Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state Senate leader says he wants to start planning now to allow some businesses to resume operations amid the coronavirus crisis. 

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Republican, says it’s time to start thinking past the crisis about ways to resume some commercial activity. He says that’s important to the economy and people’s mental health.

Shirkey says he’s not disputing the importance during the crisis of abiding by the stay-at-home order.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Legislature adopted a resolution Tuesday extending Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency authority to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. 

Lawmakers were called into the House and the Senate in small groups to check in before the resolution was adopted. It extends the governor’s emergency powers until April 30th.

House Democratic Leader Christine Grieg introduced a resolution to allow future votes to be handled remotely.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign an executive order this week with more details on the state’s plans for schools amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

As Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta reports, schools have been closed since March 16th.

The closures keep 1.5 million Michigan students at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, but with no word on exactly when or if classes will resume.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   There are 11 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. That brings the total number to 65, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

But there is still a shortage of kits to test for the disease.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says there are more suspected COVID-19 cases in Michigan than there are available tests. She hopes a new federal assistance package will help fix that. But, she says, for now, health care providers have to prioritize testing for the most at-risk people.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered public and private schools in Michigan to close as part of the state’s effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

“In an abundance of caution, I am ordering the closure of all K-12 school buildings in Michigan for three weeks starting Monday, March 16th until Sunday, April 5th”

The number of presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan has spiked to 12 – and more are expected. Whitmer says K-12 schools are an obvious nexus where the virus can be spread.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has thrown her support behind former Vice President Joe Biden just days before Michigan’s March 10th presidential primary. 

The governor announced her endorsement on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. Whitmer says her reasons for supporting Biden include his work in the Obama administration on the Affordable Care Act and the auto industry rescue.

“And when Michigan needed help it was Barack Obama and Joe Biden who had our back,” she says.

DETROIT, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan will soon have a “Chief Mobility Officer” to help the state’s auto industry make the transition into the next era of transportation. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer was in Detroit Tuesday to sign the orders to create an “Office of Future Mobility and Electrification.”

Jeff Donofrio directs the state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. He will lead the search for a “Chief Mobility Officer.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether a law that makes it more difficult for petition drives to qualify for the ballot is constitutional. 

The lawsuit challenges an official opinion from state Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat. The opinion addresses a law that sets new standards for petition drives to succeed. One of the rules says no more than 15 percent of the signatures can come from one congressional district.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer presented her budget proposal to state lawmakers Thursday, setting the stage for a new round of bargaining with Republicans on spending plans. 

Whitmer’s plan calls for paid parental leave for state workers, and more money for schools, including grants to help teachers with out-of-pocket expenses. She wants to find a way to fund the Pure Michigan program, after vetoing that money last year.

And she says the state should step up with money for infrastructure projects.


EAST LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivered the official Democratic Party response to the State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

Whitmer delivered her 10-minute rebuttal from an East Lansing high school auditorium packed with invited guests. She took issue with President Trump’s claim of a “blue collar boom.”  

“Americans are hurting. In my own state. Our neighbors in Wisconsin, and Ohio, and Pennsylvania. All over the country wages have stagnated while CEO pay has skyrocketed.”