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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

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The U.S. House Ethics Committee is ordering Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to re-pay her campaign more than $10,000.

The committee says Tlaib violated federal rules in 2018 by using the money to cover her salary.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
michigan.gov

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Friday extended her executive order declaring a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic through September 4.

“We are in a crucial time in our fight against COVID-19, and we must do everything we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis from a second wave,” says Whitmer.

census letter
Enayet Raheem / Unsplash

  Census workers are beginning to knock on doors of households that have not responded to the 2020 census. In Michigan, they’re starting this canvassing in Lansing and Oakland County. Door to door efforts began August 6 and will end on September 30.

Kerry Ebersole-Singh is the Michigan Statewide Census Director. She says the most work needs to be done in Detroit, but that won’t start until next week.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Dozens of Michigan school employees rallied Thursday at the state Capitol to call for a safe school re-opening strategy.

Members of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators, or “CORE,” came to Lansing to talk about several school issues.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says, based on how the August primary went this week, changes are needed before the November general election.

A record 2.5 million Michiganders voted in Tuesday’s primary, with 1.6 million using absentee ballots (also a record).  

a face mask on top of an absentee ballot
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we check in with two reporters and a county clerk about what the primary turnout —both in-person and absentee — tells us about the upcoming general election. Plus, a medical historian walks us through the history of vaccine development and what complicates the race for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
michigan.gov

An executive directive signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer declares racism a public health crisis in Michigan.

The directive creates a Black Leadership Advisory Council to identify resources within the executive branch to attack the problem of systemic racism, especially when it comes to health care.

The council will be lead by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. He says the council will identify ways that bias contributes to health disparities.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Voting rights advocates say they are concerned after watching Michigan’s August primary this week.

On primary night, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson described the election as running “smoothly” despite being pushed to its limit.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has survived a strong challenge to win the Democratic primary.

With 83% of precincts reporting, Worthy has garnered 143,398 votes to challenger Victoria Burton-Harris’ 86,722.

screen shot youtube announcement

 Updated 4:05 p.m., August 5, 2020: 

After narrowly leading grassroots conservative Mike Detmer for most of the night, Paul Junge pulled ahead in the race for Michigan’s 8th Congressional District.

The district is heavily gerrymandered and stretches across Ingham, Oakland, and Livingston counties.

You can return your ballot to a drop off box like this one in Ann Arbor.
April Baer / Michigan Radio

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says it may take a few days to know all the results of Tuesday's election – but it appears polling places were safe and well managed.

Benson said counting absentee votes will take longer than usual, but the system was able to handle the large number of ballots that were mailed in or dropped off.

“And what that shows us is what to expect when you’ve got 1.6 to two million ballots sent through the mail. This is what the system can provide. In November, we will have potentially as many as three million sent through the mail.”

COURTESY OF 'WITH HONOR'

Peter Meijer, an Iraq war veteran and heir to a multibillion dollar fortune, has won the Republican primary for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District.

Meijer declared victory around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night, after early results showed him with a substantial lead over the other four Republicans running in the race. As of late Tuesday evening, Meijer had 49.7% of the votes, with more than two third of precincts in the district reporting. The next closest challenger was state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis, with 24.5% of votes at the time.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Voting is light at many of the polling places across Michigan. Primary elections generally don’t pull as many voters. Also this year no-reason absentee voting has also contributed to a light turnout. Many people did not want to potentially expose themselves to the coronavirus.

a photo of "Beach Finds II" which is a light blue box filled with vials laid out in front
Courtesy of Geo Rutherford

Today on Stateside, we'll talk about the biggest races and issues on the August 4 primary ballot. Plus, a conversation with the Michigan Teacher of the Year about the return to school and what it means for his students to have a transgender adult to look up to in their lives.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state House and state Senate have canceled plans for in-person meetings this week in Lansing. That’s after a Republican lawmaker tested positive for COVID-19. Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) said he’s not experiencing significant symptoms, but is self-isolating. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on Political Action Committees relied on by many state lawmakers.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports during the governor’s stay-at-home order, state House members' PACs saw a steep drop in campaign donations.

ballot drop off box
April Baer / Michigan Radio

Don’t wait. Drop off your ballot in person. It’s too late to put it in the mail if you want it to be counted. That’s the advice elections officials are giving voters in advance of Tuesday’s primaries when a record number of votes will be cast via absentee ballot.


FirstEnergy

Federal investigators continue to investigate a racketeering scheme in Ohio. The plan was to increase electric rates to subsidize two aging nuclear power plants situated along Lake Erie owned by First Energy. One of the nuclear power plants is Davis-Besse, just 20 miles from the Michigan border. It’s a problem-plagued plant according to regulators.

Michigan Supreme Court
Michigan Supreme Court / court.mi.gov

Your vote won’t count even if your ballot is postmarked by Election Day. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal arguing for that.

Instead your ballot must arrive at the clerk’s office by 8:00 p.m. Election Day to be counted.

Kym Worthy
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Prosecutor’s races don’t usually get much attention from voters, but that’s not the case this year. With ongoing protests against police violence and racial injustice, there’s heightened attention on the role prosecutors play as gatekeepers to the criminal justice system.

There are several highly-contested prosecutor’s races on August primary ballots in Michigan. That includes the race in Wayne County, where longtime incumbent Kym Worthy is facing off against criminal defense attorney Victoria Burton-Harris.

Experience versus a reformer

whitehouse.gov

Full Show Post

Today on Stateside, Senate Republicans have developed a proposal for COVID stimulus that would, most notably, reduce unemployment benefits from the federal government from $600 a week to $200 a week. We talk about the pushback and potential consequences. Plus, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry. Will fine dining survive?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson expects results for the August primary and November’s general election will be delayed, because so many voters are casting absentee ballots.

Roughly two million Michiganders have requested absentee ballots. Much of the demand is driven by concerns about standing in long lines on election day amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Dan kildee
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The clock is ticking on federal unemployment benefits. While states provide most of the money, the federal government has been kicking in $600 extra in monthly payments. 

Senate Republicans have developed a proposal for COVID stimulus that would, most notably, reduce the federal unemployment benefits from $600 a week to $200 a week. Democrats in the House say that's a non starter. Represntative Dan Kildee, Democrat representing Michigan's 5th congressional district joined Stateside to discuss the proposals. 

absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of things much more difficult. And with less than one week until the August primary day, voting is the latest challenge for many Michiganders.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint's city clerk is defending her office’s handling of absentee ballot applications ahead of the next month’s primary election.

This month, the ACLU alleged the Flint City Clerk needed to speed up the processing of absentee ballot requests. A judge ordered the clerk’s office to clear a backlog of applications.

Flint City Clerk Inez Brown says more than 11,000 requests have been processed and nearly a third of the primary ballots have been returned.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a press conference holding a "vote" sign
State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’s aware there’s a growing urgency to making back-to-school plans. But she says it’s still too early to make final decisions on a return to in-school learning. Whitmer said those decisions will depend on the rates of COVID-19 deaths and infections in different parts of the state.

U.S. Department of Justice

Federal law enforcement agents and other resources are headed to Detroit fight a surge in violent crime, U.S. government officials announced this week.

The plan, dubbed Operation Legend, is a Trump administration anti-crime initiative targeting several major cities.

slemboskilaw.com/

A Michigan judge says the state’s eviction diversion program isn’t nearly enough to handle the expected influx of eviction filings.

Governor Whitmer lifted the state’s eviction moratorium in mid-July after introducing a $50 million eviction diversion program.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, while the United States Census of 2020 is still being counted, Michigan responses are higher than the national average. But some communities in the state are vulnerable to being left out of the official count, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, how the inequalities Black Michiganders discussed at the state’s first Convention of Colored Citizens in 1843 compare with those Black Americans still face today. Plus, kids and parents negotiate privacy and trust in the age of smartphone tracking.

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