Michigan House Democratic Leader: “You Can’t Undo the Public Health Code in the Budget”
Gretchen Whitmer signed the $70 billion 2022 fiscal year state budget into law. State House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township, acknowledges that amount doesn’t come close to the billions of dollars needed for Metro Detroit alone to address flooding. Listen: Michigan State House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski on historic FY22 budget provisions. GuestState House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township, represents Michigan’s 52nd House District. And every time it has been declared unenforceable and unconstitutional… You can’t undo the public health code in the budget.”wdet.org
Michigan Democrats want investigation into state’s ties to US Capitol riot
Michigan’s top legislative Democrats said Thursday they want an investigation into the state’s connections to the Jan. 6 riots that occurred at the U.S. Capitol. They also pointed to the participation of Michigan residents in “stop the steal” rallies in Washington, D.C. in the lead up to the riots. A group of Republican state lawmakers failed to escort 16 GOP electors into the Michigan Capitol building in an attempt to send “alternates” if Michigan’s Democratic electors were somehow rejected. Michigan’s connections to the Jan. 6 riot were partially examined during former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial earlier this year. Impeachment managers also argued the former president inflamed supporters when he told them to “Liberate Michigan” and persistently attacked Whitmer’s COVID-19 policies.mlive.com
Michigan House bill would create state registry for ‘fact checkers’
A Michigan House Republican who has frequently questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election is backing legislation that would create a state registry of “fact checkers.”The legislation, House Bill 4813, is sponsored by Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford. Under the legislation, fact checkers would have to register with the Secretary of State and file proof of a $1 million fidelity bond. Civil actions could be filed against the fact checkers, and any violations could result in fines of at least $1,000 per day for as long as the violation continued. “My legislation will put Fact Checkers on notice: don’t be wrong, don’t be sloppy, and you better be right,” the post read. The prospect of registering fact checking organizations with the state could also have First Amendment implications, she said.mlive.com
Proposed financial disclosure bills wouldn’t make current lawmakers’ finances public
As proposed, the committees would be exempt from the state’s public records laws. No state with an existing financial disclosure policy prevents members of the public from viewing sitting lawmakers’ disclosure filings. While Lasinski supports public financial disclosure for public officials, she and the Democratic Caucus are “also pragmatists focused on getting meaningful results for the people of Michigan today,” Crim said. “The unfortunate reality is that our Republican colleagues don’t support public financial disclosure,” he said. “The legislation itself, while it’s better than the current state of financial disclosure, is essentially the lawmakers offering financial disclosure to one another, but not the public,” he said.mlive.com
Republican leaders suggest expanding metrics for lifting COVID-19 restrictions if vaccination rates plateau
Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to provide metrics for lifting COVID-19 restrictions, but expressed concern that basing it solely on vaccination rates could pose issues should rates plateau before 70% of the population is vaccinated. But he said he’s concerned that there will always be a population that is uninterested in getting the vaccine, and said it’s possible vaccination rates could plateau before the state reaches vaccination rates that would trigger full reopening under Whitmer’s plan. “Infection rates, hospitalization rates? As of Wednesday, April 28, about 4 million residents had begun their vaccination, or nearly 50% of the eligible population. Democratic leaders said they were optimistic Michigan could get there, especially if state leaders join forces and stress the importance of getting vaccinated.mlive.com
House Dems hire new spokespeople after months of unusual arrangement with outside firm
Michigan House Democrats have made two new communications staff hires, House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township, announced Monday. Zach Crim, a current employee within the House Democratic Caucus’ communications staff, was promoted to deputy communications director, per a news release from the caucus. It was also unclear how House Democrats had been paying for the contract, as it’s not coming from the House budget. In a response to a request from MLive, the Michigan House Business Office confirmed the funds did not come from the allotment available to the House Democratic Caucus to hire communications officials. She ran for state House in 2012 in a race ultimately won by former state Rep. Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor.mlive.com
Michigan House leaders propose wide-ranging changes to government ethics laws
Michigan House leadership rolled out an array of proposed government ethics bills this week with buy-in from both parties and the group behind the state’s independent redistricting initiative. Unlike the bulk of the House and Senate’s other committees, the ethics committees as proposed would be an equal party split and feature alternating co-chairs. Michigan House leadership just unveiled a suite of proposed government ethics changes that have bipartisan support and buy-in from Voters Not Politicians, the group behind Michigan's redistricting changes that has since refocused on increasing government transparency. Similar Senate bills have cleared the Senate Oversight Committee but have not yet been taken up for a floor vote. Related coverage:Michigan Senate panel clears bills subjecting Legislature, governor to open records requirementsMichigan House unanimously votes to include governor, legislature in open records lawsNew Michigan House Speaker names ethics reform as top priorityMichigan House Speaker requiring ethics training for lawmakers as part of government transparency pushmlive.com
State lawmakers are latest to call on Ron Weiser to resign from University of Michigan Board of Regents
ANN ARBOR, MI — Eight Michigan lawmakers are the latest to call on Ron Weiser to resign from his position on the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Weiser, the Michigan Republican Party chairman, has come under fire for comments he made during a North Oakland Republican Club event on March 26, when he called Gov. “His choice of words and actions have betrayed the trust that was given to him when he was elected to the University of Michigan Board of Regents,” Lasinski wrote. “As a collective body of elected officials, we officially call on Ron Weiser to resign immediately from the University of Michigan Board of Regents,” Lasinski wrote. READ MORE:Several University of Michigan deans condemn comments made by GOP chairmanAnother group asks University of Michigan, GOP chair to resign after ‘witches,’ assassination commentsSome University of Michigan regents call on Weiser to resign following ‘three witches,’ assassination commentsmlive.com
Michigan Legislature passes $4.2B in virus aid without deal
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan's Legislature on Wednesday approved a $4.2 billion coronavirus relief plan without a deal with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as majority Republicans pressed to curtail her administration's pandemic powers and Democrats opposed a decision to not allocate all federal aid immediately. Frustrated school officials have criticized GOP legislators for tying nearly half of the additional federal K-12 funding to a bill Whitmer will not sign. House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski, a Democrat from Washtenaw County's Scio Township, accused GOP lawmakers of “literally knee-capping Michigan's recovery” by not disbursing all $5 billion in federal relief now. A $2 hourly wage hike for direct care workers, which expired Sunday, would rise to $2.25 and be extended through September.
Michigan Democrats call for federal COVID relief funds to be released immediately
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Democrats are pressuring state Republicans to vote to release more than $5 billion in COVID relief, chastising them for holding the funds. “Republicans need to stop holding these federal stimulus dollars hostage. This is not a partisan issue, these dollars should be at work here in Michigan right now,” said Michigan House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski. READ: Michigan Republicans unveil $2B COVID relief plan for residents struggling due to shutdownsRepublicans have held funding, hoping to get Gov. In a statement, a spokesperson for Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth said, “Our plan addresses all needs...
Democrats introduce Whitmer’s $5.6 billion pandemic spending plan in House
Gretchen Whitmer’s pandemic recovery plan, countering last week’s House Republican proposal. House Bill 4039, sponsored by Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit, alongside his Democratic colleagues, is an appropriations bill that mirrors Whitmer’s COVID-19 request she released on Jan. 20. The Republican plan earmarks $165 million for that purpose. Lasinski stated House Democrats will push for a vote during session on Tuesday, though that effort should fizzle without majority support. Both Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate may discuss the recovery plans during hearings on Wednesday.mlive.com
Michigan GOP rep. who attended rally ahead of deadly DC riots under scrutiny
DETROIT – Members of Michigan’s House of Representatives want to remove a Republican colleague from office for attending the rally in Washington, D.C. that preceded the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol Building that left five dead. RELATED: ‘They didn’t care if they hurt people’ -- Michigan lawmakers react to deadly DC riotsRep. Matt Maddock and his wife Meshawn are vocal supporters of President Donald Trump and have tried to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Michigan. Matt Maddock and Meshawn -- who is expected to become the next Republican Party Co-Chair -- spent much of Thursday in closed-door meetings. Matt Maddock was sworn into the Michigan House of Representatives Wednesday. “What we are seeing play out across our country right now is deeply concerning,” Whitmer said.
Michigan’s first day of legislature gets off on a tense note
New House Speaker Jason Wentworth said during a news conference that he denounces violence but supports the people’s First Amendment right to peaceful protest. Wentworth said that although he doesn’t agree with Lasinski, he would continue to have conversations across the aisle. That Donald Trump is the only one who is sent from God to stop that and that the election was stolen from him,” McMorrow said. Their Democratic counterparts introduced resolutions to condemn and recognize false claims of election fraud and those who signed the letter as contributors to violence. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Deadly siege on US Capitol Building reignites gun debate in Michigan
LANSING, Mich. – The riots in Washington, D.C. Wednesday that left five people dead has reignited debates over whether guns should be allowed inside Michigan’s Capitol Building. READ: FBI, Michigan federal prosecutor seek tips in deadly siege on US Capitol BuildingWith the new legislative session starting in days, security of the Capitol will likely take center stage. It’s impossible to come to work when you are under that constant threat,” Lasinski said. Security experts are now viewing that event as a potential practice run for those who stormed the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday. “There should be no weapons of any kind in our Capitol,” Lasinski said.
State lawmakers who supported overturning election shouldn’t be seated, Michigan House’s top Democrat says
After a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol while members of Congress were meeting to confirm the votes of the Electoral College, Michigan Democrats are calling on Republican legislative leaders to sanction the state lawmakers who supported overturning the nation’s election results. Meshawn Maddock, who is poised to become co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party, posted photos and videos from pro-Trump events in Washington, D.C. on social media this week. There has been no evidence of widespread election fraud that would have changed the results in Michigan or any other state. Members of Congress completed the Electoral College vote count early Thursday morning, cementing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Related:4 Michigan congressmen, 15 state lawmakers support Texas suit to invalidate election resultsMore than half of Michigan’s GOP senators air unfounded election concerns in letter to Congressmlive.com
Jason Wentworth set to serve as next Michigan House Speaker
Rep. Jason Wentworth of Farwell will be the next speaker of the Michigan House, House Republicans announced Thursday. Wentworth, an Army veteran and former law enforcement official who won re-election to his third term in the House this week, will take over for current House Speaker Lee Chatfield of Levering, who is term-limited. Wentworth didn’t offer many specifics about policy priorities for House Republicans next session, noting that more details would be made public in the coming weeks. On the Democratic side, House Democrats selected Rep. Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Township, to lead the caucus for the 2021-2022 session. According to the House Democratic caucus, the transition from current leader Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, to Lasinski will be the first woman-to-woman leadership transition in Michigan legislative history.mlive.com
Democrats sweep Washtenaw County State Rep. races
ANN ARBOR, MI - Voters have elected four Democrats to represent Ann Arbor-area communities in the Michigan House of Representatives. Brabec, who represents District 4 on the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners and is a clinical psychologist. Lasinski, a former Ann Arbor School Board member, will fulfill third and final term. The Ann Arbor Democrat and former county commissioner was first elected to the state House in 2016 and re-elected in 2018 by a nearly-identical margin over Holland. In the 54th District, State Rep. Ronnie Peterson, D-Ypsilanti Township, won his third and final term.mlive.com
Women’s march in Ann Arbor encourages people to vote, empower women
ANN ARBOR, MI — Dozens of people gathered at the University of Michigan Diag Saturday afternoon in an effort to encourage people to vote in the November election. “We see this march as an extension of that mission, to be able to elevate and amplify women’s voices and make sure that all women’s voices are heard, but also that everyone’s voice is heard and everyone’s vote is counted in this election,” Oberly said. On the Diag, women held signs with various messages about women’s reproductive rights, health care and empowering both women and men to vote. “We want to make sure that the voter’s rights are upheld, and that we’re not suppressing the vote, eliminating options to vote,” Todak said. The duo were marching for all rights for women, but the two main topics were women’s reproductive rights and representation in government.mlive.com
Organizers mobilize for Women’s March in Ann Arbor
ANN ARBOR, MI -- The Women’s March is taking over downtown Ann Arbor on Saturday in an effort to get the vote out in November. In Ann Arbor, Shine & Rise, an organization supporting women and underrepresented groups working at tech companies in southeastern Michigan, is leading the noon march at 913 S University Ave. on the University of Michigan Diag. We want to ensure that women’s voices are heard. We want to show that this is important to us, that women’s voices matter and that everyone’s voice counts in this election,” Oberly said. “I went to the Women’s March in Ann Arbor in 2017 and it was such an uplifting event.”Organizers are requiring the public to wear masks at the march due to the coronavirus pandemic.mlive.com
Women’s March Ann Arbor takes to the Diag on Saturday
ANN ARBOR – Members of the public are invited to take part in Women’s March Ann Arbor as marches are scheduled across the country on Saturday. The event will begin at the University of Michigan Diag at noon where attendees will hear from speakers before marching to Ann Arbor City Hall to encourage community members to vote. “We feel the work of the Women’s March strongly aligns with our values,” members Kristina Oberly, Alison Todak, Claire Small and Rachel Phillips said in a statement. “It is so important that women’s voices are heard, whether in politics or technology, and we wanted to ensure people in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area have the opportunity to come together (safely) in solidarity and hope for the future before the upcoming election.”Masks are required. The University of Michigan Diag is at 913 S. University Ave.
Public invited to forum with Washtenaw County state representatives
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI -- The public is invited to a live forum with Washtenaw County candidates vying for a seat in the state House of Representatives. The Washtenaw County Food Policy Council is hosting the virtual event at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, with the candidates running in districts overlapping the county. Candidates expected to be present include:District 52: State Rep. Donna Lasinski and Greg MarquisDistrict 53: State Rep. Yousef Rabhi and Jean HollandDistrict 54: State Rep. Ronnie Peterson and Martin ChurchDistrict 55: Bob Baird and Felicia BrabecThe event is intended for the public to connect with the candidates before the election. The forum will specifically address issues related to local food systems, healthy food access and agriculture, according to the event page. It will be moderated by Zoe Clark of Michigan Radio’s “It’s Just Politics.”Anyone interested should register online for the free event.mlive.com
Democrats vs. Republicans: 4 state House races in Washtenaw County on Nov. 3 ballot
ANN ARBOR, MI — Washtenaw County’s four state House seats are all held by Democrats, three of whom are seeking re-election Nov. 3. Rabhi vs. HollandIn the 53rd District covering the majority of Ann Arbor, Rep. Yousef Rabhi is seeking a third and final term. Brabec vs. BairdIn the 55th District, County Commissioner Felicia Brabec, D-Pittsfield Township, is competing against Ann Arbor Township Republican Bob Baird, a small-government proponent with an accounting background. The district includes the northern part of Ann Arbor, as well as Ann Arbor, Augusta, Pittsfield and York townships. The league’s Ann Arbor chapter also is holding virtual candidate forums that will be posted on YouTube.mlive.com