Abigail Censky | Michigan Radio

Abigail Censky

Abigail Censky is the Politics & Government reporter at WKAR. She started in December 2018.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

More than a million Michiganders, or more than a quarter of the state’s workforce, have applied for unemployment during the coronavirus outbreak.

Jeff Donofrio is the director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. He says while the state isn’t unique, Michigan has seen some of the biggest surges in unemployment applications.

profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Gretchen Whitmer spent much of her Monday briefing on the coronavirus outbreak defending the extension of the stay at home order.

Last week the Governor extended the stay-at-home order through the end of April. The move was called for by the state’s health officials, but harshly criticized by Republican leadership in the state legislature.

coronavirus symptoms sheet
Adobe Stock

As Michigan nears the predicted apex of the coronavirus pandemic, some areas of the state have faired far better than hard-hit Southeast Michigan and Detroit. But the whole state won’t peak at the same time. For outstate areas like Ingham County—with 254 cases and a population of more than 290,000 –it’s virtually impossible to predict when cases of COVID-19 will peak, and how long life here may be disrupted.

different types of face masks laying on a table

The state of Michigan now has more than 17,000 cases of COVID-19. But there's not enough personal protective equipment to last through the week at several hospitals in Southeast Michigan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the state is dangerously low on equipment to protect healthcare workers.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Less than a week ahead of the Michigan presidential primary, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is warning results may come late.

She says there’s been an 80% increase in absentee ballots.

Bloomberg will officially be on ballots across the country for Super Tuesday, the first time he's appeared on a ballot alongside other Democratic frontrunners. He's betting heavily on a good Super Tuesday showing to transfer into wins the next week.
Maxim Jenkins / WKAR

While some of the biggest names in the race to become the democratic presidential nominee dropped out ahead of Super Tuesday, one candidate’s big gamble doesn’t start until today.

Mike Bloomberg has spent a huge amount of money in Michigan ahead of the state’s primary next week, and he’s hoping the payoff could be a share of the state’s 147 delegates.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

2020 is the first presidential election year Michigan voters will have access to no-reason absentee voting, and election clerks are expecting a surge in absentee ballots. A set of bills passed out of the state Senate Elections Committee Thursday will allow clerks to remove ballots from the mailing envelope, but not the secrecy sleeve the day before the election.

Gretchen whitmer at a microphone
Jake Neher / WDET

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is seeking $3.5 billion in new bonds to fix crumbling roads and bridges. She unveiled the plan in her second State of the State speech Wednesday evening. She said this is her “Plan B” after Republicans rejected her proposal for a 45-cent fuel tax increase last year.

“So from now on, when you see orange barrels on a state road, slow down, and know that it’s this administration fixing the damn roads,” Whitmer said.

The new plan doesn’t require the Republican-led Legislature to sign off.

Hands gripping jail cell bars

A special task force on jails and pretrial incarceration handed over 18 policy recommendations Tuesday to leadership in the state Legislature.

Members of the Michigan State University marching band are braving below freezing temperatures to take part in "Sparty Watch" — a more than 50-year-old protection scheme devised to fend off attacks on MSU's beloved mascot, The Spartan, in advance of their rivalry football game on Saturday.

It's 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and 22 degrees. Twenty members of the MSU marching band and color guard are huddled outside in the snow flanking the 9-foot bronze statue.