Whitmer Signs Bills Protecting Workers, Giving Businesses COVID-19 Liability Protection, Changing Nursing Home Policy

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a packages of bipartisan bills into law Thursday. In part, the bills aim to protect Michigan workers from COVID-19 and surprise medical billing for any treatment, as well as protect businesses from COVID-19 related lawsuits.

“No Michigander should have to worry about going into work when they’re sick, especially during a global pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement.

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Chiropractor Sues Over Statewide Mask Mandate

A medical center filed a lawsuit in the Court of Claims, targeting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration’s statewide mask mandate.

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health issued a cease-and-desist order to Grand Haven-based Semlow Peak Performance Chiropractic. The order seeks compliance with an Oct. 5 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) emergency order issued by Director Robert Gordon.

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Whitmer Signs Bill Extending Unemployment into Law

Unemployed Michiganders can get an extra six weeks of benefits under a bipartisan bill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Tuesday.

Whitmer signed Senate Bills 886 and 991 codifying part of her now-void executive orders expanding unemployment benefits to Michiganders from 20 to 26 weeks until the end of the year.

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Commentary: Joe Biden’s Green New Deal, a Bad Deal for the Great Lakes State

Michigan’s auto pioneers cemented their historical reputations by making Detroit the home of the American dream. Now in 2020, Joe Biden wants to adopt a radical climate agenda that would eliminate fossil fuels and decimate Michigan’s auto industry. It seems Joe Biden’s dream would be a nightmare to Michiganders.

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Michigan Board Approves Circulation of Recall Petition Against State Attorney General

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Oct. 15 approved the petition language for a recall against Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D). The board previously rejected five recall petitions against Nessel in 2020. Supporters of the recall effort need to submit 1,046,006 signatures within a 60-day period to require a recall election. The 60 days begin on the first day that signatures are collected. The recall petition must be submitted to the office of the Michigan Secretary of State no later than 180 days after it was approved by the board.

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Trump Campaign Accuses Michigan Governor of ‘Encouraging Assassination’ Attempts

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign accused Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of “encouraging assassination attempts” against the president.

Whitmer appeared on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning and viewers quickly noticed an “86 45” sign displayed on the table behind her. Forty-five is a reference to Trump, who is the 45th president of the United States.

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Think Tanks Square Off Over More Government Oversight of Michigan’s Charter Schools

A report recommending expanded government oversight of Michigan’s charter schools has prompted a rebuttal from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (MCPP).

“Improving Oversight of Michigan Charter Schools and Their Authorizers” was issued on Feb. 25 by the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School, which had commissioned the study from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC), a Michigan-based think tank.

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Michigan Court Blocks Two-Week Absentee Ballot Extension

Absentee ballots must arrive by Election Day to be counted, the Michigan Court of Appeals said Friday, blocking a 14-day extension that had been ordered by a lower court and embraced by key Democratic officials in a battleground state.

Any changes must rest with the Legislature, not the judiciary, the Republican-appointed appeals court judges said in a 3-0 opinion.

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Ohio State Prof Says Clarence Thomas Not ‘Authentically Black’

At a symposium hosted by Texas A&M University at Commerce, titled, “What the Truth Sounds Like,” Professor Donna Ford argued that one of the significant problems in education is White females. She also noted that diversity of “skin color” is not enough, considering that she wouldn’t want “Clarence Thomas teaching my damn kids.”

“There is a monopoly on education, where White females being about 85 percent of the teaching force, and then you know pretty much the same thing with white administrators. So White females I’m speaking to you, and I’m saying you’ve got to get your sh- stuff together,” said Ford during her lecture.

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State Agency Issue New Workplace Orders, Mirroring Whitmer’s Now-Void Orders

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has issued new emergency orders for many businesses.

MIOSHA, within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, promulgates rules clarifying the safety requirements for employers.

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UAW Abandons Federal Lawsuit Seeking to Overturn Michigan Union Law

The United Auto Workers union abandoned a lawsuit over a Michigan law, which mandates that public sector union workers reauthorize their union membership annually.

Judge George C. Steeh of the Eastern District Court of Michigan approved the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) request, and stipulated agreement with defendants, to dismiss the case entirely Wednesday. UAW filed the lawsuit on Sept. 3 along with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

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Another Suspect Charged in Alleged Michigan Kidnap Plot

Michigan’s attorney general charged an eighth person Thursday in what authorities have described as a foiled scheme to storm the state Capitol building and kidnap officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Brian Higgins, 51, of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, was charged with material support of an act of terrorism, Attorney General Dana Nessel said. If convicted, Higgins could get up to 20 years in prison.

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Lawmakers Approve COVID-19 Liability Bills, Extend Unemployment Benefits, and Nursing Home Policy Changes

After a session exceeding 12 hours, Michigan lawmakers passed bills replacing a framework for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders deemed unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Lawmakers approved measures aiming to allow local governments to meet electronically for any reason through Jan. 1; extend unemployment benefits to a full 26 weeks; change nursing home policy barring nursing homes from caring for COVID-19 patients unless the building provides a “designated area” for those patients; and, by Nov. 15, implement a statewide policy allowing in-person visitations for all nursing home residents.

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GOP Challenger John James Running Neck-and-Neck with Gary Peters, Recent Poll Shows

John James, the Republican senatorial candidate from Michigan, has pulled within one point of incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, according to a New York Times/Sienna College poll released Monday.

Peters leads James 43-42 among likely voters in the state, the poll’s crosstabs show. The poll shows a significant jump in support for James, who trailed Peters 41-31 in a similar NYT poll from June and lost to Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the state’s senior senator, two years ago.

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REJECTED: SCOMI Denies Gov Whitmer’s Request for Shutdown Extension

The Michigan Supreme Court on Monday rejected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s statement asserting her unconstitutional orders still hold power over Michiganders through Oct. 30.

Whitmer previously claimed her executive orders retained the force of law for 21 days after the court’s Oct. 2 ruling.

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Criminal Charges and Fines Numbering into the Thousands Over Now-Unconstitutional COVID Orders Under Question

Thousands of Michiganders are wondering if criminal charges and fines levied against them are still valid after the Michigan Supreme Court last Friday ruled Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders issued after April 30 are illegal. 

Some don’t have answers – yet.

Owosso barber Karl Manke’s attorney David Kallman told The Center Square he’s expecting Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office to drop criminal charges against Manke, who operated his barbershop in violation of Whitmer’s orders.

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Nessel Joins Other 21 AGs Requesting Supreme Court Review of Title X Contraceptive Rule

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined 21 state attorneys general Tuesday to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court’s decision to uphold an administration Title X rule from President Donald Trump.

Pro-life opponents disagree.

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Some Michigan Swing Voters Cite Harris as the Reason They’re Sticking with Trump

Some Obama-Trump voters in Michigan said that Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris is driving them to vote again for President Donald Trump in November.

In a post-debate focus group with 13 voters, several invoked Harris and the large role that they expect her to have if Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the election, emphasizing the greater importance of Biden’s vice-presidential pick, Axios reported.

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Trump, Whitmer Spar on Twitter Over Michigan Supreme Court Ruling

President Trump on Wednesday praised the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers, calling it a “big win” for the state.

The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday struck down Whitmer’s emergency ruling, saying the governor had issued her numerous executive orders pertaining to coronavirus restrictions unconstitutionally, rendering them null.

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Whitmer Asks Michigan Supreme Court To Clarify Ruling Takes Effect Oct. 30, Republicans Say Order Effective Immediately

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday asked the state’s Supreme Court for clarification that its recent order overturning her emergency powers does not take effect until October 30.

The ruling, mandated October 2, struck down the statute under which Whitmer had been issuing coronavirus emergency orders, nullifying the orders and saying that their issuance had been unconstitutional.

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Whitmer Administration Issues Statewide Facemask Order After Past Orders Tossed

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon on Monday issued an Emergency Order under a 1978 law restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces and enacting limitations on bars.

The order is effective immediately and remains in effect through Oct. 30.

The order doesn’t lean on the rule Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has used to issue emergency orders that the Michigan Supreme Court invalidated on Friday.

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State Supreme Court Ruling Likely Strikes Down Gov. Whitmer’s Carbon-Neutral Initiative

The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extension of emergency powers past their initial April 30 expiration.

The governor first implemented emergency authority on March 10 in an attempt to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. All told, she has issued more than 190 executive orders, more than issued by the governors of all Michigan’s neighboring states combined.

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Former Democratic Lawmaker Pushes Back on Civil Rights Commission Recommendation to Cut Charter School Funding

A former Democratic lawmaker disagrees with recommendations from the “Education Equity in Michigan,” report the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) adopted Wednesday.

The report was issued after the MCRC held statewide public hearings in 2018 and 2019.

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Whitmer Backtracks on COVID-19 Nursing Home Policy

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Wednesday evening signed Executive Order 2020-191, tweaking long-term care rules and applying some recommendations from the Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force.

The order evolves from Whitmer’s old long-term care strategy of 21 Regional Hubs to a “second generation” of care called Care and Recovery Centers (CRC) dedicated to isolating COVID-19 residents.

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Phill Kline Commentary: Don’t Let Gov. Whitmer Turn Michigan into a Banana Republic

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is feigning benevolence by “granting” a right to citizens that they already had. That’s not generosity; it’s just a cynical attempt to protect her own public image.

One Nation, a group inspired by black urban pastors that rejects the divisive rhetoric of BLM, sought to gather in person and engage in political speech leading up to this election. Governor Whitmer threatened the leaders of the group with jail if any more than 10 persons gathered inside, despite the large size of the room. Meanwhile, the governor marched with BLM in defiance of her own executive orders.

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Michigan Supreme Court Overturns Whitmer’s Emergency Powers

The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus orders, following months of back and forth between the Democratic governor and the Republican legislature.

The court said that Whitmer cited authority for her multitude of executive orders from a 1945 law that is unconstitutional, the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. Republicans said Whitmer should used have a 1976 law, which requires legislature approval to continue after any emergency declaration lasting 28 days, ClickOnDetroit said.

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MCC to Host Trump 2020 Cannonball Run on October 11

The Michigan Conservative Coalition (MCC) has announced the Michigan Trump 2020 Cannonball Run, a Trump rally taking place on October 11.

The rally’s route will stretch from the Ohio and Indiana borders via Interstate-75 and US 131, respectively, and will end at the Mackinac Bridge. Participants are asked to their cars, trucks, van, motorcycle or other highway-legal vehicle to enter their closest highway entrance to drive on either I-75 or US 131 along the route. The MCC’s suggested drive is for one hour north and then reverse course and drive an hour south.

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Fox 17 Reports Nashville Bars and Restaurants Account for Less Than One-Half of One Percent of Virus Cases

Dennis Ferrier of Fox News 17 continues his reporting on Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s overreach in closing restaurants and bars, which account for only a fraction of coronavirus cases even as that industry continues to suffer.

Ferrier has been digging into the story for some time to gain the actual number of cases.

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Fox 17 Reports Nashville Bars and Restaurants Account for Less Than One-Half of One Percent of Virus Cases

Dennis Ferrier of Fox News 17 continues his reporting on Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s overreach in closing restaurants and bars, which account for only a fraction of coronavirus cases even as that industry continues to suffer.

Ferrier has been digging into the story for some time to gain the actual number of cases.

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Whitmer Extends State of Emergency Order Until October 27

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended Michigan’s state of emergency order on Tuesday, pushing back its end date until October 27.

Whitmer originally declared a state of emergency in Michigan on March 10 in response to the coronavirus pandemic and has continuously extended it since then. She also extended four other executive orders that protect people in prison and long-term care facilities, those who are working in establishments that sell food, and those who are considered at-risk.

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Detroit City Council Greenlights $200,000 Facial Recognition Contract

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday approved a contract supporting facial recognition in Detroit, even after a vast majority of public comments were in opposition to the measure.

The measure, approved by a 6-3 vote, approves spending $219,984 to cover costs associated with upgrades and maintenance. The council’s vote was preceded by a morning protest and an hour of public comment from residents opposing facial recognition, arguing the technology is “racist.”

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Former Michigan Secretaries of State Sue Benson Over Absentee Ballot Counting

Two former GOP secretaries of state are suing current Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson over a recent ruling that allows the department to count absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled earlier this month that absentee ballots postmarked for November 2 can still be counted as valid even if they arrive up to two weeks after polls close on Election Day, a temporary rule for this election that goes against normal procedure, which generally allows absentee ballots to only be counted if they arrive before 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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Opposition Team Criticizes Enbridge Plans for Oil Tunnel

Enbridge’s plans for drilling an oil pipeline tunnel beneath a channel linking two of the Great Lakes do not meet industry standards and pose significant hazards to workers and the environment, experts who reviewed project documents on behalf of opposition groups said Monday.

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Whitmer Relents, Signs New Executive Order Re-Opening More Gathering Places

Michigan movie theaters and performance venues will soon be allowed to reopen, according to an executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The order, which also amends coronavirus safety mandates in schools, will allow a variety of previously closed entertainment venues, including indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities and trampoline parks, to reopen statewide on October 9.

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Auto Worker Files Charges Against UAW, Says Union Kept Taking Dues After She Quit Membership

A Michigan auto worker filed a federal unfair labor practice complaint Tuesday alleging that the United Auto Workers union continued charging her membership fees after she dropped her membership.

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True COVID-19 Long-Term Care Death Toll a Mystery in Michigan

Michiganders still don’t know how many lives COVID-19 claimed in all categories of long-term care facilities, although the state has been collecting the data since May 29.

Other states such as Minnesota have already reported the information, breaking down the deaths in nursing homes, memory care, and hospice facilities. 

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President Trump Visits Virginia, Draws Massive Crowd

President Donald J. Trump spoke at a campaign rally Friday night in Virginia drawing a crowd of over ten thousand people. 

The event took place in Newport News, Virginia outside of an airport hanger near the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.

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Trump to Virgina: We’re in It to Win It’

As pounding pop songs played and the crowd cheered, Air Force One rolled up behind the stage. President Donald Trump emerged and waved to the 10,000 people standing on the tarmac in Newport News Friday night. An additional 2,000 people were outside the venue, according to campaign officials. 2,000 more people were turned away, for a total of 14,000 people — 9,000 more than organizers expected.

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Minnesota, Virginia Congressmen Propose Constitutional Amendment to Limit Supreme Court Size at Nine Justices

U.S. Reps. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN-07) and Denver Riggleman (R-VA-05) said they want to make sure that neither political party can ever pack the Supreme Court.

In a bipartisan joint press release issued Thursday, the representatives said they introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to permanently set the number of U.S. Supreme Court Justices at nine.

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MDHHS Publishes Trick-or-Treating Guidelines, Even As CDC Recommends Against It

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released guidelines for trick-or-treating on Thursday, going against guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommended against the activity entirely.

In addition to standard coronavirus safety guidelines such as mask-wearing and social distancing, the MDHHS also recommended that homeowners passing out candy use duct tape to mark six-foot distances leading from where the candy is, distributing candy on a disinfected table to limit direct contact and handing out candy in an open space. For trick-or-treaters, it suggested participating in one-way trick-or-treating and only going to houses with safety measures in place.

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Groups Applaud Budget Deal While Others Criticize Taxpayer-Funded ‘Pet Projects’

Michigan leaders sealed a $62.8 billion fiscal 2021 budget agreement, increasing spending by billions from last year’s initial budget even after state revenue plummeted from COVID-19 and policies placed to curb its spread.

Experts previously estimated Michigan’s revenue would drop by $6.3 billion over the next two fiscal years.

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Ohio State University President Sparks Controversy with Breonna Taylor Statement

In a video statement posted on Twitter Wednesday, Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson ignited controversy with a statement about Breonna Taylor.

In the 45 second clip Johnson said:

“Breonna Taylor deserves justice, and this does not feel like justice. We cannot accept what has happened in Louisville, we grieve the tragic and senseless loss of Breonna Taylor, a daughter, a friend, a niece, a loved one, who was unarmed and asleep. The breakdown in the justice system and the killings of unarmed Black and Brown people in our country has become all too familiar, tragically. This isn’t going to stop until we create an anti-racist world. We must come together to draw strength from each other and advance our collective vision for a better world where we’ll one day have justice for all. There is much work to be done.”

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House Education Committee Approves Legislation to Increase Access to Apprenticeship Programs

The Michigan House of Representatives Education Committee approved legislation that increases accessibility to apprenticeship programs in high schools on Thursday.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Ben Frederick (R-85-Owosso), brings Michigan apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in line with federal workforce mandates so federal funding can be used.

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Whitmer Signs Orders Wednesday to Make Michigan Carbon Neutral by 2050

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two executive orders on Wednesday aimed at making Michigan carbon-neutral by 2050.

The first order creates an advisory council within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) called the Council on Climate Solutions, which will be tasked with developing and implementing the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The second order creates EGLE’s Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate, which will “ensure fairness for and representation from underserved communities,” the governor’s office said.

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More Than a Third of Michigan Voters Have Requested Absentee Ballots

A third of active Michigan voters have requested absentee ballots so far, a spokesperson from Michigan’s Secretary of State (SOS) office announced on Tuesday.

More than 2.39 million Michigan voters have requested ballots, more than 31 percent of the 7.7 million people registered to vote in Michigan and 35 percent of the state’s 6.7 million active voters, according to state data released by the SOS. Detroit City has requested the highest number of absentee ballots at 109,561 ballots, followed by Ann Arbor City at 40,786 ballots and Sterling Heights City at 32,083.

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Michigan-Ohio State Finale Highlights Third Big Ten Schedule

The Big Ten’s third football schedule of the 2020 season is highlighted by Michigan-Ohio State on Dec. 12, the final day of the conference’s regular-season and the latest date the rivals have ever played.

The Big Ten released an eight-games-in-eight-weeks schedule on Saturday that will start the weekend of Oct. 24. Just three days ago, the conference reversed course and decided to play a fall football season after postponing on Aug. 11 because of concerns about COVID-19.

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Voters to Decide if the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fund Can Increase Spending for State Parks

Michigan voters will see a proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot asking if the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) should increase the spending allowance on recreational improvement projects each year.

The NRTF, created in 1984, is a constitutionally restricted fund to develop and purchase public land using funds generated from interest and earnings on state-owned mineral rights programs.

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