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.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan, a former top environmental official in North Carolina, said the agency is currently in the process of regulating two of the most studied types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water. Two Michigan Democrats, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell of Dearborn and Dan Kildee of Flint, added that House Democratic leaders will bring the PFAS Action Act of 2021, which aims to reduce Americans’ exposure to the toxic chemicals in air, water and consumer products, to a floor vote next week.

The most ambitious part of the pandemic stimulus package signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year is about to hit the bank accounts of millions of U.S. parents. Starting this week and ending in December, the vast majority of U.S. households with children will begin receiving monthly payments as a result of changes in that law expanding and reworking the federal child tax credit. Here’s how it will work.

American Forests, a Washington, D.C.-based conservation nonprofit, released a nationwide analysis last month showing that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have significantly less tree canopy. Those areas also are more likely to suffer from the urban heat island effect caused by a lack of shade and an abundance of heat-absorbing asphalt. Heat islands can be as much as 10 degrees hotter than surrounding neighborhoods.

Columnist Francisco Ramirez writes, “This year’s Immigrant Heritage Month includes an important anniversary that reminds us of the significant overhauls that our immigration system needs, particularly when it comes to Dreamers like me. Dreamers are undocumented young adults who immigrated to the U.S. as children. On June 15, 2012, we became eligible for U.S. residency permits through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed me and 700,000 other Dreamers to live and work for two years at a time in the country we already call home. (But) DACA is at best a Band-aid solution for Dreamers.”

After a student-led Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club at Whitehall High School sent out an email to the student body that included resources about sexuality and identity during Pride week, that kickstarted an often-heated conversation in the small West Michigan community about where the line is between schools and families in talking about LGBTQ issues.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on Tuesday for the expansion of the Futures for Frontliners The program is inspired by the federal G.I. Bill that provided college degrees to those serving their country in World War II. Launched in 2020, it offers eligible Michigan adults without college degrees or high school diplomas who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 a tuition-free pathway to gaining the skills needed to obtain high-demand, high-wage careers.

U.S. Senate Republicans shut down efforts to open debate on a sweeping elections reform and voting rights bill brought to the Senate floor by Democrats Tuesday night. In a party-line 50-50 vote, the Democratic measure, S.1, titled the For the People Act, did not reach the 60-vote threshold required to end a filibuster and advance. Democrats did pick up the last-minute support of a wavering member, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, and presented a united front, but still fell short without any GOP support.