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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Bills Would Swap Columbus Day For Indigenous Peoples Day; Make Election Day A State Holiday

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Some state lawmakers want to swap one holiday for another. Monday is Columbus Day, and a pair of bills would get rid of Columbus Day and make Indigenous Peoples Day a state holiday instead. 

“More and more residents are coming around to the idea that rather than celebrate the barbarous history of Columbus, we should instead celebrate the very real and present and positive history of native people here in Michigan,” said bill sponsor, Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).

Another bill in the package would not only make Indigenous Peoples Day a state holiday, it would also make Election Day a state holiday. Bill sponsor, Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) says state employees would get the day off if Election Day is made a state holiday. She hopes the move would motivate other employers to give their employees time off to go vote. 

“I think it’s something as we see more participation and encouragement, if we can do that from a state level on down, I would really encourage more employers to take advantage of it as well,” McMorrow said. 

But SB 568 and SB 569 and  might not get far. They are in a Senate Government Operations committee – where a lot of bills go to die.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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