Michigan’s $70B 2022 Budget Stuffed with $146 Million in ‘Pork’

Michigan’s $70 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 increases government spending by 11.5% from last year’s $62.8 billion budget. The increased spending includes one-time funds from federal stimulus packages, raising concerns Michigan can’t sustain current spending without hiking taxes or slashing services.

Once government federal stimulus money runs dry, the government must either raise taxes or reduce services to continue paying for programs that were once considered not essential.

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Two Afghan Refugees at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin Face Sexual Assault and Abuse Charges

Two Afghan refugees staying at Fort McCoy have been charged in separate incidents involving sexual assault of a minor and abuse. A grand jury charged Afghan refugees Bahrullah Noori and Mohammad Haroon Imaad on Thursday. Noori, 20, was charged with three counts of sexual assault of a minor, with one count of use of force. According to the indictment, the girls he assaulted at Fort McCoy “had not attained the age of 16 years and were at least four years younger than the defendant.”

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Pennsylvania County Commissioners’ Group Opposes Live-Streaming of Mail-In Vote Counting

Bipartisan enthusiasm for election-reform legislation appeared solid at a Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee hearing on Thursday, save for one part: video live-streaming of mail-in-ballot counting.

Elements of the bill, sponsored by Sen. David Argall (R-PA-Pottsville) and Sen. Sharif Street (D-PA-Philadelphia), have arisen largely from recommendations in a June 2021 report by the Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform. Argall and Street’s proposal excludes some of the ad hoc panel’s more contentious ideas, particularly enhanced voter-identification rules, which Rep. Seth Grove (R-PA-York) is spearheading in separate legislation. (While Gov. Tom Wolf [D] vetoed Grove’s bill in June, the representative has reintroduced it in light of the governor’s subsequent remarks in favor of a strengthened voter-ID requirement.)

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New Poll Shows Craig Edges Whitmer in Governors Race, but Strong Support in Detroit Keeps Whitmer Within Striking Distance

A new poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group shows Republican James Craig leading Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a potential general election contest.

The survey, released on Tuesday, demonstrated the former Detroit police chief leading Whitmer 50 percent to 44 percent, a six point advantage.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Changes Course, Will Sign Bill Banning School Mask Mandates and Vaccine Passports

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who earned a reputation for imposing extremely strict COVID-19 restrictions, will now sign a bill that bans mask mandates and vaccine passports. 

The measures are part of the state’s $70 billion budget bill, which clocks in at 1,000 pages.

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White House Ignores Governors’ Request for Meeting with Biden on Border Crisis

After Gov. Doug Ducey (R), along with 25 other governors, sent a letter to the Biden Administration urgently requesting a meeting with President Joe Biden regarding the border crisis, the White House appears to be ignoring the governors’ plea. 

“As chief executives of our states, we request a meeting with you at The White House to bring an end to the national security crisis created by eight months of unenforced borders,” that letter said. “The months-long surge in illegal crossings has instigated an international humanitarian crisis, spurred a spike in international criminal activity, and opened the floodgates to human traffickers and drug smugglers endangering public health and safety in our states. A crisis that began at our southern border now extends beyond to every state and requires immediate action before the situation worsens.”

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Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs Leads Group That Files Articles of Impeachment Against Biden

U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07) on Tuesday introduced articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden, pointing to the ongoing border crisis and the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal.

Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05), Brian Babin (R-TX-36), and Randy Weber (R-TX-14) announced their support of the measure and signed on as co-sponsors of the articles of impeachment.

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Michigan GOP Sues over Gov. Whitmer Campaign Funding Maneuver

The Michigan GOP and Chair Ron Weiser are suing Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, challenging $3.4 million of campaign donations to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that they say is illegal.

A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan aims to force Benson to apply Michigan election law, compliant with the First and Fourteenth Amendments, to equally enforce contribution limits on all candidates. Whitmer raised funds over Michigan’s $7,150 contribution limit under the loophole of the recall exception, despite no apparent active recall efforts.

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Polls Find Support for Gretchen Whitmer Collapses in Michigan, Narrowly Ahead of Republican Challengers

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is running neck-and-neck with relatively unknown Republican opponents, according to a poll released Monday.

Strategic National — a firm working for Republican James Craig — found its client trailing the incumbent by less than one point among likely voters, 46.6 percent to 46 percent, Breitbart News reported.

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Republican Lawmakers Seek Public Input on Proposed Michigan Election Rules Changes

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson

Republican state legislators are encouraging Michigan voters to register their opinions on three election procedural rules changes promulgated by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

The Department of State will conduct a public hearing on the proposed rules on Friday, Oct. 1.

The three rule changes include:

Significantly altering the process to allow the disqualification of candidates by city and township clerks for election finance violations;
Creating a state database of voter signatures whereby voters could upload signatures rather than submitting an original ink signature with local election officials;
Relaxing standards of signature verification for absentee ballots, relying on an automatic presumption a voter’s signature is valid.

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Refuses to Challenge Joe Biden on Southern Border Crisis, RGA Argues

Joe Biden and Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is refusing to challenge President Joe Biden (D) about the surge of illegal aliens at the southern border, the Republican Governors Association (RGA) claimed Monday.

The group, which views the Michigan governor’s race as one of its top priorities in 2022, noted 26 Republican governors have requested a meeting with Biden “to demand the end to the crisis at the border” and added Whitmer “refuses to acknowledge the crisis.”

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Democrat Michigan County Exec Refuses to Follow Biden Vaccine Mandate: ‘No. God, No’

Mark Hackel

A Democrat Michigan county executive is bucking his party leader’s vaccine mandate and said he will not be enforcing one.

Mark Hackel, the elected Macomb County executive, told the Detroit News he would not go along with forced vaccinations or fire an employee who defied a federal vaccination order.

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Poll Shows Whitmer, Biden Approval Numbers Continue to Decline

Gretchen Whitmer and Joe Biden

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) and President Joe Biden’s approval numbers continue to decline throughout the state, according to a poll commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber.

After analyzing 600 registered voters, the results of the poll conducted by the Glengariff Group detail that Michiganders are split on Whitmer’s job performance, but the majority of voters believe the economy is on the wrong track.

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Michigan School Principal Criticizes Students Who Wore Pro-Trump MAGA Gear During ‘USA Day’

Make America Great Again hat on table

A Michigan school principal criticized students who wore Make America Great Again and other pro-Donald Trump clothing during “USA Day” this week.

WWMT reported students at Parchment High School near Kalamazoo celebrated a “USA Day” theme as a part of their homecoming week, which principal George Stamas said was intended to be “fun and unifying.” Instead, he claimed, it created “division.”

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Voting Reform Bill Reintroduced after Pennsylvania Governor’s Veto

Seth Grove and Tom Wolf

The prime sponsor of a vetoed voting reform bill said Friday he reintroduced the measure after Gov. Tom Wolf shifted his public opinion on some components of the legislation over the summer.

Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, said House Bill 1800 would bolster voting rights “through three broad concepts of increased access, increased security and modernization.” 

“We know access and security are not mutually exclusive,” he said.

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Michigan Legislature on Verge of Investigating 2020 Election Activities of Non-Profit Affiliated with Secretary of State and Funded by Mark Zuckerberg

A top official within the Michigan Republican Party confirmed to The Michigan Star that the House Oversight Committee chaired by State Rep. Steven Johnson (R-72) is on the verge of holding a hearing on the role of a Detroit-based nonprofit in the 2020 election.

The Star broke the story on August 5 of how the Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration (MCELA) received a $12 million grant to support its purported purpose of “nonpartisan voter education” and then turned all but a sliver of the money over to two Democratic political consulting firms for a get-out-the-vote campaign. 

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Michigan Prepares for Future Electric Cars Usage

A rise in the number of electric vehicles rumbling off manufacturers’ assembly lines and hitting the state’s roads and highways has Michigan planning to build out a network of charging stations.

A state report predicts by 2030, hybrid or electric vehicles (EV) will represent 51% of all vehicle sales; 50% of vehicle production will have Level 2 autonomy or higher; and software will account for more than 50% of the value of a new vehicle.

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Michigan Leaders Announce Budget Deal with Few Details

Gov. Grethcen Whitmer announces that Michigan received a $10 million grant to support the state’s registered apprenticeship expansion efforts and increase employment opportunities for Michiganders.

The GOP-led Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer struck a budget deal to avoid a government shutdown before the next fiscal year.

Budget officials welcomed the deal.

“The last year and a half has been hard on all of our families and communities. Addressing their needs – from jobs to education to government accountability – is at the center of today’s budget deal,” Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas, R-Midland, said in a statement. “By working together our divided Michigan government has shown what can be accomplished when Michigan families are put first. Michigan families are counting on us to invest in them. This budget does that by laying the groundwork for a healthy economy for Michigan’s future. I thank House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert, Budget Director David Massaron, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their collaboration.”

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Former President Trump Sends Letter to Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger Asking to Investigate Report of DeKalb County Chain of Custody Violations; ‘If True Start the Process of Decertifying’

Former President Donald Trump sent a letter on Friday to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking the top election official to investigate potential threats to the state’s election integrity.

In the letter to Raffensperger, Trump cited a report from The Georgia Star News, which detailed that 43,000 absentee ballot votes counted in DeKalb County, Georgia 2020 election potentially violated chain of custody rule.

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Republican James Craig Drowned Out by Protesters While Announcing Run for Michigan Governor

Former Detroit police chief James Craig, 65, tried to hold a press conference in a state park Tuesday to announce his candidacy for the governor of Michigan, but had to cut it short when a mob of aggressive left-wing agitators prevented him from speaking.

As soon as he reached the podium at Belle Isle Park to make his announcement, the political newcomer was swarmed by dozens of leftists who blasted air horns, raised their fists, flipped the bird, and screamed “hey hey, ho ho, James Craig has got to go!”

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Democrat Michigan State Rep. Jailed After Third Bond Violation, Allegedly Caught with Handcuff Key Taped to Foot

A Democrat Michigan state representative who has been in constant conflict with the law since April was arrested this week and found to have a handcuff key taped to his foot.

State Rep. Jewell Jones (D) was arrested on a slew of charges last spring stemming from an allegation of drunk driving. Dashcam video allegedly showed him resisting arrest and defying police orders while in jail.

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At Pennsylvania Senate Meeting on Elections, Subpoenas Issued, Dem Calls GOPers McCarthyites, Another Has Remarks Curtailed for Breaking Senate Rules

At Wednesday’s meeting concerning the Pennsylvania’s Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee’s election investigation, which saw Republicans winning a vote to subpoena voter records, Democrats fumed.

One angrily compared GOP colleagues to Joe McCarthy, the notoriously zealous anti-communist U.S. senator from Wisconsin who served from 1947 to 1957.

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Grand Rapids Weighs Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis

Grand Rapids is considering naming racism a public health crisis to “center and prioritize anti-racism.”

City staff spent more than 200 hours prepping three draft resolutions presented Tuesday: one to declare a climate crisis, the second to support the decriminalization of entheogenic substances, such as magic mushrooms, and the third to name racism a public health emergency.Grand Rapids is considering naming racism a public health crisis to “center and prioritize anti-racism.”

City staff spent more than 200 hours prepping three draft resolutions presented Tuesday: one to declare a climate crisis, the second to support the decriminalization of entheogenic substances, such as magic mushrooms, and the third to name racism a public health emergency.

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Lawmaker Gears Up to Grill Pennsylvania Department of State on Voter-Registry Errors Uncovered by Democrat Auditor General

As Pennsylvania Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee Majority Chair Cris Dush (R-Wellsboro) investigates recent elections, Democratic lawmakers against tightening election security must contend with a withering 2019 audit of Pennsylvania’s voter registry.

At his investigation’s initial hearing last Thursday, Dush announced his intention to hold the Department of State (DOS) accountable for the mismanagement identified in the audit by calling the department to testify at the committee’s next hearing to be scheduled soon. 

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Wisconsin Representative Tiffany Demands ‘Full Membership’ to United Nations for Taiwan

Wisconsin Representative Thomas Tiffany (R-07-WI) wrote a letter to the Biden Administration demanding full membership to the United Nations for Taiwan. In a tweet about the letter, Tiffany said, “America doesn’t need a permission slip from Communist China to support our allies.”

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Campaign Finance Complaint Alleges 10 Illegal Donors for Michigan Gov. Whitmer, Including Lawyer Mark Bernstein, Illinois Gov. Pritzker

Designating 10 major donors to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer the “$100,000 Club,” the Michigan Freedom Fund on Tuesday filed a formal campaign finance complaint.

The Center Square is the first news outlet to report the MFF complaint, which asserts 10 donors violated state law by donating more than $100,000 to Whitmer.

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Michigan State Senator: Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Seizing Absentee Ballot Distribution Control

Jocelyn Benson

A Republican Michigan state senator claimed Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) is seizing control of the absentee ballot distribution process and “forcing sensitive voter information to be transmitted over the internet.”

State Sen. Jon Bumstead (R) said in a press release that he has created a website for constituents to register their concerns about changes Benson wants to make to how absentee ballots are distributed and counted.

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Michigan House Republicans Consider Bills to Grant IDs to Illegal Aliens

Michigan House floor

Michigan House Republicans will be taking up two bills this week introduced by Democrats that would grant state identification cards to illegal aliens.

Republicans will be considering HBs 4835 and 4836, the first of which strikes a current provision in law that requires a resident eligible for an ID to establish “that he or she is legally present in the United States.”

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University of Michigan Anti-Racist Hiring Initiative to ‘Decolonize Educational Material’

The University of Michigan Department of Health Management and Policy is hiring for tenure-track research positions on “Anti-Racist Policy Analysis.”

This new set of five hires will be distributed among the Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan Medical School, and School of Nursing, and School of Information.

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Michigan Cities Won’t Say Whether They’ll Adopt Critical Race Theory Resolution

After the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution in favor of teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) last week, the mayors of Michigan’s largest cities won’t say whether they support the resolution. 

The Conference of Mayors defines CRT as a “malleable practice [that] critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers and recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality and gender identity.”

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Judge Okays Preliminary Injunction for Western Michigan University Athletes

Western Michigan University football practice

Federal District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney granted 16 Western Michigan University (WMU) athletes’ request to continue participating in intercollegiate athletic competition without being injected with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Initially, four soccer stars sued in August over WMU’s vaccine mandate for athletes, which required athletic participants take the COVID-19 vaccine by Aug. 31 or forfeit their spot on the team. WMU has denied all the athletes a religious liberty accommodation.

No similar vaccine requirement exists for any other students at WMU and other universities. The lawsuit says Michigan State University and the University of Michigan are granting religious accommodations to their athletes.

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Michigan Politicians, Business Leaders React to Vaccine Mandate

Michigan businesses are rushing to figure out the potential impacts of new rules President Joe Biden announced Thursday, which could affect 100 million U.S. workers.

The mandate requires all federal workers and contractors get vaccinated, with limited exceptions. Biden said the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees to vaccinate employees or test them weekly.

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Several Women Sue Eastern Michigan University over Sexual Assaults

Eastern Michigan University

Less than two weeks after a woman was found unresponsive in a dormitory after allegedly being raped by several men, four former students at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) are suing the school. 

The women were assaulted years ago, but decided to bring suit after the latest case of sexual assault on campus. They claim that the school isn’t doing enough to combat predatory behavior. 

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Job Creators Network Bring Small Business Back Tour Coming to Waukesha, Wisconsin

The Job Creators Network’s (JCN) Bring Small Business Back (BSBB) tour is coming to Waukesha, Wisconsin on Tuesday. Wisconsin Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-05-WI) will be attending and will be given JCN’s “Defender of Small Business” award. The tour will be in Waukesha at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday, September 14, at Weldall Manufacturing. Participants can register to attend on EventBrite. According to a press release, the speakers at the Waukesha stop will include Rep. Fitzgerald and JCN Chief Communications Officer Elaine Parker.

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Pennsylvania Congressman Lamb Silent on National Archives Labeling Constitution for ‘Harmful Language’

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has slapped “Harmful Language” warnings on online displays of American founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA-17) is keeping quiet about it.

The Star News Network emailed Lamb’s press office Friday to ascertain his view of the matter. Neither the congressman—who recently announced a bid for U.S. Senate—nor his staff have replied.

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Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Seeks to Decrease Scrutiny of Absentee Ballot Signatures

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) is seeking to make permanent a unilateral rule she ordered in 2020 that effectively decreased scrutiny of absentee ballot signatures.

A court ruled Benson’s order to assume signatures matched was illegal because she did not follow the proper procedure in changing the rules shortly before the election.

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Wisconsin Representative Gallagher Calls for Fauci to Resign

Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher (R-08-WI) called for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Adviser, to resign in an interview with Fox News. Gallagher said, “At a minimum he should step down and we should have a full investigation to untangle the complex web of US taxpayer dollars funding this type of research.”

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Michigan’s Acting Unemployment Director Once Again on Oversight Committee Hot Seat

For the second time since last March, acting Unemployment Insurance Agency chair Liza Estlund Olson testified Thursday morning before the Michigan House Oversight Committee.

Much like her March appearance, Thursday’s testimony prompted scathing commentary from Republican committee members.

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Michigan Group Calls for Resignation of ‘Independent’ Redistricting Commission Members Who Publicly Support Democratic Causes

In 2018, Michigan voters were fed up with in-power politicians drawing their own districts to protect incumbents. As a result, 61% of voters in the state approved a ballot proposal that established an independent citizen’s redistricting committee (MICRC).

But as new problems emerge, critics want answers.

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Demands Repeal of Longtime Michigan Abortion Ban

A 1930s Michigan law affecting pregnancy termination is under scrutiny as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) attempts to change the subject from her scandals and President Joe Biden’s sagging poll numbers.

On Tuesday, Whitmer demanded the Republican-led legislature repeal a law that effectively bans all abortions in the state.

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Michigan Changes COVID-19 Guidance for School Children

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Wednesday released new COVID-19 guidelines for students in public schools. 

The guidelines are not mandatory, and schools may choose whether to follow them. 

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Arizona Attorney General Says Tucson Vaccine Mandate Violates State Law

A law mandating the COVID-19 vaccine among Tucson city employees is illegal, according to Arizona’s Attorney General. 

“Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that his office (AGO) determined the City of Tucson’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public employees does violate state law for purposes of S.B. 1487, and also is in direct conflict with the Governor’s Executive Order 2021-18,” a press release from Brnovich’s office said.

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Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Returns a Legally Questionable Contribution While Gretchen Whitmer Keeps Hers

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) returned a campaign contribution that violated donation limits, while Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has refused to do the same.

Benson and Whitmer collected contributions in excess of the $7,150 limit by arguing they were facing a recall election, which a previous Secretary of State arbitrarily ruled would exempt an elected official from limits if subjected to a recall. But Benson and Whitmer’s recall concerns were never serious as no organized effort to collect the sufficient amount of signatures — over 1 million — was ever launched.

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Former President Trump Endorses Michigan State Rep. Steve Carra in Congressional Campaign

Donald Trump and Steve Carra

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday endorsed Michigan State Representative Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers) in his campaign to represent Michigan’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Carra has launched a GOP primary challenge against Representative Fred Upton (R-MI-06), one of the ten lawmakers in the House to vote to impeach Trump.

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Boosted Unemployments Benefits End, Unclear Whether Michigan Labor Shortage Will Ease

About 442,196 unemployment claimants saw their pandemic unemployment assistance benefits end on Sept. 4, but it’s unclear if that will ease Michigan’s labor shortage.

The federal Pandemic Unemployment plus regular unemployment benefits let recipients receive up to $662 weekly.

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Former President Trump Endorses Kristina Karamo for Michigan Secretary of State

Kristina Karamo

Former President Trump on Tuesday endorsed GOP candidate Kristina Karamo in her campaign for Michigan Secretary of State.

Karamo, an educator, is running for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for the state’s top election post.

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Wisconsin Rep. Gallagher Opposes Using Photos in Navy Promotion Decisions to Enhance Diversity

Wisconsin Representative Mike Gallagher (R-08-WI) wrote a letter to Vice Admiral John Nowell opposing the use of photographs when making decisions about promotions in the Navy. Gallagher and five other members of Congress wrote the letter because he believes that basing a decision about giving a naval officer a promotion on their headshot is not a good criteria.

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Wisconsin Democrat Candidate for Senate Charged with Theft and Fraud

Chantia Lewis

A Wisconsin candidate for U.S. Senate was charged with theft and fraud after violating campaign finance laws. Chantia Lewis, a current Milwaukee city council member, allegedly used over $21,000 improperly. As was reported by the Houston Chronicle, Lewis used over $21,000 of campaign finances on “car payments, family trips, a worship conference and other personal expenses.” The Milwaukee county attorney’s office filed a total of four felonies and one misdemeanor against her.

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‘Dramatic Declines’ in Michigan Student Test Scores After Gretchen Whitmer-Induced ‘Disrupted Learning’

Close up of a pencil on top of a multiple choice exam paper

Test scores of Michigan students fell dramatically after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) responded to the coronavirus pandemic by banning in-person learning for much of last school year.

Whitmer sided with union bosses in keeping schools closed for much of 2020, but then recommending reopening in 2021, only to suggest they go virtual again after spring break, according to ABC 13. Test results show the reversals and upheaval affected student performance:

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