Author

Julia Forrest

Julia Forrest

Julia Forrest is a contributor to the Michigan Advance. She has been covering Michigan and national politics for two years at the Michigan Daily and OpenSecrets. She studies public policy at the University of Michigan.

LGBTQ+ advocates worry about fate of same-sex marriage as SCOTUS weighs overturning Roe v. Wade

By: - September 24, 2021

As the U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear in December a challenge to Mississippi’s abortion ban that could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision — some LGBTQ+ advocates are concerned that threats to same-sex marriage are on the horizon. The Supreme Court only ruled six years ago to legalize same-sex marriage in Obergefell […]

Last of FY ‘22 budget heads to Whitmer’s desk, vaccine, masks measures likely unenforceable

By: and - September 22, 2021

With just over a week before the start of Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, both chambers of the Legislature finished on Wednesday passing remaining spending plans worth about $53 billion. They now head to the desk of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has said she’ll sign them. The legislative Conference Committees laid out the details of […]

Bipartisan bills boost crisis response and jail diversion programs for people with mental illness

By: - September 20, 2021

State Sens. Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes) and Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) introduced two bills last week to establish grants funding community crisis and jail intervention programs in localities to address pitfalls in mental health response programs in Michigan.  In 1974, the Community Mental Health code was established in Michigan that created laws and programs to […]

Rep. Jones stripped of committee assignments after 3rd bond violation

By: - September 16, 2021

Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) stripped Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) of all committee assignments Thursday.  That followed Jones attempting to sneak a handcuff key into jail on Tuesday after a judge sent him to jail for committing his third bond violation after initially being arrested for drunk driving and resisting arrest.  Jones was arrested […]

Lawmakers introduce bills to reform school disciplinary process

By: - September 16, 2021

State Sens. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and Adam Hollier (D-Detroit) introduced a package of bills this week to transform Michigan’s disciplinary systems in schools and further mitigate the effects of the long-running zero-tolerance policy that was abolished in 2016.  Zero-tolerance policies meant students were required to face penalties such as expulsion or […]

Dem introduces bill decriminalizing psychedelics, hopes to reverse some ‘War on Drugs’ impacts

By: - September 13, 2021

Michigan Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) introduced legislation last week that would decriminalize the use of psilocybin and mescaline — two plants and fungi commonly found in psychedelics.  Senate Bill 631, which was co-sponsored by state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), would allow the possession, cultivation and delivery of the two types of psychedelics. Commercial production […]

Unemployment head tells House panel she ‘absolutely’ takes responsibility for agency failures

By: - September 9, 2021

Liza Estlund Olson, the acting director of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), testified before a state House panel Thursday on unemployment system problems since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Olson’s appearance before the Oversight Committee comes after Republican lawmakers have leveled withering criticism at the Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer administration over its handling of […]

Whitmer calls on GOP Legislature to repeal Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban 

By: - September 8, 2021

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged the Michigan Legislature on Tuesday to repeal a 1931 state law criminalizing abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court last week issued an unsigned order allowing a Texas abortion ban law to go into effect. Experts say the recent SCOTUS opinion signals the fall of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case […]

Several colleges have vaccine mandates — but they’re not airtight 

By: - September 6, 2021

As college students return to campuses across Michigan and the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to rage on, several schools have implemented vaccine mandates in order to resume in-person activities. But there are concerns about how easy it is to circumvent the requirements.  Currently, only six of Michigan’s 15 public universities have a university wide-vaccine requirement. […]

Trump still wants a so-called 2020 election ‘audit’ in Michigan, per state GOP co-chair

By: - September 4, 2021

Former President Donald Trump still won’t let go of his 2020 loss in Michigan.  He called Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser about a so-called audit of Michigan’s 2020 election, according to remarks made by Michigan GOP Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock. It’s not clear when the call took place.  The call was first reported by the […]

Ingham joins 11 Mich. counties in school mask mandate amid surging Delta variant

By: - September 2, 2021

Updated, 2:40 p.m., 9/2/21,with Berrien County’s mandate Ingham County on Thursday joined 10 other counties mandating students and staff to wear masks in schools and other educational settings, regardless of vaccination status. The county also issued a second mandate setting in place guidelines for quarantine and isolation procedures within schools.  Ingham County Health Officer Linda […]

Federal judge blocks Western Michigan University vaccine requirement on religious grounds

By: - September 1, 2021

District Judge Paul Maloney blocked Western Michigan University on Tuesday from imposing a COVID-19 vaccine requirement on four female soccer players who claimed the requirements infringed on their constitutional religious rights.  Maloney, a GOP former President George W. Bush appointee, issued the temporary restraining order on the day the four athletes, Emily Dahl, Hannah Redoute, […]