The Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday primarily ruled in the state’s favor on a major case regarding how the state funds local governments and schools.
Charles Morris writes, “Our faith teaches us to look out for one another to address the crises before us, and as our nation continues to recover, we must now turn our attention to the climate crisis and environmental justice. A bold investment in clean energy infrastructure currently being discussed in Washington would do just that. This is an opportunity to invest in a clean energy future while addressing the injustices of the past.”
Housing policy experts have warned that millions of Americans are still struggling to pay their rent, and that the end of that legal protection likely will lead to a surge in eviction filings across the country.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced plans in Detroit on Tuesday to make a significant investment in affordable housing that addresses the health, safety and well-being of Michigan residents. The proposal would assist 6,000 Michiganders, produce 2,000 rental housing units, and leverage an additional $380 million in private funding, while creating 1,600 jobs.
Federal health officials on Tuesday urged Americans in areas of the country with the highest surges in COVID-19 infections to once again wear masks when they are in public, indoor settings — even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Taylor Hirth writes, “On a sunny Wednesday a little over a month ago, my 7-year-old daughter bravely held my hand as we walked into Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City to participate in a pediatric vaccine trial. […] I am sure there are some people who cannot fathom allowing their children to participate in medical research. I understand their hesitation. I am not one of those parents.”
The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers unanimously voted Monday to reject the Fair and Equal Michigan petition to amend the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to expand anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ residents due to a lack of valid signatures. The group was aiming to get the issue before voters in 2022.
As college campuses across Michigan are less than a month away from opening up to students for the fall semester, the state reports only 39.8% of residents 20 to 29 years old have been inoculated with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Those aged 16 to 19 have a slightly higher rate of 40.3%.
State and local officials disbursed $1.5 billion in rental assistance during June — more than during the entire previous five months — to help households falling behind on rent and utilities, according to U.S. Treasury data released Wednesday. That progress in getting slow-moving federal dollars to struggling renters comes as the Biden administration and housing advocates have been scrambling to avoid an eviction crisis when the national moratorium expires at the end of this month.
Senate Democrats’ attempt to start debate on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan was blocked by Republicans on a party-line vote Wednesday, as lawmakers hustle to wrap up negotiations over drafting that legislation. In the 49-51 test vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) switched his vote to “no,” a procedural move that allows him to bring the motion again later.
This week, just three states with lower vaccination rates — Florida, Texas and Missouri — accounted for 40% of all cases nationwide. One in five cases occurred in Florida alone.
The U.S. House Wednesday passed bipartisan legislation that would regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water, as well as designate two types of those toxic chemicals as hazardous substances that would spark federal cleanup standards. The bill, H.R. 2467, also known as the PFAS Action Act of 2021, passed 241-183, with 23 Republicans joining Democrats in voting for it.
Columnist Trish Zornio writes, “If we don’t act now, masks could become a long-term fashion accessory. In the past 14 days, the United States has seen tremendous growth in COVID-19 cases again. This has included a 36% increase in hospitalizations and a 26% increase in deaths. With the more transmissible delta variant, infection rates are likely to keep rising quickly. As expected, over 99% of deaths and 97% of hospitalizations were in unvaccinated people. If you’re vaccinated, it doesn’t affect you then, right? Wrong.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Tuesday that a total of 898,626 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 19,862 have died from the virus — an additional 1,028 cases and 14 deaths since Friday.
Local water utilities worried about getting hit with lawsuits and high cleanup costs are stepping up their lobbying of Congress as lawmakers move to regulate toxic chemicals found in drinking water. The bill, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, has garnered bipartisan support and two Michigan lawmakers, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), are expected to bring the measure to the House floor for passage later this week.
Rick Haglund writes, “[…] At a time when most new jobs paying a living wage require a certificate or degree beyond high school, Michigan is falling far short of needed support for higher education. The result is a state economy that lacks enough skilled and highly educated workers needed to attract technology and other knowledge-based employers.”
In 1973, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade granted Americans the constitutional right to access a safe and legal abortion. But in May, the Supreme Court, which is considered to have the most right-wing tilt in decades, agreed to hear arguments on a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. That could result in the court overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. Here’s an explainer on where reproductive health rights stand in our state and what such a decision could mean for Michiganders.
The Delta variant is a mutant strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Early estimates suggest the new strain may be 35% to 60% more transmissible than the alpha variant, another mutated strain that was already 43% to 90% more transmissible than the original.