Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer is part of a panel that will testify Wednesday before a U.S. Senate committee on climate change and infrastructure.

Extreme weather due to climate change is cited as a factor in the failure last year of the Edenville and Sanford dams in Midland and Gladwin counties. That event resulted in massive flooding that forced thousands of people out of their homes and washed away roads.

That experience will be a focal point of Governor Whitmer’s remarks, said Jeff Cranson with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

KALAMAZOO, MI (MPRN)--   Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield is out as the CEO of a Kalamazoo-area economic development organization.

He quit amid controversy over his opposition to adding LGBTQ protections to the state civil rights law as the House Republican leader.

Chatfield shared the news of his resignation via a lengthy post on Twitter:

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled her 67.1 billion dollar proposed budget Thursday and began the job of selling her plan to the Legislature’s Republican leaders.

The relationship between the Democratic governor and GOP leaders has hovered between frosty and hostile, with fights over the state’s COVID-19 response often at the center.

The governor said settling disagreements on return-to-school plans, helping businesses, and vaccine distribution is critical as the response moves from crisis management to recovery.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Legislature’s Republican leaders said Wednesday they appreciate Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s calls for unity and bipartisanship in her State of the State address, but they’re not seeing much evidence she means it.

State of Michigan

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a peace offering to Republicans in her 3rd State of the State address Wednesday. That’s as Republicans have ramped up their resistance to her COVID-19 restrictions.

The speech was barely half an hour long. It was delivered from the quiet of Whitmer’s Capitol office instead of before a live audience and the typical interruptions for applause lines.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer and state health officials say they are very concerned about a new variant of COVID-19 that’s been found in Michigan. And that could affect the course of the state’s response and the pace of re-opening schools, sports, and businesses.

Whitmer says the cautious re-opening of some sectors has been possible because earlier restrictions have worked.

“But we are also very mindful of the fact that this variant is now here in Michigan and it poses a very real threat,” she said during an online news conference.

Steve Mellon / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Beginning February 1, indoor dining can resume in Michigan, but can only reopen at 25% capacity with up to 100 people, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced in a press conference Friday. Concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums, as well as personal services requiring mask removal will be able to resume as well.

In addition to capacity restrictions, restaurants and bars must close by 10 p.m. Restaurants must also collect contact information from diners for contact tracing purposes.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s newest budget request includes $5 million dollars to pay for enforcing a gun ban at the state Capitol.

That’s after the Michigan State Capitol Commission voted last week to ban the open carry of guns in the building by people who don’t have a license to carry a concealed firearm. But the commission said it does not have the money or the authority to go further.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist said the budget request gives the Legislature a chance to remedy that.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a series of new laws Monday that are designed to send fewer people to jail for non-violent and low-level offenses, and to help people who run into trouble with the law get their lives on track. 

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist co-chaired the task force that recommended the reforms. He says, in Michigan, a growing number of people are being sent to jail even though crime rates overall have been going down.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A Republican state lawmaker has been disciplined by his party’s leadership. That’s after state Representative Gary Eisen (R-St  Clair Township) refused in a radio interview to denounce the possibility of violence during Monday’s Michigan Electoral College vote for President-elect Joe Biden.