State Legislature and Short-Term Rentals, New 1st Congressional District? Michigan Ballot Questions, Transparency in Marquette Hospital Deal, and Apollo Investments
This Week in Rural Insights
This week we will feature a podcast with Brian Chapman, City Manager of Sault Ste. Marie. He keeps us up to date with what is happening in the eastern Upper Peninsula.
We talk about many issues that are facing the Upper Peninsula’s international city and also impacting other Upper Peninsula cities. Give it a listen.
State Legislature and Local Short-Term Rentals
We have all read that the Michigan legislature has been debating a state law to regulate short-term housing in communities in Michigan. Problem is that in the Upper Peninsula and downstate many, many communities have passed local ordinances to already control this issue in their community.
Most folks we have heard from in the Upper Peninsula have said that they want this issue handled locally so that it reflects the priorities and culture of their community. They want their local elected officials to regulate the number of short-term housing in their town, not state legislators who want a one size fits all law that will not reflect the differences in Michigan communities.
Let your legislators know how you feel about this if it is of concern to you. If not, enjoy what is left of Spring and get ready to welcome Summer in a couple of weeks. I know, I know, what Spring?
The New Federal UP 1st Congressional District?
For the first time that anyone can remember, the congressional district that includes the Upper Peninsula will have more counties below the bridge than above. The new federal congressional district maps shows the 1st Congressional District wirth 20 counties below the bridge and 15 in the Upper Peninsula.
The lower peninsula counties spread from Emmet to Aremac (and also includes the northern part of Wexford County). Republican incumbent Jack Bergman will face off against Democrat Bob Lorinser in the 2022 general election. That is a huge amount of miles to campaign for any candidate.
Will it mean the Upper Peninsula will have a weaker voice on federal issues debated in Congress? We shall see.
Ballot Questions on the Michigan Ballot This Fall
After a flurry of petitions circulating on various state issues by advocacy groups, only one effort to amend state law gathered enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
Michiganders for Fair Lending led the effort to get their issue of capping the interest rates for payday loans at 36 percent and allowing the state Attorney General to prosecute those lenders who exceed that rate.
The many other petition efforts failed to get enough signatures, the leaders of an effort to amend the state’s Term Limits law convinced the legislature to put their issue on the November ballot even though they did not get enough signatures.
There are groups looking to amend the state constitution on the November ballot and they have until July 11th to get enough signatures and submit them to the state. Those include proposals to reform voting laws and to put in the constitution language that says abortion is a state right.
Lots to vote on in November.
Transparency in Marquette Hospital Deal
Many of our readers have contacted us about our reference in recent issues about the transparency on the Marquette hospital deal between the Lifepoint Company/Apollo Global Management, the City of Marquette and the NMU Foundation.
Many asked why the NMU Foundation is not subjected to the Freedom of Information Act if it is part of NMU. Again, because we heard from so many, we repeat that the NMU Foundation is a nonprofit Michigan corporation and technically independent from NMU.
People have told us that they see many, many direct ties between the two. All that may be true, but any questions about those dealings would be up to the Michigan Attorney General to investigate. We were only reporting on the facts as they apply on the face of the issue. NMU Foundation is an independent, nonprofit corporation.
Speaking of the Marquette Hospital
The Marquette Hospital is part of the UP Health System and is owned by LifePoint, and Lifepoint is owned by Apollo Global Management, a huge hedge fund. Bloomberg News is reporting that Apollo is making a move to purchase national pharmaceutical entities and is also interested in bidding on the GrubHub national food home delivery company.
Apollo has been expanding its assets with new investments, as hedge funds do as a normal course of business. Many in the Upper Peninsula keep pondering questions like: Will these new investments lead to a sell off of their health care portfolio, including Lifepoint–and therefore UP Health Systems? What will that mean to the Upper Peninsula?
Time will tell.
Facts and Data From the World Around Us
87% of U.S. teenagers have cell phones. (Survey of 10,000 teenagers from Piper Sandler).
Quotes That Make Us Go Hmmm
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better”. Samuel Beckett
“A body of men, holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody.” Thomas Paine. (Note: Remind anyone of any body of men and women in today’s world that this is applicable?)
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Change the name. How about Superior Insights like the 51st state name for the quixotic UP statehood movement from the 1970s? There is plenty of rural all over the USA but only one Upper Peninsula of MI which isn’r all that rural anyway. More woods and watered returning wilderness than farms.
Yes – good idea