Publications for Laura J. Genovich
Property tax exemptions can have a big impact on local communities. Although exempt properties do not generate tax revenue for local units or tax-sharing units (like schools and libraries), exempt properties still use tax-funded services, like police and fire protection. An increase in tax-exempt properties can in turn increase the strain on local budgets.
As I discussed in the first article in this series addressing property tax exemption issues in Michigan, property taxes account for billions of dollars for essential community services such as schools, public safety departments, transportation, infrastructure, and governance for local residents and businesses.
A recent Michigan Supreme Court decision has caused concern among many local taxing units as it potentially opens the door to more properties receiving exemptions as “charitable institutions.”
Property tax revenue is the most important source of funds for operations in most Michigan municipalities. It generates billions of dollars a year to pay for things like schools, public safety departments, transportation, infrastructure, and governance for local residents and businesses.
In an Order dated October 20, 2017, the Michigan Supreme Court denied an application for leave to appeal filed by Menard, Inc. in a closely watched “dark store” property tax appeal.
Across the state of Michigan, local property tax revenue is being drained by the property tax appeals filed by "Big Box" retail stores.
In an Opinion issued on June 28, 2017, in Baruch SLS, Inc v Tittabawassee Township (Sup. Ct. No. 152047), the Michigan Supreme Court clarified the third prong of the six-part test set forth in Wexford Medical Group v City of Cadillac, 474 Mich 192; 713 NW2d 734 (2006), which governs charitable institutions seeking an exemption from real and personal property taxes under MCL 211.7o and MCL 211.79.
The United States Supreme Court sent a case involving a Virginia transgender student who sued his high school over restroom access back to the lower appellate court for further consideration.
On February 22, 2017, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education withdrew two statements of policy and guidance, issued during President Obama’s administration, concerning transgender students’ access to bathrooms and locker rooms.
In an opinion released December 15, 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals (the “Court”) ruled that Michigan state law does not preempt policies created by a Michigan school district banning the possession of firearms in schools and at school sponsored events.
As municipal attorneys, the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (“Act”) may seem far removed from the daily business of our township, city, and county clients. But the Act applies to political activities at the local level, and our clients can violate its provisions, and face potentially serious consequences, even when acting with innocent motives.
Can Michigan voters choose to vote a "straight ticket" this November? The answer remains yes, despite litigation that recently made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
After devoting tremendous time, money, and effort to a political campaign, coming in second place - particularly by a close margin - is disappointing, to say the least. While the nation's eyes are on the race for the White House or any of the hotly contested Senate and House seats, candidates for local office, such as school board or library board candidates, may face even closer election results, where a mere handful of votes determine the outcome. This leads to the question: can I demand a recount?
It's not too late to join the November general election ballot in Michigan as a write-in candidate!
The State of Michigan filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a decision upholding the ban on the straight-ticket voting in time for the November election.
The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected Gov. Snyder’s request to issue an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of Section 152b of 2016 PA 249, which allows general fund money (up to $2.5 million) to be allocated to nonpublic schools.
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan entered an order approving the sale of substantially all of the assets of Stamp Farms to Boersen Farms, Inc.
Municipalities often put great care and effort into deciding whether to amend their zoning or regulatory ordinances. While the substance of those amendments is important, so too is the form of the amendments.
Michigan law has long criminalized "begging in a public place." Recently, however, a federal court struck down Michigan’s anti-begging law, and another federal court struck down an Ohio city’s anti-solicitation policy.
It is unclear at this point whether the revamped Michigan Fireworks Safety Act preempts a municipality's ability to regulate traditional concerns such as noise and public safety.
Michigan has revamped its fireworks law by adopting Public Act 256 of 2011, which amends the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act. The Act allows consumers to legally buy and use more powerful "consumer fireworks" without obtaining a permit.
Many municipalities in Michigan have recently received requests from their cable operators to start formal cable franchise renewal procedures under the Federal Cable Act, 47 USC § 521 et seq. Although federal law sets renewal procedures that provide for extensive local review of franchise agreements, Michigan law prohibits such local review.
Cities and villages have the power to legislate—that is, to make laws. Cities and villages exercise their legislative power by adopting or amending ordinances.
The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the Michigan Department of Education lacks authority to promulgate the State Aid Rules, which impose new conditions on public libraries' eligibility to receive critical state funding.
The Michigan Legislature has legislatively overruled Kyser and reinstated the "very serious consequences" rule.
For decades, Michigan courts have held that a zoning ordinance that prevents extraction of natural resources is invalid unless "very serious consequences" would result from the proposed extraction.
The Herrick District Library has succeeded in its circuit court action challenging the State Aid Rules enacted by the Department of History, Arts and Libraries and the Library of Michigan.
In a published opinion issued March 16, 2010, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that an injured person cannot be denied work loss benefits based on an employer's failure to provide a sworn statement of the injured person's earnings, nor does the injured person's failure to file tax returns preclude work loss benefits.
The court held that the statute mandated that the required language must appear on both the declarations page and the certificate of insurance.
On June 16, 2009, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in a published opinion that a car dealership's insurer was the priority insurer in a third-party action brought against a customer who was test driving the dealership's vehicle.
The Court of Appeals held that the one-year back rule applies to a fraud claim if the plaintiff cannot establish reasonable reliance on the insurer's representations.
In 2008, Michigan became the 13th state to legalize medical marijuana.
On February 24, 2009, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a no-fault insurer must pay attendant care benefits to an insured, even when the insurer is entitled to seek reimbursement of those benefits from the person providing the services.
The Michigan Court of Appeals published an opinion holding that a driver was not entitled to no-fault benefits because she unlawfully took a motor vehicle without a reasonable belief that she was entitled to both take and use it.
In a 4-3 decision issued on December 29, 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court held that the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association may refuse to indemnify no-fault insurers who make payments for expenses that the MCCA deems "unreasonable."
In a published decision issued December 11, 2008, the Michigan Court of Appeals narrowed the range of homecare living expenses recoverable after a motor vehicle accident.
Michigan Court of Appeals applied the judicially created "family member joyriding" exception in a no-fault case, but it explicitly stated that it was doing so only because of the requirements of precedent and MCR 7.215.
Michigan Court of Appeals held in a published opinion that (1) no-fault insurers may utilize a household exclusion to limit liability coverage to the statutory minimum; and (2) an insurer does not have a duty to investigate a policy applicant's (mis)representations.
The Michigan Court of Appeals denied summary disposition for Defendant in a premises liability case, holding without dissent that it was a question of fact whether the "black ice" on which Plaintiff slipped and fell was an open and obvious danger.
The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not err in allowing a jury to consider agency rates for health care professionals in its determination of hourly rates for attendant care by an unlicensed family member.