politics

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) photo
Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, who won a tough reelection race in the fall, will lead Democrats’ efforts in 2022 to expand their current razor-thin Senate majority.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced on Thursday that Peters will head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The 62-year-old Peters, who is in his third term, is the first Midwesterner to hold the position in decades.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer State of the State Address 20201 photo
Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that she will not cede her authority to issue certain COVID-19 restrictions, calling Republicans’ attempt to hold back federal pandemic relief funding unless she changes course “cruel and reckless.”

The Democratic governor urged GOP lawmakers to “shift their perspective to looking forward” and stop “digging in” on their continued opposition to state health department orders that, while loosened, still limit capacity at restaurants to 25% and prohibit youth contact sports to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer State of the State Address, January 27, 2021 photo
Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a peace offering to Republicans in her 3rd State of the State address Wednesday evening. That’s as Republicans have ramped up their resistance to her COVID-19 restrictions.

The speech was delivered from the quiet of Whitmer’s Capitol office instead of before a live audience.

The governor tried to quell opposition to her orders that closed schools and restricted gatherings and business activities. Whitmer defended her actions, but also looked to the year ahead.

Michigan House Republicans on Wednesday proposed a $3.5 billion coronavirus recovery plan but threatened to withhold billions to K-12 schools unless Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cedes her administration’s power to prohibit in-person instruction and sports to local health departments.

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, rejected 13 of the Democratic governor’s nominees to state boards — lashing out over her continued unilateral issuing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Ty Garbin mug shot
Kent County Sheriff

One of six men charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy, admitting that the group discussed an incredible scheme to snatch her at her lakeside vacation home and destroy a bridge to slow down police.

Ty Garbin’s guilty plea is a major catch for prosecutors, only about four months after arrests were made. His testimony could strengthen the government’s case against the others and back up evidence collected by informants and undercover agents.

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

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will seek “common ground” with the Republican-led Legislature in her State of the State address, pitching a multibillion-dollar pandemic relief plan that would prioritize coronavirus vaccinations and additional aid to schools and businesses amid the crisis.

Peter Meijer photo
Peter Meijer campaign

What course of action will unify the country as the U.S. Senate prepares for the 2nd impeachment trial of now former President Donald? Move on or hold the President accountable for “inciting insurrection?” Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer explains there’s only one path to travel.

“You have to have accountability before you can unify.”

U.S. Representative Peter Meijer stands by his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump. He explains the political divisions will remain if, as he puts it, the wound and the infection isn’t treated.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services logo
MI.gov

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is refusing to discuss the circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of Michigan's health director during the coronavirus pandemic, not saying if she had asked for his resignation. The Democratic governor also declined Monday to set a date for the return of youth contact sports, amid growing pressure after her administration extended the ban through Feb. 21. Robert Gordon, who issued COVID-19 restrictions after Whitmer's powers were upended by an October court ruling, resigned Friday as director of the state Department of Health and Human Services.

U.S. Capitol riot photo
NPR

Federal prosecutors in Detroit are disclosing more details about the alleged acts of a former Marine from Michigan who was at the U.S. Capitol riot. Authorities say Michael Foy of Wixom struck police at least 10 times with a hockey stick during the Jan. 6 attack. A judge will decide Monday whether Foy will remain locked up while facing charges in Washington. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hank Moon says Foy took 10 swings at police and subsequently crawled into the Capitol through a broken window. Investigators have the hockey stick.

U.S. Attorney Andrew B. Birge photo
Wikipedia

The chief federal prosecutor in Eastern Michigan appointed by President Donald Trump is resigning. What does the future hold for the state’s Western District U.S. Attorney?

U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, who was appointed by President Donald Trump overseeing the Detroit office, will step down February 1st.

Staying put, for now, is U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge who has led the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids since 2017.

MGM Grand Detroit Casino photo
Paul Sancya / Associated Press

Online sports betting and casino games will start in Michigan at noon Friday, an expansion of options for gamblers who now wager through offshore sites. State regulators have authorized licenses for all three Detroit casinos and seven of the dozen tribes with "Class III" casinos. Additional operator and platform provider licenses are expected to be approved in coming weeks.

Ty Garbin mug shot
Kent County Sheriff

A plea deal appears to be in the works for one of six men accused of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Ty Garbin is scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing in Grand Rapids federal court next Wednesday. The FBI in October said it broke up a plot to kidnap Whitmer by anti-government extremists upset over her coronavirus restrictions. Six people were charged in federal court in Grand Rapids. Separately, eight others were charged in state court with aiding the alleged scheme.

Federal Bureau of Investigation seal
fbi.gov

The FBI says a Michigan man with a hockey stick struck police officers during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. Michael Foy of Wixom is charged with five crimes, including assault and obstruction of law enforcement. The FBI says said he crawled through a broken window at the Capitol after police were assaulted. The FBI says a Facebook page belonging to Foy's father, as well as a YouTube video, helped investigators identify Foy. Foy is the second Michigan man to be charged in the Capitol violence. Karl Dresch of Calumet appeared in federal court in the Upper Peninsula on Wednesday.

Flint Water Tower
Associated Press

A judge has granted preliminary approval to a $641 million deal that would benefit Flint residents who were harmed by lead-contaminated water. The settlement includes $600 million from the state of Michigan, although Flint, an area hospital and an engineering firm are also part of the agreement. Federal Judge Judith Levy signed off in a 72-page opinion. Her preliminary approval triggers a monthslong process during which Flint residents can object and pursue their own claims. State regulators allowed Flint to use the Flint River in 2014-15 without treating the water to reduce corrosion.

screen grab taken from a Zoom meeting provided by the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners, Grand Traverse County Commissioner Ron Clous
Grand Traverse Board of Commissioners / Associated Press

A county official in northern Michigan is drawing criticism after displaying a rifle in response to a citizen's criticism of a far-right group during an online public meeting. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Ron Clous was among members of the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners taking part in the livestreamed meeting Wednesday. During a public comment period, a woman criticized the board for allowing members of the neo-fascist Proud Boys to address the commission last year. Clous then stepped away from his webcam and returned with a rifle.

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