Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan State Medical Society says it’s time for people to return to masking up indoors, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19. The reason is the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

The recommendation from the doctors’ organization comes amid fights over whether schools should be allowed to adopt COVID-related requirements and restrictions.

From the MSMS statement:

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State employees are being told they once again have to mask up at the office as a COVID-19 health precaution.

The policy applies to 47,000 state employees who work in an office or other indoor setting.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Businesses could not require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and also could not require unvaccinated people to wear protective masks under a bill that was up for a hearing Thursday before a state House committee.  

Republican Representative Sue Allor said businesses should not be allowed to compel employees or “What they’re taking away is the right of the individual to opt out of the vaccine,” she said during the hearing before the House Workforce, Trade and Talent Committee.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A group of 28 US House Democrats say the $1 trillion, bipartisan US Senate infrastructure deal falls short in funding a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell is one of the top signatories of the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

She says more funding for charging stations in the infrastructure bill would reassure consumers that buying an EV car or truck is a practical and economical choice.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   More than 700 thousand Michigan households will continue to receive an additional food assistance payment this month.

The money will appear this week in Bridge card accounts.

The additional federal benefit has been extended every month since it was first approved in April of last year to help address food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. It helps meet the nutritional needs of two out of every ten Michigan children. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The campaign to add LGBTQ protections to Michigan’s civil rights law has appealed a court decision that stalled the petition drive. 

The Fair and Equal Michigan campaign filed its paperwork Monday with the state Court of Appeals.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’s not about to announce new mask mandates in Michigan.

That’s despite new guidance from the CDC that people should mask up while indoors in areas that are COVID-19 hotspots.

“I do not anticipate another pandemic order,” she said, “not in the near future and maybe not ever.”

Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist both wore masks at an economic development announcement in Detroit. Whitmer said they were following the advice of top medical advisor Doctor Joneigh Khaldun.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A 1945 law Governor Gretchen Whitmer relied on to issue emergency orders during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic was repealed Wednesday by a vote by the state House of Representatives.

“I will not be voting ‘yes’ today,” said Republican Representative Jack O’Malley. “I will be voting ‘hell yes.’”

The House vote was the culmination of a business-led petition drive to rein in Whitmer’s use of emergent powers. The vote in the Republican-led House was largely along party lines, with three Democrats crossing over to vote “yes.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Senate will begin hearings soon on a proposed overhaul of publicly funded mental health services. There are lots of different ideas on how to fix the system, but there is one area of wide agreement: The current approach is not working.

A mental health system overhaul is a key area of interest for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), who says the quality of care right now depends largely on where a patient lives.  The system is managed by county mental health boards.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The campaign to expand Michigan’s civil right law to include protections for LGBTQ people has been given more time to prove it’s gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The Fair and Equal Michigan campaign is challenging a finding by the state elections bureau that it fell short of the required number of signatures. The campaign says the bureau wrongly excluded many signatures of voters and sometimes entire sheets of petition signatures.

The board agreed the campaign deserves more time.