Author

Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).

Whitmer looks forward to restructuring government, FOIA reform next year

By: - December 15, 2022

In a wide-ranging, end of the year roundtable with reporters on Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she is “optimistic” about the upcoming legislative session with a new Democratic majority. She spoke about a variety of issues, from embracing government transparency reform to supporting the idea of Michigan becoming an early voting state. It has been […]

Whitmer spars with Hall over ‘failed’ spending deal, denies she walked away from negotiations

By: - December 15, 2022

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday pushed back against Republican claims that she was the reason a supplemental spending bill did not make it through the lame duck session, saying instead that GOP lawmakers “failed to get it done.” A $200 million boost to business incentives was on the table last week as a potential last-minute […]

Redistricting panel sues Legislature for failing to appropriate $3.1M for its work

By: - December 14, 2022

After not being included in the Legislature’s budget for the current fiscal year, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) has filed a lawsuit against both chambers in an attempt to make them fund the bipartisan panel. The MICRC, created in 2018 via constitutional amendment, drew the new state and congressional districts that were at […]

Four tribes in Michigan sign new fishing rights agreement with state, feds

By: - December 13, 2022

Four Anishinaabek tribes in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula have signed onto a newly revised deal with state and federal officials regarding tribal fishing rights in the Great Lakes, while one more tribe in the U.P. has offered its own fishing deal. The proposed order from the Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band […]

State advocates warn that window to expand federal Child Tax Credit is closing

By: - December 10, 2022

Michigan-based child advocates who came together for a virtual panel Friday say it will be much more difficult to pass an expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) by Congress if it doesn’t happen by the end of this year. Since federal monthly advance child tax credits expired on Jan. 15, research has found that food insecurity […]

Shirkey invokes conspiracy theories, tells offhand toilet story in final Senate speech

By: - December 8, 2022

The term-limited Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), in his farewell to the Michigan Senate Wednesday night, closed out his years in office by stunning the chamber with a long speech that ventured into outlandish conspiracies, biblically ominous predictions of the future, critiques of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and an attention-grabbing story about testing the Binsfeld […]

Whitmer appoints first tribal citizen to Mich. Court of Appeals                                    

By: - December 6, 2022

Updated, 7:20 p.m., 12/6/22 A renowned chief tribal judge in Michigan has been appointed to be the first Indigenous person to sit on the Michigan Court of Appeals, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday. Allie Greenleaf Maldonado is the chief judge for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB) Tribal Court, an LTBB citizen […]

With new Democratic leadership next year, what long-inert legislation will now pass?

By: and - December 5, 2022

It has been decades since Michigan Democrats have been able to fully enact their legislative priorities. That could change next month as the 102nd Legislature comes to order. Following Democrats’ historic victories on Nov. 8 — which included winning both the House and Senate and a sweep of statewide offices — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and […]

Norm Eisen: Following midterms, threats to democracy remain

By: - December 2, 2022

Experts warned that democracy itself was on the ballot during the Nov. 8 midterm election.  In Michigan, Republican election deniers were nominated for all three top statewide posts — Tudor Dixon for governor, Matt DePerno for attorney general and Kristina Karamo for secretary of state — and at least 54 candidates ran for Congress and […]

Senate passes bipartisan bills aimed at preventing sexual assault

By: - November 30, 2022

A bipartisan bill package aimed at preventing sexual assault and protecting survivors cleared the Michigan Senate on Tuesday, nearly two years after the measures were first introduced. Senate Bill 223 requires schools to provide age-appropriate educational material and resources regarding sexual assault and harassment to students. SB 224 prohibits sexual contact and penetration under pretext […]

Singh: New Democratic-led Legislature will represent the full diversity of Michigan’s residents

By: - November 30, 2022

Updated, 5:14 p.m., 11/30/22 Sam Singh is no stranger to making history. At 24, he became one of Michigan’s youngest City Council members. Then he became the youngest and first person of color to serve as East Lansing’s mayor in 2006. After serving as president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, he was then […]

Return to tradition: How a year of harvest culminates in an Indigenous ‘Turkey Day’ feast

By: - November 24, 2022

“Everyone has their own way of doing it,” Sault Tribe citizen Nathan Wright says, balancing his weight while carefully bending down in the jiimaan (canoe).  He takes the wooden harvesting sticks and gives two hard knocks to the manoomin (wild rice) strands between them, letting loose a flurry of spindly seeds around his feet. Yards […]