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.


Michigan GOP budget contains 7 big surprises for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

September 26, 2019 | Jonathan Oosting, Riley Beggin, Ron French

Tucked inside the $59.9 billion budget, Michigan legislators have proposed big cuts to the Department of Education unless it creates A-F school grades, shifts money for redistricting and requires the construction of a controversial psychiatric facility in Caro.

Hate Michigan roads? Your neighbors’ may be way better. (with database)

September 26, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

Yes, Michigan has bad roads, but their quality varies widely throughout the state, according to 2018 rankings of road conditions, which may inform lawmakers’ debate about whether to raise taxes for upgrades.

How Gretchen Whitmer could fight GOP budget, avoid Michigan government shutdown

September 25, 2019 | Jonathan Oosting

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has several options to challenge the GOP-led Legislature’s budget, ranging from vetoes of line items or department budgets to an aggressive administrative trick pioneered by John Engler. All would avoid a shutdown, but each carries risks.

Michigan House considers expungement of marijuana, traffic convictions

September 24, 2019 | Riley Beggin

The package would make hundreds of thousands more Michiganders eligible to set aside criminal records. Some Democrats question why they don’t automatically set aside lesser pot convictions, rather than requiring people to petition a court. 

Michigan’s Republican Legislature sends budgets to Whitmer — vetoes expected

September 24, 2019 | Riley Beggin

 A one-time road funding increase and cuts to the Secretary of State’s office are among the Republican budget decisions that Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has strongly opposed, and may veto. 

Southfield City Clerk accused of Michigan election fraud

September 23, 2019 | Robin Erb

Sherikia Hawkins is charged with doctoring absentee voter paperwork to reconcile vote counts. State officials said any misdeeds did not affect the outcome of the 2018 election.

Michigan jails filled with unlicensed drivers, people who miss court dates

September 20, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Michigan’s jail task force is finding that one explanation for the state’s crowded county jails is thousands of people being locked up for relatively minor charges rather than dangerous crimes.

Michigan Legislature, Gov. Whitmer head for showdown on roads, redistricting

September 19, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Republican-led House and Senate committees approve road funding at levels well below what Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has demanded. Constraints placed on Secretary of State and Attorney General offices may also draw pushback from the governor.

Without L. Brooks Patterson, new hope for mass transit in metro Detroit

September 19, 2019 | Steve Pardo

After years of blocking mass-transit efforts, Oakland County has a new executive, Dave Coulter, who is bullish on regional transportation. That’s led to hopes for a multibillion-dollar tax plan next year.

What to expect when you're expecting a Michigan government shutdown

September 18, 2019 | Riley Beggin

From student financial aid and liquor, to state parks and hunting and fishing licenses, here’s what services might be temporarily blocked if state leaders don’t strike a budget deal by Oct. 1.

Michigan budget negotiations break down (again) over short-term road funding

September 12, 2019 | Riley Beggin

GOP leaders want to include $500 million in road funding in the budget. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other Democrats say that may get in the way of a long-term deal to commit $2.5 billion a year that’s needed for roads.

Whitmer, GOP must solve these 5 disagreements to pass Michigan budget

September 9, 2019 | Riley Beggin

The Oct. 1 deadline for Michigan lawmakers to pass the $60 billion budget is near. Roads talks have been postponed, but there are more disagreements to solve.

Whitmer agrees to delay road funding talks to finish Michigan budget

September 9, 2019 | Riley Beggin

The surprising announcement marks a change for Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who previously vowed to veto any Republican budget plan without roads funding. The change seems intended to prevent a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Michigan Republicans push budget without road deal, a likely no-go for Whitmer

September 6, 2019 | Riley Beggin

As a government shutdown looms, GOP leaders will begin vetting a budget plan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hasn’t signed off on. The two sides are far apart on roads and infrastructure funding and on whether to raise taxes for the effort. 

Michigan becomes the first state in U.S. to ban flavored vaping products

September 4, 2019 | Riley Beggin

The six-month ban bars the sale of flavored e-cigarettes commonly used by young people, including fruity, sweet and mint-flavored products. 

Michigan House Dem leader says Whitmer’s 45-cent gas tax is probably dead

August 29, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Republicans have said the hefty tax hike is dead on arrival. That’s why Democrats should start considering other alternatives to raise $2.5 billion for roads, House Minority Leader Christine Greig said. 

Michigan House urges resignation of Inman, who told donors ‘I need money’

August 29, 2019 | Riley Beggin

State Rep. Larry Inman, who says he’s struggling with addiction, has insisted he won’t step down. New texts submitted to court claim he sought a ‘load’ of money for his votes.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: Leaders should 'stop playing games' on roads funding

August 28, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Time is running out for legislative leaders and the governor to come to an agreement on how to spend the state’s nearly $60 billion budget.

Michigan committee approves health warning labels for marijuana

August 27, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Under the legislation, all cannabis would need to be packaged with a warning against use during pregnancy.

What’s behind the population boom in rural Michigan jails?

August 23, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A state task force could convene on why rural jails hold a greater share of inmates, with more awaiting trial.