Michigan Senate

Money photo

Republicans who control Michigan’s Senate on Tuesday proposed $2 billion in COVID-19 relief aid, including $500 million in state funding to help businesses hurting due to the pandemic.

The plan would spend less than what was outlined by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — $5.6 billion — and the GOP-led House, which voted last week to spend nearly $3.6 billion. The Legislature and governor must agree before disbursing billions in federal relief enacted by Congress and then-President Donald Trump in late December.

Michigan Capitol Building photo
Phillip Hofmeister via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

Senate Republicans on Wednesday rejected five more appointees nominated by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in a renewed attempt to voice displeasure with not having input into her administration’s pandemic restrictions.

The move came a week after the Senate blocked 13 gubernatorial nominees to send a message. Those disapproved Wednesday include appointees to three university governing boards — Grand Valley State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan — and the state cosmetology board.

Unemployment benefits form
Wikimedia Commons

Michigan lawmakers have begun voting to authorize the federal government's supplemental $300-a-week unemployment benefit and provide $6 million in state funding for costs related to devastating flooding in the Midland area. The legislation cleared the House Tuesday and will receive Senate approval Wednesday. The $2.9 billion spending measure - almost all of it federal dollars - includes the $300 jobless benefit created by President Donald Trump after talks broke down with Congress.

George Heartwell portrait

For the second time this month, Michigan's Republican-led Senate has blocked one of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's appointments to the state commission that regulates hunting and fishing. The Senate on Thursday rejected George Heartwell, a former mayor of Grand Rapids. Gun-rights groups opposed his nomination in part because, as mayor, he backed an ordinance banning guns in public buildings and was a member of a gun-control group co-founded by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Heartwell, who no longer hunts but fishes, has said he supports the Second Amendment and hunting.

Hospital sign

A split Michigan Senate has approved changes to the process by which hospitals can do multi-million dollar construction or renovation projects. Senators also voted Wednesday to exempt hospitals from needing state regulatory approval to add psychiatric beds. The Republican-sponsored bills go to the House for consideration next. The legislation would change what's known as the certificate of need program, which is intended to ensure only needed health services are added in Michigan.

Lake Michigan photo
3bylunch via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia.org

A split Michigan Senate has voted to let homeowners and others with property along the Great Lakes temporarily install structures to combat erosion from record-high water levels without needing a state permit. The legislation cleared the Republican-led chamber on a party-line 22-16 vote Thursday. It was sent to the GOP-controlled House for future consideration. The sponsor, Republican Sen.

Michigan Capitol Building photo
Michigan Legislature

A budget standoff between the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is unlikely to be resolved until December at the earliest.

The Michigan House won't convene for voting Wednesday. It began a three-week hunting and Thanksgiving break last week but had left open the possibility of meeting Wednesday if a deal was in reach.

The Senate will meet Wednesday before taking two weeks off. The House could return for a day next week if an agreement is struck, though the sides don't seem optimistic.

Peter Lucido

So-called Raise the Age bills are tee’d up for the governor’s desk. The House and Senate passed their versions of the bills today. Now lawmakers will work behind the scenes to decide which version of each bill will go to Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The bills would stop the practice of automatically treating 17-year-olds who have committed crimes as adults. Instead a person wouldn’t be considered an adult until they were 18 – unless the prosecutor intervened.

Republican Senator Peter Lucido is a bill sponsor. This has been his passion project for years.

Jail cell
Stefano Mazzone via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia.org

A push to no longer automatically try 17-year-olds as adults is gaining momentum in Michigan's Legislature.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a 14-bill package Wednesday to put 17-year-old offenders in the juvenile justice system, with an exception for violent felony cases. The House plans to pass a similar plan Thursday.

Michigan is among just four states whose default is to treat 17-year-olds as adults in criminal proceedings.

asphalt roller photo

A transportation budget advancing in Michigan's Legislature would boost road spending, but far short of the $1.9 billion net increase proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A Senate-controlled subcommittee approved the bill Tuesday, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed.

It does not include revenue from the Democratic governor's proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax increase, which has been rejected by GOP lawmakers. The Senate plan would fully implement 2015 road-funding laws a year earlier, so $132 million more is spent in the next fiscal year.

Michigan Capitol Building photo
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

The Michigan Senate has approved $56.6 billion budget plan that would provide the biggest increase in base aid for lower-funded school districts in a dozen years while slightly trimming a main fund that covers other state spending, largely due to a projected drop in public assistance caseloads.

The move Thursday sets the stage for further talks more than a week after the House OK'd its own plan. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature will work to finalize the next budget in June.


Yet another West Michigan State Representative is announcing a run for state Senate. It’s the seat currently held by the term-limited Senate Majority Leader, Arlan Meekhof.

Ottawa County State Representative Roger Victory is currently serving his third and final term in Michigan’s 88th House District. A term limited Republican, Victory is turning his attention to a run for a Michigan Senate seat where 26 of Michigan’s 38 Senators are term limited in 2018.


Republican State Representative Chris Afendoulis is turning his attention to the Michigan Senate announcing this week he’ll campaign for the 29th district seat.

“I like to think I have a good commonsense philosophy. I really try to find out all the facts before I make a decision and I think I’ve got a good temperament for the job. You need people with that kind of experience in the Senate in particular because there are less members.”

Photo of Gun and bullets
Wikimedia Commons

Concealed guns could be carried in schools, churches and other places they’re currently banned under bills adopted Wednesday by the state Senate. The bills were adopted on largely party-line votes.

Republicans used the chance to clean up a loophole in the law to largely eliminate public concealed gun-free zones.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says he considers places such as schools, day cares and stadiums where people cannot currently legally carry a concealed pistol to be more dangerous.


The Michigan Senate has voted to forgive hundreds of millions of dollars in extra "responsibility" fees that have been assessed to 317,000 motorists for certain traffic offenses.

The legislation approved unanimously Thursday would also speed up the elimination of newly assessed fees.

Supporters say the state fees are excessive and prevent people from legally driving. The fees are levied in addition to fines motorists pay for infractions. They range from $100 to $2,000 for driving without insurance, accumulating too many points and other offenses.