Michigan lawmakers want to pause teacher evaluations due to pandemic
LANSING, MI — There’s bipartisan support in the Michigan Legislature to temporarily eliminate annual year-end teacher evaluations for the 2021-2022 school year due to the ongoing effects the pandemic has had on students and instructors. Senate Bill 969, sponsored by Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, would temporarily eliminate the evaluations for the 2021-2022 school year. Michigan law requires that teacher layoffs and recall decisions are based on effectiveness, which is their annual year-end teacher rating. “To choose which teachers to lay off or recall based in large measure on student growth during the pandemic is unfair,” Polehanki said. READ MORE:Work remains to end disparities caused by K-12 funding gap, advocates saySchool financing report updates cost of educating Michigan students in post-COVID worldGas tax vs. sales tax on gas: Will Michigan lawmakers suspend taxes for relief at pump?mlive.com
GOP scholarship tax credit bills that Dems call ‘voucher schemes’ pass House and Senate
LANSING, MI — The Michigan House and Senate on Tuesday each passed versions of legislation that would give tax credits to Michigan residents who contribute to a scholarship program for use in alternative, private and nonpublic education. Senate Bills 687 and 688 and House Bill 5405 passed Tuesday morning through House and Senate education committees and were approved by the Senate 20-16 shortly after. Under what’s known as the Blaine Amendment of 1970, the Michigan Constitution prohibits public dollars from being used for private schools. The plan prioritizes scholarships for students receiving free and reduced lunch, students in foster care and students with disabilities. Senate Bill 688, sponsored by Barrett, would create tax credits for contributions to scholarship-granting organizations and the deduction of funds distributed to student opportunity scholarship accounts.mlive.com
Michigan lawmakers begin passing budget bills; no deal with Whitmer
Republicans who control Michigan’s Senate have begun approving a $66.4 billion budget that would spend 5% more than in the current year, thanks to an influx of federal funding, but about $728 million less than what is proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Michigan Senate adopts resolution urging DNR to hold 2021 wolf hunt
Senate Resolution 15 passed Tuesday, March 9 along a party-line vote, with all 20 seated Republicans supporting the resolution. The Michigan DNR reiterated its position on a hunt in response to Tuesday’s resolution adoption. If Michigan were to hold another wolf hunt, it would be the state’s second ever. The DNR estimates Michigan’s population to be holding stable in recent years at roughly 700 wolves spread among 143 packs. Related stories:Hunt supporters argue wolves need population controlRepublicans push to open season on wolvesDNR calls first Michigan wolf hunt a ‘success’Michigan voters reject wolf hunting lawsEndangered or not?mlive.com
Guns in capitol buildings divide states after armed protests
FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, armed men stand on the steps at the State Capitol after a rally in support of President Donald Trump in Lansing, Mich. But the question of whether guns should be allowed in capitol buildings remains political and states are going in opposite directions. – In the past year, insurrectionists have breached the U.S. Capitol and armed protesters have forced their way into statehouses around the country. But the question of whether guns should be allowed in capitol buildings remains political, and states are going in opposite directions. “What they said is that weapons, guns, bullets are still welcome in our state Capitol as long as we can’t see them.
Calls for discipline mount against Michigan GOP Sen. Mike Shirkey
LANSING, Mich. – Calls for discipline have grown over the weekend after state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey was caught in two controversial hot mic conversations. He said he regretted the words he chose and apologized for his “insensitive comments.”AdThe next day on the Michigan Senate floor, Shirkey told Lt. Gov. READ: How Michigan played a role in Donald Trump’s 2nd impeachmentThe pressure to discipline Shirkey even extended to the U.S. Senate. Ad“It’s outrageous that you have, yet again, another Republican leader engaging in conspiracy theories and lies,” Peters said. Apparently, the leader of the state Senate in Michigan now wants to tell an even bigger lie.”Michigan Republican Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth released a statement of his own, distancing himself from Shirkey.
How Michigan played a role in Donald Trump’s 2nd impeachment
LANSING, Mich. – Enough senators have cast “not guilty” votes Saturday to acquit Donald Trump of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Protest moves inside Michigan Capitol. Lots of Michigan State Police and House sergeants at arms blocking door. pic.twitter.com/4FNQpimP4W — Rod Meloni (@RodMeloni) April 30, 2020“The Michigan State House was effectively a state-level dress rehearsal for the seizure of the U.S. Capitol,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin. Livonia Sen. Dayna Polehanki’s photo of armed men in the Michigan State Senate Gallery is now official record of American history.
Threats of violent cause safety concerns at the Capitol Building in Lansing
LANSING, Mich. – Concerns at the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing are on the rise amid chatter of widespread protests in the days leading up to President-Elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration on Jan. 20. Under the recommendation of Michigan State Police, a six-foot tall fence around the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing will be completed Friday to guard against the possibility of violence. On Monday, the Michigan State Capitol Commission unanimously voted to ban the open carry of guns from inside the Michigan Capitol. Michigan State Police circled the Capitol Building in Lansing in large numbers -- on foot and on bikes -- ahead of the fence going up Friday. Additionally, Michigan’s State Capitol Commission voted to ban open carry of firearms at the Capitol on Monday.
What are the top priorities for the new session of Michigan Congress?
The Michigan Capitol Building opened for the first time Wednesday. Democratic members of the Senate decried the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol Building that left five dead. Newly ensconsed House Speaker Jason Wentworth said working to restore trust in politicians starts with adjusting the Lame Duck Sessions. Another House Bill proposed prohibits legislators from voting on a bill that would personally enrich them or their families. Additionally, Michigan’s State Capitol Commission voted to ban open carry of firearms at the Capitol on Monday.
Democrats in the Michigan Senate want Republican colleagues punished for questioning election results
LANSING, MI - The first day of a new Michigan Legislature’s session usually involves procedural votes and some introduction of new bills. More than half of the current Republican state senators signed a Jan. 6 letter requesting Vice President Mike Pence and Congress to “pursue every available option” to investigate claims of election fraud. The U.S. House and Senate certified the Electoral College win for Biden after rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol building. Geiss furthered tried to connect the Republican letter to “undercutting the faith in our institutions.”“The letter itself is part of a broad, dangerous campaign to usurp what voters decided,” she said. To deal with FBI warnings of armed demonstrators at the Michigan Capitol, the Michigan State Police have increased their presence around the campus.mlive.com
Michigan commission votes to ban open carry of guns from Capitol building
(Photo by Seth Herald/Getty Images)The Michigan State Capitol Commission unanimously voted Monday to ban the open carry of guns from inside the Michigan Capitol, effective immediately. “After months of delay the Michigan State Capitol Commission finally put their authority to use and voted in favor of banning the open-carry of firearms inside the State Capitol. Those with concealed weapon permits are still allowed to carry firearms (concealed) into the State Capitol. The Michigan State Capitol Commission must take the next step and ban ALL firearms inside the State Capitol.”Gov. Today’s actions are simply not enough to do that.”Read more: Should guns be allowed in Michigan Capitol building?
Michigan Bans Open Carry Of Guns Inside State Capitol
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A state panel on Monday banned the open carry of guns in Michigan’s Capitol, a week after an armed mob rioted in the U.S. Capitol and following a plot last year to storm the statehouse. Moves to ban weapons at the statehouse have been pushed since April, when protesters opposed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions, some armed with long rifles and other weapons, entered the Michigan State Capitol demanding to be allowed into the legislative chambers. The Michigan Capitol Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the Capitol, had been reluctant to issue rules for firearms, but it shifted course Monday and issued the order to ban open carrying of weapons. The Livonia Democrat said Monday before the panel vote that an open carry ban does not go far enough and will lead to a false sense of security for those who work at and visit the Capitol.detroit.cbslocal.com
Michigan commission bans open carry of firearms at state Capitol
click to enlarge Snator Dayna Polehanki Twitter account @SenPolehankiArmed protesters stormed the Michigan Capitol Building last month. Gretchen Whitmer applauded the ban.“No lawmaker, reporter, staff member, or anyone who works in the Michigan Capitol should fear for their safety at work," Whitmer said in a statement. In April of 2020, armed protestors stormed the Michigan Capitol and stood in the gallery, long guns in hand, looking to intimidate legislators doing their job to serve the people of Michigan. We must take immediate action to protect everyone who steps foot in our state Capitol. "The commission, however, stopped short of banning concealed guns.“We have no authority to implement the infrastructure to go beyond” an open carry ban, Kandler said.metrotimes.com
Sen. Polehanki on firearms at Michigan Capitol: No one is safe until a complete ban
In Michigan, concealed and open carry firearms are allowed in the Capitol, but signs have been banned since 2012 after right-to-work protesters came to the Capitol. The Michigan State Capitol Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the Capitol and ultimately for making a decision on the future of firearms, has pushed back on accepting the responsibility and its leadership maintains its role should be limited. Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) has released the following statement in advance of the Michigan Capitol Commission’s scheduled meeting Monday afternoon to discuss implementing a ban on the open carry of firearms in the Capitol Building:”Let me make this clear: The Capitol Commission’s proposal to ban open carry from the people’s building does not ban bullets. Polehanki posted this viral tweet from inside the Michigan Capitol building in April:Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Without a significant change in policy, lives will continue to be put at risk by domestic terrorists carrying weapons.”Read more: Should guns be allowed in Michigan Capitol building?
Top Republican signals support for banning open carry in Michigan Capitol, but many say that’s not enough
Related: Michigan Capitol Commission agrees it can ban guns, but stops short of doing soThat position comes after months of debate on what to do about the Capitol’s gun policy by the Michigan State Capitol Commission. Following the U.S. Capitol riot and a Thursday bomb threat at the Michigan Capitol building, Nessel recommended people “not to go to our state Capitol if they can avoid it.”Related: Man arrested in connection with Michigan Capitol bomb threatLet me repeat this in no uncertain terms:Our state Capitol is not safe. The Capitol Commission was initially set to meet again Jan. 25. Asked what she thought it might take to get bipartisan support of a full ban on firearms in the Capitol building, Polehanki didn’t mince words. “If one of us dies — if somebody in our chamber dies — then I believe they would pass a gun ban,” she said.mlive.com
Michigan Capitol building temporarily closed amid threat
Brian Charles Watson, Wikimedia Creative CommonsMichigan State Capitol. Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs — Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020A threat has prompted the temporary closure of the Michigan Capitol building on Thursday morning, one day after a violent mob of President Donald Trump zealots stormed the U.S. Capitol.In a message to employees, the state House said the threat was received early Thursday morning,Michigan State Police confirmed they were investigating.“You will be notified when the building is reopened,” the message read.The nature of the threat was unclear as of Thursday morning.The Republican-controlled Michigan Capitol Commission resisted calls last year to ban guns from the Capitol building.metrotimes.com
Security concerns lead to closure of state House, Senate offices Monday
LANSING, MI -- The Michigan State House and Senate office buildings will be closed Monday, Dec. 14 after security concerns arose. A notice from the Michigan House of Representatives points out the closures are taking place “Due to safety and security concerns in the downtown Lansing area” while asking staff to work remotely. Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said the decision to close the buildings did not come from their end. “Questions about the reasons behind this decision should be directed to the House and Senate,” she said in an email. The move comes the day before Michigan’s 16 electors are set to gather in the state Capitol to cast their votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.mlive.com
Vast majority of Michigan voters support banning guns at state Capitol and polling places, survey finds
click to enlarge Steve NeavlingProtesters with rifles outside the state CapitolDirectly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs — Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020Michigan Republican are out of touch when it comes to guns.A new poll shows that a vast majority of Michigan voters are opposed to allowing guns in the state Capitol and the open carrying of firearms at polling places. And the opposition crosses party lines.With a few days before Election Day, 76% of voters said the state Capitol should ban guns, according to a Detroit News-WDIV-TV survey of 600 likely Michigan voters. A scant 18% support guns inside the building.Support for a ban is so widespread that a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents say firearms should not be allowed in the Lansing building. Even two-thirds of gun owners said they support the ban.metrotimes.com
Man accused in Whitmer kidnapping plot defended Confederate statue at June protest
Gretchen Whitmer attended a demonstration in Allendale Township this summer over a controversial Civil War statue. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs — Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020At the park protest in June, Null was armed with a pistol and standing with Michigan Liberty Militia member Phil Robinson. Some, including Null, came to the protest to defend the statue from what they perceived as the threat of violence. “They’ve destroyed cities all over this country and they want us to be peaceful?” Null told MLive. Also on MLive:Controversial Allendale statue a ‘symbol’ of larger issues of racism, its opponents sayActivists continue push to remove Civil War statue from Allendale parkControversial Civil War statue will remain at township park in West MichiganHundreds gather in Ottawa County to protest Confederate statue in park, demand removalmlive.com
Bipartisan bills aiming to boost child literacy introduced in Michigan Senate
LANSING, MI - Two Democratic and two Republican state senators introduced a bill package Tuesday aimed at bolstering dyslexia awareness for Michigan teachers. The bills aim to increase child literacy across the state. Between 5-10% of people have dyslexia, according to the University of Michigan’s Dyslexia Help. Senate Bill 1174, sponsored by Theis, would codify dyslexia awareness training in professional development curriculum for teachers. “My bill makes sure that future teachers are prepared to educate students with dyslexia before they begin their teaching career,” Polehanki said.mlive.com
Michigan Capitol gun ban bill introduced by Democratic lawmakers
LANSING, MI - Two Democratic state senators introduced legislation Tuesday to ban guns from inside the Michigan State Capitol. The legislative action follows the Michigan State Capitol Commission’s recent rejection of a proposal to completely ban firearms in the Capitol building. Commissioners who voted down the gun ban wanted legislative input before doing so. That’s not the case in the U.S. Capitol, many Capitol building across the country nor the nearby Michigan Hall of Justice. Committee to investigateGun ban debate at Michigan Capitol to resume this weekMichigan Capitol Commission agrees it can ban guns, but stops short of doing so1,000 open-carry gun activists converge on Michigan Capitol lawnmlive.com
Banning guns at Michigan Capitol will likely require legislative action
click to enlarge Shutterstock.comMichigan Capitol. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020A commission that oversees the State Capitol does not appear to have the authority to ban guns inside the building.John Truscott, vice chairman of the Michigan State Capitol Commission, told the Associated Press that early indications from the panels lawyer suggest that we do not have jurisdictions to prohibit weapons in the building. Thats a legislative function.On Tuesday, Truscott, a gun-owning Republican, said he was disturbed by the armed protesters who stormed the Capitol on April 30 to rally against Gov. There is no reason to be in the Capitol building with your finger near the trigger.On Wednesday, state Rep. Sarah Anthony, a Democrat, was escorted into the Capitol by at least three rifle-toting African Americans.metrotimes.com
Michigan weighs banning guns inside state Capitol Building after protests
Brian Charles Watson, Wikimedia Creative CommonsMichigan State Capitol. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020The days of carrying guns into the Michigan Capitol may be numbered after armed protesters stormed the building to rally against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order.The Michigan State Capitol Commission is exploring whether it has the authority to ban guns inside the Lansing building. We do not like seeing guns brought into the building loaded guns and Im a Second Amendment advocate and a gun owner, and I did not like what I saw.Truscott said the commission has sought a legal opinion to determine if it has the authority to ban guns inside the building. "Truscott said the most effective way to ban guns from the Capitol is through the Legislature.One way to easily deal with this is to pass a law, Truscott said.metrotimes.com