Michigan House Republicans Pitch Ethics, Lame-Duck Reform to Kick off 101st Legislative Session

On Wednesday, Michigan House Republicans kicked off the 101st legislative session by introducing a bill that seeks to prohibit lawmakers from voting on bills that could benefit themselves or their family members

“To say we’re living in challenging political times is an understatement. People just don’t trust their government or their politicians,” House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, said in a Wednesday press conference.

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Michigan State Administrators Project $1.24 Billion Tax Shortfall for 2020

Michigan’s General Fund and School Aid Fund tax revenues dropped $1.24 billion since January 2020, according to figures released Friday by state administrators and fiscal analysts.

The latest state consensus revenue estimating conference also projected an $84 million shortfall for 2021.

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Former Michigan Gov. Snyder, Eight Others, Indicted in Flint Water Investigation

Nine members of the Rick Snyder administration, including the former Republican governor and a current Michigan Department of Health and Human Services manager, were indicted on 42 total counts for their respective roles in the Flint water crisis.

The indictments were announced Thursday morning by Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, both appointed by Attorney General Dana Nessel. The charges came after a year-long investigation by lone grand juror Judge David Newblatt.

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Exclusive: Republican Peter Meijer Draws Primary Opponent Day After Voting to Impeach Trump

Republican Tom Norton told The Michigan Star exclusively Thursday that he intends to run against Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI-03) in the state’s 2022 primary elections, just hours after Meijer cast his vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump. 

“I have decided to re-launch our campaign for U.S Congress in Michigan’s Third District,” Norton said. “This campaign is not about Trump. This is about the establishment thinking that America is beaten and lost. We need to fight, we need to group together, and never surrender.”

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Two Michigan House Republicans Vote to Impeach President Trump

Two members of the U.S. House from Michigan voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald J. Trump over allegations that he “incited an insurrection” at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. last week.

“I was in the House chamber when it was being attacked a week ago today. That was a moment that called for leadership. I was hoping to see the President rapidly try to de-escalate, try to denounce, try to stop the violence from occurring, and he abandoned his post,” freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI-03) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, explaining his vote in favor of impeachment. 

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Extends Indoor Dining Ban Through January 31; Restaurant Industry ‘Absolutely Stunned’

On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the statewide ban on indoor dining for the third time since last November.

She also said she “hopes” to reopen the industry on Feb. 1, with additional unspecified restrictions.

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Feds OK Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s Request to Release Reserve COVID-19 Vaccines; State Ranks 38th in Dose Administration

On Tuesday, The federal government granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s and other states governors’ request to release reserve COVID-19 doses being held back to ensure second doses of the vaccine are available.

Whitmer has blamed the federal government for the state’s slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

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Newly-Elected Michigan GOP Rep Already Betraying Base, Wants to Impeach Trump

A newly-elected GOP lawmaker from Michigan is already turning on his voters, and says he is considering voting to impeach President Donald J. Trump.

“I would prefer that we have a more fulsome investigation into what happened. Most of what I know about January 6 came either from personal experience or from Twitter,” Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI-03) said on CNN’s program “Out Front,” hosted by Erin Burnett. “But at the end of the day, I think it is obvious that the President is no longer qualified to hold that office.”

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Unelected Group Bans Open Carrying of Guns from Michigan Capitol

Just days after unarmed, mostly peaceful protestors entered the U.S. Capitol in Washington, a group of unelected officials has banned open carrying of guns from Michigan’s Capitol building.

“The Michigan Capitol Commission voted unanimously Monday to ban these firearms from the Lansing building,” ABC said. “Concealed weapons with permits will be still allowed.”

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Michigan Facing Slow, but Improving COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

After months of waiting, the COVID-19 vaccine is out, but a labyrinth lies ahead to get vaccines from the federal government into the arms of Michiganders.

Many of the vaccines were created and approved in less than a year, but it’s unclear how long it will take to immunize all 10 million Michigan residents.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Pocket Vetoes Meijer Tax Break, Property Tax Deferment for Hard Hit Businesses; Industry Leaders Want Answers

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday declined to sign two bills into law, exercising a “pocket veto” on legislation that would have given a tax break to Meijer and allowed businesses hit hard by COVID-19 to defer summer 2020 property taxes.

Whitmer vetoed SB 1153, which lawmakers said aimed to give Meijer a tax break on sales and use property taxes on automated consumer goods sorting systems.

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Michiganders Ages 65 and Older, Frontline Workers, and Educators Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Starting Monday

Michigan officials announced Wednesday the state will start to vaccinate a broader group of people starting Monday.

That includes Michiganders age 65 and older, frontline workers including police officers, first responders, jail and prison staff, and PreK-12 teachers and childcare providers.

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Michigan Republicans Angry Over Whitmer’s Pocket Veto of First-Time DUI Expungement Bill

Three Republican lawmakers are angry after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday exercised a “pocket veto” on a bill seeking to allow some first-time driving under the influence (DUI) or operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges expunged.

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Graham Filler, R-DeWitt, tweeted Monday that Whitmer would allow Senate Bill 1254 to die via “pocket veto,” meaning she won’t sign or veto it within the required 14-day window.

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Michigan Residents Pay $4,040 Per Capita in Key State Tax Levies, Study Finds

Michigan residents pay 8.47% of their income per capita toward property, income and sales taxes – or $4,040 per person – according to a new study examining tax burdens in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The share of income paid by Michigan residents for these three taxes represented the 25th highest state tax burden among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., the HireAHelper website reported. The state’s residents paid 3.07% of their income on property taxes, according to the website, which provides moving services.

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Michigan AG Nessel Finds ‘No Evidence of Criminal Conduct’ in Contact Tracing Contract Controversy

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Wednesday released a 29-page report saying her office found “no evidence of criminal conduct” after an investigation into April allegations the state health department unlawfully contracted with a COVID-19 contact-tracing vendor associated with Democrat consultant Michael Kolehouse.

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Michigan Business, Political Leaders Question Whitmer Veto of $220 Million Unemployment Appropriation

Michigan business and political leaders are pondering exactly why Gov. Gretchen Whitmer chose to veto Tuesday a bipartisan effort to allocate $220 million for Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

Although the governor signed the bipartisan relief bill, she exercised a line-time veto of a portion of the bill that would have appropriated $220 million to the UITF.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Signs $106 Million COVID-19 Relief Bill

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday signed the $106 million Enrolled Senate Bill 748, which includes $55 million to assist the state’s small businesses and $45 million for laid off and furloughed workers.

Whitmer also signed bipartisan Senate Bill 604, which extends unemployment benefits for Michiganders from 20 to 26 weeks until the end of March 2021. SB 604 was sponsored by state Sen. Curtis Hertel.

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No Alternatives Announced if Gov. Whitmer Succeeds in Closing Line 5

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration hasn’t revealed alternatives to transport more than half a million barrels of natural gas liquids if it succeeds in its legal efforts to close the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline in May 2021.

Enbridge spokesperson Ryan Duffy told The Center Square there are no pipelines or other alternatives that can readily substitute for Line 5 in transporting the crude oil and natural gas liquids to the refineries and other facilities served by Line 5. 

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AG Nessel Hopeful a Buttigieg Cabinet Position Will Seal Line 5’s Fate

Pete Buttigieg

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday expressed her approval of former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg as a nominee to head up the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Announces State Assistance for Bars and Restaurants as State Commission Continues to Suspend Liquor Licenses

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced programs aimed at assisting the state’s restaurants and bars as well as families facing evictions.

The announcement came as the governor is facing mounting criticism over her administration’s penalizing businesses alleged to have violated epidemic orders imposed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

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Michigan House Approves $465 million COVID-19 Relief Funding Bill

The Michigan House on Monday approved a $465 million supplemental budget bill to provide relief to Michiganders in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate Bill 748 aims to provide $64 million in small business survival relief; $220 million to extend unemployment benefits through April 1, 2021; $75 million for hospitals and health care workers; $22 million for increased testing; and $57 million for vaccine distribution.

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University of Michigan’s IT Department Told to Stop Using Word ‘Picnic’ as it Could ‘Harm Morale’

“Crack the whip.” “Master/slave.” Even the term “picnic” has been deemed offensive, according to a lengthy list of words and phrases put out recently by the University of Michigan’s Information and Technology Services’ “Words Matter Task Force.”

“To effectively communicate with customers, it is important for ITS to evaluate the terms and language conventions that may hinder effective communication, harm morale, and deliberately or inadvertently exclude people from feeling accepted to foment a healthy and inclusive culture,” states the memorandum obtained by The College Fix.

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Gov. Whitmer Blasts Trump Administration Over Vaccine Rollout, Announces Relaxation of Economic ‘Pause’

In what she claimed is her last news conference before Christmas, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer blasted President Donald Trump’s administration for what she depicted as a “slow-walked” rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the state.

She also made several announcements regarding the “pause” implemented by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services since the middle of November.

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Music Spotlight: Lilly Winwood

NASHVILLE, Tennesse-  I am often sent songs to review to see if I want to feature the song(s) and/or artist in my column. When I heard Lilly Winwood’s song “Few More Records” I knew this singer/songwriter was talented. But surely this Nashville girl wasn’t related to the Brit rocker, Steve Winwood.

It turns out, surely, she is. Lilly Winwood is the 25-year-old daughter of famed rock and roller, Steve Winwood.

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Michigan Legislative Oversight Committees Assume Subpoena Authority in Election Investigations

The Michigan House and Senate Oversight Committees are assuming authority to issue subpoenas, administer oaths and examine books and records related to the 2020 election.

The committees immediately proceeded to issue subpoenas to election clerks in Detroit and Livonia. Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey and Livonia Clerk Susan Nash have until the end of business on Jan. 12 to turn over documents pertaining to their respective elections.

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Michigan Unemployment Claims Continue to Decline Despite Lockdown Measures

Michigan’s new unemployment claims dropped last week by 5,855 from the week ending Dec. 5, according to Department of Labor statistics released Thursday morning.

Unemployment claims in the state continue to drop despite the ongoing prohibitions of indoor gatherings imposed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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Michigan Electors Cast Unanimous Vote for Biden/Harris, Resistance Continues

Michigan’s 16 electors unanimously cast ballots for presumptive President-elect Joseph Biden and presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The event transpired in the Senate chamber of the Michigan State Capitol on Monday afternoon, and was chaired by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.

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Commentary: Michigan Governor’s War on Energy is Bad Policy and Bad Politics 

Michigan’s Governor wants to make life more difficult for Ohioans and Toledo is directly in her crosshairs. 

On November 13th Governor Gretchen Whitmer, along with her Attorney General Dana Nessel, issued a cease-and-desist order against construction of a $500 million dollar infrastructure upgrade known as the Great Lakes Tunnel. The tunnel will replace the Mackinac Straits section of the Line 5 pipeline, a 647-mile pipeline that carries 540,000 barrels a day of light crude oil, light synthetic crude, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) to the refineries of Toledo, and the Midwest. The order would not only stop this next generation infrastructure improvement, it would also force the permanent closure of the Line 5 pipeline by May of 2021, devastating the 1,200 Ohioans that work in these petrochemical facilities.

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Michigan Senate Passes Sweeping Criminal Justice Reforms

The Michigan Senate passed bipartisan criminal justice reform bills that aim to protect public safety, keep nonviolent offenders out of jail, and make it easier for people to get jobs.

House Bills 5844 and 5854-5857 aim to reform a wide range of mandatory minimum sentences to allow judges discretion in sentencing nonviolent, minor crimes to account for collateral damages of the criminal justice system like broken families.

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Michigan Senate Passes Bill Aiming to Limit Epidemic Orders to 28 Days Without Additional Approval

The Michigan Senate on Thursday night approved a bill 22-16 along party lines that aims to limit the state health department’s epidemic order power.

SB 1253, if signed into law, would amend the Public Health Code so Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon’s epidemic orders would be only valid for up to 28 days unless both houses of the Legislature approves Gordon’ extension request.

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In Facebook Rants, Michigan Dem Rep. Cynthia Johnson Calls on ‘Soldiers’ to ‘Rise Up’ and Make ‘Trumpers’ Pay

A Michigan Democrat State Representative seemed to threaten President Trump’s supporters on video Tuesday, by saying “we ain’t playing with you,” and calling on “soldiers” to “make them pay.”

In a three minute long Facebook live video, the far-left State Rep. Cynthia Johnson said “Trumpers” had better “be careful,” and “walk lightly.”

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Michigan Charter School Reps Blast Recommendation to Slash 25 Percent of Funding

Remarks made by Michigan State Board of Education Vice President Pamela Pugh last month provoked fiery responses Tuesday from the state’s charter school community.

In her controversial comments, made Nov. 23 before the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Pugh advocated cutting state funds for Michigan’s charter schools by 25%. The recommended cut also is included in the MCRC’s “Education Equity in Michigan” report issued on Sept. 30.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Announces Another 12 Days of Pandemic ‘Pause’

Although the audio feed for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s digital news conference Monday afternoon wasn’t completely clear, one message came through loud and clear: the three-week economic pause imposed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will be extended 12 days beyond its initial Dec. 8 deadline.

The new deadline is Dec. 20.

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Michigan Judge Rejects Lawsuit to Overturn Election Results: ‘The People Have Spoken’

A federal judge on Monday denied a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Nov. 3, 2020, election results in favor of President Donald Trump, saying it would “ignore the will of millions of voters.”

U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker of Michigan’s Eastern District in Detroit wrote the opinion.

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PUSHBACK: 400 Michigan Restaurants Band Together to Fight Whitmer’s COVID-19 Rules

Hundreds of restaurants banded together to push back against Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent coronavirus mandates, Fox Business reported Monday.

Joe Vicari, president of the Joe Vicari Restaurant Group in a Monday appearance said a total of 400 eateries in the state have joined the push against Whitmer’s lockdowns, Fox reported. Michigan is nearing the end of a three-week pause that shuttered indoor dining and bar service, but the governor has indicated a willingness to re-extend the restrictions that end on Tuesday, according to Bridge Michigan.

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Governor Coy on if She Will Extend ‘Pause’ After Next Week

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday addressed an interim report on the Michigan COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities, but would not provide a direct answer to the question of whether she would extend the three-week pause on economic activity in the state.

More than two weeks after imposing a second lockdown of Michigan’s indoor dining facilities, theaters and bowling alleys, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services-imposed pause is due to expire next week.

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Michigan Senate Approves Tax Breaks in the Face of a Looming Budget Deficit

The GOP-led Michigan Senate passed bills that, if passed, will reduce government revenue in a year when the state will soon be strapped for cash.

Currently, the state is facing a projected deficit between $170 million and $1.17 billion for fiscal year 2022.

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Michigan Restaurant That Refused to Obey Restrictions Stays Open After Getting $10,000 in Donations

A restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan, defied the governor’s orders to shutdown, and remained open for business. During that time, the diner accumulated $5,000 in state fines and in order to stay afloat raised over $10,000 through  GoFundMe, The Daily Caller reported.

Ten days ago Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced an order for restaurants to close dining rooms for three weeks as part of state restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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Commentary: Illegalities, Irregularities, and Lack of Transparency Have Destroyed Public Confidence in This Election

It will likely take weeks, or even months, to sort through the mess that Democrats have made of Michigan’s elections. In the meantime, only the Michigan Legislature can legitimately determine the winner of the state’s presidential Electors.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Asks Legislature for $100 Million Stimulus Package

With nine session days left in 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the Republican-led Legislature to pass a $100 million COVID-19 stimulus package as well as several other pieces of legislation.

“This is the most urgent public health emergency our state has faced in our lifetimes, and it demands our full, immediate, and unified attention,” Whitmer wrote in a letter.

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Mayors Push State Lawmakers to Pass Community Stabilization Plan

City leaders in Michigan are asking state legislators to adopt policy changes that will prevent 24 cities currently collecting local income taxes from losing up to $250 million next year.

Several mayors held a virtual press conference Monday organized by the Michigan Municipal League (MML), asking the GOP-led legislature to approve a plan with three components.

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New Study Finds Detroit Charter Schools Receive 29 Percent Less Per Pupil than Traditional Public Schools

A new study from the University of Arkansas found the average disparity in per-pupil funding between traditional public schools and their public charter schools across 18 cities reached $7,796 per-pupil — a record high.

In Detroit, public charter schools educate over 40% of K-12 students.

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Michigan New Unemployment Claims Increased More Than 64 Percent Last Week

Like much of the rest of the country, Michigan is witnessing a surge in COVID-19 cases and a proportional increase in unemployment as drastic shut-down measures are taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Michigan experienced a 64.46% increase in new unemployment claims last week. According to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor, there was an increase of 15,843 initial claims filed between the weeks ending Nov. 14 (16,656) and Nov. 21 (32,499).

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Michigan Restaurant Owner Loses Franchise with Big Boy for Breaking Pandemic Restrictions

The owner of a restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan, says it is being “forced to terminate” its contract with the Big Boy franchise over its decision to stay open despite pandemic restrictions. 

A recent order from the state of Michigan has closed indoor restaurant dining in the state from November 18 to December 8. It also closed in-person learning for college and high schools, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades. The order additionally cancels group fitness classes and organized sports. 

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Michigan Attorney General Investigating Threats Against Wayne County Election Officials

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday confirmed her department is investigating threats made against members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers.

Last Tuesday, Republican Wayne County Canvassers Monica Palmer and William Hartmann originally deadlocked a 2-2 certification vote, precipitating hours of sometimes ugly online public comments.

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Michigan’s EGLE Denies Conservation Group’s Challenge to Nestlé Water Withdrawal Permit

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy dismissed a case challenging the department’s issuance of a permit to increase water withdrawals by Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) in Osceola County.

EGLE announced on Friday it would dismiss the case, which was filed in 2018 by the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation (MCWC) and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. An EGLE statement stated the groups “erred in not appealing the permit directly to circuit court.”

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Michigan Leader: Trump Didn’t Ask for Election Interference

President Donald Trump did not ask Michigan Republican lawmakers to “break the law” or “interfere” with the election during a meeting at the White House, a legislative leader said Sunday, a day before canvassers plan to meet about whether to certify Joe Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the battleground state.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield was among seven GOP legislators who met with Trump for about an hour on Friday, amid his longshot efforts to block Biden’s win.

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