Michigan House Votes to Suspend $300 Weekly Federal Unemployment Payments

Michigan State Capitol

The Michigan House of Representatives voted to approve House Bill 4434, which would end the state’s participation in the federal unemployment program.

The bill passed Thursday by a 350-49 vote, and now moves to the Michigan Senate.

House Republicans rallied hard behind the bill, which would immediately halt the federally funded $300 weekly boost to Michigan unemployment checks. The federal program currently is scheduled to cease in September, but legislators argue the additional money is hindering the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Michigan to Fully Open Tuesday

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has once again ditched her COVID-19 reopening plan, announcing the state will drop its COVID-19 restrictions on June 22. Her previous plan dropped restrictions on July 1.

“Today is a day that we have all been looking forward to, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and put this pandemic behind us,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Whitmer thanked those who received vaccinations. She also thanked medical staff and other frontline workers. 

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Over 7,000 Affidavits Delivered to Michigan Lawmakers Claim Election Fraud

voters polling place

Hundreds of people concerned about the integrity of the Nov. 2020 election gathered outside the Michigan Capitol Thursday to protest and deliver roughly 7,000 affidavits claiming fraud and demanding a forensic audit.

Michigan Conservation Coalition spokesperson Matt Seely said thousands of Michigan voters have questioned the integrity of the 2020 election.

“If we do a deep-dive forensic audit similar to Arizona, it will do either one of two things. It will prove that all of the politicians who say there’s nothing to see there, that they were right. Or it will prove that there’s a big problem with the integrity of our elections and that we need to address it in a major way,” he told The Center Square in a phone interview.

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‘In Survival Mode’: Michigan Business Owners Say Boosted Benefits Disrupting Industries

Michigan business owners say federal $300/week boosted unemployment benefits are exacerbating a worker shortage partly caused by COVID-19 fears.

Roy Baldwin, owner of Baldwin’s Smokehouse Barbecue in Buena Vista Township, says COVID-19, rising food prices, and a worker shortage have hit his store hard. Since opening his store in 2019, he says food product prices have doubled.

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Michigan Senate Passes $4.38 Billion Federally Funded School Aid Fund Bill

The Michigan State Senate passed a School Aid Funding supplemental appropriations bill.

The entire $4.38 billion sum approved by the Senate on Tuesday afternoon is derived from federal funding, which includes $700 million of COVID-19 relief money approved last year during the administration of Donald Trump and another $3.66 billion from the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden in March.

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Short-Term Rental Bills Divide Michigan Local Governments, Renters

State Representative Sarah Lightner

Legislation in Lansing aims to dictate whether local governments can ban Michiganders from generating income via short-term rentals (STR).

The Michigan Municipal League (MML) opposes the bill backed by GOP lawmakers, Senate Bill 446 and House Bill 4722, which aim to stop governments from banning STRs. A vote is expected within two weeks.

Each side says the other wants governmental overreach. MML says Lansing outright prohibiting local government from banning STRs statewide is advocating for “big government,” while the GOP says local government telling residents how they can and can’t use their home is also government overreach.

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State Board of Elections Must Certify Unlock Michigan Petition, Michigan Supreme Court Rules

Unlock Michigan sign

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday the Board of State Canvassers must certify the Unlock Michigan petition to remove Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 1945 emergency powers. 

In April, the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 three times on votes whether to certify or investigate further Unlock Michigan.

“In the present case, the Board approved the form and content of the petition in July 2020,” the state’s top court wrote. “The Bureau of Elections analyzed the signatures using a random sampling method and estimated that Unlock Michigan submitted at least 460,000 valid signatures when they only needed about 340,000. The Board rejected, by deadlocked vote, a motion to investigate the collection of signatures. The Board thus has a clear legal duty to certify the petition.”

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Report: Michigan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Failure Contributed to Killing 2,500 People

A USA TODAY article dives into Michigan’s vaccine focus on “equity” instead of protecting those most vulnerable to COVID-19. A surge of COVID-19 cases late in the pandemic killed 2,500 people.

“But in the race to put shots in arms, Michigan lost. Its vaccination rate lagged Minnesota’s, exacerbating a late-pandemic spike in cases that killed 2,500 people,” USA TODAY reported. “The vaccination gap between Minnesota and Michigan was particularly high for older people.”

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Critics Question Gov. Whitmer’s $1.3 Million Spending on Holland Private Sector Jobs

Mission Design and Automation, LLC

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is spending taxpayer money on private business Mission Design and Automation in Holland Charter Township.

Mission will house new large-scale automation projects and space for offices and meeting rooms, but critics argue government funds shouldn’t be used to subsidize private enterprises.

Michigan awarded the private company $400,000 in taxpayer money through the Jobs Ready Michigan Program grant. The project is expected to generate a total private investment of $5.3 million and create 109 well-paying new jobs over two years.

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Homeschooling in Michigan Jumped During Pandemic

The percentage of Michigan parents seeking educational options by home schooling their school-age children during the pandemic more than doubled.

According to U.S. Census data, 5.3% of Michigan students were home-schooled during the first weeks of the pandemic. By October 2020, that number climbed 6 percentage points to 11.3%. The standard of error for the first number is 1.64, and 2.30 for the second number.

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Michigan Bills Aim to Give $25 Million to SOS Office to Clear Months-Long Backlog

Michigan Democrat leaders are pushing for bills to allocate $25 million to the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office to clear an expanding 15-month backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as government orders to shut down walk-in service.

The legislation includes allocation of $5 million in overtime costs and $20 million of federal stimulus money to hire 200 more workers.

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Michigan Undercounted Nursing Home COVID-19 Deaths, Reporter Says

Staff member at nursing home showing smartphone to elderly woman

ulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff says Michigan has undercounted COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

The accusation follows a settlement between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and LeDuff with legal services provided by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. LeDuff and the MCPP sued the government when it failed to provide public records as required by law.

“This data is an essential part of accurately understanding the effects of this pandemic and the public policy implemented in response,” Steve Delie, an attorney and the Mackinac Center’s FOIA expert, said in a May 21 statement. “It also leaves open the possibility that the state is undercounting the number of deaths of those in nursing homes.”

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After National Criticism, Whitmer’s Campaign to Pay for Florida Flight

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Months after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer flew on a secret trip to Florida, Michiganders are starting to find answers.

Whitmer’s campaign committee will pay for her March Florida flight to visit her father after she initially attempted to use a nonprofit to charter the flight through a separate company.

The flight sparked an Federal Aviation Agency investigation, because the jet company was not authorized to operate charter flights.

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Michigan New Unemployment Claims Dropped 2,727 Last Week

Michigan reported 11,079 new unemployment claims for the week ending May 22, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s latest unemployment figures released Thursday.

The DOL notes 2,727 fewer Michigan workers filed for unemployment last week than the previous week’s 3,582 new claims.

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Whitmer’s Administration Rescinds COVID Rule She Broke Days Earlier

Gov. Whitmer at restaurant with large group

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has rescinded the rule that Whitmer broke over the weekend.

Whitmer apologized Sunday after photos posted over the weekend showed her dining with at least a dozen others at The Landshark Bar & Grill in East Lansing, Michigan. Breitbart News first reported the news on Sunday.

Michigan’s May 15 order formerly mandated that no more than six people may be seated at the same table, and the governor has faced heavy criticism throughout the pandemic for strict COVID restrictions that have forced many Michigan restaurants and businesses to shutter their doors.

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Michigan Projects Multibillion-Dollar Budget Surplus

Michigan State Capitol

Michigan budget officials Friday reached a consensus on revised economic and revenue figures for fiscal years 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The state general fund and school aid revenues will total $26.5 billion for the current budget year, exceeding January estimates by $2.2 billion. For the new budget cycle beginning Oct. 1, the agency projected revenues will total $26.6 billion, $1.3 billion more than January predictions.

A majority of that unexpected cash is a byproduct of billions of spending via stimulus checks and boosted unemployment benefits, which led to a spike in personal spending and increased state tax revenues by billions more than previously forecast.

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Reporter Gets Access to Michigan’s COVID Nursing Home Death Data

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff has reached a settlement with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to gain access to data on the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths in the state.

The health department agreed to release some of the public records LeDuff requested. The department also acknowledges it can’t determine if some patients killed by COVID-19 contracted the virus at a nursing home or other long-term care facility.

LeDuff sued March 9 after submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for data on COVID-19 deaths but the MDHHS failed to produce the requested records. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation represented him.

“We stood up to Goliath and won,” LeDuff said in a statement. “While I’m pleased that some of the records were released, the state’s overall response is alarming and disappointing. Still, this is a win for the people of Michigan, and I’m glad this lawsuit was able to shed some light.”

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Whitmer to Ease Michigan’s COVID-19 Restrictions June 1

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced outdoor capacity limits will disappear after June 1, when indoor capacity limits will increase to 50% under updated public health restrictions.

The state will lift the broad mask and gathering orders July 1, Whitmer said Thursday at Dow Diamond In Midland.

“We look at this as the last moment of this type of orders,” Whitmer said after Michigan has battled COVID-19 for 14 months via a wide range of emergency orders.

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Michigan Business Leaders Expect Robust Economic Recovery, Return to Partial In-Person Work

Man in business suit walking on crosswalk in city

Michigan’s business leaders anticipate robust growth in the state’s economy within the next year.

They also plan a return to in-person office work in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2021, according to a quarterly economic survey completed by Business Leaders for Michigan.

Approximately 92% of survey respondents say the state’s economy will likely remain strong and growing during the next six to 12 months.

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Controversy Surrounds Whitmer’s Secret Florida Flight

Gov. Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is once again under fire for a Florida trip she took months ago.

The trip was partially paid for by a 501(c)4 group, which critics say presents legal questions.

Whitmer used funds from an inauguration-related nonprofit to pay for a $27,521 trip to Florida to visit her ailing father in March, MIRS News reported. “She continued to carry out her duties as governor while she assisted her father [in Florida] with household duties like cooking and cleaning,” JoAnne Huls, the governor’s chief of staff, wrote in a memo. “The governor’s flight was not a gift, not paid for at taxpayer expense, and was done in compliance with the law.”

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Ohio Legislature Keeps Pressure on Michigan to Keep Pipeline Open

Ohio state Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-Winchester

Ohio lawmakers continue to pressure Michigan’s governor to keep open a pipeline that affects more than 20,000 Ohio jobs and nearly $14 billion in state economic activity.

Rep. Brian Baldridge, R-Winchester, who testified before the Ohio Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier this week, said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to make poor decisions at a time when energy security remains in question after a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline that continues to leave the Southeast with gasoline shortages and higher prices.

Baldridge also testified recently before Michigan’s Senate Energy Committee and met with the state’s Senate leadership in response to Ohio Resolution 13, which urges Michigan to keep the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline operating.

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Gov. Whitmer Signs $37 Million Bill Funding 76 Projects Statewide

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed House Bill 4469 which appropriates $37.8 million in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants for 76 recreation projects and land purchases throughout Michigan.

“The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund supports quality outdoor recreation, giving Michiganders the ability to safely enjoy the outdoors and boosting local economies,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This funding is crucial to helping communities utilize their natural resources and make Michigan’s public spaces more accessible and attractive to residents and visitors. I am proud to sign this piece of bipartisan legislation into law and support Michigan’s recreational resources and economy.” 

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for resource conservation and outdoor recreation.

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Michigan Doesn’t Know How Many Residents Vaccinated Out-of-State; Lawmakers Want Them Counted

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 recovery plan requires the state must reach 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older with a first vaccine injection before dropping all COVID-19 restrictions.

But the state doesn’t know how many residents have already been vaccinated in other states unless residents give that information to the state health department.

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Michigan Loosens Mask Mandate Starting Thursday

The state health department revised its mask mandate beginning Thursday, May 6, through Monday, May 31, so that masks aren’t generally required outdoors for those who are fully vaccinated unless there’s a gathering of 100 or more people.

New Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) guidance says anyone who is fully vaccinated and not experiencing symptoms isn’t required to wear a mask at indoor residential gatherings.

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Michigan Reaches 50 Percent of Those 16+ with First Vaccination, Must Inject Another 1.6 Million to Drop Restrictions

a health care provider places a bandage on the injection site of a patient, who just received a vaccine

Michigan surpassed a milestone of injecting 50% of residents ages 16 and older with a first vaccine, but is still roughly 1.6 million people short of hitting the goal needed to drop all restrictions.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer laid out the plan last week.
The state must reach 55% of Michiganders ages 16 and older, or another 408,594 people, plus two weeks to reach complete immunity for the Whitmer administration to allow in-person work for all business sectors statewide.

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Former Michigan Health Director Submits to Subpoena, Testifies to House Oversight Committee over $155,000 Severance Payment

After declining four previous requests to testify, former Michigan Director of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon was finally compelled to testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee.

Gordon abruptly resigned his position in January, and signed a controversial nondisclosure agreement the following month that included a $155,506 buyout. The Oversight Committee issued Gordon a subpoena earlier this month, forcing him to appear before the committee.

The subpoena was the first issued by the Oversight Committee in 30 years, according to Rep. Patrick Outman, R-Six Lakes.

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Census Bureau Announces Michigan Will Lose a Congressional Seat as Florida and Texas Each Gain

Texas and Florida are slated to gain congressional seats during the decennial redistricting process, while California and New York are set to each lose one, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the decennial state population and congressional apportionment totals Monday, outlining how many districts each state will have for the next decade. The data also determines how many Electoral College votes each state will have through 2032, and allocates how federal money is distributed to each state for schools, roads and other public projects.

The release was originally scheduled for December, but faced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to exclude non-citizens from the count.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Vows to Run State-Owned Facilities 100 Percent on Renewable Energy by 2025; Critics Describe as ‘Accounting Gimmick’

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the state will increase state-owned facility renewable energy by 85% by 2025, up from the current 15%, but didn’t explain how.

The governor announced the goal on April 22 to coincide with Earth Day.

Whitmer cited a partnership between the state and energy providers DTE, Consumers Energy, and Lansing Board of Water and Light. Energy purchased from the utilities will expand those companies’ renewable energy portfolio in Michigan.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Touts Therapies to Slash COVID-19 Deaths, Hospitalizations as State Hits 18 Percent Case Positivity Rate

As Michigan enters its sixth straight week of rising COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expanded the use of monoclonal antibody therapy to reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths for high-risk patients.

“We are using every mitigation strategy, every medication, and every treatment option to fight the virus here in Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “These antibody treatments could keep you out of the hospital and save your life, and my administration and I will continue working with the federal government to make sure we are using all the tools in our toolbox to keep you and your family safe and get back to normal sooner.”

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Mark Zuckerberg-Funded CEIR Donated Nearly $12 Million So Michigan Residents Could Vote Absentee

A group directly linked to Mark Zuckerberg  donated nearly $12 million to a Michigan nonprofit to help state residents vote absentee for the 2020 presidential election. Zuckerberg and his associates donated the money with the blessing of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

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Poll: Majority of Michigan Voters Favor Ballot Proposal to Restrict Governor’s Emergency Powers

Gov. Whitmer

A poll released Tuesday by Michigan Rising Action (MRA), a Lansing-based organization dedicated to advancing conservative principles, asserts Michigan strongly supports a ballot proposal to limit the use of gubernatorial emergency powers.

MRA commissioned the poll from Marketing Resource Group, which conducted research between March 15-18, and skews +4 Democrat.

A majority of the 610 likely voters polled within each age group supported restricting the governor’s unilateral use of emergency powers.

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Feds Deny Michigan’s Request to Waive Statewide Student Testing

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) denied Michigan’s request to waive the federal requirement to administer state summative assessments.

In late January, the Michigan Department of Education cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason not to test Michigan’s 1.5 million students. MDE requested waivers to federal requirements for state summative tests,and waivers of associated high-stakes accountability requirements. The accountability waivers were approved on March 26.

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Great Lakes Governors Call on Biden to Support Critical Water Infrastructure

Four Great Lakes governors on Tuesday urged President Joe Biden to prioritize federal investments in water infrastructure.

In a letter sent to Biden, the governors lauded the American Rescue Plan Act’s $360 billion in direct aid to state and local governments that can be spent on water and sewer infrastructure.

“As your administration continues to develop and pursue its policy agenda, we respectfully encourage you to continue your emphasis on modernizing America’s water infrastructure,” readsthe letter.

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Owosso Barber Karl Manke Fined $9,000 for Defying Whitmer’s Michigan Lockdown Orders

Owosso barber Karl Manke was handed fines amounting to $9,000 after defying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown orders in spring 2020.

Manke garnered national headlines when he refused to close his barbershop during a barrage of executive orders issued by the governor that forced the closing of businesses Whitmer deemed nonessential throughout the state. On May 18, 2020, two days prior to the Operation Haircut protests, Manke’s barber license was suspended by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

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Michigan Campus Diversity Program Accused of Having Toxic Environment

University of Michigan’s ADVANCE program has been hit with allegations of discrimination, with former employees accusing its leadership of allowing microaggressions and a toxic environment to fester, among other claims.

The program employs about a dozen people and is focused on faculty recruitment, retention, climate and leadership development as it works “to address necessary institutional changes to support the needs of a diverse faculty in all fields,” its website reads.

An investigative piece by The Michigan Daily, the school’s student-run newspaper, found 12 alleged instances of discrimination and a hostile work environment spanning eight years from 2012 to 2020.

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Caterers, Venue Owners, and Funeral Home Owners: Small Business People Struggle Under COVID-19 Restrictions

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Eighty-three days into 2021, Grand Rapids-based Above and Beyond Catering owner Kim Smith said she hasn’t recorded a dollar of revenue in 2021 thanks to COVID-19 restrictions enacted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Catering isn’t alone.

Wedding and funeral owners are pushing back on COVID-19 restrictions killing their business for the last year.

Smith has been in business for 45 years, she told the House Oversight Committee Thursday. Although she’s “done everything to keep afloat” since the state forced her business closed in March of 2020, her revenue is down 93.6%.

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Whitmer’s Job Approval Rating Takes Tumble in Latest Polling of Michigan Residents

Results of a new poll indicate a majority of Michigan residents are unhappy with the direction the country is headed, and an increasing number are displeased with the job performance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The Michigan Poll from Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group, released Tuesday, concludes that 52% of respondents believe the country is on the wrong track compared to 36% that said otherwise. Six months ago, the results were 66% wrong track and 25% right direction.

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Whitmer Allows Stadiums at 20 Percent Capacity; Still Mum on Former Health Director’s Resignation

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration issued a new order requiring COVID-19 testing for all 13-19-year-old athletes before each game and practice.

In her first news conference after Whitmer and former state health director Robert Gordon waived their confidentiality clause in Gordon’s $155,506 taxpayer funded separation package, Whitmer still dodged two direct questions.

Whitmer insisted she has “nothing to hide” but gave no new details about the resignation.

“I have said all I am going to say about Director Gordon’s departure,” she said.

Whitmer’s new order will allow outdoor stadiums to open at 20% capacity if the venue follows certain protocols. The order comes less than two weeks ahead of the April 1 Detroit Tigers opening day at Comerica Park.

For Comerica Park, that means it can allow roughly 8,200 fans if it:

Establishes an infection control plan that complies with the the state health department’s Enhanced Outdoor Stadium and Arena Guidance
Posts the mitigation plan publicly
Sends infection control plans to the local health department and MDHHS at least seven days before scheduled events.
Administers a testing program following the Guidance for Athletics
“We truly appreciate the ongoing partnership with the Governor’s office and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. We are thrilled to safely welcome back the best fans in baseball to Comerica Park for Opening Day and beyond,” Illitch Holdings Group President of Sports and Entertainment Chris Granger said in a statement. “As the season progresses, we look forward to continued coordination with public health and medical experts, government officials and Major League Baseball to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for all Detroit Tigers fans.”

The loosened restrictions follow as more Michiganders get vaccinated. Michigan has injected over 3 million vaccines, continuing to reach for its goal of vaccinating 70% of Michigander’s ages 16 and older.

“Last week’s numbers are a reality check that COVID-19 is not yet behind us,” Whitmer said in a Friday morning news conference. “We may be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in the tunnel.”

The push to ramp up vaccinations aims to stem the spread of multiple COVID-19 variants and depress rising COVID-19 case numbers.

About 756 cases of the U.K COVID-19 variant have been reported in Michigan, while seven of the South African variant have been reported.

“You’ll have a summer of fun ahead if we can all get vaccinated,” Whitmer said of small July 4 celebrations.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun warned Michigan is headed in the “wrong direction” in COVID-19 data after four weeks of case increases. The COVID-19 positivity rate has increased to 6.2%, an increase from mid-February but down from the December high of 19.4%.

Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 is now at 4.9%, down from a December high of  19.6%.

Under the new epidemic order, Michiganders ages 13-19 can’t practice or compete in sports unless they participate in a stringent testing program starting April 2.

The order aims to battle 315 reported outbreaks associated with high school sports, officials said.

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Seven Michigan Tech Programs Discriminate Against Males, Title IX Complaint Alleges

Michigan Technological University has seven federally funded programs and scholarships that do not enforce Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination against men, alleges a complaint filed with the Office for Civil Rights.

It was filed March 2 by University of Michigan-Flint economics Professor Mark Perry.

The complaint was influenced, Perry said, by Michigan Tech associate professor of electrical and computer engineering Jeffrey Burl’s recent letter. In it, Burl alleges he has been “systematically discriminated against” as a white male at MTU during his 28-year career there.

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Students of Color Liberation Front Sends More Than 100 Demands to the University of Michigan

Student activists from a coalition of racial identity groups sent the University of Michigan administration an 18-page list with more than 100 demands.

“We, the Students of Color Liberation Front, unwavering in our commitment to liberate all peoples on campus, call for the University of Michigan to realize our collective demands,” the letter said.

The signers behind the letter include the Black Student Union, the Arab Student Association, La Casa, the United Asian American Organizations and Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.

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Michigan Senate Authorizes Second Lawsuit Against Gov. Whitmer

The GOP-dominated Michigan Senate on Thursday approved a lawsuit against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

At issue is a possible attempt by the governor to unilaterally spend nearly a million dollars attached to a bill she vetoed this week.

Senate Resolution 26 reads: “Any attempt by Governor Whitmer to expend moneys that she vetoed without further legislative approval or expend certain funds without the enactment of Senate Bill No. 1 or House Bill No. 4049 would be contrary to both law and Michigan’s constitutional system.”

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Michigan’s New Unemployment Director Faces Questions from House Oversight Committee

Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Liza Estlund Olson was grilled Thursday morning by the state House Oversight Committee.

Committee members asked pointed questions about recent revelations relating to the departure of Olson’s predecessor, Steve Gray, in November. Gray received a $76,626 payout and another $9,246 in attorney fees and signed a confidentiality agreement with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

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Beyond Pension Debts, Michigan Owes $31 Billion in Public Employee Retirement Benefits

Net liabilities in Michigan for so-called other post-employment benefits (OPEBs), which consist mainly of health care obligations to retired public employees, stood at about $31 billion in fiscal year 2019, according to a new analysis from the Reason Foundation. 

With a population of 9,986,857, the state posted a per-capita OPEB liability of $3,099, which represents the 15th highest value among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Reason study found. 

In total, these liabilities amount to 6% of the U.S. gross domestic product, the researchers said. These debts are also geographically concentrated, with 15 government jurisdictions representing 50% of the total, the study found. 

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s Ex-MDHHS Director Got $155,500-Taxpayer-Funded Payout to Leave Quietly

When state health director Robert Gordon abruptly resigned in January, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer didn’t mention his $155,506-taxpayer-funded payout.

That sum was equal to nine months of Gordon’s annual salary and health benefits. The monies received by Gordon release the state from any potential legal claims.

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More Michiganders Than Ever Obtained Concealed Pistol License Permits in January, Gun Group Says

Gun, ammo sales, and concealed pistol license (CPL) applicants have skyrocketed in Michigan since 2020.

In January 2021, Michigan added 13,891 net CPL holders to reach 717,281 – the most significant one-month change since 2008, when the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners started tracking monthly records.

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