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gretchen whitmer

governor gretchen whitmer standing at a podium

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is strongly encouraging all K-12 schools in Michigan to reopen for some in-person instruction by March 1. The move comes as the state is set to offer the coronavirus vaccine to teachers starting next week.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a bill this week that would've allowed people to ask to have a drunk driving conviction expunged from their record.

SB1254 would have allowed a person convicted of a DUI to ask a judge to set aside the conviction. The legislation would not allow additional DUI offenses or convictions related to death or serious injuries to be expunged.

The DUI expungement bill passed both chambers of the Michigan Legislature with broad bipartisan support.  The bill was also supported by top officials including Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used her veto pen Wednesday to reject a series of Republican bills aimed at curbing her power during the pandemic.

The governor issued 13 vetoes, covering a wide range of bills.

Three bills vetoed by the governor are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed part of the COVID relief bill which would have allowed more kinds of hazardous materials to cross the Ambassador Bridge.

Language from a 2012 draft report by the Department of Transportation was lifted and inserted into the supplemental COVID relief package. It would require the Michigan Department of Transportation to recommend the federal government permit two additional classes of hazardous materials to cross the international bridge.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’s looking forward to a better relationship with the White House once President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Whitmer is a frequent Trump critic and Trump famously criticized her as “that woman from Michigan.” She is a co-chair of Biden’s inauguration planning committee.

Whitmer says she expects help from the Biden administration on some critical initiatives in its first federal budget proposal.

Inside the Michigan Capitol looking up at the dome.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, reviewing the year in Michigan politics. We take a look back at this hectic year for Governor Gretchen Whitmer and state lawmakers, and what 12 months of uninterrupted and often absurd political news does to a country. Plus, a peek into what 2021 could bring.

Michigan Executive Office of the Governor

Citing continuing concerns about hospital capacity and “alarmingly high” death rates, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a 12-day extension of the COVID-19 restrictions initially put in place three weeks ago. 

That means high schools, colleges and universities must continue online learning only. Theaters and casinos must remain closed, and bars and restaurants can’t resume indoor dining, an especially tough blow during the crucial holiday season.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said there’s no decision yet on whether she will continue the “pause” on indoor restaurant dining and in-person high school and college classes. It’s set to expire on December 8.

The South Oakland County Resource Recovery Authority (SOCRRA) and Madison Heights meet in court May 17.
User: steakpinball / flickr

An Antrim County judge has set new bond conditions for two men accused in the alleged terrorist plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. It could make it easier for them to post bail.

Twin brothers Michael and William Null are locked up at the Grand Traverse County jail on $250,000 bonds  each.

joneigh khaldun at a press conference

State health officials are watching to see how Thanksgiving holiday gatherings may affect COVID-19 case rates.

The state recommended people avoid gatherings with people from other households. But Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said Tuesday it’s not clear yet how many people ignored that advice.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Enbridge has taken its legal battle to federal court to keep oil flowing through its dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac. 

The suit is intended to counter an effort by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) to revoke the company’s easement to operate the pipeline. The easement dates back to 1953.

Earlier this month, Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources informed Enbridge of plans to revoke the easement, citing numerous issues. At the same time, the state also filed a motion in Ingham County Circuit Court to enforce the revocation of the easement.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flu shot clinics are scheduled at baseball stadiums in Detroit and Lansing Monday and Tuesday. It’s part of a push to get millions of Michiganders vaccinated.

On Friday, state health officials reported nearly 2.4 million Michiganders have received their influenza vaccine this season. The state is more than halfway towards its goal of 4.2 million flu vaccinations. Last year more than three million Michiganders got their flu shot.

Abigail Censky / WKAR

President Donald Trump visited Michigan on Tuesday for the second time since he was diagnosed with COVID-19. 

After waiting several hours in the cold and rain outside of an airplane hangar, a crowd of supporters got to see Trump.

The president made false claims about the auto industry and being Michigan man of the year, before attacking Governor Gretchen Whitmer. He avoided calls to imprison the governor but didn't condemn the crowd, as they chanted, "Lock her up."

screenshot of hearing in Jackson County District Court

A Jackson County judge lowered the bond amount today for one of the 14 men charged in the alleged plot to kidnap the governor.

The bond amount for Pete Musico had been set at $10 million. It’s now set at $100 thousand. 

Michigan Capitol Building
Matthileo / Flickr -

Republican state lawmakers have presented their version of a COVID-19 response plan.

The state House GOP proposal follows a court ruling that struck down many of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s unilateral emergency orders.

governor gretchen whitmer standing at a podium
State of Michigan

A 51-year-old man charged in a plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been released from a Wisconsin jail after posting $10,000 cash bail.

Michigan Capitol Building
Matthileo / Flickr -

The legislative committee looking into the state’s COVID-19 response meets again Monday. Top health officials in Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration will face questions from the committee.

State Representative Matt Hall, (R-Marshall) chairs the joint House and Senate COVID-19 committee.

He expects there will be questions about infections in nursing homes and why some parts of the economy were allowed to re-open while similar businesses remained in shutdown.  

U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Michigan

Gretchen Whitmer
State of Michigan

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr -

An eighth man faces a criminal charge in connection with the alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and put her on trial over her COVID-19 orders.

51-year-old Brian Higgins is being held in Wisconsin awaiting extradition to Antrim County in northwest Michigan.

Barry County

The Michigan Sheriffs' Association says it condemns statements made by Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf after the arrests of militia members who allegedly plotted to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

At least one of the alleged terrorists lived in Barry County.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign a series of bills adopted by the Legislature as part of a deal on the state’s response to COVID-19.

The bills are the product of bargaining between the GOP-led Legislature and the Democratic governor after the Michigan Supreme Court struck down her continued use of emergency orders.

judges gavel

A federal judge in Grand Rapids has ordered three of the men charged in an alleged terrorist plot to be held without bond.

Two other men face hearings later in the week.

Federal prosecutors laid out extensive evidence in court Tuesday against the five men charged in a plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. A total of 13 men face charges in the case.

At a hearing in Grand Rapids Tuesday, assitant U.S. prosecutor Nils Kessler showed pictures, videos and screenshots of text conversations among the five men.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

At least there were loaner umbrellas.

Democrats did not cancel their outdoor voter mobilization event in Lansing Monday night, despite heavy rain that began pouring down a few minutes after it began. Attendance was strictly limited, with nearly as many reporters as Democratic officials, operatives and voters.

Southwest Michigan Volunteer Militia members training in 2010
Pete Tombers

Rick Foreman heard the news on Thursday like everyone else. A group of men, many with ties to Michigan’s militia community, many who’d stood side-by-side with Foreman at demonstrations this spring and summer, had allegedly plotted to overtake the state capitol and kidnap the governor.

“When I heard about it, I couldn’t believe it,” Foreman says.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Republican leadership raised concerns over the weekend about the decision to keep them out of the loop about threats against Governor Whitmer and a plot to storm the Capitol.

In an open letter to the governor, Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield accused her of keeping the legislature in the dark.

gretchen whitmer sitting at table

State and federal authorities have charged a group of 13 suspected terrorists in an alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and recruit militia members to storm the state Capitol.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the FBI announced the charges Thursday. They say the men wanted to overthrow the state government and incite a civil war.

people with signs standing outside state Capitol
Kevin Lavery / WKAR

The group Stand Up Michigan rallied Thursday at the state Capitol in Lansing. The event came a few hours after news broke of the foiled alleged kidnapping plot against Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr -

Federal investigators have foiled a domestic terrorism plot, hatched by an anti-government extremist group, to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and take hostages at the state Capitol. That’s according to an unsealed criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.