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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Governor's office

Michiganders heard Governor Gretchen Whitmer address a wide range of topics related to the state’s response of the COVID-19 outbreak during an hour long program broadcast Thursday night on television and radio stations, including Michigan Radio. 

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin
U.S. Congress

How states have responded to the growing spread of COVID-19 has largely depended on governors' decisions. The result has been a patchwork of containment strategies across the country. Numerous officials have called on the federal government to create a more coordinated national response. That includes Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, who represents Michigan's 8th Congressional District.

a woman smiling at a cat
Courtesy of the Michigan Humane Society

Today on Stateside, we talk to Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin about her call for a more coordinated national response to the spread of COVID-19. Plus, we talk to the author of a novel, based on a true story, about a young teacher living alone in the Upper Peninsula during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

fence inside a prison grounds
John McGuire for Michigan Radio

A Michigan Department of Corrections transportation officer died Tuesday due to complications from COVID-19. The MDOC did not disclose the officer’s age or if there were underlying health conditions, only that the officer worked at a facility in Detroit.

Chris Gautz is the public information officer for MDOC. He says the department is taking a lot of precautions to prevent the further spread of the virus in Michigan’s 29 prisons.


police car
Matt Popovich / Unsplash

Last week Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel urged members of the  public to notify local police departments  if they had complaints about violations of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order. That's because the Attorney General's office was being overwhelmed by the volume of calls.

joann fabric store exterior
wolterke / Adobe Stock

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has denied JoAnn Fabrics' request to keep its storefront operations open. 

In a letter to the craft and hobby retailer, the Department of Attorney General said the company's on-site operations are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The letter said JoAnn Fabrics should temporarily close its stores to the public to comply with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order.

City of Detroit Health Department

Detroit continues to be hit hard by COVID-19.  But Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says efforts are underway to provide testing to every Detroiter who needs it.

As of Tuesday, Detroit reported 2,086 COVID-19 cases, and 73 deaths.

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

Last week, Congress passed the CARES act, a $2 trillion stimulus package intended to provide relief to communities and workers impacted by the new coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to that bill, Governor Gretchen Whitmer was able to sign an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that expanded unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, 1099 independent contractors, and gig and low-wage workers.

Paulette Parker / Michgian Radio

This week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says Detroit will become one of the first cities in the nation to use rapid-response COVID-19 testing kits.

Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories is providing the tests. They were just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and can give results in as little as 15 minutes.

Food Bank of Eastern Michigan

President Donald Trump approved Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request Monday to mobilize up to 3,000 Michigan National Guardsmen for up to 90 days. 

The call up is part of the governor’s COVID-19 response plan.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Today, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Support Act, or the CARES Act. The $2 trillion stimulus is the third piece of coronavirus relief legislation passed by Congress.

The bill contained $150 billion in relief money for individual states. It is estimated that Michigan will receive $3.8 billion in aid from the bill.


detroit skyline
Wikimedia commons

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan warned on Thursday that southeast Michigan is already a national COVID-19 hotspot—and the worst is still to come.

Detroit itself is a huge hotspot within southeast Michigan. The city is reporting 888 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday. 19 people have already died.

head shot of Dana Nessel
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning Michiganders to beware of scams related to the expected economic relief package for COVID-19.

In an urgent consumer alert issued Thursday, Nessel said bad actors are trying to trick people into giving out their personal and financial information in order to receive the one time federal stimulus payment.

State Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) on the House floor Tuesday, May 7, 2019.

Representative Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit)  has tested positive for COVID-19, according to state house officials.

A press release from House Democrats reported Thursday that Carter is in good spirits and appears to be recovering. 

Detroit skyline with GM building

Today on Stateside, people in Detroit are getting hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and hospitals are worried about a surge in patients overwhelming the city’s health care providers. Plus, as most other businesses shut down during the state's “stay at home” order, grocery stores are still open. We’ll hear what it’s like to be one of the workers at those stores.

Capitol Building
Liam James Doyle / NPR

The House is debating and then voting on the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that the Senate passed earlier this week. Watch the floor proceedings live.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order Wednesday that moves many employment-related administrative hearings online in an effort to avert person-to-person contact that helps spread coronavirus.

Mike Duggan

The former Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit will have a new use starting Friday: as a drive-through testing site for COVID-19.

The new testing site is a partnership between the city of Detroit, three local health systems—Henry Ford Health System, the Detroit Medical Center, and Trinity Health—and Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. Those three counties account for nearly 85% of Michigan’s COVID-19 cases right now.

a police car focused on the illuminated light bar

The state's labor department is not accepting complaints from workers who think their employers are violating Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order to stay home, known as the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order, that took effect on Tuesday.

Jason Moon, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, said workers should contact their local law enforcement agency.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, U.S. Senate leaders announced that they had reached a bipartisan agreement on a $2 trillion economic stimulus package. The goal of the legislation is to get emergency financial relief to businesses, workers, and a health care system upturned by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the largest economic rescue measure in U.S. history.

At the same time, a coalition of 16 attorneys general is urging President Trump to use the Defense Production Act to boost the supply of masks and respirators, saying first responders "need resources now."

Brenda Jones

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones has announced her campaign for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. Jones, a Democrat, will challenge Democrat incumbent Rashida Tlaib. She previously held the seat for 35 days in 2018, after winning the special election in the wake of John Conyers’ resignation.

Judge's gavel
Flickr user Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday that corruption charges have been filed against Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

Three others – including a businessman and a former state legislator – also face charges linked to abusing public funds.

a teacher at community high talking to kids
Courtesy of Donald Harrison

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered most of the state to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. But what does that mean for those who don't have a home? We hear about the challenges facing the state's homeless shelters. Plus, a new documentary tracks the history of what is probably Michigan’s most famous alternative high school, sometimes cheekily referred to as "Commie High." 

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Detroit is turning on water service to thousands of households that had been shut off—but some say it’s moving too slowly.

Detroit established an affordable program to restore and prevent shutoffs for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Friday, the city’s water department had restored service to 434 households.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has sent a letter to President Donald Trump hoping to secure federal funding for Michigan’s fight against COVID-19.

The governor’s letter asks the president to approve the Title 32 authorization that would allow the Michigan National Guard to operate with federal funding for pay, benefits, and equipment.

closed sign in shop window
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered schools and many businesses to shut down in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Thursday, the Michigan Strategic Fund board approved her request to provide $20 million in grants and loans to help small businesses that were affected by the order.

two national guard members move pallets of supplies
Sgt. James Bennett / Michigan National Guard

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has activated the Michigan National Guard to help deliver medical supplies to local health departments as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This is part of the state’s response to the evolving health crisis that Wednesday claimed its first life in Michigan.

a young black boy's hands under a sink faucet
Adobe Stock Images

Today on Stateside, we spoke with U.S. Senator Gary Peters about how Congress is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. We also checked in on Lansing, where Michigan lawmakers have approved large sums of money to deal with the fallout from a statewide coronavirus shutdown, even as bigger policy questions linger.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Businesses across the state have shuttered and life for Michiganders has been turned upside down amidst a coronavirus shutdown. Experts say the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak will be enormous. Lawmakers at both the state and federal level are moving quickly to try and address the twin challenges of both a public health and economic crisis. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to issue an executive order Wednesday that may change or cancel the May 5th election because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kalamazoo County Clerk Tim Snow says he's contacted school districts that have millages and bond issues on the ballot, asking them to postpone their requests.

​"We are asking them to move their questions and, basically, to eliminate the May election," says Snow. ​

​If that isn't possible, Snow says he may try to hold the first mail-only election in Michigan's history.