Jonathan Oosting

Jonathan Oosting is an award-winning Michigan political reporter covering the Capitol beat for Bridge. He has a master’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University and has previously worked for The Detroit News and MLive Media Group. He is from Grand Rapids and lives in Lansing. You can reach him at joosting@bridgemi.com, 517-862-1079 or on Twitter @jonathanoosting.

Articles

Fact Squad: No, Michigan Gov. Whitmer did not ‘defund the police’

Fact Squad: No, Michigan Gov. Whitmer did not ‘defund the police’

July 23, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Conservative “news” outlets, activists and a Republican super PAC this week falsely accused Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of  “defunding the police” by executive order. Fact Squad sets the record straight.

Michigan closing budget gap with layoffs and cuts to roads, PFAS cleanups

Michigan closing budget gap with layoffs and cuts to roads, PFAS cleanups

July 22, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Jonathan Oosting

The Michigan Senate agreed to cut spending and use up federal dollars to bridge a hefty budget gap caused by the coronavirus. The next budget is due at the end of September.

Michigan’s GOP-led Legislature considers rare veto override against Whitmer

Michigan’s GOP-led Legislature considers rare veto override against Whitmer

July 20, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Republican legislators are pushing for rare veto override votes this week at the Michigan Capitol after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed bills to strengthen whistleblower protections for state workers and delay summer tax bills for property owners. The proposals previously passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support. 

Michigan unemployment system designed to slow payments working all too well

Michigan unemployment system designed to slow payments working all too well

July 20, 2020 | Sarah Alvarez, Jonathan Oosting

Michigan overhauled its unemployment insurance system nearly a decade ago to save money, root out fraud and make it harder for jobless workers to qualify for benefits. Now, with more than one million workers jobless, the state has flagged 1 in 3 claimants for fraud amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He took down Michigan’s unemployment system. Now, he’s struggling to fix it.

He took down Michigan’s unemployment system. Now, he’s struggling to fix it.

July 20, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Four years before Steve Gray took over the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, he exposed a false fraud scandal that rocked state government and prompted reforms. Now, some lawmakers are calling for his ouster as he tries to fix a system crushed by record jobless claims amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Feds charge Michigan contractor in $2M unemployment fraud scheme

Feds charge Michigan contractor in $2M unemployment fraud scheme

July 17, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

 Authorities say a contract employee used "insider access" to approve hundreds of illegitimate claims beginning in April, during a historic wave of layoffs promoted by the virus and economic shutdown orders. 

 Whitmer tightens Michigan’s mask order but makes it optional when voting

Whitmer tightens Michigan’s mask order but makes it optional when voting

July 17, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tightened her COVID-19 mask mandate on Friday in an attempt to coax compliance by reluctant businesses, saying they cannot “assume” someone without a mask is exempt because of a medical condition. 

Violence erupts in Michigan over state mask mandate ‘powder keg’

Violence erupts in Michigan over state mask mandate ‘powder keg’

July 14, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French, Jonathan Oosting

Tensions are boiling over as confrontations increase over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's mask rule designed to contain COVID-19 becomes “the number one anxiety-producing pain point for retailers right now.”

As coronavirus cases rise, Whitmer halts plans to further reopen Michigan

As coronavirus cases rise, Whitmer halts plans to further reopen Michigan

July 1, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting, Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

Public health experts say they expected coronavirus cases to rise as Michigan's businesses reopened but say they worry about COVID fatigue leading to more cases.

Michigan calls on schools to have masks but no social distancing in class

Michigan calls on schools to have masks but no social distancing in class

June 30, 2020 | Ron French, Jonathan Oosting

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s school reopening plan has one surprising takeaway: Schools can choose whether or not to bring all students back to class at the same time, with no state requirement that forces schools to run classes in shifts.

Gretchen Whitmer, Republicans strike deal to plug $2.2B Michigan budget hole

Gretchen Whitmer, Republicans strike deal to plug $2.2B Michigan budget hole

June 29, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Michigan’s Democratic governor and Republican lawmakers announce budget deal for this fiscal year, but plenty of work could remain on an even bigger budget shortfall that is fast approaching because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer wants state ban on police chokeholds, other reforms

Michigan Gov. Whitmer wants state ban on police chokeholds, other reforms

June 29, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Michigan’s Democratic governor wants lawmakers to send her bills to ban chokehold use by officers and to classify "false, racially-motivated 911 calls" as hate crimes, she said Monday as protests over police brutality continued nationwide.

Coronavirus outbreaks tied to migrant farm workers in Michigan

Coronavirus outbreaks tied to migrant farm workers in Michigan

June 25, 2020 | Robin Erb, Jonathan Oosting

COVID-19 is flaring up statewide among migrant workers. Experts say close quarters, crops that won’t wait, mistrust are perfect growing conditions for outbreaks.

Big benefits, claims a ‘perfect storm’ for unemployment fraud in Michigan

Big benefits, claims a ‘perfect storm’ for unemployment fraud in Michigan

June 24, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Michigan officials aren’t saying how many cases of unemployment insurance fraud investigators have found so far, but roughly 58,000 residents have self-reported that someone stole their identity to try to claim benefits.

Petition drives target Gretchen Whitmer. And she’s raising money off them.

Petition drives target Gretchen Whitmer. And she’s raising money off them.

June 23, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Republican activists and organizers attempting to recall Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and limit her emergency powers are rushing to put petitions before voters this summer. But one effort has uncorked a law that lifts the limit for campaign donations.

Nearly 12,000 Michigan workers unemployed since May 1 still await benefits

Nearly 12,000 Michigan workers unemployed since May 1 still await benefits

June 23, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

More than 11,800 Michigan workers who filed for jobless benefits between March 15 and May 1 have yet to be paid or denied, but the state unemployment agency said Tuesday it intends to clear that backlog by July 4.

New Michigan auto insurance: savings for most, but Detroit still pays more

New Michigan auto insurance: savings for most, but Detroit still pays more

June 22, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting, Mike Wilkinson

Insurer filings reviewed by Bridge show most drivers will save money under a reform law set to take effect July 2. But universal savings appear exaggerated and where you live still impacts what you will pay.

Judge: Michigan gyms can reopen Thursday despite Whitmer coronavirus order

Judge: Michigan gyms can reopen Thursday despite Whitmer coronavirus order

June 19, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Gyms and fitness centers across Michigan can reopen June 25, a federal judge ruled Friday, saying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration failed to provide scientific evidence justifying their continued closure despite declining COVID-19 case counts.

Michigan finalizes plan to spend $880 million in federal coronavirus funds

Michigan finalizes plan to spend $880 million in federal coronavirus funds

June 17, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting

Michigan is poised to create a business grant program, cut child care rates, boost summer school and invest in its unemployment insurance system using federal COVID-19 relief funding.

Whitmer: Michigan students can return to class if coronavirus stays steady

Whitmer: Michigan students can return to class if coronavirus stays steady

June 17, 2020 | Ron French, Jonathan Oosting

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that schools will reopen in September. But what those classrooms will look like will vary greatly among school districts.

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