Michigan Couple Sues Brooks Township over New Cemetery Ban

A Michigan couple has sued Brooks Township for refusing to allow them to open a cemetery on private land.

Peter and Annica Quakenbush filed a lawsuit against Brooks Township in Newaygo County, challenging its blanket ban on opening any new cemeteries.

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University of Michigan Spending on ‘Diversity’ Grew 66 Percent in One Year

UM students

The University of Michigan’s (UM) spending on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) increased about 66% from the 2022-2023 school year, according to an analysis by Mark Perry, a senior fellow at Do No Harm.

The school’s DEI payroll for the 2022-2023 school year came in at $18 million, but increased to over $30 million for the 2023-2024 academic year, according to Perry’s analysis. UM’s DEI department had 132 full-time diversity employees in the 2022-2023 school year and now has over 300.

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Michigan’s Spending Spree Is ‘Unsustainable,’ Economist Says

Gretchen Whitmer

Since the pandemic began, Michigan has embarked on an “unsustainable” spending spree, says James Hohman, the Director of Fiscal Policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy,

“Michigan lawmakers will spend every dollar that they receive in revenue and state taxes have increased faster than residents’ ability to pay since the pandemic began,” Hohman said in a statement. “This is fundamentally unsustainable and lawmakers should practice restraint. Spending less would protect taxpayers, stabilize the budget and ensure that lawmakers have flexibility to meet unexpected needs.”

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Michigan State Police Ticket, Warn 1,563 People over New Distracted Driving Law

Phone Driving

Michigan State Police have given 1,563 citations and written warnings for the new distracted driving law over about five months.

From July through late November 2023, MSP issued 720 citations and 843 verbal warnings for the law to keep drivers focused on the road to prevent distracted driving and road deaths, according to documents obtained through records requests.

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Detroit Becomes Overwhelmed by Migrants Needing Shelter

border surge

Detroit has become overwhelmed by a surge in migrants needing shelter, according to The Detroit News.

Shelters supporting migrants in Detroit say they’re working long hours with little resources to help, according to The Detroit News. The city is experiencing a surge amid record encounters of migrants crossing the southern border illegally.

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Audit: Michigan Unemployment Agency Paid $245 Million in Possibly Improper Payments

A fifth and final audit of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency found the agency “undercounted fraud penalties by at least 49.4%” because it didn’t fix programming issues with the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System.

The audit from the Office of Auditor General Doug Ringler marked two “material conditions” – the most severe rating finding that the agency didn’t protect agency funds.

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Michigan Parents Sue Rockford Public Schools over Child’s Pronouns, Gender

Mead Family

A lawsuit claims a Michigan school district began treating a middle-school daughter as a boy for more than six months without their knowledge or consent.

The lawsuit, filed this week by Dan and Jennifer Mead, claims Rockford Public School District employees secretly treated their 13-year-old daughter as a boy, referring to her by a new masculine name and male pronouns and tried to conceal these actions from the parents.

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Satanic Temple Unveils New Display at Michigan State Capitol

The Satanic Temple (TST) unveiled a new display at the Michigan State Capitol Monday, just days after its statue in Iowa was torn down, according to a post on X.

TST’s display of Baphomet in the Iowa State Capitol building was destroyed after a Christian veteran beheaded the statue, claiming that he would not stand by as Christians continue to “submissively accept the legitimization of Satan.” TST unveiled a new display that can be found outside Michigan’s capitol building on the lawn, according to a post on X.

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Michigan City to Pay $825K for Violating Farmer’s Free Speech

When the city of East Lansing excluded someone from a farmer’s market because of his religious beliefs, they violated his right to free speech and freedom of religion.

The exclusion of Country Mill Farms owner Stephen Tennes from the farmers market because he refused to play host to same-sex wedding ceremonies at his farm, detailed in a 2017 lawsuit, will cost East Lansing $825,000 in damages and attorney fees.

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Man Charged in Murder of Detroit Synagogue Leader

Authorities have charged a man with the murder of Detroit synagogue President Samantha Woll, who was found stabbed to death on Oct. 21 outside of her home.

Detroit man Michael Jackson-Bolanos was charged with Woll’s murder, along with counts of lying to the police and home invasion, the Associated Press reported. Detroit police announced they had arrested a person of interest in the case earlier this week, though it remains unclear whether Brown was that individual.

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Leadership Changes, Layoffs Don’t Change Plans for $1.6 Billion Michigan Gigafactory

A Michigan-based energy group says recent layoffs and leadership changes don’t change plans to build a $1.6B battery factory in Van Buren Township called ONE Circle.

Michigan taxpayers bet $200 million on Our Next Energy Inc., a technology company that laid off 25% of its staff amid leadership changes.

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Gov. Whitmer Orders Michigan Fleets to Be Electric by 2040

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order to transition the state’s fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

Whitmer says the move will reduce air pollution, help boost demand for Michigan-made electric vehicles and lower fuel and maintenance costs.

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Ford, Xcel Plan to Deploy 30,000 Electric Vehicle Chargers Nationwide by 2030 for Business Fleets

Ford Pro, the commercial division within Ford Motor Co., and Xcel Energy, a clean energy company, will deploy 30,000 electric vehicle charging ports in Xcel Energy service territories nationwide by 2030.

Ford Pro and Xcel Energy are launching the 30×30 initiative within Xcel Energy’s broader Electric Vehicle Supply Infrastructure program to scale EV adoption and increase access to charging infrastructure.

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Michigan Commits to 100 Percent Carbon Dioxide-Free Electricity Generation by 2040

Whitmer Green Energy

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a commitment that the state will have 100% of electricity generation coming from carbon dioxide-free sources by 2040.

The Clean Energy and Jobs Act, according to NBC News, contains bills to increase energy efficiency and expedite the permitting process for wind and solar projects, in addition to mandating 100% greenhouse gas-free electricity generation by 2040.

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Nine Arrested for Michigan Unemployment Insurance Fraud

Nine Michiganders face chargers of unemployment insurance fraud and operating as unlicensed builders in a sweep that involved the attorney general’s office, along with several local agencies.

The Michigan Department of the Attorney General, alongside the Detroit Police Department and other law enforcement agencies arrested nine on charges of operating as unlicensed builders and unemployment insurance fraud.

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Groups Disagree over Line 5 Shutdown Impact

Man grinding a large pipe on a worksite

Is the Line 5 pipeline an essential source of energy or is it an environmental hazard?

Since 2019, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have sought to shut down Line 5, which has been pumping about 540,000 gallons of hydrocarbons daily across the lakebed of Lake Michigan since 1953. Whitmer and Nessel say they fear a spill similar to the 2010 oil spill near the Kalamazoo River – the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.

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MGM Grand Casino Strike Continues; Others End

After 34 days, strikes have ended at two of three Detroit casinos after union members at Hollywood Casino and Motor City voted to ratify five-year contracts.

The strike continues at MGM Grand Casino where members rejected a tentative agreement.

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Forty Pro-Palestinian Protesters Arrested at University of Michigan

Pro-Palestine, anti-Israel protest at the University of Michican

University of Michigan police arrested 40 people on campus Friday after breaking up a pro-Palestinian protest of hundreds, some of whom had forced their way into an administrative building.

“At least 200 people gathered Friday, calling for the university to divest from Israel,” Michigan Live reported Saturday. “Around 4 p.m., the demonstrators moved from the central campus Diag area to the Ruthven Administration Building.”

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Detroit Unions, Casinos Reach Tenative Agreement to End Strike

Workers on Strike in Detroit Casino Workers

The Detroit Casino Council has reached a tentative agreement for a new five-year contract with MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown after a 32-day strike.

The unions will continue to strike until the members ratify the proposed settlement.

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Michigan Reimbursed $119k in Alleged Food Stamp Fraud over Six Months

Michigan has reimbursed $119,000 worth of food stamps reported stolen from March through August 2023.

The food stamp program is a federal program operated by state health departments serving as a social safety net. Criminals steal food stamps via credit card skimmers, compromised logins and stolen identities sold on the dark web.

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Team Trump Takes Victory Lap as Michigan Dismisses 14th Amendment Cases Against Candidacy

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign is celebrating the dismissal of a litany of cases in Michigan challenging his eligibility to run for president again.

Trump has struggled to fend off challenges to his appearing on the ballot in multiple states. The litany of challenges have largely asserted that he was ineligible to hold public office under the 14th Amendment for having led an “insurrection” against the nation in the form of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Riot. He recently notched a win at the Minnesota Supreme Court allowing him to appear on the GOP primary ballot.

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Stellantis Seeks 6,400 Buyouts in Electric Vehicle Transition

Big Three automaker Stellantis seeks 6,400 buyouts – nearly half its 12,700 total non-bargaining unit – as it accelerates into an electric future.

Citing “challenging market conditions”, Stellantis’ Media Relations Director Jodi Tinson said the offer is open to non-bargaining unit U.S. employees with at least five years of corporate service.

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Resolution Aims to Keep Michigan Lawmakers Working until December

Michigan House Republicans introduced House Concurrent Resolution 9 aiming for lawmakers to adjourn in late December.

The resolution notes, according to session schedule, that House lawmakers are to meet until Dec. 21 and the Senate is scheduled to meet until at least December 14.

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Michigan Bill: Stop Taxpayers from Funding Slave Labor via Green Energy

As Michigan aims for 100% clean energy by 2040, a new plan aims to ensure that child slaves aren’t mining the rare earth minerals and assembling the solar panels.

Michigan House Republicans proposed a package aiming to stop taxpayer money from funding projects using child or forced labor for solar panels and electric vehicle battery parts.

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Right-to-Life Sues over Michigan Abortion Rights Amendment

Right-to-Life and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit on federal constitutional grounds challenging the enactment of Proposal 3, an abortion rights amendment voters enshrined into the Michigan Constitution.

The American Freedom Law Center and Great Lakes Justice Center sued in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan on behalf of 16 plaintiffs challenging the abortion rights law voters passed Nov. 8, 2022.

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Michigan House Deadlocked After Mayoral Wins

The Michigan House will be deadlocked 54-54 after two Democratic House members won local mayoral races.

After Reps. Lori Stone of Warren and Kevin Coleman of Westland won their respective mayoral races, House Democrats will still craft legislative agendas but won’t have the votes required to enact legislation without Republican votes until a special session is called to fill those seats.

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State Rep: Michigan’s 2040 Carbon Neutral Goal Is ‘Simply Too Late’

Days after the Michigan House and Senate passed a plan for the state to use 100% clean energy by 2040, Rep. Dylan Wegela, D-Garden City, said a goal of reaching 100% green energy by 2040 is “simply too late.”

“The problem is this legislation [SB271] is going to be billed as 100% clean energy, and that’s just false,” Wegela said in a statement. “This legislation had carveout exceptions for natural gas, carbon capture and even a trash incinerator. None of these are carbon free or clean, and all of them disproportionately impact communities of lower income and communities of color. 100% green energy by 2040 is simply too late. We need a Green New Deal.”

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Never-Trump Republican and Former Michigan U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer Launches Bid to Replace Retiring Senator Debbie Stabenow

Former Republican Rep. Peter Meijer announced his candidacy Monday for outgoing Democratic Michigan Rep. Debbie Stabenow’s seat in 2024.

Meijer already had an exploratory committee for the seat that he launched in late August, where he was able to raise funds ahead of an official run. The former congressman wrote in a campaign press release that he believes he is the Republican with “the best chance” of winning the Democratic-held seat, where he will face several opponents in a crowded GOP primary.

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Michigan Bills: Make Budget Spending More Transparent

After a record $82 billion budget that nearly depleted a $9 billion surplus, two bills aim to make Michigan’s budgeting process more transparent.

Reps. Tom Kuhn, R-Troy and Donni Steele, R-Orion Township, introduced House Bills 5296 and 5297 that aim to require that lawmakers can’t change existing laws through an appropriations bill.

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Michigan Lawmakers Approve $114 Million to Wipe School Debt

Michigan lawmakers approved a spending bill that aims to pay off $114 million of school debt in five districts.

House Bill 4292 is a supplemental bill aiming to pay $42 million of debt for Ypsilanti Community Schools, $31 million for Muskegon Heights School District, $18 million for Pontiac City School District, $12 million for the former Inkster School District and $10 million for Benton Harbor Area Schools.

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Michigan Senate OKs Financial Disclosure

The Michigan Senate passed financial disclosure bills voters approved in November 2022 through Proposal 1 to expose conflicts of interest but one lawmaker says the rules are all “smoke and mirrors.”

Senate Bills 613, 614, 615, and 616 aim to require lawmakers and candidates for public office to disclose assets and income above certain thresholds. The bills seek to require candidates and officeholders to disclose their spouse’s employment, including their status as a registered lobbyist.

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Michigan Counties Receive High Speed Internet Grants

Michigan plans to hand out more than $200 million in federal taxpayer funds for grants to provide high-speed internet access to underserved areas. 

The Michigan High Speed Internet Office announced the first round of the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks grants, awarding $203 million to more than 70,000 Michigan homes and businesses to connect them with faster internet.

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Michigan Democrats Introduce Pollution Package

Michigan Democrat lawmakers introduced a seven-bill package aimed at reducing pollution.

The lawmakers say current law doesn’t hold polluters accountable for the public cost of remediating land, often shouldered by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

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Lansing Receives $400K Grant Toward EV Charging Research

A materials and advancement research hub in Lansing will receive $400,000 in federal taxpayer money to develop faster charging electric vehicles.

The Federal Economic Development Administration announced the grant for project, which is a partnership between the Michigan State University Foundation and the EDA’s tech hub program. The hub will be used to research advanced materials, such as synthetic diamonds and rare isotopes, to advance semiconductor and defense technology. One of the hub’s key goals is to charge electric vehicles up to five times faster.

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Court: Michigan Department of State Must Revise Election Poll Challenger Rules

The Michigan Court of Claims ruled Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office must either rescind or revise a May 2022 Manual for election poll challengers.

The 15-page ruling analyzed four restrictions on poll challengers, including the credential form requirement, the requirement that communication only is with the “Challenger Liaison”, the prohibition on recording “impermissible challenges,” and the prohibition on electronic devices in the Absent Voter Counting Board.

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Michigan State Suspends Employee Who Showed Hitler Image on Football Videoboard

A Michigan State University (MSU) employee was suspended Sunday after allowing an image of Adolf Hitler to be shown on the university’s scoreboard, according to The Associated Press.

The video was shown prior to Saturday’s rivalry football game between MSU and the University of Michigan, according to the AP. Alan Haller, MSU’s vice president and director of Athletics, released a statement Monday confirming that the employee had been suspended without pay and was under investigation, noting that the MSU athletics department failed to check the entire video before it was approved.

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New Law Requires Filtered Water Filling Stations in Michigan Schools

Schools through Michigan must test for lead in water and install wall-mounted water filtration systems after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed three bills into law.

House Bill 4341, HB 4342 and Senate Bill 88 establish the new mandates, and installation of new filter systems is covered by an $600 million state budget appropriation dedicated toward clean water access and rebuilding sewage lines.

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Michigan Senate Candidate Paid Rent to Company Linked to One of Her Donors

Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan paid rent to a company linked to a donor to her 2024 Senate bid, according to campaign finance data and business records.

Slotkin, who raised roughly $3 million during the third fundraising quarter, paid $2,000 in rent in September to “Ghandi Properties LLC,” registered to 26222 Telegraph Rd., Southfield, Michigan, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. “Ghandi” appears to be a typo for “Gandhi,” as Gandhi Properties LLC is registered to that same address in business filings with the Michigan state government.

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Michigan Supreme Court Ponders Privacy Limits for Drones

The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about whether the government can use drones to surveil private property without a warrant and use that evidence in court for zoning disputes.

For two years, Long Lake Township zoning officials flew a drone over Todd and Heather Maxon’s property in northern Michigan near Traverse City, taking photographs and videos as part of a zoning dispute that he was running an illegal junkyard.

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3,700 Detroit Casino Workers Go on Strike

About 3,700 casino workers in Detroit walked out on strike at noon Tuesday after failing to reach a new contract.

The strike affects operations at the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown and workers including dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, engineers, and more.

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Bill Plan Recommends Increasing Sentencing for Michigan Fentanyl Crimes

Three Michigan lawmakers introduced a bipartisan plan to heighten sentencing recommendations for various narcotic drug crimes.

Reps. Sarah Lightner, R-Springport, Ann Bollin R-Brighton Township, and Angela Witwer, D-Delta Township, introduced a bipartisan plan to increase drug sentencing recommendations for heroin and fentanyl dealers.

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Hundreds of 2020 Election Voter Registration Forms from Michigan Appear Fraudulent

More than 200 voter registration forms that the Muskegon Police Department in Michigan received from the city clerk during the 2020 presidential election were suspected to be fraudulent, with incorrect or phony addresses and some names signed in reverse order..

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Gov. Whitmer Touts $20 Million Michigan Marketing Campaign

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. unveiled “You Can in Michigan” — a new talent attraction marketing campaign launching nationally.

The campaign follows reports of population loss and an estimated more than 270,000 more people will leave the state by 2050. Michigan has lost more than 40,000 residents since 2020.

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Michigan Lawmaker Wants to Create Fifth New Agency Since 2020

As state spending will reach a record $82 billion, a Michigan lawmaker wants to create a new government agency.

Sen. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, introduced Senate Bill 519 to create a new government agency to help people who lose their jobs as Michigan transitions from fossil fuels to clean energy.

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Poll Shows Trump Beating Biden in Michigan

Former President Donald Trump is leading President Joe Biden in the key battleground state of Michigan by 7 points, according to a poll reported by The Detroit News on Wednesday.

In the state that Trump won in 2016 but lost to Biden in 2020, he beat the president 42% to 35%, with 20% saying they’d vote for someone else and 3% opting not to pick a candidate, according to a Marketing Resource Group (MRG) survey. When the Democratic candidate was changed to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, she beat Trump 46% to 40% — a 13-point swing from the matchup with Biden.

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Court: Michigan Dam Owner Responsible for May 2020 Flooding

A federal judge has found the owner of the Edenville Dam responsible for widespread flooding in May 2020, that together with heavy rain, forced the evacuation of more than 10,000 people from 3,500 homes in mid-Michigan. 

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney granted Attorney General Dana Nessel a summary judgment against Boyce Hydro. Nessel had filed the motion on behalf of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and the Department of Natural Resources.

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In Disbarment Trial of Former Trump Attorney John Eastman, Kari Lake’s Attorney Goes over Significant Laws Broken in Various States During 2020 Election

The disbarment trial of Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar, John Eastman, wrapped up its seventh week on Friday, with more testimony from Kari Lake’s attorney Kurt Olsen, and Eastman resuming the stand briefly at the end. Olsen discussed several laws he said he believes were violated by state election officials in Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Olsen began testifying about a Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaint that he and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking to stop Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin from certifying their 2020 election results due to multiple violations of state law and constitutional problems. One of the reasons he said he brought the complaint was that signature verification was halted in the 2020 election in Detroit. 

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