Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive that declares racism a public health crisis in Michigan. 

The directive says systemic racism has led to higher COVID-19 infection rates in communities of color, as well as higher rates of infant mortality, asthma, and lead poisoning. It says racism has also affected the availability of safe and affordable housing, healthy food options, jobs, and transportation.

“And this reflects long-standing, deep, societal, economic and environmental disparities,” said Whitmer as she announced the directive.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state House and state Senate have canceled plans for in-person meetings this week in Lansing. 

That’s after a Republican lawmaker tested positive for COVID-19. Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) said he’s not experiencing significant symptoms, but is self-isolating.

“I have done my best to make contact with those I have been around in the past couple of weeks so that they may also seek medical advice,” Barrett said in a written statement. “I look forward to resuming my work schedule as quickly as possible.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson expects results for the August primary and November’s general election will be delayed because so many voters are casting ballots.   

Still, Benson says state election workers are ready for next week's primary election.

She concedes all those absentee ballots will take time to count.

“All data would suggest that we’re talking about at least one or two days before we get results in most races in our August primary,” she says.

Federal agents sent to Detroit

Jul 30, 2020
Caitlin Ochs / Reuters

DETROIT, MI (MPRN)--   A surge in violent crime in Detroit is leading to an increased federal presence in the city. 

Late last year in Detroit U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a flood of federal agents into the city. Hundreds of arrests were made in the past six months, but officials say shootings have risen by 51 percent over this time in 2019. 

Now the federal government says the answer to the spike in violent crime is more federal intervention. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’s aware there’s a growing urgency to making back-to-school plans. But she says it’s still too early to make final decisions on a return to in-school learning. Whitmer said those decisions will depend on the rates of COVID-19 deaths and infections in different parts of the state.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A liberal activist group says it will continue to seek emails from the office of former Attorney General Bill Schuette. That’s after Progress Michigan won a case before the Michigan Supreme Court. 

Progress Michigan says the communications could show conflicts of interest and Schuette aides using public resources for political purposes.

Lonnie Scott of Progress Michigan says some of the requests date back to 2016.

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   A new resolution in the state senate urges President Trump and the Air Force to consider bringing the headquarters of Space Force to Michigan. 

The resolution follows on the heels of the city of Sterling Heights submitting a bid for consideration to be the site of Space Force’s command center. 

Republican State Senator Michael MacDonald introduced the resolution. He said he wants to turn Michigan into a “space state.” 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a directive Thursday to include training in how to recognize and guard against implicit bias for health care professionals.

The directive will require implicit bias training as a condition for health care professionals to be licensed or re-licensed to practice in Michigan.

Governor Whitmer said the problem is not new, but she said statistics that show differences in rates of coronavirus infections and deaths are stark proof that it exists.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan has joined four other states and Washington DC to challenge how the US Department of Education is allocating money for schools.

The funds come from the CARES Act to assist schools with their COVID-19 responses. But Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the department and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have put their own spin on the law.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A federal judge has dismissed a legal challenge to Michigan’s new independent redistricting commission.

The commission’s job will be to draw new congressional and legislative districts once the results of the 2020 census are finalized.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to take the case last April. That cleared the way for Monday’s orders from U.S. District Court Judge Janet Neff.

Elizabeth Battiste is with the Voters Not Politicians campaign.