigrants, Michigan would lose $3.8 billion of economic activity and 20,339 jobs.
- If all undocumented immigrants were given legal status, they would pay $161.2 million in state and local taxes.
- ICE removed 2,431 people from Michigan and Ohio in 2015.
- House Bill 4105 was introduced in 2017, to ban local law enforcement from communicating with ICE about a person’s legal status.
- On January 30, 2017, Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton stated that his precinct does not enforce immigration law; rather, that is ICE's responsibility. Clayton stated that his precinct will comply with ICE only in matters of public safety.
- Detroit, Michigan, is a sanctuary city. The term "sanctuary city" is used to describe places that limit how much they help federal law enforcement (usually ICE) with removals (also known as deportations).
- In 2016, 4,258 refugees were resettled in Michigan.
- The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services offers Refugee Assistance, including cash assistance (limited to $3,000) available up to eight months after US entry, health screening, foster care, Medicaid, employment services through religious organizations, integration and education through certain counties.
- In 2014, Michigan had 59,709 incarcerated people, with a probation population of 179,567 and parole population of 18,439.
- 0 people are incarcerated in private prisons in Michigan.
- 1,683 juveniles are in custody in Michigan.
- Of the prison population, 5,137 people were serving life sentences, and 3,635 were serving life sentences without parole.
- In Michigan, a black person is 6.6 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person.
- Corrections expenditures in 2014 were $2,193 million.
Benefits / Tax Cuts
- Michigan residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 273,000
- Adults and children: 823,000
- Children: 483,000
- In 2015, an average of 824,971 households and 1,571,344 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in Michigan. In 2011, approximately 20% of the population of Michigan was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit per Michigan household was $246 per household and $127 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 41,016 households, including 16,942 families and 32,814 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Michigan was $492 in 2014. Average benefits in Michigan have fallen in value by 29.7% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 51,385 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.
- In December 2015, there were 18,444 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category who received an average of $425.82 per person, for a total of $7,854,000.
- 283,000 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, Michigan had 29 units (less than the national level) of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In Michigan, there were 9,316 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 1,109 families, 822 veterans, 623 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 776 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Michigan received $828 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Michigan, more than 149,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Michigan households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- Michigan's infrastructure received a score of D from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015.
- This study gave the state no “good” scores, and rated transit, dams, urban runoff, drinking water, and roads as being in “poor” condition.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 27.4% of Michigan's bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 38% of Michigan's roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $357 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
- According to Governor Rick Snyder (R), upgrading water systems and pipes is a major infrastructure goal for Michigan.
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- Michigan has 20 Planned Parenthood centers.
- In 2015, 11 centers were in rural, medically underserved, or health provider shortage areas.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 94,450 women of reproductive age.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There were 29 abortion providers in Michigan in 2015.
- In 2014, 15.3 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Michigan had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There is a 24-hour waiting period required after mandatory counseling.
- Parental consent is required for minors.
- Ultrasound requirements exist.
- Mandated counseling includes misleading information.
- Medical abortion is limited.
- Private insurance coverage is limited.
- State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
- TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws exist.
Women and Wages
- In Michigan, 15.6% of women live in poverty. The national average stands at 13.4%. Single mothers make up 44.2%, while women aged 65 and older make up 9.4%. The national averages are 36.5% and 10.3%, respectively.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.74. The national average is $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.66 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.57 for every dollar made by white men. The national averages are $0.63 and $0.54, respectively.
Domestic Violence in Michigan
- In a single day in 2014, Michigan domestic violence programs provided services to 2492 victims/survivors.
- In 2009, 103,331 incidents of domestic violence were reported to Michigan police.
- Over half of domestic violence homicides in Michigan are committed with guns.
- An estimated 18.2% of Michigan women will experience stalking in their lifetimes.
Religious freedom law
Michigan does not have state religious freedom laws. Religious freedom laws protect the right of people to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
Michigan lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, adoption, foster care, insurance, credit and jury selection, though some cities and counties do have protections in place. The State does have nondiscrimination policies for state employees. Michigan considered a so-called “bathroom bill” (forcing trans individuals to use the public toilets matching their gender at birth and not their gender identity) in 2016.
Michigan lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in parenting, including laws on second-parent adoption, parental presumption for same-sex couples, de-facto parent recognition, and consent to inseminate (meaning that in the case of the insemination of one member of a female same-sex couple, the partner not carrying the child is not automatically recognized as a parent).Michigan has laws prohibiting surrogacy and permitting discrimination in adoption and foster care placement.
Hate crime laws
Michigan does not include LGBTQ+ people in its hate crime laws as a protected group, but does require specific reporting of such crimes.
Michigan lacks laws protecting LGBTQ+ individuals against bullying and does not require school suicide prevention policies. The State does not promote transgender inclusion in sports and lacks laws on protection from conversion therapy, laws to address homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education laws, and LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies.
Health and safety laws
Michigan does not have nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges but does ban insurance exclusions for trans health care. It does not have trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees and excludes trans health care from State Medicaid. The State does not allow gender marker changes on identification documents but does collect health data on LGBTQ+ individuals. Michigan has passed sodomy laws and laws that criminalize HIV/AIDS.
- HIV criminalization laws are those that make it illegal for an HIV-positive person to “knowingly expose” another person to HIV—in some states, this means that it is illegal not to disclose HIV-positive status to a sex partner, but many laws criminalize behaviors that are unlikely to lead to transmission. Because the laws focus on disclosure, not actual transmission, they serve no real purpose. All states have other, non-HIV-specific laws that can be used to prosecute transmission of HIV, so these laws just needlessly single out and stigmatize HIV-positive people and reinforce the image of them as “dangerous.” It also allows the saliva or blood of an HIV-positive person to be classified in court as a “deadly weapon.” HIV criminalization laws also disproportionately target people of color, mainly African Americans, and gay men.
- Michigan is ranked 23rd in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $6,433 per student.
- As of 2013, Michigan ranked 10th in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $61,560 per year.
- 88% of students in Michigan attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 49% higher income.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 9.2% of total public school enrollment.
- Michigan's overall graduation rate is 79%, which is below the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates are as follows:
- White: 83%
- Latino: 69%
- Black: 65%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 89%
- American Indian: 65%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 66%
- Limited English Proficient: 68%
- Students with Disabilities: 55%
- The state of Michigan is currently in a public education crisis. According to the Education Trust Midwest, close to half of Michigan’s charter schools ranked in the bottom 25% of all public schools in the nation for academic performance, according to state accountability data from 2013-14. In 2015, Detroit public schools ranked dead last in math and reading scores out of 20 other districts  included in the National Assessment of Educational Progress Trial Urban District Assessment, which was the same ranking for the previous three reviews, in 2009, 2011 and 2013. Access to quality education in the state, and particularly Detroit, is a major civil rights issue. On January 20, 2017, Michiganders learned that state officials are preparing to shut down as many as 38 underperforming schools in Michigan. Most of these schools are in urban areas heavily populated by Black and Brown people, like Benton Harbor and Saginaw. 25 of the schools slated for closure are in Detroit. With Betsy DeVos as the new secretary of education, this problem could grow way beyond Michigan. DeVos has been instrumental is pushing policies that have led to the decimation of public schools in the state of Michigan.
Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- Michigan has a minimum wage of $8.90.
- Michigan has no state law for paid sick leave.
- Michigan has no state law for paid family leave.
- Michigan has Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can prohibit unions that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. Such laws are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- Michigan is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- Michigan also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Michigan does allow for implied contract exemptions.. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Michigan support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted the covenant in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- In 2015, almost 26% of Michigan's net electricity generation was from nuclear sources, while about 46% was from coal.
- Michigan has 65 sites on the National Priorities List.
- As of 2004, almost 10% of Michigan's land was federally owned.
- In 2014, the Black population had the highest air pollution exposure index in Michigan—45, compared to 29 overall and 26 for the white population.
- In 2012, Michigan's "mixed/other" race category was most likely to have asthma, at 21.3%, compared to 10.2% overall, 9.5% for the white population, and 12.2% for the Black population.
- Michigan's Agency for Energy and Department for Environmental Quality.
- The Michigan Climate Action Council released a Climate Action Plan in 2009. The plan is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency.
- Michigan's alternative energy portfolio goal is 15% by 2021.
As of October 31, 2016, Nestle Waters North America plans to expand its operations in Stanwood, Michigan, located in Mecosta County. This expansion would increase the amount of underground water withdrawn at White Pine Springs well No. 101 from 150 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute (a 167% increase). As per a settlement reached in 2009 in a court case brought by Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, Nestle had to stop siphoning 400 gallons of water per minute, and siphon only 218 gallons per minute. The newly proposed permit from Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) would allow Nestle to begin extracting water to the pre-settlement levels of 400 gallons per minute. In January, MDEQ released a statement saying that the increase "is not likely to cause an adverse resource impact." The Detroit Free Press has reported: "One reason the Nestlé operation in Michigan has been controversial is that Deb Muchmore, a lobbyist and public relations consultant who has served as a Michigan spokeswoman for the company, is the spouse of Dennis Muchmore, who until January was chief of staff to Gov. Rick Snyder." MDEQ is accepting public comments on the matter until March 3, 2017, and also plans to hold a public forum on the matter at a yet to be disclosed time. More information here.
On June 14th, 2017, five officials in Michigan, including the head of the state’s health department, were charged with involuntary manslaughter in relation to the Flint water crisis. The contaminated water eventually led to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
- 14.4% of Michigan's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- The employment rate among disabled adults in Michigan is 30.9%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Michigan have a 75.4% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1811]
- Approximately 17.4% of eligible voters in Michigan have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.71%.
- Of adults with disabilities in Michigan, 29.9% live in poverty, as opposed to 13.3% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 44.2%, as opposed to 24.9% for non-disabled children.[2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130]
- In Michigan, 6.2% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
Organizations and Events
Find state/local chapters of national organizations here.
Resistance and General
- Farmworker Legal Services
- Help for Flint—volunteer opportunities and resident resources
- Hispanic American Council
- Imagine Kalamazoo
- Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services
- MPowerED: Empowering Michigan Education.
- Michigan Immigrant Rights Council
- Plymouth Democratic Club
- Progress Michigan
- Voters Not Politicians
Disability Rights Organizations
- Disability Network Michigan, a coalition of CILs (Centers for Independent Living]
- Disability Network Southwest Michigan, Serving Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties
- Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
- Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service
- OlmsteadRights list of Michigan disability resources
- Oil and Water Don't Mix, protecting the Great Lakes
- Coffee, Cake and True Islam
- Michigan Action List: weekly actions for promoting progressive legislation and policies in the state of Michigan
- Swing Left events for Michigan's 7th and 11th districts (helping elect progressives to the House)
Local News Sources
- 38 Michigan schools are on the chopping block. How’d they get there and what’s next?
- Michigan: The Poster Child for How Not to do Charter Schools
Relevant City and County Information
Population of approximately 114,000. Capital of Michigan.
Mayor Virg Bernero (D): Elected in 2005. Re-elected in 2009. US House of Representatives 7th District: Tim Walberg (R) US House of Representatives 8th District: Mike Bishop (R)
Population approximately 117,000. Located in Washtenaw County.
Mayor Christopher Taylor (D): Elected 2014 Michigan House of Representatives 52nd District: Gretchen Driskell (D): Elected 2013 Michigan House of Representatives 53rd District: Jeff Irwin (D): Elected 2011 Michigan House of Representatives 55th District: Adam Zemke (D): Elected 2013
Population approximately 677,000. Located in Wayne County.
Mayor Mike Duggan (D): Elected 2014 US House of Representatives 13th District: John Conyers Jr. (D)
Mayor: Karen Weaver (D): Elected 2015 Population of approximately 102,000.
- Help for Flint—volunteer opportunities and resident resources
Population approximately 20,000. Located in Washtenaw County.
Mayor Amanda Edmonds: Elected 2014
Population of approximately 192,294.
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss (D): Elected 2016. US House of Representatives 3rd District: Justin Amash (R)
Commision-Manager government style. Mayor: Bobby Hopewell (D): Elected in 2007 City Manager: Jim Ritsema US House of Representatives 6th District: Fred Upton (R). Energy and Commerce Committee Member Michigan State Senate 20th District: Margaret O'Brien (R) Michigan State House 60th District (includes most of Kalamazoo): Jon Hoadley (D) Michigan State House 61st District: Brandt Iden (R) Michigan State House 63rd District: David C. Maturen (R) Michigan State House 66th District: Aric Nesbitt (R)