Rick Pluta

Money photo

In the absence of a federal COVID-19 relief bill, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has asked the Legislature to approve a 400  million COVID package before the end of the year.

The governor just asked the Legislature for 300 million dollars on top of an earlier 100  million dollar request.
Kurt Weiss is with the state budget office. He says the state needs to set up a vaccine distribution system, and more contact  tracing, and to help hospitals, businesses and families with the immediate crisis.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said today that people should brace for a difficult December and January after Thanksgiving gatherings likely exposed more people to COVID-19.

Whitmer said the good news is several vaccines are well into testing and development. But it will probably be months before the vaccine becomes widely available.
The governor said a more immediate concern is controlling new infections – and she’s afraid infections could spike in December and January before a vaccine becomes widely available.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer acknowledged today that it’s becoming more difficult to get people to follow mask, distance, and gathering guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19. That’s as her top health advisor warned that a new wave of infections is likely following Thanksgiving gatherings.

Dana Nessel photo
Dana Nessel

The state of Michigan has settled a lawsuit over the use of private emails by state officials to conduct government business.

The deal was announced Wednesday by Attorney General Dana Nessel and the group Progress Michigan.

Progress Michigan sued in 2016 after discovering then-Attorney General Bill Schuette and his aides using private accounts to communicate with each other about government business. The result was a protracted court battle between the liberal group and the Republican attorney general over whether that violated Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

The Legislature’s Republican leaders led a delegation of GOP lawmakers to meet today  to meet with President Donald Trump.

Republicans on the Wayne County vote-canvassing board say they have second thoughts about certifying election results. Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state says it’s too late to reverse the decision.

The Michigan attorney general’s office responded today to a legal filing asking the state Supreme Court to block certification of the November 3rd election.

With a critical Tuesday deadline looming, Republican challengers unhappy with Election Day vote counting are looking to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

In an emergency appeal filed Monday, Republican poll challengers ask the court to stop the certification of the votes in Wayne County. Because Wayne has the most voters, that would essentially slow or stop certifying the statewide results as well.

There’s no word on if or when the state Court of Appeals might make a decision. At the same time, these GOP challengers dropped a separate case that was filed in a federal court.

A judge in Wayne County ruled today that certifying ballots in Michigan will go on as scheduled. He called challenges to vote-counting in Detroit “not credible.”

The judge denied several motions filed by Republican poll challengers who claim they were stopped from doing their jobs on election night. The judge said the claims were “speculative and not credible” – and that delaying certification of the votes would “undermine faith in the electoral system.”

The state Supreme Court heard arguments today on a challenge to Michigan’s ban on taxpayer funds to support private and parochial schools.

   The fight is over two and a half million dollars Republicans tucked into the 2016 state budget.

The money was earmarked to reimburse non-public schools for the costs of complying with health and safety mandates. It also set the stage for a legal fight over a 1970, voter-approved amendment. It says taxpayer funds cannot support non-public schools – including religious schools.

Election-related lawsuits are piling up in state and federal courts as President Donald Trump and Republicans challenge last week’s results.

There are at least five cases filed in state courts challenging how the elections were handled. There are at least two cases in federal courts. Some of the cases have been rejected at least once in lower courts because they’re based on unsubstantiated allegations.

A Michigan Court of Claims judge has rejected a challenge from President Trump’s campaign to Michigan’s absentee ballot counting process.

The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit that claimed Michigan denied poll challengers sufficient access to watch absentee voting boards at work. But Judge Cynthia Stephens said the Trump campaign failed to show any direct proof of that.

   And Stephens pushed back when a Trump campaign attorney argued otherwise.


   “I heard somebody else say something. Tell me why that’s not hearsay. Come on now.”


Record turnout is expected – along with an unprecedented amount of absentee voting – as the polls open tomorrow.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Election Day challenges include tamping down misinformation, and ensuring voters and poll workers can safely carry out their responsibilities without threats and disruptions.

“We’ve got a plan and a protocol in place to ensure they’re addressed swiftly so as to minimize any potential disruption and ensure that we prioritize that every vote counts, and every voter can cast their ballot.”

Photo of Gun and bullets
Wikimedia Commons

An appeal will be filed after a judge struck down Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s ban on the open carry of guns at polling places on Election Day.

Unless it’s reversed by a higher court, Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray’s decision applies to voting places and absentee counting boards next Tuesday. The only exception would be schools, churches and other places that have banned open carry. Murray said in court that Benson waited too long.

“The secretary just didn’t do this in the right place at the right time. They could have done this months ago,”

Gun rights groups have filed a legal challenge to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s ban on openly carrying firearms at or near polling places on Election Day.

The order bans openly carrying firearms where people will vote or where ballots are counted. Benson’s office said she has a legal duty to protect voters and poll workers from intimidation, harassment, and coercion.

Dean Greenblatt is an attorney for the group Michigan Open Carry. He says Benson is acting outside her authority because state law allows people to openly carry firearms.