Michigan State University Employees Seeking Back Pay from COVID Reductions

Michigan State University Employees Seeking Back Pay from COVID Reductions

Michigan State University (MSU) employees are asking the university to restore pay cuts that were issued during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a resolution passed by the Faculty Senate, employees were forced to take 10-month salary cuts of 1-8%, an 18-month, 50% cut in retirement match, and at least a 36-month gap between merit raises for all non-union academic management, faculty, and academic staff.

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Thousands Formerly Incarcerated Get Michigan IDs, Driver’s Licenses

Thousands Formerly Incarcerated Get Michigan IDs, Driver’s Licenses

The Michigan Department of State (MDOS) has provided more than 5,000 state identification cards and driver’s licenses to parolees through its joint initiative with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).

The program offers newly paroled Michiganders a driver’s license or state ID has boosted these transactions by more than 10 times the prior amount.

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Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Lifts Driver’s License Suspensions for 150,000

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson Lifts Driver’s License Suspensions for 150,000

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that her department has lifted suspensions on the driver’s licenses of more than 150,000 Michiganders after implementing new laws last month.

The department lifted the suspensions of 12,000 Michiganders in October. Michiganders who are now eligible for a driver’s license may still need to pay a reinstatement fee or renew or reapply for a license, depending on how long the license was suspended.

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Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Committee Under Fire for Closed Door Meeting

Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Committee Under Fire for Closed Door Meeting

Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Committee, the group responsible for redrawing the state’s congressional districts, is under fire from both sides of the political aisle.

In October, the members of the group held a closed-door meeting, despite the fact the state’s Constitution says the “commission shall conduct all of its business at open meetings.”

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Michigan Senate Republicans Urge State’s School Board Association to Break with National Organization

Michigan Senate Republicans Urge State’s School Board Association to Break with National Organization

A group of Republican lawmakers in the Michigan State Senate signed a letter written by Senator Jim Runestad (R-White Lake), urging the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) to withdraw its membership and affiliation from the National School Board Association (NSBA).

In the letter, the state lawmakers expressed concern over the direction of local schooling and the role parents are allowed to play in their children’s education.

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Michigan Department of Health Advises Mask Mandate for All

Michigan Department of Health Advises Mask Mandate for All

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will be issuing a face mask advisory effective until further notice. The agency is also offering guidance for the holidays, citing an increase in COVID-19 and flu cases.

MDHHS will issue a Public Health Advisory that recommends everyone over the age of two should wear a face mask at indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status. The agency recommends establishments implement a mask policy.

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Michigan Spending $2.5 Million of Taxpayer Money on Private Businesses, Government Groups

Michigan Spending $2.5 Million of Taxpayer Money on Private Businesses, Government Groups

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) awarded $2.5 million in Michigan Industry Cluster Approach 3.0 (MICA 3.0) grants to business groups statewide to address labor shortages.

“These grants are putting Michiganders first by helping innovative employers in high-demand industries address talent shortages across Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Together, we can continue leading the future of agriculture, construction, IT, manufacturing, mobility, and so much more as we usher in a new era of prosperity for our families, communities, and small businesses.”

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Ohio Chamber Pressures Michigan to Keep Pipeline Open

Ohio Chamber Pressures Michigan to Keep Pipeline Open

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce recently joined the General Assembly and other groups in Ohio and Michigan in urging the Biden administration to keep open a Michigan pipeline that supplies crude oil to nearly half the region’s refineries.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week the administration is studying the impact of shutting down Enbridge’s Line 5, an oil pipeline that rests on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac and carries light crude oil, light synthetic crude and natural gas liquids. 

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After Courts Block Michigan University’s COVID Vaccine Mandate, School Grants Religious Exemptions

After Courts Block Michigan University’s COVID Vaccine Mandate, School Grants Religious Exemptions

Western Michigan University has granted religious exemption requests to student athletes who sued the taxpayer-funded school after it vowed to kicked them off their teams for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

A trial judge previously issued an injunction, later upheld by a federal appeals court, prohibiting the student athletes’ removal from the football, baseball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, dance team, and cross-country programs.

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Michigan State Senator Tom Barrett Launches Congressional Campaign

Michigan State Senator Tom Barrett Launches Congressional Campaign

Michigan State Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) on Monday officially launched a campaign for Congress in an expected competition against incumbent Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08).

Barrett, who has served in the Armed Services, pledged to stand up to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for service members. The mandate served as a factor for Barrett to leave the Army after 21 years.

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More Headlines…

20 Months into Pandemic, over 20,000 Michigan State Workers Remote

Twenty months after the COVID-19 pandemic struck Michigan, downtown Lansing hasn’t recovered fully. Half of the state’s roughly 48,000 employees are still working remotely.

The disappearance of daily consumption habits of more than 22,000 state workers have hurt local businesses, whether that’s grabbing a bagel from The New Daily Bagel, rolls from AnQi Sushi Express or a shake from Soul Nutrition. Some businesses have adjusted accordingly, cutting hours, closing locations, and reducing menus.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB) Spokesman Caleb Buhs said about half of state workers are working remotely on a daily basis.

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New Michigan Budget Expands Cheaper Child Care

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer welcomed the expansion of free or low-cost child care to 105,000 more kids via the expanded income eligibility criteria in the latest bipartisan budget.

Families of four earning up to $49,000 will be eligible for free or low-cost child care under new criteria, helping parents return to work 

“We need to continue working hard to drive down costs for families and expand access to high-quality, affordable childcare so parents can go to work knowing that their kids are safe and learning,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I was proud to put childcare first in the bipartisan budget I signed in September. Together, we lowered costs for working families by expanding low or no-cost care to 105,000 kids and providing grants to improve childcare programs and empower childcare professionals. Countless working parents rely on childcare, and we must continue expanding high-quality care to help every working family thrive.”

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Michigan Medical Group Calls on Congress to Increase Access to Precision Medicine, Targeted Therapeutics to Combat Autoimmune Disorders

In a recent letter, the Michigan Rheumatism Society and similar organizations from elsewhere in the U.S. have urged members of Congress to prioritize the development of predictive drug-response testing and other elements of precision medicine.

The model of precision medicine, also referred to as personalized care, calls for collecting and assessing information specific to a patient’s condition, including genetics, health history and living environment. Treatments and preventive measures prescribed after such analysis can then be better suited toward each individual. Heretofore, healthcare prescription has usually followed a one-size-fits-all paradigm that doesn’t work best for every patient.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer Vetoes Bill to Forgive COVID Fines for Businesses

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Friday vetoed a bill passed by the Michigan State Legislature, which would eliminate some penalties imposed on businesses that violated strict COVID-19 orders.

House Bill 4501, introduced by State Representative Tim Beson (R-Bay City), would have forgiven fines for first-time violations.

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Black Conservatives Warn of ‘Energy Poverty’ If Line 5 Is Closed

Citing the potential threat of energy poverty, a national organization of Black activist groups has appealed to President Joe Biden’s administration to allow the Line 5 pipeline to remain open.

Project 21 is an initiative sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C. The initiative includes members and organizations aimed at providing conservative solutions to problems facing African-American communities.

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Michigan Republican Legislators File Brief in Lawsuit Against Biden Vaccine Mandate

Republican lawmakers in the Michigan House and Senate on Thursday filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine mandate.

The mandate, which could impact millions of Americans, has faced widespread backlash and legal opposition from multiple state officials and private leaders. Numerous lawsuits have been filed.

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Judge Approves Final $626 Million Flint Water Settlement

U.S. District Judge Judith Levy gave final approval to the $626.25 million settlement for victims of the Flint lead-contamination water crisis.

“The court is persuaded that the over $600 million settlement is a fair and sensible resolution of the claims against the settling defendants,” Levy wrote in a 178-page opinion. “The complexity and volume of this litigation present significant risks and potentially great expense to all parties if the cases were to be tried.”

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Michigan AG Nessel Gets Drunk at College Football Game, Wheeled Out of Stadium

Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) claims that two Bloody Marys on an empty stomach led to her being drunkenly wheeled out of Spartan Stadium on Oct. 30, while the University of Michigan (UM) played Michigan State University (MSU) in a rivalry college football matchup.

On Facebook, Nessel, Michigan’s top attorney, posted a photo of herself slumped over in her seat during the game, with a long explainer attempting to joke her way out of the incident, and noting that “my staff has pleaded with me to hire a crisis-management PR firm,” but that she would rather handle the explaining herself. 

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Anti-Second Amendment Professor Speaks About His New ‘Weaponized Whiteness’ Book

The Literati Bookstore, an independent book shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan, invited progressive author and Wayne State University professor emeritus Fran Shor to discuss his book Weaponized Whiteness: The Constructions and Deconstructions of White Identity Politics. 

Literati Bookstore advertised the Oct. 12 event as a discussion on “the meanings and implications of white supremacy and, more specifically, white identity politics from historical and sociological perspectives.

But Shor’s presentation, “Weaponizing whiteness: past terrors, present predicaments,” also criticized a range of conservative policy including gun rights, policing, voter ID laws, the large defense budget, and the pro-life movement.

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