politics

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services logo
MI.gov

The Michigan health department is being sued over its refusal to release more information about COVID-19 deaths tied to nursing homes.

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, which often takes aggressive action to get public records, filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of Detroit journalist Charlie LeDuff, who is seeking ages, dates of death and whether the person became ill at a long-term care facility.

The health department told LeDuff that the information is exempt under the state’s public records law.

picture of car keys
pexels

The Michigan House approved a bill Wednesday that would allow an estimated 200,000 one-time drunken drivers ask a judge to set aside their convictions.

The measure now heads to the Senate. In the previous legislative session the Senate passed the legislation 32-5 and the House 96-8, but Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer without comment let it die by not signing it, even after signing a slew of “ clean slate ” legislation to create simple avenues for expungement of other convictions.

Whitmer’s office has not commented on the latest effort.

Michigan legislature photo
Michigan.gov

The Michigan Legislature, where majority Republicans have blasted Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over severance payments to top officials, on Tuesday disclosed nearly $700,000 worth of separation agreements or legal settlements over the past decade.

The bulk of the payouts, $632,000, involved 30 separation deals in the Senate since 2010, including 20 in the past five years. Individual payments were not released. Three House agreements in 2018 and 2015, totaling nearly $60,000, settled legal disputes with terminated employees since 2013.

Former Governor Rick Snyder outside Genesee County Jail photo
Cody Scanlon / The Flint Journal via AP

Lawyers clashed Tuesday over whether a Flint water indictment against former Gov. Rick Snyder was filed in the wrong county and should be dismissed.

A judge promised to make a decision within seven days.

Snyder is charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty. He’s accused of not properly responding to the controversy about Flint’s water, which was drawn from the Flint River in 2014-15 but not treated to reduce corrosion, despite widespread complaints. Lead leached from old pipes.

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

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed at least $2 billion in COVID-19 relief spending while vetoing $650 million after Republicans didn't negotiate with her and tied aid to legislation that would have curbed her administration's authority to order pandemic restrictions. Whitmer's move Tuesday is the latest in a dispute between the GOP-led Legislature and the Democratic governor over her pandemic response. Whitmer vetoed legislation that would have ceded the state health department's power to close schools and prohibit sports to local health departments.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

The first known case of a new variant of the coronavirus has been reported in Michigan, in a boy living in Jackson County.

The B.1.351 strain, first detected in South Africa in December, is believed to be more infectious and is now in at least 20 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It shares some mutations with B.1.1.7, a more easily spread variant that was first identified in Britain late last year and was found in Michigan in January. It is in 47 states.

Flint Water Tower
Associated Press

Lawyers who negotiated a $641 million settlement for victims of Flint’s lead-contaminated water are asking a judge to set aside up to 32% for fees and expenses for years of work on the case.

If granted, the request would total $202 million in fees and $7 million in expenses for dozens of attorneys who made a deal with the state of Michigan, Flint, a hospital and an engineering firm, according to a court filing Monday.

LGBTQ+ flag photo
pixabay.com

LGBTQ protections will be added to state civil rights law either by the legislative process or Michigan voter approval, two Democratic state legislators vowed Monday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined Metro Detroit Sen. Jeremy Moss and Rep. Laurie Pohutsky at a news conference to announce what they believe will be the last push needed to add sexual orientation and gender identity or expression protections to Michigan law, 40 years after the Elliott-Laren Civil Rights Act was signed.

Michigan Department of Transportation logo
michigan.gov

Federal agents are investigating a surveying company that has received millions of dollars in contracts from the Michigan Department of Transportation, a newspaper reported.

State auditors uncovered problems with billings in 2018, but the state has continued to work with Surveying Solutions Inc. of Standish, The Detroit News reported.

“While the investigation continues, MDOT still has contracts with the firm,” department spokesman Jeff Cranson said Friday. “There is due process.”

Attorney General Frank J. Kelley,Dec. 16, 1998 file photo
Dale Atkins / Associated Press

Frank J. Kelley, affectionately called the “eternal general” for his 37 years as Michigan’s longest-serving attorney general, has died at age 96, his family said Saturday.

Kelley, a Democrat, served from 1961 to 1999, winning statewide election 10 times. He moved to Naples, Florida, in 2020 and died Friday night, said spokesman Chris De Witt, who didn’t give a cause of death.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Nov. 5, 2020 photo
Associated Press

A war veteran who said he believes in small government explained Friday how he became an FBI informant in a federal investigation of an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The man, identified only as Dan, testified in a Jackson County court at a hearing to determine if three men will face trial. He said he learned about the Wolverine Watchmen by checking social media and was given access to an private online group by answering a few questions.

Redistricting map legislatures and commissions graphic
associated press

Michigan’s redistricting commission will ask the state Supreme Court to push back the Nov. 1 deadline to finalize new political maps, citing an eight-month delay in data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The panel authorized the legal step Friday.

Under a 2018 constitutional amendment forming the commission, it must adopt once-a-decade congressional and legislative lines no later than Nov. 1. It has to propose a plan or plans for public comment by Sept. 17, before the census data will be released.

Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit photo
Carlos Osorio / Associated Press

Detroit this week turned down 6,200 doses of the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, with Mayor Mike Duggan favoring shots from Pfizer and Moderna for now.

“Johnson & Johnson is a very good vaccine. Moderna and Pfizer are the best,” he said Thursday. “And I am going to do everything I can to make sure that residents of the city of Detroit get the best.”

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

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer faced growing criticism Tuesday after the disclosure of two additional employment-separation deals for former top officials, a day after her administration acknowledged that a key leader in the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was paid $155,000 following his sudden resignation.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, January 22, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced the further loosening of Michigan’s coronavirus restrictions, easing capacity limits in restaurants and a host of other businesses while also allowing for larger indoor and outdoor gatherings.

The revised state health department order will take effect Friday and last through April 19.

Pages