New Ad Blasts Michigan Democratic Party over Controversial Social Media Post

A new ad campaign from the Michigan Freedom Fund blasts the Michigan Democratic Party over a now-deleted, controversial social media post.

Earlier this year, the political party published a Facebook post that contended parents should not have an input on what their children are taught in school.

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Federal Judge Won’t Dismiss Whitmer Kidnapping Case

A federal judge refused to dismiss charges against five men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker said defendants who claim government entrapment “have a heavy burden to carry.”

The accused men must show that the government lured them into the plot and have a “patently clear absence of predisposition as a matter of law,” Jonker wrote. “Defendants fail to carry their burden because the evidence on both issues is decidedly disputed as it almost inevitably is at this stage of the case.”

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General Motors Announces $7 Billion Investment for Electric Vehicle Manufacturing in Michigan

Automobile maker General Motors on Tuesday announced a new, $7 billion investment in Michigan to expand manufacturing capacity for electric vehicles and batteries.

According to projections released by the company, the investment will create 4,000 new jobs, while retaining an additional 1,000.

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Governor Whitmer Touts ‘Delivering for Older Michiganders,’ Despite Newly-Released Report on Nursing Home Deaths

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Saturday touted her record for “delivering for older Michiganders,” ahead of her State of the State address.

Seemingly, the governor ignored a recent report that demonstrated thousands of additional deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that were not reported by her administration’s Department of Health and Human Services.

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Legislative Committee Members Grill Michigan Health Director over Nursing Home COVID Deaths

Michigan may never know the actual number of deaths resulting from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order to place COVID-19 patients in long-term care (LTC) facilities.

That conclusion was the only verifiable takeaway from Thursday’s Senate and House Joint Oversight Committee meeting, where state senators and representatives grilled Michigan Auditor General Doug Ringler, Deputy Auditor General and Director of Audit Operations Laura Hirst, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Hertel.

The committee meeting spotlighted sharp differences between the Democratic Whitmer administration and the nonpartisan Auditor General (AG). It also brought into stark view thepartisan divisions between Senate and House legislators; namely, Democrats who either disparaged the AG’s methodology or defended Whitmer’s EO 2020-50; and Republicans, who argued the governor erred when she issued the order, and depicted the administration’s underreporting of the number of LTC deaths as a cover-up for her failed policy.

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Michigan Orders Nursing Homes to Offer on-Site COVID Boosters

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) ordered nursing homes statewide to provide on-site COVID-19 vaccines to residents within 30 days.

“With the Omicron variant rapidly spreading across our state and cases of COVID-19 continuing to remain high, we want to make sure our most vulnerable Michiganders are protected from the virus,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in a statement. “The COVID-19 vaccine is our best defense against the virus, and we want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to get up to date.”

Under the order, nursing homes must offer on-site doses of COVID-19 vaccines to residents who are not up to date as of Jan. 20, 2022. The order doesn’t force residents to get vaccinated.

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New Bill Aims to Ease Financial Burden for Michigan First Responders

Michigan Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) on Wednesday introduced a bill with the goal of easing the financial burden placed on first responders throughout the state.

Senate Bill 821 amends a current law to allow local governments to purchase real or personal property, like fire trucks or ambulances, under an installment purchase agreement.

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University of Michigan Reaches Half-Billion Dollar Settlement with Athletes Who Were Sexually Assaulted by Sports Doctor

The University of Michigan has agreed to pay $490 million to more than 1,000 athletes who were sexually assaulted by a former football team doctor. 

The school will pay the victims of the late Dr. Robert Anderson, according to several reports. The agreement was reached Tuesday. 

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Michigan Lawmakers Demand Answers on Nursing Home Deaths Report

Multiple Michigan lawmakers are demanding answers to a report from the Michigan Office of the Auditor General that detailed thousands of additional COVID-related deaths in long-term care facilities across the state.

The analysis discovered more than 2,000 additional deaths than reported by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Department of Health and Human Services.

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Republican Governors Association Blasts Whitmer over Nursing Home Deaths

The Republican Governors Association on Monday blasted Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, after a new analysis detailed thousands of additional deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

The Michigan Auditor General explained in a report that roughly 2,400 more individuals died from the virus than previously reported by state agencies.

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Carhartt Responds to Vaccine Mandate Controversy

Man in Carhartt overalls

Clothing brand Carhartt, which primarily makes outdoor work clothes, caused a firestorm when a leaked email from its CEO saying that the company’s vaccine mandate would remain in place was circulated online.

Carhartt CEO Matt Valade’s email, sent Friday, said

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Michigan Democrats Scramble to Walk Back Anti-Parent Facebook Post

The Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) is scrambling to walk back the messaging of a now-deleted post on its Facebook page. 

“Not sure where this ‘parents-should-control-what-is-taught-in-schools-because-they-are-our-kids’ is originating, but parents do have the option to send their kids to a hand-selected private school at their own expense if this is what they desire,” the post, which appeared to be an image with text on it, said. 

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University of Michigan Fires President Mark Schlissel

The University of Michigan fired President Mark Schlissel for an improper relationship with a subordinate – a mistake that cost him his job and part of a contract initially valued up to $10 million over the next 10 years.

A Detroit News report previously estimated the contract payout total.

Last month, an anonymous complaint alerted University of Michigan officials of alleged misconduct. It hired Jenner & Block to investigate, which found “over the years” Schlissel used his work email to “communicate with that subordinate in a manner inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the university.”

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Michigan Professor Who Wore Space Helmet on Zoom Call Placed on Leave After Expletive Filled Rant

A Michigan professor has been placed on leave after an expletive-filled rant on a Zoom call, which he directed at students to open the semester. 

The rant was largely centered around COVID-19 protocols.

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Michigan AG Nessel Refers 2020 ‘Fake Electors’ to Feds

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she referred a group of people who attempted to falsely certify Michigan’s 2020 Presidential electoral votes for Donald Trump to federal prosecutors.

On a Thursday’s MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Nessel said she referred the case to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Michigan.

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Michigan’s 2020 Teacher of the Year Hangs BLM, Pride Flags in Classroom

Michigan’s 2020 Teacher of the Year openly promotes his political beliefs in his high school classroom. 

Owen Bondono teaches ninth grade at Oak Park High School. He won Michigan’s Teacher of the Year in the 2020-2021 school district. He is also a TikTok personality, clocking in at over 11,000 followers. 

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State Board of Education Urges Michigan Legislature to Solve Teacher Shortage

Michigan’s State Board of Education adopted a resolution supporting the recruitment and retention recommendations issued by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

“The state legislature has the responsibility to help rebuild the teaching profession in Michigan,” State Board of Education President Dr. Casandra Ulbrich said in a statement. “They have an opportunity to make a real difference for current and future educators.”

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Whitmer to Deliver State of the State Address Remotely, Cites Safety Concerns

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver the annual State of the State address remotely, according to a release from her office.

The top executive detailed the event, scheduled for January 26, will be held virtually “to ensure everyone can safely partake” during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Judge Orders Review of Flint Water Documents

A Genesee County judge denied Attorney General Dana Nessel’s request to overturn a Nov. 19 order that Michigan stop using documents that might violate attorney-client privilege until reviewed by independent investigators.

The Associated Press first reported the story.

Emails obtained by the conservative Michigan Rising Action show Nessel’s prosecutors were warned they acquired records protected by attorney-client privilege when they gained access to as many as 20 million documents related to the Flint Water Crisis.

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Michigan Reaps $271 Million Total Marijuana Tax Revenue

Michigan has collected about $271 million in legal, adult-use marijuana tax revenue since 2019, according to a new report from the Marijuana Policy Project that analyzed tax revenue in states with adult-use cannabis since 2014.

In March 2021, the Michigan Treasury described what adult-use cannabis taxes collected in fiscal year 2020 will fund:

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Gov. Whitmer Announces New Study Informing Future Drone Legislation

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the first-of-its-kind drone technology study in three proposed areas between Michigan and Ontario, southeast Michigan, and any other suitable location.

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Aeronautics Commission, the state and Ontario will explore whether small drones can be flown beyond a pilot’s line of sight and harnessed for just-in-time delivery like medical transport. The study will further decision-making for the future of advanced air mobility in North America.

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Michigan Jobless Agency Lost $11 Billion in Fraud, Report Says

Michigan estimates losing $8.5 billion to unemployment fraud since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the CEO of a fraud prevention company says that number is closer to $11 billion.

Haywood Talcove, the CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Government Group, which provides fraud prevention tools to 26 state unemployment programs and the 50 top US banks, told The Center Square in a Zoom interview that profiles on the encrypted messaging app Telegram are fraudulently selling Michigan unemployment benefits.

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FBI Lost Control of Rogue Informant in Whitmer Case

Gretchen Whitmer

According to documents filed by the government prosecutors in response to a motion by the defendants in the alleged kidnapping plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) informants turned rogue during the plot.

The controversy stems from Steve Robeson, a Confidential Human Source (CHS) in the case.

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Michigan Lawmakers Denounce Return to Virtual Learning

Numerous Michigan lawmakers voiced their support for in-person learning, following school districts across the state moving to virtual learning.

The Republican legislators pointed to the harmful social impacts and decreased academic scores for children in the state.

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Michigan Special Needs Consultant Slams Riverview Schools for Double Standard on Masking

A mother who has struggled for two years to obtain face mask accommodations for her special needs daughter at the Riverview Community School District, has collected photos of teachers, students and even the superintendent not wearing a face mask while on school property.

Lisa Aponoves collected the photos from various media sites after questioning the district’s approach to her 10th grade daughter. She has provided the district with communications from several physicians who explain why the student can’t tolerate wearing a face mask.

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Defense: Michigan Gov. Whitmer ‘Kidnapping Plot’ Deteriorating as FBI Loses Credibility

Whitmer Kidnapping Suspects

When law enforcement touted foiling a months-long kidnapping plot of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in October 2020 that spanned several states and included encrypted chats and explosives, many believed it was an open-and-shut case.

But more than a year later, critics say the arrest and convictions of the lead FBI agent and an FBI confidential informant blurred the line between extremist and confidential informant. Moreso, three planned witnesses have been accused of crimes and won’t be testifying in the March 8 trial in Grand Rapids as defense attorneys question the FBI’s credibility.

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Michigan Governor Whitmer Remains Silent on School Closures

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has remained silent as school districts in her state have opted to return to virtual learning for students.

Approximately nine different school systems in Michigan have moved educational instruction to computer screens, affecting roughly 100,000 students thus far.

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No School Face Mask Exception for Michigan Child Getting Surgery for Breathing Problems

The mother of a 10th grade student says the superintendent of Riverview Community Schools has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to exempt her special needs daughter from a face mask mandate.

She says the superintendent refused a request for an exemption from the requirement, even though he received a doctor’s note stating her child is unable to wear a mask. She says the superintendent is further violating the ADA by not offering acceptable solutions and allowing her daughter to return for the current school year.

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Gov. Whitmer Creates Michigan Office of Rural Development

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive directive establishing the Michigan Office of Rural Development within the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

The Office of Rural Development will focus on all rural matters.

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Study: Michigan Ranked Sixth Nationwide for Outbound Migration

As Americans near their third year of COVID-19, Michigan ranked sixth nationwide for people leaving the state, according to United Van Lines 45th Annual National Movers Study.

The study derived by tracking customer migration patterns throughout the past year indicates Americans moved to lower-density areas and to be closer to their families.

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Oxford, Michigan School District Requires Students to Wear Clear Backpacks Following Deadly Shooting

Oxford High School

The superintendent of Oxford Community Schools in Michigan says all middle- and high-school students will “for the time being” be required to use clear backpacks upon their return to the classroom, following a recent, fatal school shooting.

The announcement came last week, just about one month after 15-year-old gunman Ethan Crumbley opened fire on his classmates, killing four students and injuring seven others.

Crumbley faces 24 charges including first-degree murder and terrorism resulting in death, he was charged as an adult. Crumbley’s parents, James and Jennifer, were also charged in connection to the shooting.

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Michigan K-12, Colleges Shift to Virtual Learning Amid Omicron, Affecting 100,000

Twenty-two months into the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools and colleges say they will shift to virtual learning amid an increase in COVID-19 cases, which will affect more than 100,000 students.

Detroit Free Press reporter Sally Tato tweeted a list of schools with delayed schedules or shifting to virtual learning briefly (estimated student population added):

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Michigan Groups Cry Foul over Newly Redistricted Maps

Michigan State Capitol

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Committee late Tuesday approved new congressional and legislative maps the state will follow for the next 10 years.

The 13-member panel, established by state voters, was formed to curtail gerrymandered districts in the state. The MICRC is made-up of four Republicans, four Democrats and five independents. The committee voted to approve what’s been dubbed the “Chestnut Congressional” map, the “Hickory House” map, and the “Linden Senate” map.”

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Michigan State University to Begin Semester with Virtual Classes Due to Spike in COVID Cases

Michigan State University (MSU) will begin the semester with remote learning for the first three weeks, according to a press release issued by the university on Friday.

Citing the rise in coronavirus cases throughout the state, MSU officials elected to delay the return to campus for most students, which was originally scheduled for January 10. 

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer, Top Lawmakers Sign NDA Regarding $1 Billion Economic Initiative

Often at the center of controversy, Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing transparency questions, along with leading state Republican lawmakers, after they signed nondisclosure agreements preventing them from informing taxpayers about a pricey new economic development initiative.

Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, and House Speaker Jason Wentworth all signed the NDA with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation regarding a $1 billion business incentive program that became law last week, The Detroit News reported.

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New Report Shows Michigan Unemployment Agency Paid Out Billions to Fraudulent Claims

Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance agency paid out more than $8 billion in fraudulent claims from March 2020 to September 2021, according to a new report from Deloitte.

According to the consulting agency, an estimated 10.16 percent of the funds were paid out to individuals “involving likely imposter fraud.” Furthermore, an additional 20.21 percent to people “involving likely intentional misrepresentation fraud.”

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Michigan Approves New U.S. House Map, Leading to an Incumbent Versus Incumbent Primary

Michigan’s independent redistricting commission voted to adopt the state’s new congressional map Tuesday afternoon, with five of the 13 new districts being potentially competitive as both parties fight for control of the House.

The new map creates competitive seats along Lake Michigan, around the state capital and in metro Detroit. President Joe Biden would have won seven of the districts in 2020, while former President Donald Trump would have won six, according to David Wasserman, a senior editor at the Cook Political Report.

Despite Biden’s narrow edge on the new map, incumbent Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin, Dan Kildee and Andy Levin could be forced to run in very competitive seats as their party faces political headwinds ahead of the 2022 midterms. Republican Rep. Peter Meijer may also face a contentious race in 2022, as his current Grand Rapids-based 3rd district was put into a new district that Biden would have won by nine points in 2020, Wasserman said.

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Governor Whitmer Signs Bill to Address Michigan Substitute Teacher Shortage

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed legislation that aims to limit the state’s substitute teacher shortage.

House Bill 4294, sponsored by State Representative Brad Paquette (R-Niles), will allow certain school staff members, like secretaries, to fill open substitute teacher positions through the end of the current school year.

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Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Suspects Seek Dismissal of Charges, Say FBI Invented Conspiracy

Defense attorneys for five men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) are seeking a dismissal of the indictment, citing “egregious overreaching” by federal officials, who they say invented a conspiracy and entrapped the men.

If convicted in the alleged extremist kidnapping conspiracy, the five men – ​​Adam Fox, 38, Barry Croft, 46, Kaleb Franks, 27, Daniel Harris, 24, and Brandon Caserta, 33 – face up to life in prison.

“When the government was faced with evidence showing that the defendants had no interest in a kidnapping plot, it refused to accept failure and continued to push its plan,” the mens’ attorneys wrote.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Appears to Have Changed Her Mind on Vaccine Mandates

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

After calling state vaccine mandates a “problem” on Dec. 7, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has apparently changed her mind and now supports them. 

“I know if that mandate happens, we’re going to lose state employees,” Whitmer said on Dec. 7, the Greenville Daily News reported. “That’s why I haven’t proposed a mandate at the state level. Some states have. We have not, we’re waiting to see what happens in court.”

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Michigan Governor Whitmer Signs $1 Billion Bipartisan SOAR Economic Development Package

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed into law a $1 billion bipartisan economic development package.

The Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) package aims to support small businesses and attract businesses to the state, and includes:

Establishment of an economic development fund.
Funding programs “to make our economy more adaptable to the rapid pace of technological change, supporting small businesses, and creating or retaining good-paying jobs.
Creation of a financing mechanism for both programs.
Appropriates $407 million to fund small businesses affected by COVID-19.

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Michigan School District’s Equity Summit Includes Privilege Checklist, Encourages Political Activism

A Michigan public school district held a “21 Day Equity Challenge” that encouraged student activism, along with a list of microaggressions and a privilege checklist, according to a report from the Young America’s Foundation (YAF).

Farmington Public Schools told students and their families to come up with a “personal action plan” on the 21st day of the challenge, according to the YAF report. Some suggestions including joining “a Black Lives Matter or an affiliated protest” and or donating to “bail efforts supporting people arrested for protesting against injustice.”

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Commentary: Progressives Need to Stop Trying to Convert Teachers into Political Propagandists

If there was any message that came out of the November 2021 elections that was loud and clear for everyone to hear, it was this one: school districts should stop indoctrinating children on their race politics. Well, evidently not everyone got that message yet.

Case in point: Farmington School District in Southeast Michigan, which recently sponsored a “21 Day Equity Challenge” targeting “adults in the Farmington/Farmington Hills community” — presumably, this primarily means teachers and administrators. While the program is ostensibly intended to facilitate a better understanding and appreciation of “the very diverse population within our own community,” the content is loaded with political messaging.

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Michigan Secretary of State Rules Whitmer Did Not Violate Law with Excessive Campaign Contributions

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Tuesday resolved a campaign finance complaint against Governor Gretchen Whitmer, ruling the governor did not violate campaign finance laws.

The original complaint, filed by the Michigan Freedom Fund, alleged that Whitmer used threat of a recall to collect campaign donations beyond the established individual limits. However, no recall attempt materialized into a credible challenge, making the donations illegal.

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Michigan’s Whitmer Signs Off on $409 Million Small-Business Relief Program

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signing legislation

The third time was a charm for a small-business relief provision of Senate Bill 85, which was signed Monday by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A House version of the bill, House Bill 4047, was proposed by Rep. Timothy Beson, R-Bangor Twp., last March, and signed by the governor. However, Whitmer exercised a line-item veto of the afflicted business relief. Another version of a small-business relief subsequently was passed by the legislature with bipartisan support. Whitmer again exercised her veto authority to squelch it.

SB 85 was introduced by Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth.

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Michigan Supreme Court Rules Redistricting Committee Must Release Documents from Closed-Door Meeting

The Michigan Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the state’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission must release documents and recordings related to a closed-door meeting the group conducted earlier this year.

According to the 4-3 ruling written by Justice David Viviano, the commission’s decision to hold a secret meeting violated the state Constitution. The Michigan Constitution states the “commission shall conduct all of its business at open meetings.”

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Governor Whitmer Signs Bill to Modernize State’s Emergency Response System

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill to enact a bipartisan measure to fund the state’s emergency response system until December 2027.

House Bill 5026, sponsored by state Rep. Julie Calley (R-Portland), will allow the state to modernize its system to better its GPS location service to pinpoint the location of calls made from mobile phones.

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Michigan’s $40 Million ‘Going Pro’ Fund Helps 30,000 Train and Get Jobs

A $40 million project is estimated to help 30,000 workers statewide secure employment through the state’s Going PRO Talent Fund.

The program aims to lure back Michigan’s workforce lost during COVID-19, encourage specialization, and help businesses fill jobs in a tight labor market. Between Feb. 2020 and April 2020, Michigan’s labor force plunged by 341,500 or 6.9%. Labor force levels in Michigan have rebounded modestly, increasing by 139,400 or 3% percent from April 2020 to August 2021.

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Michigan’s $25 Million Catastrophic Victim Crash Fund Hasn’t Spent a Cent

Not a cent from a $25 million relief fund created four months ago has been spent on medical providers to stabilize a July 45% fee cut for Michigan’s auto accident insurance providers.

DIFS spokeswoman Laura Hall told The Center Square in an email that the agency hasn’t received any complete applications for the Provider Fund as of Dec. 13, noting only one company submitted an incomplete application.

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