Michigan Government

Citizens cannot do their job of running their government if they don’t know what their public servants are doing. Bridge will take you beyond the political food fights into the policy decisions that affect everyday life.


Short-term rental advocates, foes work toward a deal on laws in Michigan

August 21, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

In the fierce debate over regulation of Airbnbs and other short-term home rentals, Michigan legislators are bringing adversaries to the table, including groups representing local government, hotels and the real-estate industry.

What to expect from the Michigan Legislature this fall

August 20, 2019 | Riley Beggin

State lawmakers are back in Lansing Tuesday. Here are some of the major priorities the Legislature expects to tackle before the end of the year.

As September looms, no Republican proposal yet to fix Michigan’s roads

August 15, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican legislative leaders are still meeting to discuss road funding and the 2020 budget, but they haven’t yet reached a compromise. They have until the end of September to pass a budget or risk a shutdown.

High housing costs in Traverse City now hurting more industries in region

August 15, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

Lack of affordable housing is spreading beyond seasonal workers. It’s now hurting manufacturing and healthcare firms trying to attract workers. Local leaders want Lansing to help incentivize developers to build more affordable projects.

Michigan’s Secretary of State promised 30-minute waits — lines are worse

August 13, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Jocelyn Benson swept into office vowing to serve customers in 30 minutes. But wait times in 2019 are at their highest in five years, up to two or three hours in some branches. Benson says it's the result of long-term underinvestment to be solved with hard structural change.

Check out wait times at your Michigan Secretary of State offices

August 13, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

Lines have gotten longer so far this year, compared with wait times in 2018. This Bridge database allows you to see how times have changed in branch offices near you.  

Voters Not Politicians asks to intervene in Michigan GOP redistricting suit

August 12, 2019 | Riley Beggin

VNP, the group behind the successful drive to create an independent body to draw political lines in Michigan, seeks entry in a Republican lawsuit to have that commission shut down before it starts.

Part of bribery case against GOP Rep. Larry Inman proceeds

August 9, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A federal judge declines to dismiss one felony charge against GOP state Rep. Larry Inman, put two others on hold

After week of mass shootings, can ‘red-flag’ law gain traction in Michigan?

August 5, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

Democratic lawmakers say shootings in California, Texas and Ohio show the need for legal tools to seize weapons from people who pose an urgent danger. State Republicans have yet to sign on, with due process rights a sticking point. 

Michigan board approves recall petition for indicted Rep. Larry Inman

August 1, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle, Riley Beggin

Voters in Grand Traverse County want to recall Inman after his indictment on federal charges for alleged bribery, extortion and lying to FBI agents while in office. His attorney says he will consider an appeal on the recall petition’s approval.

Court: Michigan shortchanged cities for years. But windfall isn’t certain.

July 31, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

The lawsuit, filed in 2016, alleges that the state violated the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan constitution in how it calculates state spending to local governments. Depending on how the case ultimately is resolved, experts say the lawsuit could have significant impacts on both state and local government funding.

Michigan Republicans sue to stop redistricting commission before it starts

July 30, 2019 | Riley Beggin, Lindsay VanHulle

Republican plaintiffs argue the independent, voter-approved commission violates their First and 14th-Amendment rights by forbidding some people with political ties from serving. They want a federal judge to stop the state state officials from seating the commission.

Hey, CNN: Ask Democratic candidates these 6 Michigan policy questions

July 30, 2019 | Joel Kurth

From stagnant population to Great Lakes threats and lousy sewers, Michigan has extraordinary problems that require specific solutions. This is what we want the Democratic presidential hopefuls to address.

Michigan jails fill as crime sinks and nobody seems to know why

July 24, 2019 | Riley Beggin

As a bipartisan task force looks into Michigan’s county data, researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts are trying to make sense of a patchwork of jail records. It’s going to be a heavy lift, with only months to get the job done.

With city in limbo, Benton Harbor prepares new pitch to save its high school

July 19, 2019 | Ron French

As veteran teachers flee the troubled district, Benton Harbor officials will try to sell Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on giving them at least four years to fix their struggling high school.

Will this application help Michigan select a fair redistricting commission?

July 18, 2019 | Riley Beggin

The Secretary of State has released a proposed application to serve on the new redistricting commission. The public can offer comment through Aug. 9.

New rules to give residents of poor cities piece of Michigan pot industry

July 18, 2019 | Riley Beggin

The state’s marijuana regulatory industry announced rules to give license discounts for qualified residents in cities that were most heavily targeted for pot crimes. An industry official said the rules are well-meaning, but she doubts their impact.

Michigan prison inmates need job skills, but technology books are banned

July 18, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Basic reference books on computers and electronics, starting a business or even driving a truck are prohibited as perceived threats to the “order and security” of prisons. Officials say they are now rethinking this policy.

Michigan Supreme Court hears debate on minimum wage, sick leave laws

July 17, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

Does Michigan’s constitution allow the legislature to adopt and amend citizen initiatives in the same two-year term, or does it explicitly prohibit the practice? It’s now up to the state’s highest court to decide.

What to know about the Michigan minimum wage law before the Supreme Court

July 17, 2019 | Alexandra Schmidt, Lindsay VanHulle

Michigan’s high court will hear oral arguments Wednesday on whether Republican efforts to pass the ballot measure, then gut it, violated the constitution. That does not mean the court will decide the matter, at least right now.