Immigrant detention company could buy private land since Whitmer nixed plan

A Virginia-based company that planned to build a private immigrant detention center in Michigan may now consider buying private property after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer halted its state land sale bid, the company’s legal counsel said. Whitmer, a Democrat, reversed a state land bank decision under GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder that would have sold the former Deerfield Correctional Facility in Ionia to Immigration Centers for America (ICA), as the Michigan Advance first reported on Friday. The company planned to build a $35 million facility to house civil detainees awaiting asylum and other immigration cases. ICA may now look to private land...

Health chief will follow Medicaid work rules, won’t pursue single-payer

Robert Gordon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s pick to head the sprawling Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is concerned that tens or hundreds of thousands of people could lose coverage under a new Medicaid work requirement law. That's something that Whitmer raised in her State of the State address last week. Despite those concerns, however, Gordon’s department is implementing the law signed by GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder as written. “I have a duty to uphold federal and state laws,” Gordon told senators last week during the opening remarks of his first Advice and Consent Committee hearing. “The work...

Activists voice border wall dissent

Left-leaning Michigan activists met in a Lansing church basement on Monday to show their support for Presidents Day protests planned across the nation. The action was billed on social media as a protest, but ended up being a press conference where some 200 activists showed up. Many were disappointed there was no rally, said Mark Brown, a community organizer who helped put the event together along with groups including Indivisible-District 8 and Action of Greater Lansing. On Friday, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border to direct more money to his border wall project. Hundreds of events...

Whitmer wants to fix the damn roads. Citizens wonder why the last tax hike...

In her first State of the State address last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer painted a vivid picture of school buses driving on unsafe roads and chunks of concrete “slamm through windshields. "It endangers our lives. And robs us of our time and our hard-earned money. It hurts our businesses’ bottom lines. It jeopardizes our edge in mobility. And limits our economic potential. Because no one will invest in a state that doesn’t invest in itself,” she said. “And let’s be clear: Incremental fund shifts, like we’ve seen in recent years — don’t fix the problem. They only slow our...

Kildee: GOP Senate majority leader has abdicated constitutional duty

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) isn’t one for mincing words, which is one reason why he’s a frequent guest on national talk shows. The majority chief deputy whip talked with the Advance after the longest partial federal government shutdown in history about the impact on people, which is already being forgotten. The interview was before President Donald Trump declared on Friday a national emergency to get his border wall. Kildee is a frequent Trump critic, calling him a “manbaby” for prolonging the shutdown and giving him an “F” for his job performance thus far. But in this interview, he saved some...

Alex Rossman: My view from the ICU: Everyone deserves quality health care

I’m writing this from a hospital room in the pediatric intensive care unit. One of my sweet little nine-month-old daughters (yes, twins!) is dealing with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and is sleeping a few feet away with a feeding tube down her throat and artificial oxygen being steadily pumped into her nose. She looks a little bit like E.T. when he’s sick, which is my #joketocope. I’m grateful for the care we’ve been receiving and for her steady recovery. My gratitude for having health care is not far behind. Amidst all the chaos and worry that comes from being a...

Susan J. Demas: It’s a new day in Michigan, boys. Try and keep up.

Just after Christmas 2011, I was sitting in a tent in Arizona's Arrastra Mountains, enjoying the 20-degree chill and a much-needed break from covering politics 14 hours a day. Out of habit, I was scrolling through news on my Blackberry (yes, that's what I had at the time) and stumbled on a quote from then-state Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) calling the founder of the biggest bipartisan public relations firm in Michigan a "hooker." Here's what happened. Kelly Rossman-McKinney had been asked by a Lansing outlet to name the biggest political losers of the year and she listed Jones, which, of course,...

Whitmer halts land sale for $35M private immigrant detention center

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is canceling a plan to sell state land to a company trying to build a private immigrant detention center in Michigan, the governor's office told the Michigan Advance on Friday. Whitmer is using her authority to halt the sale of a former state prison in Ionia, where the Virginia-based Immigration Centers of America (ICA) has proposed constructing a roughly $35 million detention facility. Under former Gov. Rick Snyder, state officials at the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority told the company it could move forward on Oct. 9 with its plan for the former Deerfield Correctional Facility, pending...

Michigan Dems condemn Trump’s national emergency to build wall

WASHINGTON — The feud over funding the federal government shifted Friday into another fight over President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the southern U.S. border. As Trump reached a last-minute deal with the divided U.S. Congress to avert another government shutdown, the president announced Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, circumventing the legislative branch to secure border wall funding. “We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it one way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said in a speech from the White House Rose...

Stabenow touts Medicare buy-in plan, says Peters is a ‘progressive’ senator

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow thinks there’s still plenty of room to find bipartisan compromise in Congress, despite the near-constant political warfare on Capitol Hill. The Lansing Democrat just kicked off her 19th year in the Senate, where she’s the top Democrat on the agriculture committee and the chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. She’s also the senior member of the entire Michigan Democratic congressional delegation. Stabenow won re-election last year and now her partner in the U.S. Senate, Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.), is up in 2020. She talked to the Michigan Advance in her Washington office this...