politics

voting sticker
Vox Efx via Flickr | CC BY 2.0 / Flickr.com

The GOP-controlled Legislature is planning a maneuver that would enable it to pass contentious election changes into law and effectively nullify a likely veto from the state’s Democratic governor, a top Michigan Republican said.

Ron Weiser, chair of the state Republican Party, told activists Thursday that the party will spearhead a ballot initiative assuming Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoes new bills that Democrats and voting-rights groups say would suppress voting. Under state law, lawmakers can enact such initiatives without a gubernatorial veto or let them go to a public vote.

Flint Water Tower
Associated Press

A judge on Friday rejected a sudden effort to extend Monday’s deadline to register for a share of a $641 million Flint water lawsuit settlement.

U.S. District Judge Judith Levy said she won’t upset a well-publicized 60-day deadline that was baked into a settlement involving Flint, the state of Michigan, residents who were exposed to lead-contaminated water, and other parties.

“Get all hands on deck and get the job done,” Levy told a group of lawyers during a hearing on Zoom.

Redistricting map legislatures and commissions graphic
associated press

Michigan’s redistricting commission will ask the state Supreme Court to delay the deadline to finish new congressional and legislative maps by nearly three months and give candidates 25 extra days to file to run.

The pending request is due to an eight-month delay in data from the U.S. Census bureau.

The 13-member panel, which had previously authorized legal action, on Thursday specified which dates to propose to the court.

U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer portrait
U.S. House of Representatives

This week in Washington, D.C., the House Committee on Foreign Affairs conducted a hearing called "Reclaiming Congressional War Powes.”

Kent County seal
Kent County

Brick and mortar, temporary or mobile, there are nearly 2,300 food establishments in Kent County.

The pandemic has brought hardship to the industry with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issuing closures and seating capacity limits aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing the challenges over the past year, the Kent County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously waived the 2021 food service licensing and inspection fees.

Depending on licensure type and size of establishment, the annual fee varies from $155 to $580.

Prescription drugs photo
U.S. Army via Wikimedia | Public Domain / Wikimedia.org

A series of bills that aim to make getting medication and medical care easier, more affordable and transparent passed the Michigan House Wednesday.

One area of concern has been the growing cost of insulin to manage diabetes. According to the state health department, about 870,000 adults in Michigan in 2016 had been diagnosed with diabetes, which amounts to 1 in 10 adults.

One bill would cap copays on 30-day prescriptions of insulin at $50.

Rep. Mark Tisdel said he hopes the bill will make things better for those who struggle to afford insulin.

Flint Water Tower
Associated Press

More than 30,000 registration forms have been received from people who want to participate in a $641 million Flint water lawsuit settlement.

The deadline is next Monday.

“The registrations are coming in at a pretty brisk pace but timing matters so I just want to repeat that deadline,” U.S. District Judge Judith Levy said Wednesday during a status conference that was livestreamed on Zoom.

Special Master Deborah Greenspan reported 33,341 registration forms were received as of Monday.

Your Vote Counts button
wikipedia

Michigan Republicans on Wednesday proposed a slew of election bills that would require voters to submit a photo ID, prohibit the unsolicited mass mailing of absentee ballot applications, and restrict the hours in which people could drop their ballot in curbside boxes.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney sits in the courtroom during her arraignment, Friday March, 19, 2021 photo
Nicole Hester / Ann Arbor News via AP

Supporters boarded the doors at a western Michigan restaurant to show authorities that the owner will keep it closed, a condition necessary to spring her from jail for violating court orders related to COVID-19.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, meanwhile, remained in custody Saturday, 90 miles away at the Ingham County jail.

Holly Shashaguay said she helped board up Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland on Friday night.

“When I painted that ‘complied’ sign, I was crying the whole time,” Shashaguay told MLive.com. “We didn’t want to do it, but we did.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Feb. 9, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Michigan on Friday eased outdoor stadium capacity restrictions before baseball’s opening day but ordered weekly rapid testing of teen athletes amid a climbing coronavirus case rate that ranks fourth nationally over the past week.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said, for now, she does not plan to tighten COVID-19 restrictions her administration had gradually loosened in recent months — noting ongoing vaccinations while also citing concerns about virus variants that more easily spread.

Dana Nessel, Michigan Attorney General photo
Associated Press

A west Michigan restaurant owner defying state health orders restricting the spread of the coronavirus was arrested Friday.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney is the owner of Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria. The Holland restauranteur’s food establishment license was suspended in January by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for violating Michigan food laws and public health orders after investigators discovered the restaurant disobeyed seating capacity restrictions and failed to enforce mask requirements. Yet, it remained open.

Peter Meijer photo
Peter Meijer campaign

The Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized this week mostly along party lines. Two provisions created GOP opposition. That didn’t keep one west Michigan congressman from voting in favor of the bill.

The Violence Against Women Act was first passed in 1994 protecting and providing resources for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence. There are a number of federal funding streams for support and research.

The bill hasn’t been fully funded since 2019. Wednesday, the U.S. House reauthorized the VAWA.

Trump supporters Washington Capitol photo
Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Two more Michigan men were charged Thursday after photos and other evidence showed they were at the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Robert “Bobby” Schornak and Daniel Herendeen, both from Macomb County, traveled to Washington in support of President Donald Trump and got inside the Capitol, according to the FBI.

“Cant stay home, I would not be able to live w myself,” Schornak told Herendeen in a Facebook message obtained by the FBI.

Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder photo
michigan.gov

A judge on Thursday rejected a request to dismiss misdemeanor charges against a former Michigan governor in the Flint water scandal.

Lawyers for Rick Snyder said he worked in Ingham County, not Genesee County, so the indictment from a one-person grand jury was returned in the wrong place. But Judge William Crawford II said prosecutors have flexibility about where to pursue a case.

If the former Republican governor goes to trial, a jury will be asked to determine if charges of willful neglect of duty occurred in the boundaries of Flint and Genesee County, Crawford said.

Committee to Protect Medicare logo
Committee to Protect Medicare

Michigan doctors representing the Committee to Protect Medicare are calling on Republican state lawmakers to work with Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer releasing federal COVID relief funding.

Three Michigan physicians from the Committee to Protect Medicare appeared via Zoom Tuesday.

“We’re raising our voices now because Republicans are doubling down on their game of chicken and putting public health at risk.”

Dr. Farhan Bhattie is Michigan State Lead of the Committee to protect Medicare.

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