politics

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson photo
Paul Sancya / Associated Press

Michigan’s audits of the 2020 general election found that it was was secure and accurate, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Tuesday.

Local clerks checked numbers by comparing the hand-count total of paper ballots to machine-tabulated numbers, Benson said at a news conference. The clerks also examined post-election procedures. More than 1,300 clerks of different political parties and geographic locations conducted 250 audits across the state and all came to the same conclusion: This was the most secure election in state history, she said.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services logo
MI.gov

Former Michigan Department of Public Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon will receive more than $155,000 as part of a separation agreement, published reports revealed Monday.

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

Lawyers for former Gov. Rick Snyder believe Flint residents have possible conflicts and can't serve as judges or jurors in his criminal case related to lead in drinking water. Snyder's legal team put its views in a letter requested by a judge before a hearing Tuesday. Snyder is charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty. Snyder-appointed managers switched Flint's water supply to the Flint River in 2014 without properly treating it to reduce corrosion.

File folders
Pixabay | CC BY 3.0 / pixabay.com

Advocates for open government will launch a 2022 ballot drive to subject the Michigan governor and Legislature to the state's public-records law. Michigan is one of just two states to wholly exempt the governor's office and is among eight states where lawmakers are explicitly exempt. Bills to end the exemptions have stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate in recent years despite having won widespread bipartisan support in the GOP-led House.

Beer sampler photo
Wikimedia | Paul Joseph

Those working the late shift could catch last call and bars could pocket extra sales after missing out heavily during coronavirus restrictions under legislation under consideration in Michigan that would allow alcohol sales at bars and restaurants until 4 a.m.

Bill sponsor Rep. Ryan Berman testified in front of a state House committee last week that the measure would allow local municipalities to adopt their own rules to extend the pre-pandemic cutoff of 2 a.m. to make it 4 a.m.

Give Seniors A Say logo
leadingagemi.org

A not-for-profit representing 270 senior communities says its time the state of Michigan begins rolling back some of its COVID-19 visitation restrictions.

LeadingAge Michigan says the COVID-19 visitation restrictions imposed by the Michigan Department of health and Human Services exceed nursing home guidance issued by the federal government.

The Michigan House backed a proposed constitutional amendment on Wednesday that would require two-thirds majority votes for bills to pass during lame duck sessions of the Legislature, if voters ultimately approve of the change.

The resolution sponsored by Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth aims to end hyperpartisanship attached to lame duck sessions and to build trust with constituents by increasing transparency.

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

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her administration will announce the further loosening of Michigan's coronavirus restrictions in coming days. She did not elaborate much in a Wednesday news conference, in which she again pressed the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief funding plan.

An elected official in a western Michigan community has apologized for posting a line of online laughs about the death of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. More than 300 people participated by video conference during a Middleville council meeting Tuesday. Public comment about Amanda Fisk's Facebook post lasted more than two hours. Fisk is a Middleville council member and village president. She posted a series of "HA-HA-HA" next to a news story about Limbaugh's death last week. Fisk called it a "stupid mistake." Her defenders say she has a right to free speech.

pill bottle and money photo
flickr.com

A Republican legislative leader and other lawmakers have unveiled measures they say are designed to lower prescription drug prices, bring parity in insurance coverage of chemotherapy and improve the quality of health care. The 15-bill package would regulate pharmacy benefit managers that run drug coverage for insurers and employers, and ban the managers from profiting by charging a health plan more than what is paid to the pharmacy.

Michigan legislature photo
Michigan.gov

A bipartisan coalition of state representatives are pushing legislation increasing transparency among political candidates and state officials.

Michigan has nationally ranked near the bottom among states when it comes to government transparency.

State Representatives David LaGrand, a Democrat from Grand Rapids, and Mark Huizenga, a Republican from Walker, are introducing an eight-bill package aimed at disclosing elected officials and political candidate personal finances and screening conflicts of interest.

Empty classroom photo
wiki commons

More than 80% of Michigan school districts planned to offer some form of in-person instruction in February, a 20-plus point rise over the previous month amid a decline in the coronavirus’ spread.

Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Colloborative said it was the largely monthly increase since the start of the academic year. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has strongly encouraged schools to provide a face-to-face option by March 1.

Joe Biden Oval Office exterior photo
Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Extreme winter weather is dealing the first major setback to the Biden administration’s planned swift rollout of coronavirus vaccines just as the national vaccination campaign was hitting its stride.

The disruptions caused by frigid temperatures, snow and ice left the White House scrambling to work with states to make up “lost ground” even as President Joe Biden was set to visit a Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant near Kalamazoo, Michigan.

It’s been one month since open carry was banned from the Michigan Capitol following an attack on the U.S. Capitol and now a fight to ban all firearms from the statehouse is ahead.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed $67 billion state budget proposes a $5 million allocation for improving Capitol security. Public Information Officer for the State Budget Office Kurt Weiss said the plan would finance security staffing and equipment like metal detectors needed to implement a weapons ban, including a ban on concealed pistols.

Trump supporters Washington Capitol photo
Julio Cortez / Associated Press

A third Michigan man was arrested Thursday in an investigation of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

James Mels, 56, of Shelby Township is charged with entering a restricted building without permission and violent entry on Capitol grounds.

He appeared Thursday in Detroit federal court and was released on bond. Future court hearings will be in Washington.

“His solid background and family supported a release on unsecured bond and he’ll answer to the charges in D.C.,” attorney Jonathan Epstein said. “He’s a sheet metal worker and a good, solid guy.”

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