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Michigan Legislature

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State lawmakers are proposing using one-time federal funds to underwrite a $2.5 billion investment in Michigan’s water infrastructure.

The bill would use grants and loans to help pay for dam repairs, lead pipe replacement and other water related projects.

Senate Bill 565 includes:

-  $680 million for the creation of grant and loan programs to repair the most critical of Michigan’s dams 

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
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Almost all COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan will be lifted Tuesday, but that won’t put an end to arguments in Lansing about how the crisis was handled and what should happen next.

Republican lawmakers say the decision is overdue and that the Legislature will continue its inquiries into the administration’s handling of COVID, including restrictions on gatherings and businesses.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are clashing over legislation to restrict the use of so-called ‘No-Knock’ warrants.

Police use no-knock warrants to surprise suspects. But critics complain some police departments are abusing them, putting innocent people at risk.

State Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) says her bill would require police to consider other options before requesting a no-knock warrant.

“They should have those tools,” says Geiss, “But at the same time, they should be used surgically...very very carefully.”

jocelyn benson at podium
michigan.gov

Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation on Tuesday aimed at addressing the backlog for appointments at Secretary of State offices. 

"We've never been in a situation where the Secretary of State's office has been forced to process a 13 month backlog on top of their normal business,” said State Rep. Julie Brixie of East Lansing, who spoke at a virtual press conference alongside Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. 

michigan state capitol building in lansing, mi
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, a state lawmaker discusses police reform measures under consideration in the Michigan Senate. Also, a look at what’s driving the housing market — and making it difficult for buyers to navigate right now. Plus, two high school students discuss wrapping up the pandemic school year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A twelve bill police reform package goes before a state legislative committee this week.

The Senate Judiciary and Public Safety committee is expected to take up the package Thursday morning.

The bills address a wide-range of issues, from use of excessive force to search warrants.

Picture of the Lansing capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A legislative committee is moving ahead with measures to enact stricter ethics standards for Michigan lawmakers and the people who work for them, including restraints on the ability to move directly from the Legislature to lobbying former colleagues.

“It may not be perfect in many people’s minds, but it is moving ahead in a direction that I think is more transparent and that can hold those of us that are elected to office more accountable,” said Representative Ann Bollin (R-Brighton), who chairs the House Elections and Ethics Committee.

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The Michigan Senate adopted a bill Wednesday that would exempt in-person high school graduation ceremonies from gathering limits in state emergency health orders – a measure Governor Gretchen Whitmer says is unnecessary.

Senator Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) sponsored the bill. He said now is the time to adopt the bill as more vaccines are available and graduation season approaches.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state House Oversight Committee approved a subpoena Thursday to require former state health department director Robert Gordon to testify.

Republicans have questions on the use of confidentiality agreements when Governor Gretchen Whitmer and top administration officials parted ways. Also whether Gordon differed with Whitmer’s decisions on the state’s COVID-19 response.

restaurant closed sign
Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, they’re heeeeere! Host April Baer, noted cicada enthusiast, talks with an entomologist about once-in-17 years emergence of Brood X. Plus, how the new COVID surge in Michigan is affecting businesses and Michigan’s plans to handle the crisis.

An education funding bill passes in the House.
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we dive into a Republican effort to tighten up election laws in Michigan. Plus, the Michigan classrooms where teachers come, teachers go, and students miss out. And we check in with a grocer about what it’s been like for him and the store during the pandemic.

FOIA
Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, while vaccine eligibility is expanding in Michigan, new variants of COVID-19 continue to spread through the state. Plus we dive into the latest dustup between Governor Whitmer and Republican legislative leaders over non-disclosure agreements and payouts to former state employees.

Henryk Sadura Adobe Stock

The battle over the state budget in Lansing seems to be heating up, not cooling down.

Republican leaders tied parts of their original budget plan to Governor Gretchen Whitmer's signing of bills that would have reduced her emergency powers. She, in turn, used line-item vetoes on those sections of the budget. Now, there could be a lawsuit.For analysis of the situation, Michigan Radio's Doug Tribou spoke with Zach Gorchow, the executive editor and publisher of Gongwer News Service.

FOIA
Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are once again considering legislation that would increase transparency and access to public records. A 10-bill package would remove exemptions for the governor and lieutenant governor's office from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as well as create the Legislative Open Records Act for the state legislature.

man in white shirt and blue tie puts hand over stomach and has a holster with a gun on it on his left side
Adobe Stock

Gun rights were at the center of a passionate state Senate debate on Wednesday. The symbolic gesture on the part of the Senate Republican majority was also a proxy battle over COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s use of emergency powers.

The issue was Senate Resolution 22, which registered the Senate’s opposition to any efforts at the federal or state levels to impose new firearm restrictions.

Pevos / MLive

Today, on Stateside, an update on the dramatic turn of events on Thursday as gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicide rather than face charges of human trafficking. In other news, some in the state Legislature want to change the rules around which communities get more COVID-19 vaccines.

Judge's gavel with books on a desk
Pixabay.com

The state Legislature is re-introducing bills that would allow drunk driving convictions to be expunged from criminal records.

Similar legislation appeared on Governor Gretchen Whitmer's desk earlier this year, but she did not sign it.

House Bill 4219 and 4220 establish eligbility for the expungement of first-time driving while intoxicated convictions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Last month, a Mega Millions ticket sold in Novi won a billion dollar prize. We don’t know the name of who bought the ticket. And we may never know.

Michigan is one of a small number of states that require the names of winners of multi-state lotteries to be made public. 

But one state lawmaker wants to change that.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey
senatormikeshirkey.com

Post Updated at 5:03 p.m, February 10, 2021:

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) again stoked controversy on Wednesday when he refused to back off from suggesting the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot was a "hoax."

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Republican leaders in the state Legislature say they want better oversight on federal COVID-19 relief dollars.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has introduced a plan calling for the allocation of $5.6 billion dollars in federal and state money. She says Michigan is lagging behind in terms of getting the cash to people who need it.

“Other states are deploying these resources to support their children, to support businesses that are struggling, to roll out their vaccine distribution. Michigan is sitting on them, and it's because we're waiting for the Legislature to appropriate these dollars.”

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.

Tingey Injury Law Firm / unsplash

The Michigan state Senate has passed several bills to make changes to the state's criminal justice system.

The bipartisan bills aim to prevent low income offenders from being trapped in a spiral of fines and jail time for what are often misdemeanor offenses.

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Today on Stateside, COVID-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals throughout Michigan are nearing capacity. A reporter who’s been following the story talks us through when a vaccine might be distributed to Michigan's frontline health workers. Also, the head of the state’s largest school district speaks to the challenges of 2020 and beyond. Plus, support for kids and families navigating grief this holiday season.

The Senate Oversight Committee hearing into ballot counting at the TCF center in Detroit lasted seven hours. The hearing was filled with conspiracy theories and debunked claims.
Senate TV

In a conspiracy laden seven-hour hearing, Republican poll challengers and watchers testified in front of the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee. Despite accusations, they did not provide evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Dozens of mostly aggrieved Republicans testified Tuesday. Many raised concerns with the ballot counting process at the TCF Center in Detroit and said they were harassed by election workers.

Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

More than two years since Michigan passed legislation giving childhood victims of sexual abuse more time to sue, lawmakers are again taking up bills inspired by the Larry Nassar scandal. 

Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum / Unsplash

Stateside for Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Today on Stateside, democrat Haley Stevens tries to hold on to a swing seat in one of the tightest congressional races in Michigan. Then, a conversation around “unschooling” as an alternative to the hectic school year. Plus, how the FBI turns insider tips into a viable case.

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

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.  

Credit Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Worker advocates are calling on the Michigan House of Representatives to amend a bill that ties unemployment benefits to strong legal protections for businesses in cases related to COVID-19.

Senate Bill 886 would extend unemployment benefits that were previously provided under one of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.

 

michigan state capitol building in lansing, mi
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Senate returns Thursday after the Michigan Supreme Court declared many of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders unconstitutional.

First the Senate and then the House will meet on consecutive days to adopt their own plans and send them to Whitmer to sign or veto.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Republican leaders in the Legislature are making their final push to reverse a court ruling that absentee ballots that arrive at clerks’ offices after Election Day must be counted.

The first step is for House and Senate GOP leaders to ask to become direct parties to the case. A motion filed Tuesday asked for standing to challenge a Court of Claims decision.

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