Riley Beggin

Riley Beggin is Bridge’s Capitol watchdog reporter. She lives in Lansing, where she covers Michigan politics, including legislative, gubernatorial and other state-wide elections. Riley will be reporting stories that aim to shed light on state governance and hold public officials accountable to those they serve. She joined Bridge in January 2018 after working as a digital producer for 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 high is too high to drive? That’s up to police in Michigan

April 8, 2019 | Riley Beggin

A state commission tells lawmakers not to set a blood limit for stoned driving because science hasn’t caught up with legalization. Critics fear that’s ripe for abuse.

Katie Fahey of Voters Not Politicians to take Michigan model national

March 31, 2019 | Riley Beggin

At 27, she was a political novice. Now 29, Fahey is jumping to the national stage. She shares some hard lessons from the campaign to end gerrymandering in Michigan that she launched with a simple Facebook post.

Voters Not Politicians mulls its next Michigan battle

March 31, 2019 | Riley Beggin

VNP spearheaded the successful 2018 campaign to end legislatively-drawn voting lines in Michigan. Now the group is marching forward with a new leader, looking to take cues from voters across the state on what to fight for next.

Grand Rapids seeks to raise African-Americans’ stake in marijuana boom

March 26, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Minority communities have borne the brunt of marijuana arrests. Now that pot is legal in Michigan, the city is giving priority to residents in lower-income communities seeking to profit from licensed businesses.

Michigan House approves records transparency for Legislature and Governor

March 19, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Following unanimous House approval, the bipartisan package will now move to a Senate committee, where it could face headwinds.

Bills to improve Michigan transparency still have loopholes, critics say

March 12, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Transparency advocates say the FOIA package would be a big step forward for the state, but push back on loopholes still present in legislation.

For cash-strapped police in Michigan, asset forfeiture bills could be a blow

March 12, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Whether the concern is personal liberty or social justice, legislation reining in police property seizures is a bipartisan priority in Lansing. Some law enforcement agencies are not happy.

Analysis: Gretchen Whitmer's budget banks on Michigan GOP backing one historic tax hike

March 5, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle, Riley Beggin

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget proposal is based on a series of interlocking monetary moves to fund roads, schools, cleanups and more. The Rube Goldberg-like plan is certainly bold, drawing a mix of admiration and caution.  

Six big proposals in Gretchen Whitmer’s first Michigan budget

March 5, 2019 | Riley Beggin, Lindsay VanHulle

The new governor urges a state spending increase of 3.6 percent, with the centerpiece a 45-cent gas tax hike. She also proposes spending more for schools and to protect drinking water. The budget will test bipartisan pledges with state Republicans.

Is this the year Michigan joins the rest of America on public records?

March 4, 2019 | Jim Malewitz, Riley Beggin

Michigan is one of only two states that exempt the Legislature and the Governor’s office from public records requests. Attempts to change the state’s FOIA act have failed year after year.

Dana Nessel shakes up Flint prosecutions; civil settlement talks underway

February 21, 2019 | Jim Malewitz, Riley Beggin

Saying “the people of Flint deserve nothing short of justice,” Michigan’s attorney general is moving quickly to resolve dozens of civil lawsuits filed in the wake of the Flint lead poisoning crisis.

Michigan AG Dana Nessel turns up heat with Catholic Church over sex abuse

February 21, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Catholic dioceses in Michigan are having alleged sex abuse victims sign non-disclosure agreements, Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday. She encouraged victims to report their abuse to authorities even if they’ve signed agreements not to talk.

Dana Nessel to MSU: ‘Do the right thing’ and cooperate more with Nassar investigation

February 21, 2019 | Riley Beggin

At a news conference Thursday, Michigan’s attorney general said she’s frustrated with Michigan State University’s level of cooperation in the investigation surrounding Larry Nassar.

Republicans to Whitmer: Where’s the cash? Doubts on climate plan.

February 13, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Republican leaders say they agree with the Democratic governor that roads need fixing, but aren’t ready to raise taxes or fees to do it. They also signaled opposition to raising the state’s college-going rate and Whitmer’s PFAS and climate change plans.

Analysis: Eight ways Gretchen Whitmer vows to improve Michigan

February 12, 2019 | Riley Beggin, Lindsay VanHulle

The new Democratic governor outlined her policy priorities during her first State of the State address Tuesday. Bridge offers context behind the proposals and what Republicans and other skeptics had to say in response.

Pro-Whitmer group broke Michigan campaign finance laws, Benson finds

February 8, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Build a Better Michigan and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign committee engaged in express advocacy, Democratic Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson announced Friday, and must pay pay a $37,500 fine.

Meet the ex-drug cop who now helps regulate Michigan marijuana

February 8, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Board member Don Bailey, a retired cop, has drawn the ire of industry advocates who accuse him of unfairly opposing licensing requests. He says he’s just watching out for public safety.

In one month, Dana Nessel erases many of Bill Schuette’s federal pursuits

February 4, 2019 | Riley Beggin

The progressive attorney general has reversed or withdrawn from more than a dozen cases involving abortion, religious rights, Obamacare, environmental rules and other hot-button issues championed by her conservative predecessor.

Legal marijuana didn’t end black market elsewhere. What can Michigan learn?

February 1, 2019 | Riley Beggin

States that legalized recreational marijuana say low prices have pushed local producers to sell out-of-state on the black market.

Michigan Democratic leaders Whitmer, Nessel and Benson working in concert

January 31, 2019 | Riley Beggin

The women meet regularly and, just weeks into office, are finding strategic ways to disrupt GOP laws and policy. Their alignment contrasts with the frosty relations between Gov. Snyder and Republican leaders during his tenure.

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