Riley Beggin

Riley Beggin is a Capitol reporter covering Michigan politics, including legislative, gubernatorial and other statewide elections. She joined Bridge in January 2018 after working at KPCC, Los Angeles’ NPR member station. Before that, she was a fellow at ABC News’ Washington Bureau and an intern with NPR’s investigative unit. Riley majored in history and international relations at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She also holds a master’s degree in investigative journalism from the University of Missouri. You can reach Riley at rbeggin@bridgemi.com or call her at 517-657-3580.

Articles

How weak regulations failed to prevent catastrophe at notorious Midland dam

How weak regulations failed to prevent catastrophe at notorious Midland dam

May 31, 2020 | Kelly House, Riley Beggin

Regulators warned for 25 years that mid-Michigan dams were dangerous, yet their problems persisted. Dam safety experts say the failure to fix the dams is emblematic of the country’s broken regulatory system.

Michigan should have protected public from unsafe Edenville Dam, experts say

Michigan should have protected public from unsafe Edenville Dam, experts say

May 31, 2020 | Riley Beggin

Michigan officials say they needed to wait for a report before demanding repairs to a dam that federal authorities had already deemed dangerous. Experts disagree: ‘You have to take action, not wait.’

Big cuts coming if feds don’t bail out Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says

Big cuts coming if feds don’t bail out Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says

May 28, 2020 | Riley Beggin

The coronavirus pandemic and state lockdown have prompted a budget shortfall estimated at $6.2 billion, and Gov. Whitmer says Michigan and other states desperately need help from the federal government.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launches investigation into Midland dam failures

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launches investigation into Midland dam failures

May 27, 2020 | Riley Beggin

The state launches investigation into the failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams in mid-Michigan last week, which prompted the evacuations of more than 10,000 residents. But critics say the state agency that oversaw the dam shouldn't investigate itself.

Two heirs bought Midland dams as a tax shelter. Tragedy followed.

Two heirs bought Midland dams as a tax shelter. Tragedy followed.

May 27, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House, Riley Beggin

Heirs to the fortune of the Boy Scouts founder — an architect and a bagpiper — purchased the Edenville Dam as an investment to avoid taxes, records show. For 14 years, the family trust clashed with government officials on taxes, regulations, fishing and other issues. Then came the rains.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extends Michigan stay-at-home order through June 12

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extends Michigan stay-at-home order through June 12

May 22, 2020 | Riley Beggin

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extends Michigan's stay-home restrictions for a few more weeks, citing an uptick in coronavirus cases in a handful of counties in mid-Michigan and the west side of the state.

It’s a long weekend. Can you hug Grandma under Michigan’s stay-home rules?

It’s a long weekend. Can you hug Grandma under Michigan’s stay-home rules?

May 22, 2020 | Riley Beggin

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has loosened restrictions on gatherings and retail stores ahead of Memorial Day weekend, but some confusion remains. Here’s what you can and can’t do. Spoiler alert: You may want to hold off on that hug.

Michigan GOP calls for Nessel to step down from investigation into dam failure

Michigan GOP calls for Nessel to step down from investigation into dam failure

May 22, 2020 | Riley Beggin

Republicans say Michigan’s attorney general has a conflict of interest because she recently sued the owner of a failed dam over illegally drawing down water from Wixom Lake in 2018 and 2019, killing mussels.

Michigan regulators moved fast on dangerous dam. To protect mussels.

Michigan regulators moved fast on dangerous dam. To protect mussels.

May 21, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House, Robin Erb, Riley Beggin

In court papers, the owners of a dam that failed this week near Midland acknowledged it was considered unsafe for decades. But Michigan’s only action against the dam was a suit contending it lowered water and killed freshwater mussels.

Judge sides with Whitmer in emergency powers standoff with Legislature

Judge sides with Whitmer in emergency powers standoff with Legislature

May 21, 2020 | Riley Beggin

In a ruling that is likely to be appealed, a Court of Claims judge ruled that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer can extend emergencies without GOP input under a 1945 law.

Small gatherings, non-essential doctors' visits now allowed, Gov. Whitmer says

Small gatherings, non-essential doctors' visits now allowed, Gov. Whitmer says

May 21, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Meghanlata Gupta

As coronavirus cases slow and economic fears grow, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is loosening some restrictions put in place to combat coronavirus.

Feds revoked dam’s license over safety issues. Then Michigan deemed it safe.

Feds revoked dam’s license over safety issues. Then Michigan deemed it safe.

May 20, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Mike Wilkinson, Kelly House

For a decade, safety regulators demanded improvements to a 95-year-old dam that failed this week. The repairs never came, and Michigan regulators deemed the dam in “fair condition.” One critic calls it a “catastrophic failure both of the dam and of our government at all levels.”

Trump threatens Michigan funding over Benson absentee application plan

Trump threatens Michigan funding over Benson absentee application plan

May 20, 2020 | Riley Beggin

The president said he’d “hold up funding” for the state as it faces a $6.2 billion budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jocelyn Benson orders Michigan to mail absentee applications to all voters

Jocelyn Benson orders Michigan to mail absentee applications to all voters

May 19, 2020 | Riley Beggin

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office will use $4.5 million in CARES Act funding to send applications to 7.7 million registered voters. The plan is likely to be opposed by Republicans.

When will Gov. Whitmer reopen Michigan? It’s complicated. And a bit vague.

When will Gov. Whitmer reopen Michigan? It’s complicated. And a bit vague.

May 17, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Mike Wilkinson

Unlike some other states, Michigan isn’t using precise metrics to determine when to reopen the state from the coronavirus lockdown. Whitmer and epidemiologists say that’s necessary, but Republicans and some business leaders say the lack of transparency is infuriating

Gretchen Whitmer, GOP square off in court over Michigan emergency powers

Gretchen Whitmer, GOP square off in court over Michigan emergency powers

May 15, 2020 | Riley Beggin

A Court of Claims judge hears arguments about whether the governor can issue emergency declarations without consent of the Legislature amid coronavirus. But even the judge acknowledges the case likely will be determined by a higher court.

Michigan Senate passes more than $500M in federal coronavirus relief spending

Michigan Senate passes more than $500M in federal coronavirus relief spending

May 13, 2020 | Riley Beggin

Under the bill, which passed unanimously, the federal funds would be set aside for child care, front-line workers, testing and more. It now moves to the House.

As tensions rise, Gov. Whitmer faces Michigan showdown on quarantine order

As tensions rise, Gov. Whitmer faces Michigan showdown on quarantine order

May 12, 2020 | Riley Beggin

A potentially armed demonstration looms Thursday. Republican lawyers will ask a judge Friday to rein in Whitmer’s emergency powers. And a small-town barber refuses to close. It’s a big week for the future of the governor’s coronavirus plan.

Health board accuses Michigan State Police of being lax on Capitol protesters

Health board accuses Michigan State Police of being lax on Capitol protesters

May 12, 2020 | Robin Erb, Jonathan Oosting, Riley Beggin

An Ingham County community health board said state and Lansing officials endanger public safety by not cracking down on anti-Whitmer protesters who do not follow restrictions intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Police say they will take enforcement action when necessary.

Michigan lawmaker seeks Capitol gun ban ahead of coronavirus protest

Michigan lawmaker seeks Capitol gun ban ahead of coronavirus protest

May 12, 2020 | Riley Beggin

The debate over whether to ban weapons within the Michigan Capitol is coming to a head as another protest is planned for later this week.

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