Gilda Z. Jacobs: Protests can be a catalyst for racial justice and equity

The Michigan League for Public Policy has fought against injustice since we were founded in 1912, and right now is one of the most pivotal moments in that time span.  At the League, we want to acknowledge the real pain and suffering that is occurring across the country right now, particularly for Black people. While the current circumstances and sentiments have sadly become all too common in America, each of these moments has the potential to be a watershed moment. The tragic and unjustified killing of George Floyd and so many others should lead to real, systemic change in the...

Michigan reports more than 58K COVID-19 cases, with additional 5K ‘probable’ cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports Friday that 58,525 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 5,615 have died from the virus — an additional 284 cases and 20 deaths since Thursday. The DHHS also notes that an additional 4,928 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 240 probable deaths. The category was added for the first time Friday. The department began tracking probable cases on April 5. Probable cases (and deaths), according to the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, are defined as either: Having clinical disease and an epidemiological link ...

Locks got too long under lockdown? You can get your hair cut soon.

Salons and barbershops are set to reopen statewide soon as new COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-114 and Executive Order 2020-115, which allow for a rolling reopen of many sectors of the economy to open across the state.  On June 15, personal services including hair, massages, and nails will reopen in the remaining regions of the state, advancing the rest of Michigan into phase four, the improving stage. Many businesses closed during the pandemic, but salons and barbershops became a right-wing rallying cry against Whitmer. “So that’s right, you can get a haircut,” Whitmer said...

As more Michigan parents consider homeschooling, school budgets could be decimated

As concerns of COVID-19 still linger, school leaders are talking about how to best reopen schools this fall. And some parents have a tough decision of their own: Do they send their students back or do they homeschool?  Anjanette Freiberger, a mother of three school-age children in Flushing, says that if her local district isn’t able to come up with a distance learning plan, she is going to choose to homeschool — something she has never done before.  “As it stands, just based on the way the illnesses are developing right now, I wouldn’t send them back,” Freiberger said.  Freiberger says she...
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Column: Being pro-life has to be more than a slogan

As of this writing, almost 5,600 Michiganders have died as a result of the novel coronavirus.  Those are people – living, breathing humans who had families and jobs and hopes and dreams. They’re gone, and hardly a word has been uttered on their behalf. It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to see the “pro-life” conservatives in the Legislature and their allied interest groups using the pandemic as an opportunity to push their dangerous anti-health care, anti-science agenda.  While hospitals were so overrun with dying patients that refrigerated trucks idled out front to accommodate the rapidly accumulating bodies of COVID-19 victims, legislative leaders issued...

1/3 of Michigan teachers might not return to the classroom

Michigan educators are planning for next fall as the current academic year comes to a close. But almost one-third of the profession is considering not returning due to COVID-19 concerns, according to a survey done by the Michigan Education Association (MEA). More than 15,000 Michigan educators were surveyed May 14 to 22 by the teachers’ union on COVID-19-related impacts on public education, including health risks, reopening plans and testing.  Of the teachers and support staff surveyed, 2% said they are leaving the profession, 12% said they are considering leaving, 5% said they are retiring sooner than planned, 12% said they are...

State reports 25 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing total to 5,595

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports Thursday that 58,241 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 5,595 have died from the virus — an additional 206 cases and 25 deaths since Wednesday. The outbreak has reached all but three of Michigan’s 83 counties. The state also notes that 13 of Thursday’s additional deaths come from its most recent review of vital records and testing data. This means that those individuals had already died, but are just now being flagged by the state as official COVID-19 deaths. The DHHS conducts this review process three times per week. The ages...

Ingham Health Dept. declares racism public health crisis, BLM activist calls for Schor to...

In a virtual call to action Wednesday night hosted by Black Lives Matter Lansing, which has so far been viewed by 30,000 people, Ingham County Health Department leadership agreed to declare racism a public health crisis and encouraged the County Commission to adopt a formal resolution. Lansing Mayor Andy Schor also was twice asked for his resignation by one of the lead organizers, who criticized Schor for not doing enough to support the city’s Black community. He declined. The call with community leaders comes as protests against police brutality in Michigan and nationwide show no signs of slowing down. Black Lives...

Librarians, national guard recruited for states’ new contact tracing armies 

As states seek to loosen wide-ranging restrictions imposed to constrain the novel coronavirus, they’re also looking to deploy a huge new fleet of workers to keep cases under control. Enter the contact tracers. With interpersonal contact certain to increase as states lift COVID-19 restrictions, tracing the who infected people had contact with — and then isolating those contacts — will help contain it. But to be effective, states will need much more than the handful of full-time staffers county and city-level public health offices employ to track patients with more routine diseases like sexually transmitted infections. “We’re concerned about having the workforce...

Ingham Co. prosecutor will review EL police use of force incident, if asked

Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon will, if requested, review the use of force by East Lansing Officer Andy Stephenson in an incident in February that left a Black man with injuries to his face.  The decision comes after several protests in the Lansing area in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes after being accused of using counterfeit money. Many East Lansing protestors have demanded that Stephenson be fired after his use of force against multiple African American men...