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Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is suing 17 defendants seeking damages for widespread PFAS contamination. The defendants include industrial giants 3M and DuPont. 

The lawsuit was filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

PFAS are a family of industrial chemicals linked to serious human health issues, including cancer. PFAS have been used in many consumer products and in firefighting foam. 

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

EGLE / via Twitter

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she’s considering more criminal charges against the owner of a hazardous waste facility that gushed toxic green ooze onto I-696 in Oakland County earlier this month.

Gary Sayers, owner of the former Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights, is already facing a year in federal prison for environmental crimes.

Flint school lockers
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Updated January 3, 2020: A spokesperson for Flint Community Schools sent the following statement, attributed to FCS Superintendent Derrick Lopez:   “The Flint Community Schools District is deeply committed to the well-being and success of all students. In keeping with District policy, we will not be commenting on pending litigation.” Requests for comment to the Michigan Department of Education were directed to the Attorney General's office, which has not yet responded at this time. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan is going to be in the national spotlight Wednesday as President Donald Trump campaigns in Battle Creek, while at the same time the U.S. House of Representatives debates impeaching him.

At the start of President Trump's term, Republicans had solidified control in Washington and their hold on state governments across the country, with 33 GOP governors in power. Democrats were at their lowest numbers in nearly a century — down to just 16 Democratic governors and having control of only 13 state legislatures.

court gavel
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has filed a legal brief that supports a lawsuit challenging state payments to private and parochial schools.

michigan.gov; senatormikeshirkey.com

Lawmakers still harbor hard feelings and mistrust over Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s budget vetoes and her use of an administrative board to move money from one program to another. The Legislature’s leadership has been meeting with the governor — and Whitmer said they seemed close to a bargain.

The Michigan State House of Representatives in Lansing, Michigan
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When Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the state budget, she also moved some money around within the budget. She did that using the state Administrative Board.

Now Republicans want to put limits on her ability to do that going forward. They introduced bills that would do things like cap how much money the governor could move around within departments.

Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

Republicans say Governor Whitmer broke their trust when she rearranged millions of dollars in the spending plan they sent to her. Whitmer used the power of the State Administrative Board to transfer money within departments. This was after Republicans sent her a budget without her input.

time sheet on desk
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan will change its labor rules to ensure almost 200,000 salaried workers become eligible for overtime pay. Her plan would make Michigan’s overtime rule more generous than the federal standard.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature’s Republican leaders met Thursday. They are trying to find common ground this week following the governor’s sweeping line-item budget vetoes.

No agreements were reached, but all parties say the fact that the talks are continuing is a good sign. However, there is a growing sense of urgency among the people who run programs that are affected by the budget cuts. Those include local jails, human services, and charter schools.

Michigan Capitol Building
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

All state employees are expected to show up for work Tuesday. That’s because Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign budget bills Monday and avert a partial shutdown of state government at midnight.

The Democratic governor pressed the Legislature’s GOP majorities to increase the gas tax and put more money toward roads and schools. Republicans said no and sent her budget bills last week to sign or veto by Monday. The standoff led the Whitmer administration to notify state employees that layoffs could be on the way.

In a turn-around from earlier this week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’s ready to veto budget bills that don’t raise new money for roads. Republicans in the Legislature have teed up budgets to be adopted and sent to Whitmer’s desk as soon as next week.

That’s after talks between the Democratic governor and GOP leaders broke down this week. The rhetoric tossed between the Democratic governor and Republican leaders has grown increasingly tense.

Whitmer says, “They gotta do what they gotta do. Then I’m gonna do what I gotta do.”

kids raising their hands in a classroom
Nicole Honeywill / Unsplash

Thousands of Michigan schools are starting a new year under a cloud of uncertainty as they wait for state lawmakers to hammer out the final K-12 education budget. 

School districts have been waiting since the end of June to learn how much state funding they’ll get this year.

close up of trigger on a gun.
Wes / Adobe Stock

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it’s possible to support the Second Amendment and be in favor of gun control, and she wants the state Legislature to act in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State health department officials say the state of Michigan should keep a psychiatric center in the Thumb open, but scrap plans for a major expansion.

The Caro Center has been operating for more than a century in Tuscola County. Hundreds of people are employed at the center which provides psychiatric care to dozens of patients in a collection of aging buildings.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she’ll take a close look at a proposal that would create a graduated income tax in Michigan.

A graduated income tax would increase the tax burden of wealthier Michiganders. 

someone filling out a census form in spanish
Didier Doceux / Adobe Stock

 

 

Today on Stateside, we discuss how the Trump administration could still limit non-citizen participation in the 2020 Census, even after dropping its pursuit of a citizenship question. Plus, how the opioid crisis is putting a strain on the resources of county morgues.

 

 

governor gretchen whitmer sitting at table with blue screen behind her
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature won’t hold a session for at least the next two weeks, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not happy about it.

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a spending bill worth more than $28 million. The money will be distributed to a variety of areas. That includes funding for implementing parts of the new Lead and Copper Rule for drinking water. The three million dollars for the Lead and Copper Rule will be used for things like water filters and drinking water investigations in homes.

Over one thousand protesters gathered on the Capitol lawn Tuesday.
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan’s education advocates need to put pressure on state lawmakers. That’s in order to make sure schools are properly funded.

Whitmer joined more than one thousand education advocates that were protesting on the Capitol lawn Tuesday. The state school aid budget is still being worked out by lawmakers in the state Legislature. But protesters at the Capitol want to make sure that the final product has enough money for K-12 schools.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Caro residents tried to make the case to keep their local state psychiatric center open at a town hall meeting Thursday.

Earlier this year, the Whitmer administration halted work on a new $115 million facility in Caro.   

Stephanie Zarb in the interior of a plane
Courtesy of Stephanie Zarb

 


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she's open to renew talks with Enbridge Energy about the future of its oil pipeline through the Mackinac Straits.

Last week, Enbridge – which is a Michigan Radio sponsor – asked the state Court of Claims to consider the legality of agreements it reached with former Governor Rick Snyder to build an oil pipeline tunnel.

Michigan’s attorney general has until June 27 to respond to Enbridge’s lawsuit.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Chanting “Save our school,” Benton Harbor parents, students and elected leaders brought their campaign to keep the city’s high school open to the governor’s office Tuesday.

The state is proposing shutting down Benton Harbor’s high school as part of plan to eliminate the district’s multi-million dollar debt.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Members of the school board for Benton Harbor Area Schools say they plan to submit a plan to Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday to try to save the city’s high school.

The governor’s office says the district is $18.4 million in debt. She says closing the high school will save money and keep the entire district from dissolving. 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says leaders at Benton Harbor Area Schools will get an extra week to come up with a plan to keep the district’s high school open. Whitmer took two hours of comments and questions during a town hall with residents in Benton Harbor on Wednesday.

two cars in a rear ending accident
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The new auto insurance law signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer is leaving many questions about what will happen to the cost of insurance.

Lawmakers in the state House and Senate approved an amendment to the law on Tuesday to fix what they say would’ve caused a temporary spike in insurance costs.

 

Eric Lupher is the president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He says the Legislature moved so quickly on the changes to the law that insurance companies are still trying to understand the ramifications.

 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Governor Whitmer is expected in Benton Harbor this afternoon for a town hall meeting about the city’s school district. Whitmer’s administration says Benton Harbor High School must shut down to keep the district out of financial insolvency.

Hundreds gathered in the city last night to oppose that plan.

Some drove in from around the state where schools have closed in the past.

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