politics

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

The Michigan House voted unanimously Tuesday to curb the size of severance deals for state officials unless they limit the state’s legal exposure and details are made public.

The move curbing the size of severance deals came after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration faced scrutiny over $85,000 and $155,000 payouts made to her former health and unemployment directors.

pic of headband with mask attached
Kat Samardzija creator / Locker Lifestyle

Michigan late Tuesday lifted an outdoor mask requirement except in gatherings of at least 100 people and in organized contact sports, and said teen athletes no longer must undergo regular COVID-19 testing if they are fully vaccinated.

Under a revised pandemic order that takes effect Thursday, the state also eased caps on outdoor event sizes and said vaccinated people are not required to be masked at indoor residential gatherings even if others are unvaccinated.

Election polling station sign
Wikimedia | Tom Arthur | CC BY 2.0

 

 

 

Voters across West Michigan headed to the polls Tuesday to consider a number of proposals, and the results were mixed across the board, as some easily passed, while others failed to get enough votes.

 

Beginning in Muskegon County, where voters in Fruitport voted ‘yes’ to an $8 million bond proposal that will pay for upgrades including artificial turf for the high school  stadium and convert the middle school pool into a gym. 

 

State of Michigan Secretary of State seal
wikipedia

Michigan residents who visit secretary of state offices will always need an appointment, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Thursday, making permanent a change that was made to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Gone are the days when a person could walk into a branch and wait in line. Benson called it an “antiquated, inefficient, take-a-number system that nobody liked.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s former cabinet-level health chief confirmed Thursday that he left over differences about the state’s response to COVID-19. That was part of former Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon’s testimony before the state House Oversight Committee.

Gordon said he was asked by Whitmer to quit because she wanted to “go in a different direction.” That was at the same time the administration was easing some COVID restrictions.

$20 dollar bills photo
Creative Commons

Unemployed people who find a job would get $1,000 as part of $12.7 billion in proposed COVID-19 relief spending that began advancing in the Michigan Legislature on Wednesday.

The “return to work” grants would cover up to 400,000 residents.

Barry Croft mug shot
Delaware Department of Justice / Associated Press

Charges have been added against three defendants involved in the 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor.

Federal prosecutors have added charges against three of six people accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr. and Daniel Harris are charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. It's related to a discussion to blow up a bridge near Governor Whitmer's second home in northern Michigan to hinder police. The role of the bridge in the alleged plot was disclosed by authorities months ago.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine distribution photo
Jake May/The Flint Journal / Associated Press

Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to get her second Pfizer COVID-19 Thursday at a vaccine clinic in Grand Rapids. This is as some counties in west Michigan are emerging as COVID hotspots. Whitmer is asking people who’ve had their shots to act as vaccine ambassadors to family, friends and others who might be skeptical.

Your Vote Counts badge
wikipedia

Michigan’s August primary date would be moved six weeks earlier, to June, and the state would be required to more quickly check if ballot drives have submitted enough qualifying signatures for the general election under bills approved Tuesday in the House.

The Republican-led chamber also passed legislation that would make county clerks directly update the voter file to account for deaths and do more frequent checks for dead people as an election nears.

basketball referee photo
pixabay

Attorneys for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration defended coronavirus testing for school athletes, telling a judge Tuesday that state law gives the health director extraordinary power to respond to a pandemic.

A parent group called Let Them Play Michigan is seeking an injunction to stop weekly COVID-19 tests, which kicked in April 2 for athletes ages 13-19, related quarantines and mask requirements.

Crushed PET bottles photo
wikipedia

Legislation to compensate beverage companies to update their recycling equipment using unreturned recyclables deposit funds passed Tuesday in the Michigan House.

Unredeemed money from the 10-cent per container bottle return is currently divided between the state and retailers operating bottle return locations. The state’s Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund, which mainly funds cleanup efforts for certain contamination sites, gets 75% of the money and 25% is given to the retailers.

Julia Elkins and Adam Spence of Lansing, Mich. photo
Anna Nichols / Associated Press

Julia Elkins wants to go on school field trips with her daughter like other parents, but felonies from almost a decade ago related to her drug addiction will keep her ineligible unless she gets her criminal record expunged under new laws in Michigan that took effect this month.

Seven years of sobriety, a good job, a house and the transformative hard work it took to build a good life isn’t enough when she has to check “yes” next to the “have you ever been convicted of a felony” box on housing, school, job and other applications, Elkins said.

Straits of Makinac, Mackinac Bridge photo
Carlos Osorio / Associated Press

A Michigan agency delivered a split decision Wednesday in a high-stakes battle over a pipeline that carries oil beneath a channel that connects two of the Great Lakes.

The Michigan Public Service Commission is considering Enbridge Inc.’s application to replace the section of its Line 5 that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The new segment would be housed in a proposed underground tunnel.

$20 dollar bills photo
Creative Commons

Republicans who control the Michigan House unveiled a plan Tuesday to spend federal COVID-19 aid, including a proposed $1.6 billion for road, water and broadband infrastructure.

The supplemental budget legislation, which a committee will start to discuss Wednesday, would allocate $13 billion total, all but $1.3 billion of it from federal relief packages that were approved in March and December.

Unlock Michigan boxed petition signatures delivered to the Michigan Department of State Bureau of Elections in Lansing, MI. Oct. 2, 2020 file photo
Rod Sanford/Detroit News / Associated Press

A group trying to repeal an emergency powers law that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used for months to issue coronavirus restrictions cleared a key hurdle Monday when the Michigan elections bureau said it collected enough petitions.

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