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).

Memo: Anti-Whitmer ballot drive could cost $1.8M for signature gathering

By: - June 10, 2020

Not much is known about a ballot campaign spearheaded by U.S. Rep Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden) aimed at permanently restricting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers. But a proposal the Michigan Advance obtained from Oregon-based Grassfire LLC hoping to assist with Mitchell’s “Say Yes to MI Constitution” initiative shows it could cost $1.8 million to collect signatures […]

Aerial shot of the Sanford dam failure

State launches lawsuit against Midland dam owner, claims company ‘ignored’ regulators for 14 years

By: - June 9, 2020

The state of Michigan is suing Boyce Hydro, the private owner of the failed Edenville and Sanford Dams that unleashed catastrophic flooding and caused $200 million in damage upon their collapse in May, for “gross mismanagement” and negligence. Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the lawsuit Tuesday during a joint webinar with the directors of the […]

Board OKs Whitmer recall language from parolee  

By: - June 9, 2020

The third attempt by an Albion man to launch a recall petition against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was approved by the Board of State Canvassers on Monday, while another attempt to greenlight a recall petition against Attorney General Dana Nessel failed. Chad Baase’s petition to recall Whitmer cites nine of her executive orders during Michigan’s COVID-19 […]

Michigan reports more than 58K COVID-19 cases, with additional 5K ‘probable’ cases

By: - June 5, 2020

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports Friday that 58,525 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 5,615 have died from the virus — an additional 284 cases and 20 deaths since Thursday. The DHHS also notes that an additional 4,928 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well […]

Ingham Health Dept. declares racism public health crisis, BLM activist calls for Schor to resign

By: - June 4, 2020

In a virtual call to action Wednesday night hosted by Black Lives Matter Lansing, which has so far been viewed by 30,000 people, Ingham County Health Department leadership agreed to declare racism a public health crisis and encouraged the County Commission to adopt a formal resolution. Lansing Mayor Andy Schor also was twice asked for […]

Whitmer rolls out reforms to prevent police brutality

By: - June 3, 2020

As large-scale protests against police brutality and racism continue in Michigan and beyond, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday announced a series of policy proposals to increase accountability for Michigan law enforcement officers. Whitmer also noted a number of actions being taken by the Michigan State Police (MSP) to support the goal of a more transparent […]

Michigan ranks 3rd worst in nation for Black educational attainment

By: - June 2, 2020

Structural racism in Michigan and across the country can be traced back to racial inequities that have persisted for decades. One significant contributor to overall racial inequity is disparities in educational attainment, which is highlighted by a new report from the Lansing-based think tank the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP). According to the MLPP, […]

U.S. Reps. demand answers about fed, state roles in dam failure

By: - June 2, 2020

U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) and Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) have sent letters to both agencies involved in overseeing the now-collapsed Edenville Dam, seeking answers about what happened in the lead-up to the catastrophic May 19 flooding event in Midland and surrounding counties. Dingell and Upton announced in a joint press release […]

Legislature’s taxpayer-funded contract with GOP-connected firm in Whitmer suit raises transparency concerns

By: - June 2, 2020

For months, Republican legislative leaders have slammed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, alleging a lack of transparency while she exercised emergency powers, even going so far as to create a special oversight committee to investigate her administration’s COVID-19 response.   One of the issues Republican lawmakers have zeroed in on is the Democratic administration last month awarded contracts […]

Baldwin prison confirms 1st inmate COVID-19 death

By: - June 1, 2020

North Lake Correctional Facility, the private, for-profit immigrant prison in rural Baldwin that has been plagued by hunger strikes and other controversies in the eight months since it opened, has confirmed its first inmate death due to COVID-19. The death appeared on the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) website on Friday. A spokesperson for GEO […]

Michigan reports more than 57K COVID-19 cases, 5,516 deaths

By: - June 1, 2020

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports Monday that 57,532 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 5,516 have died from the virus — an additional 135 cases and 25 deaths since Sunday. The outbreak has reached all but four of Michigan’s 83 counties. The city of Detroit, which is the only […]

Another meeting, another delay on banning guns at the Capitol

By: - May 30, 2020

Despite an opinion from Attorney General Dana Nessel earlier in May, the Michigan State Capitol Commission (MSCC) voted Friday to hire external legal counsel to decide whether the panel has the authority to ban firearms at the state Capitol. “The attorney general’s opinion notwithstanding, we felt that we needed to further clarify, really what kind […]