Texas Governor, Attorney General to Sue Biden over Immigration

Texas plans to sue the Biden administration over several executive orders recently issued, and immigration policy is front and center.

“A new crop of Texas-led lawsuits awaits Joe Biden’s White House,” Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted. “Texas will take action whenever the federal government encroaches on state’s rights, or interferes with constitutional rights, or private property rights or the right to earn a living.”

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Online Gaming, Sports Betting Is Now Live in Michigan

For years, Michiganders have gambled online illegally. But when sports betting and online gambling are legalized for the first time on Friday, the state will reap its tax revenue. 

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and the state’s commercial and tribal casinos will begin a new era Jan. 22 with the launch of regulated online gaming and sports betting,” Richard Kalm, MGCB executive director, said in a statement.

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Entertainment Venues File Federal Takings Lawsuit Against Michigan Over 212-Day Shutdown

(The Center Square) – For the past 83 years, Peter Tomassoni’s family has run Recreation Lanes and the Antoin Room Banquet and Convention Center in Iron Mountain.

Less than one year under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, however, it could die, through no fault of the family.

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90 Bars and Restaurants Ask Michigan Gov. Whitmer to Reopen Indoor Dining ‘as Soon as Possible’

Representatives from approximately 90 bars, restaurants, and other Michigan establishments signed a letter asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to safely reopen dine-in service “as soon as possible” to prevent additional permanent closures.

The Facebook post announcing the letter has been shared more than 1,000 times.

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Missouri Becomes First State in U.S. to No Longer Perform Abortions

Missouri has become the first state in the U.S. where abortions are no longer performed.

A total of 45 abortion facilities closed or halted abortions nationwide in 2020, including in Missouri, which is now the only state without an active abortion facility, according to a survey conducted by Operation Rescue, a pro-life activist organization.

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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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U.S. Deficit 60.7 Percent Higher Than This Time Last Year

The federal deficit in the first three months of the budget year is 60.7 percent higher than over the same time period as last year, a record-breaking $572.9 billion.

The deficit surged as a result of Congressional spending of $3.5 trillion in 2020 in response to the coronavirus, although critics note that spending on pork barrel programs that had nothing to do with the virus increased and also drove the deficit. At the same time, revenue declined because of ongoing state lockdowns.

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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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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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Trump Touts Success of 450 Miles of Border Wall

President Donald Trump on Tuesday hailed the completion of 450 miles of border wall completed long the U.S.-Mexican border and praised the men and women of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

At a news conference held at the Mexico–U.S. border in Reynosa–McAllen, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, Trump said the border is more secure than it’s ever been.

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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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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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Paul’s Annual Report Details More Than $54B in Wasteful Federal Government Spending

Congress “spent as never before, doing so ostensibly without a care” in 2020, greatly contributing to what is now a $3.1 trillion deficit, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, argues in his annual wasteful spending report.

At the same time, initial 15-day lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus turned into nearly year-long lockdowns, Paul said, “wreaking havoc on Americans’ health, sanity, and economy, while also empowering petty tyrants across the country.”

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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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Congress Affirms Biden Electoral College Votes; Trump Agrees to ‘Orderly Transition’

A joint session of Congress, completing its work in the early morning hours of Thursday after lawmakers had been forced to flee their chambers by a violent invasion of the Capitol, affirmed that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.

The proceedings concluded shortly after 3:30 a.m. EST, drawing to a close an chaotic day in the nation’s house of laws that saw one person shot dead inside the building after some rioters breached its security during a massive rally to support President Trump.

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Trump Supporters Storm U.S. Capitol, Halting Ratification of Electoral College Vote by Congress

Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday afternoon, interrupting the congressional session that was meeting to confirm the Electoral College votes.

Hundreds of protesters were shown on television news coverage walking through Statuary Hall without having gone through any security checkpoints. Debate was halted, and lawmakers were ordered to return to their offices and shelter in place. Legislators were told they may need to hide under their chairs and to be quiet and not draw attention to themselves.

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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 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Signes Criminal Justice Reform Bills

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Monday signed a package of 20 criminal justice reform bills into law.

The bills, championed by the bipartisan Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration, are intended to prioritize incarceration alternatives and grant law enforcement officers more discretion when issuing appearance tickets rather than making arrests; and restructure penalties for traffic offenses. 

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New House Rules to Eliminate Gendered Terms Like ‘Father, Mother, Son, Daughter’

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern announced new rules for the 117th Congress, which will be introduced and voted on after the new Congress convenes.

The rules include “sweeping ethics reforms, increases accountability for the American people, and makes this House of Representatives the most inclusive in history” – including eliminating the words, “father, mother, son, and daughter,” from federal code.

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Almost 100 Million Americans Plan to Make Finances a New Year’s Resolution in 2021

business meeting

About 97 million Americans say they plan to make a New Year’s resolution for 2021 that involves their financial situation, compared to 66 million who said they’ve done so in the past, according to a new survey by WalletHub.

Of those who responded to the survey, more than a third say their top financial resolution will be to save more money. With that in mind, WalletHub came up with suggestions that can help you save more and spend less.

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Treasury Sending Out $600 Stimulus Checks This Week

A second round of stimulus checks, this time in the amount of $600, is being sent out this week, the U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday.

Referred to as economic impact payments, the $600 check individuals will receive is part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, a bill President Donald Trump signed Sunday.

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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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Analysis: Federal Tax Overhaul Increased Taxes on Wealthy in Many Blue States

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, harpooned by progressive Democrats as a handout to wealthy corporations, turned out to be more progressive in practice, new data from the federal government revealed. 

The federal tax reform measure supported by President Donald Trump increased taxes on some wealthy property owners in high-tax jurisdictions such as Illinois and New Jersey and decreased tax burdens on the middle class. 

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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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Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to California Farmers’ Case Against Government-Sanctioned Invasion of Private Property

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of Cedar Point Nursery and Fowler Packing Company asking it to invalidate a California regulation requiring union employees to enter private property for roughly 360 hours a year.

The plaintiffs are suing the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (CALRB), its chairman, two board members and executive secretary, arguing a state regulation allowing union organizers to access private property for the purposes of soliciting support violates the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. When doing so, the unions are authorizing “a seizure and taking of possessory interests in private property, including the right to exclude others,” the plaintiffs argue.

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In Another Effort to Challenge Electoral College Votes, Rep. Gohmert Sues Vice President Mike Pence

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, sued Vice President Mike Pence in an attempt to challenge the results of some states’ Electoral College votes.

Another attempt is being made by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, who says he and “dozens” of House members plan to challenge some of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6 when the Joint Session of Congress meets to certify the votes and ratify the president-elect.

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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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Minimum Wage Hikes Set for 2021 Imperil Businesses Struggling Amid COVID Shutdowns

More than 80 states and local municipalities are slated to see minimum wage hikes in 2021, even as business owners continue to struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Employment Policies Institute, a non-profit based in Washington, D.C., that studies how public policy impacts employment growth, released a comprehensive list of the minimum wage increases that will go into effect next year and in subsequent years.

“Minimum wage increases are demonstrated to cause job losses even in times of economic health,” said Michael Saltsman, EPI’s managing director. “These states and local areas are increasing the cost of labor as businesses are dealing with forced closures or a drastic drop in revenue. Employers and employees will pay the price for these misguided good intentions.”

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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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Analysis Ranks Top U.S. Cities for Christmas

Two cities in North Carolina and two in California are in the top five among the best cities in the country for celebrating Christmas, according to a new study from WalletHub.

Durham, N.C., edged out San Jose, Calif., by less than one point to take the top spot with a cumulative score of 68.16, compared to 67.99. Honolulu, Hawaii, took third with 67.92 points, followed by Oakland, Calif., (67.09) and Raleigh, N.C. (67).

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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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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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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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Eastern States Inching Toward New Regional Climate Pact That Could Cut Carbon Emissions, Raise Gas Prices

A group of Northeast and mid-Atlantic states are inching toward a regional climate pact that’s aimed at reducing emissions and easing traffic congestion, but could ultimately increase prices at the gas pumps.

Modeled on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which has reduced emissions from power plants, the Transportation and Climate Initiative would create a cap-and-invest program to drive down emissions from cars and trucks, which contribute to about 40% of regional greenhouse gas emissions scientists say contribute to a warmer planet.

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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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Texas Electors Pass Resolution Condemning Supreme Court Ruling as GOP Electors Cast Votes for Trump in Five Swing States

Presidential electors met across the U.S. Monday to cast their vote for president and vice president. In Austin, while Texas electors cast their vote for President Donald Trump, they also approved a resolution to “condemn the lack of action by the United State Supreme Court” for refusing to hear a lawsuit brought against four states by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

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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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Arizona GOP Appeals Election Overturn Attempt to U.S. Supreme Court

The state chapter of the Republican Party is asking the nation’s highest court to consider its challenge to Arizona’s election results that was summarily rejected by other judges.

In the case, Kelli Ward, Arizona GOP chairwoman and plaintiff, posted a video Friday to Twitter announcing the appeal. 

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Pennsylvania House GOP Circulates Memo for Appointing New Pennsylvania Electors

House Republican lawmakers circulated a cosponsorship memo Friday that would appoint new electors if a pending Supreme Court legal challenge requires them to do so. 

The move comes after GOP leaders in both chambers insisted the state constitution prevents them from choosing electors that defy the certified popular vote. 

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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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