Capitol Connection

Abigail Censky, WKAR politics & government reporter
Credit Lindsay Wilkinson Photography

From the Statehouse to Capitol Hill, WKAR is committed to explaining how lawmakers decisions affect Michiganders. Look, read, and listen here for conversations with people across Michigan about what drives their vote. Politics and Government Reporter Abigail Censky will be talking to politicians, Michiganders and 2020 hopefuls to bring you the people behind Michigan politics.

Stories in this section also come from the MPRN Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta, MPRN Capitol Correspondent Cheyna Roth and the Associated Press.

Michael Flynn III, center, was one of six people who escorted Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) into the capitol after heavily armed white protesters stood above lawmakers at capitol protests against the stay at home order.
Courtesy of Michael Lynn III via Facebook

Two weeks ago, when the Liberate Michigan protest spilled into the Capitol building, armed protesters stood over state lawmakers. 

States are beginning to plan to pivot to conduct largely vote by mail elections during the coronavirus pandemic. In Michigan, two to three million voters are expected to vote from home.

Tuesday Michigan is holding the first election since announcing its first two cases of COVID-19 the night of the state’s presidential primary. The May elections will serve as a soft-opening for how Michiganders will cast their votes in August and November.

Hundreds of protesters returned to Lansing Thursday as lawmakers inside failed to extend Governor Whitmer's coronavirus emergency declaration and Republicans authorized legal action against the Governor.
Abigail Censky, WKAR

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued new executives orders Thursday to extend Michigan’s COVID-19 state of emergency for another four weeks. That was after Republicans in the Legislature refused her request to extend the emergency through May 28th.

Courtesy / Michigan Office of the Governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday lengthened her stay-at-home order through May 15, while lifting restrictions so some businesses can reopen and the public can participate in outdoor activities like golf and motorized boating during the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan's lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Tuesday as the state recorded its highest daily number of COVID-19-related deaths in 24 hours. The legislature convened despite the warnings from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and public health officials who've called for limited gatherings to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

As they entered the Capitol, each lawmaker underwent a health screening and temperature check. Many donned homemade masks while the lieutenant governor presided over the Senate wearing an "Everybody vs. COVID-19" shirt.

Courtesy Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Nearly 800,000 people have filed for unemployment benefits in Michigan since mid-March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday, detailing the extraordinary impact of the coronavirus on the economy with only businesses deemed essential remaining open.

Michigan is now the state with the fourth most cases of COVID-19—behind New York, New Jersey, and California. The states’ top doctor says Michigan is weeks away from peak infection rates, and the state is already facing severe shortages of equipment.
Courtesy of the Office of the Governor

Michigan is now the state with the fourth most cases of COVID-19—behind New York, New Jersey, and California. As of Monday afternoon, the state had more than 6,000 cases. Michigan is now in the trenches of battle—without enough troops or ammunition to confront the surge it’s facing.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivers her response to President Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday.
Courtesy of the office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is backing Joe Biden for president days before the state’s Democratic primary, giving the former vice president another boost after his success on Super Tuesday.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is forecasting an election "as secure  as ever" but with delayed results.

Michigan’s top election official is already advising voters that results from Tuesday’s presidential primary will likely be late.

Bloomberg will officially be on ballots across the country for Super Tuesday, the first time he's appeared on a ballot alongside other Democratic frontrunners. He's betting heavily on a good Super Tuesday showing to transfer into wins the next week.
Maxim Jenkins, WKAR

While some of the biggest names in the race to become the Democratic nominee for President dropped out ahead of Super Tuesday, one candidate’s big gamble doesn’t start until today. Mike Bloomberg has spent a huge amount of money in Michigan ahead of the state’s primary next week, and he’s hoping the payoff could be a share of the state’s 147 delegates.

The Pivot County

It’s overcast and snow is on the horizon in Saginaw, Michigan—one of the twelve counties in the state that voted twice for President Obama and then for President Trump.