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.

Michigan lawmakers will return to session to pass a multibillion-dollar plan to resolve the deficit caused by the coronavirus shutdown — with a mix of spending cuts, a drawdown of the state’s savings and a big influx of federal rescue aid.
Reginald Hardwick / WKAR-MSU

Michigan lawmakers will return to session to pass a multibillion-dollar plan to resolve the deficit caused by the coronavirus shutdown — with a mix of spending cuts, a drawdown of the state’s savings and a big influx of federal rescue aid.

Beverly Boatley (far right, standing) attended an NAACP Peace March in Lansing in June to protest police brutality and promote ending qualified immunity. Her grandson was killed by police in Arizona.
Abigail Censky, WKAR

Legislators in Lansing are offering incremental reforms that experts and even police themselves say won’t make much difference in reducing police violence and holding rogue officers accountable.


Hundreds of protesters marched at the capitol and around Lansing throughout the day Sunday protesting the police killing of George Floyd and police brutality.
Abigail Censky, WKAR

 This post was last updated Sunday, May 31st at 11:30 p.m.

Hundreds gathered at the Michigan State Capitol Sunday to protest the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who was killed after White Police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for  minutes.

Fair & Equal MI along with two Democrat state lawmakers, the campaign is suing the Michigan Secretary of State, Board of Canvassers, and Director of Elections to forestall the end of their campaign after falling more than 162,000 signatures short.
James Durkee / flickr creative commons

As ballot measure initiatives across the country fizzled out during the coronavirus pandemic Fair and Equal Michigan pivoted to gathering electronic signatures.

But, when Wednesday’s deadline came to turn in signatures to be vetted for a place on Novembers’ ballot, the gay-rights campaign fighting for non-discrimination protections fell more than 162,000 signatures short.

Now, along with two Democrat state lawmakers, the campaign is suing the Michigan Secretary of State, Board of Canvassers, and Director of Elections to forestall the end of their campaign.

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.
newamericamedia.org

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.

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