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The hotly debated issue of whether to prohibit firearms at the Michigan Capitol found itself Monday in the hands of a co...
05/11/2020
Panel punts on Capitol gun ban, another right-wing protest planned for Thursday ⋆ Michigan Advance

The hotly debated issue of whether to prohibit firearms at the Michigan Capitol found itself Monday in the hands of a commission usually focused on building restoration and grounds maintenance.

That panel, the Michigan State Capitol Commission (MSCC), chose not to make an immediate decision. This leaves the Capitol’s current open-carry policies unchanged ahead of more threats to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and another right-wing protest planned for Thursday, which Democratic lawmakers are worried could lead to violence.

The hotly debated issue of whether to prohibit firearms at the Michigan Capitol found itself Monday in the hands of a commission usually focused on building restoration and grounds maintenance. That panel, the Michigan State Capitol Commission (MSCC), chose not to make an immediate decision. This le...

There are now 47,552 positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan as of 3 p.m. Monday, although state officials believe the ac...
05/11/2020
Michigan tops 47K cases of COVID-19, 4.5K deaths ⋆ Michigan Advance

There are now 47,552 positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan as of 3 p.m. Monday, although state officials believe the actual number of cases is much higher.

The state also reports that 4,584 people in the state have now died of COVID-19. COVID-19 has now reached every county in Michigan, except for four in the Upper Peninsula.

There are now 47,552 positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan as of 3 p.m. Monday, although state officials believe the actual number of cases is much higher. The state also reports that 4,584 people in the state have now died of COVID-19. COVID-19 has now reached every county in Michigan, except for....

Last week, a group of churches filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, but now they have paused their action foll...
05/11/2020
Lawsuit claiming Whitmer’s order violates religious freedom put on hold ⋆ Michigan Advance

Last week, a group of churches filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, but now they have paused their action following the governor’s latest stay-home order extension.

The group of churches and religious leaders, including Stanley Chatfield, father of state House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), alleged that Whitmer’s previous executive orders to stop the spread of COVID-19 bar Michiganders from gathering at church to worship.

Last week, a group of churches filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, but now they have paused their action following the governor’s latest stay-home order extension. The group of churches and religious leaders, including Stanley Chatfield, father of state House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Le...

The state of Michigan has awarded two new contracts worth more than $1 million to Detroit companies in order to expand C...
05/11/2020
State awards new COVID-19 contact tracing contracts ⋆ Michigan Advance

The state of Michigan has awarded two new contracts worth more than $1 million to Detroit companies in order to expand COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

This comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer canceled a contract with a Democratic consultant-owned campaign outreach company in April following complaints that a partisan firm would be collecting and monitoring health data.

The state of Michigan has awarded two new contracts worth more than $1 million to Detroit companies in order to expand COVID-19 contact tracing efforts. This comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer canceled a contract with a Democratic consultant-owned campaign outreach company in April following complain...

New column from professors Shannon Reid and Matthew Valasik:A series of protests, primarily in state capitals, are deman...
05/11/2020
Column: Why are white supremacists protesting to 'reopen' the economy? ⋆ Michigan Advance

New column from professors Shannon Reid and Matthew Valasik:

A series of protests, primarily in state capitals, are demanding the end of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Among the protesters are people who express concern about their jobs or the economy as a whole.

But there are also far-right conspiracy theorists, white supremacists and citizens’ militia members at these protests. The exact number of each group that attends these protests is unknown, since police have not traditionally monitored these groups, but signs and symbols of far right groups have been seen at many of these protests across the country.

A series of protests, primarily in state capitals, are demanding the end of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Among the protesters are people who express concern about their jobs or the economy as a whole. But there are also far-right conspiracy theorists, white supremacists and citizens’ militia me...

As they face massive budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, states are looking for federal money to help stave ...
05/11/2020
Can lessons from the Great Recession help states avoid budget disasters? ⋆ Michigan Advance

As they face massive budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, states are looking for federal money to help stave off the kind of drastic cuts they enacted during the last economic downturn.

State budget officers and economists generally agree that cuts to state spending worsened the Great Recession in the years following 2008. Layoffs, hiring freezes and furloughs of state employees had ripple effects throughout the economy.

As they face massive budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, states are looking for federal money to help stave off the kind of drastic cuts they enacted during the last economic downturn. State budget officers and economists generally agree that cuts to state spending worsened the Great Rec...

Sixteen staff members at Michigan’s only private, for-profit immigrant prison in the rural village of Baldwin have been ...
05/10/2020
‘It’s hell’: COVID-19 concerns grow at federal immigrant prison in Baldwin ⋆ Michigan Advance

Sixteen staff members at Michigan’s only private, for-profit immigrant prison in the rural village of Baldwin have been confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday.

It wasn’t until this week that the Bureau of Prisons added private prison figures to a separate PDF on its website showing that 18 North Lake prisoners had coronavirus.
Family members of inmates, however, were not informed of the change. They say they still cannot get information about their incarcerated relatives’ welfare, aside from direct phone calls with them.

Prisoners at North Lake, the privately-run federal prison in Baldwin, are living in unsafe conditions say family members, advocates worried over COVID-19.

New column from former AP reporter Bob Lewis:In the long and dubious history of nasty presidential politics, the anti-Tr...
05/09/2020
Column: Trump’s defamation suits pose a chilling prospect for the press ⋆ Michigan Advance

New column from former AP reporter Bob Lewis:

In the long and dubious history of nasty presidential politics, the anti-Trump attack ad that the pro-Democratic SuperPAC Priorities USA paid NBC affiliate WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, Wisc., to televise in America’s 134th largest market seemed tame enough.

The 30-second spot uses rapid-fire audio snippets of President Trump dismissing the seriousness of the nascent but fast-growing COVID-19 outbreak from late January through late March while an on-screen graph ticks increasingly upward as U.S. cases exponentially multiply. Evidently, that hit too close to home for Trump’s campaign. It sued the tiny northern Wisconsin station for defamation on April 13.

In the long and dubious history of nasty presidential politics, the anti-Trump attack ad that the pro-Democratic SuperPAC Priorities USA paid NBC affiliate WJFW-TV in Rhinelander, Wisc., to televise in America’s 134th largest market seemed tame enough. The 30-second spot uses rapid-fire audio snip...

WASHINGTON — Federal lawmakers are urging Congress to help rural America in the next round of coronavirus legislation.Co...
05/09/2020
Lawmakers press Congress for more relief cash for rural America ⋆ Michigan Advance

WASHINGTON — Federal lawmakers are urging Congress to help rural America in the next round of coronavirus legislation.

Congress approved more than $2 trillion in response to the pandemic in March, but many lawmakers say it doesn’t do enough to address the needs of rural Americans. Media coverage of the pandemic has focused on urban hotspots like New York City, New Orleans and Seattle. But the virus is increasingly affecting rural America — and some fear the resources aren’t in place to address it.

WASHINGTON — Federal lawmakers are urging Congress to help rural America in the next round of coronavirus legislation. Congress approved more than $2 trillion in response to the pandemic in March, but many lawmakers say it doesn’t do enough to address the needs of rural Americans. Media coverage...

New column from Julie Cassidy of the Michigan League for Public Policy:A local Meals on Wheels program receiving 75 new ...
05/08/2020
Column: We’re all facing the threat of COVID-19, but we’re not all in the same boat ⋆ Michigan Advance

New column from Julie Cassidy of the Michigan League for Public Policy:

A local Meals on Wheels program receiving 75 new requests for home-delivered meals every day. Suddenly unemployed workers hounded for repayment on payday loans. Local food banks scrambling to meet unprecedented need in their communities. A restaurant server scammed out of a rental deposit check by someone posing as an out-of-state landlord. Domestic violence survivors trapped with their abusers.

These are just a few reports from our partners across Michigan and the country over the last few weeks on the challenges people are facing right now. But these stories also expose the tightrope upon which so many families walk every day.

A local Meals on Wheels program receiving 75 new requests for home-delivered meals every day. Suddenly unemployed workers hounded for repayment on payday loans. Local food banks scrambling to meet unprecedented need in their communities. A restaurant server scammed out of a rental deposit check by s...

A ceremony was held on May 8, 1917, when Michigan Gov. Albert E. Sleeper signed the Damon-Flowers bill. The measure auth...
05/08/2020
On this day in 1917: Michigan helps lead way toward women’s suffrage ⋆ Michigan Advance

A ceremony was held on May 8, 1917, when Michigan Gov. Albert E. Sleeper signed the Damon-Flowers bill.

The measure authorized by the Republican from Bad Axe placed on the ballot a referendum to allow women to vote in presidential elections. Voters approved a state constitutional amendment the following year making the historic measure law throughout Michigan.

A ceremony was held on May 8, 1917, when Michigan Gov. Albert E. Sleeper signed the Damon-Flowers bill. The measure authorized by the Republican from Bad Axe placed on the ballot a referendum to allow women to vote in presidential elections. Voters approved a state constitutional amendment the follo...

One week after heavily armed protesters spilled into the Michigan Capitol during session, prompting some lawmakers to fe...
05/07/2020
Dems: Chatfield only gave security option to GOP during armed protest ⋆ Michigan Advance

One week after heavily armed protesters spilled into the Michigan Capitol during session, prompting some lawmakers to fear for their lives, Democratic House members say that they were not made aware of police security available to them.

But they said their Republican colleagues were able to take up the offer from the Michigan State Police (MSP) to escort lawmakers to and from the Capitol for the April 30 session if they felt unsafe.

One week after heavily armed protesters spilled into the Michigan Capitol during session, prompting some lawmakers to fear for their lives, Democratic House members say that they were not made aware of police security available to them. But they said their Republican colleagues were able to take up....

Michiganders are ordered to stay home for another three weeks, but manufacturers will be able to go back to work Monday....
05/07/2020
Whitmer extends stay-home order until May 28, clears manufacturing to reopen ⋆ Michigan Advance

Michiganders are ordered to stay home for another three weeks, but manufacturers will be able to go back to work Monday.

“Manufacturing is an important part of our economy, there’s no question,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “And as we’ve done the risk assessment, we feel comfortable that with these safety protocols we can safely re-engage.”

Michiganders are ordered to stay home for another three weeks, but manufacturers will be able to go back to work Monday. “Manufacturing is an important part of our economy, there’s no question,” Whitmer said. “And as we’ve done the risk assessment, we feel comfortable that with these safet...

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed an executive order that extends eligibility to file unemployment claims during ...
05/07/2020
Gov. signs order to speed up jobless benefits process ⋆ Michigan Advance

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed an executive order that extends eligibility to file unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to expedite the process — which has been a source of great consternations for thousands.

With 69,000 more Michigan residents filing for unemployment last week, that brings the total north of 1.3 million during the crisis.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed an executive order that extends eligibility to file unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to expedite the process — which has been a source of great consternations for thousands. With 69,000 more Michigan residents filing for unemploymen...

There are now 45,646 positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan as of 3 p.m. Thursday, although state officials believe the ...
05/07/2020
Michigan surpasses 4.3K COVID-19 deaths, 45K cases ⋆ Michigan Advance

There are now 45,646 positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan as of 3 p.m. Thursday, although state officials believe the actual number of cases is much higher.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports that 4,343 people have now died of COVID-19.

There are now 45,646 positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan as of 3 p.m. Thursday, although state officials believe the actual number of cases is much higher. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports that 4,343 people have now died of COVID-19. COVID-19 has now also reache...

State House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and his father, the Rev. Stanley Chatfield III, both filed lawsuits again...
05/07/2020
Chatfield, dad both file lawsuits against Whitmer on same day ⋆ Michigan Advance

State House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and his father, the Rev. Stanley Chatfield III, both filed lawsuits against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday to limit her executive powers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I don’t know too much about it,” the Republican leader said Thursday. “My dad mentioned a few days ago that he was working with a group of pastors, and the next I heard about it was from the media yesterday. I told him I wish him luck.”

State House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and his father, the Rev. Stanley Chatfield III, both filed lawsuits against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday to limit her executive powers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Stanley Chatfield, a pastor at the Northern Michigan Baptist Bible Church in Burt....

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said voters broke a record set in 2015 for the percentage of ballots cast in ...
05/07/2020
Despite pandemic, Michigan has record-breaking election turnout ⋆ Michigan Advance

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said voters broke a record set in 2015 for the percentage of ballots cast in May elections, despite voting during a pandemic.

Benson said that 25% of eligible voters, or roughly more than 180,000 Michiganders, participated in Tuesday’s elections. Additionally, 99% cast absentee ballots, with only 1,775 people voting in person. This comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order back in March that expanded absentee voting due to the pandemic.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said voters broke a record set in 2015 for the percentage of ballots cast in May elections despite voting during a pandemic. Benson said that 25% of eligible voters, or roughly more than 180,000 Michiganders, participated in Tuesday’s elections. Additiona...

The state budget is facing a massive shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with estimates of a roughly $7 billion r...
05/07/2020
GOP leaders plan big budget cuts, don’t say if they’ve asked D.C. for help ⋆ Michigan Advance

The state budget is facing a massive shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with estimates of a roughly $7 billion revenue hit over the next two years.

“Like every state in the nation right now, Michigan is facing an unforeseen budget crisis,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown told the Advance Thursday.

The state budget is facing a massive shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with estimates of a roughly $7 billion revenue hit over the next two years. And Michigan is far from alone, as states all over the country are grappling with soaring unemployment, plummeting tax revenue and a looming rec...

WASHINGTON — Hospitalization for a gallbladder condition didn’t stop U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from...
05/07/2020
From hospital, Justice Ginsburg slams Trump birth control rules ⋆ Michigan Advance

WASHINGTON — Hospitalization for a gallbladder condition didn’t stop U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from assailing Trump administration’s birth control rules on Wednesday.

Ginsburg, 87, was hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Tuesday night, but was animated as she participated in an oral argument via teleconference surrounding a Trump administration policy that allows employers to opt out of a contraceptive coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON — Hospitalization for a gallbladder condition didn’t stop U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from assailing Trump administration’s birth control rules on Wednesday. Ginsburg, 87, was hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Tuesday night, but was animated a...

WASHINGTON — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finalized rules Wednesday that the administration says will improve du...
05/06/2020
DeVos finalizes sexual assault rules that critics say ‘roll back the clock’ ⋆ Michigan Advance

WASHINGTON — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finalized rules Wednesday that the administration says will improve due process in campus sexual assault cases, but that critics warn could discourage victims from coming forward.

“That the Department of Education has spent its time finalizing this out-of-touch rule rolling back decades of progress instead of helping students and educators weather the coronavirus crisis highlights the staggering depths of this Administration’s contempt for survivor justice and campus safety,” U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finalized rules Wednesday that the administration says will improve due process in campus sexual assault cases, but that critics warn could discourage victims from coming forward. The new regulations expand rights for people accused of sexual misco...

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The Michigan Advance is a hard-hitting, nonprofit news site covering politics and policy across the state. We feature in-depth stories, blog posts and social media updates, as well as top-notch progressive commentary. The Advance is free of advertising and free to our readers.

We wholeheartedly believe that journalists have the biggest impact by reporting close to home, explaining what’s happening in our state and communities — and why. Michigan has hundreds fewer reporters than just a couple decades ago. The result is too many stories falling through the cracks.

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