Amash tells disheartening tales of Congress as 2020 race heats up

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Twp.) made it clear Wednesday that he views his decision to drop the Republican Party and become an independent as an opportunity to disrupt Congress’ “closed process.” The fifth-term, libertarian-leaning congressman from the Grand Rapids area trekked through the state’s diverse 3rd Congressional District for most of the day, making three stops in Grand Rapids and one apiece in Dutton and Hastings in the southern, more rural part of the district.  The stops made for his first public appearances in the district since his July 4 “independence” announcement, and the congressman was largely well-greeted at each...

‘There’s a gray area’: Campaign finance experts weigh in on Inman bribery case 

To campaign finance watchdogs, the word “corruption” may be getting more difficult to legally define — but the case against indicted state Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) appears to be a near-textbook example.  At a motion hearing earlier this month, U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan Chief Judge Robert Jonker declined to outright dismiss any of the three charges against Inman. He did, however, move a charge of lying to federal law enforcement forward toward a likely jury trial.  Meanwhile, charges of extortion and attempting to solicit a bribe remain under advisement. Jonker raised questions about what the line between campaign...

Trump accuses Jews voting for Democrats of ‘great disloyalty’ following attacks on Tlaib

President Donald Trump accused Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats of “disloyalty” Tuesday. “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump told reporters Tuesday.  Jewish people have historically been subjected to "dual loyalty" attacks. Trump's remarks followed Israel’s decision last week to bar U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the country after Trump advocated for it in light of their pro-Palestinian activism. Tlaib eventually decided not to travel to visit her grandmother in the Palestinian territories after Israel lifted the ban. https://www.michiganadvance.com/2019/08/19/tlaib-and-omar-protest-israeli-government-on-human-rights-after-travel-ban/ Tlaib...

Susan J. Demas: Republicans don’t want to give Whitmer a victory on roads. You...

For decades, powerful Michigan business groups have led the anti-tax charge, warning that any increase would surely tank the economy. During every downturn, they've blamed our tax burden, blithely ignoring reams of evidence that Michigan is not a high-tax state and it's our continued dependence on the ever-downsizing domestic auto industry that makes our recessions so much sharper. And business interests always have the same villain: tax-and-spend Democrats, who want to sell you on the wacky idea that good schools and clean drinking water (gasp) actually cost money. The playbook was written by the absurdly well-funded Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which has...
Agustin Arbulu

Embattled Michigan civil rights chief takes indefinite leave

Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) Director Agustin Arbulu has taken an indefinite leave of hiatus after a scandal in which it was revealed that he made sexist comments to a coworker. Arbulu will be replaced by his deputy, Mary Engelman, who will now serve as acting director of the MDCR. A spokesperson for the department said she was “not in a position to speak to the particulars of his leave request.” The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) had previously reprimanded Arbulu for his remarks and he was undergoing a training and mentorship program. The commission has a meeting scheduled for...

Biz leaders make push for new road revenue as Whitmer, GOP leaders keep talking

The state’s leading business advocacy groups want Michigan lawmakers to know that they’ll stand with them if they vote to raise taxes for road-funding revenue. Rich Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, officials from other groups like Business Leaders for Michigan and various regional chambers held a press conference on Tuesday urging action on the state’s beleaguered transportation infrastructure.  No group explicitly endorsed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to incrementally raise the gas tax by 45 cents to generate about $2 billion in new annual revenue for road funding, but leaders were clear that her proposal is in...

Mid-Michigan Dems fight to save Affordable Care Act 

Laura Packard says she's fighting to protect her own health and the well-being of millions of Americans. “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) saved my life, which is how I know that Republicans’ continued attacks on health care represent a literal life-or-death scenario for millions of Americans,” said Packard, a former Michigander, small business owner and stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer survivor. https://www.michiganadvance.com/2019/04/03/laura-packard-trump-is-trying-to-kill-the-legislation-that-saved-my-life/ Packard was part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide Health Care Emergency Bus Tour arrived in Lansing last week to call attention to what activists called the Republican Party’s “ongoing war on health care” and the threat posed by Texas v....

Tlaib and Omar protest Israeli government on human rights after travel ban

U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) spoke in Minneapolis on Monday about the Israeli government’s recent decision to bar them from the country, saying it reflected the disregard the nation has for the Palestinians living in the contested West Bank. That story grew complicated last week when Tlaib petitioned Israel to allow her into the country to see her elderly grandmother on the West Bank. The country granted Tlaib’s petition only for her to announce just hours later that she would not make the trip. “I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Detroit, where many...

Statewide study: 10% of Michigan public water systems have PFAS

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) published the results of the first statewide study of toxic PFAS (or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) in drinking water last week, after testing more than 1,700 water supplies across the state. PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” and are found in food packaging, cookware, firefighting foam and more. According to the report, about one in ten of Michigan’s public water systems contain some level of PFAS. Of that 10%, 7% showed levels lower than 10 parts per trillion (ppt), which is far below the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s current advisory level of 70 ppt.  Two...

In Detroit, Pence touts Trump admin. economic gains as recession fears rise

Updated, 6:23 p.m. 8/19/19 with comments from Rep. Levin Vice President Mike Pence on Monday urged a group of Southeast Michigan business leaders to “reject the siren song of socialism” and reelect his boss, President Donald Trump, to a second term.  In a 25-minute speech to the Detroit Economic Club — his third appearance before the group — Pence, a former governor and congressman from Indiana, ran through a laundry list of Trump administration economic achievements. The vice president sought to raise alarms that the economic gains would all come crashing down if one of the almost two dozen Democrats seeking...