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).

Pure Michigan left in the cold, leaders to talk tourism program in January

By: , and - December 11, 2019

Pure Michigan didn’t make the cut in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget supplemental spending plan finally negotiated by state leaders. But state House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) said he, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) will talk about the tourism program after the New Year. “That was that was one […]

Michigan medical marijuana program ‘slightly diminished,’ but still active after Proposal 1

By: - December 11, 2019

Michigan’s marijuana economy is continuing to expand. But these are uncharted waters for the state, and it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the regulatory body that oversees the budding industry. A state House panel this week heard the first in-depth update on marijuana regulation in Michigan since it became legal for recreational use. In […]

Whitmer, Republicans reach supplemental budget deal

By: and - December 10, 2019

As the Legislature’s action draws to a close this year, both chambers made moves Tuesday to finalize a long-awaited post-budget deal reached between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and GOP leaders that restores $573.5 million in cuts. The state’s new fiscal year began on Oct. 1, but the budget has been in a partial state of flux. […]

It’s been a big year for criminal justice reform in Michigan. What’s next?

By: - December 10, 2019

These days, it’s hard for Democrats and Republicans to agree on much. But this term, criminal justice reform has emerged as a rare area of consistent bipartisan agreement in Michigan’s Legislature. From “Raise the Age” legislation signed into law in October to the “Clean Slate” expungement bills passed by the House last month, Michigan continues […]

Report: Michigan kids have higher cancer, asthma rates than national average

By: - December 9, 2019

Children in Michigan are facing higher rates of asthma and pediatric cancer than the national average, according to a new report from the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN). The fact sheet was released Monday morning following a telephone press conference hosted by CEHN Executive Director Nsedu Witherspoon. CEHN is a national nonprofit that advocates for […]

Bills you may have missed: Universal background checks, pet scams and plugging Nestlé water loophole

By: - December 8, 2019

December is set to be a busy month in the Michigan Legislature, with a flurry of new bills being introduced and long-idle state budget negotiations finally gaining ground. Here is the Michigan Advance roundup of noteworthy recent legislation you may have missed. Expanding universal background checks On Thursday, six Democrats from both chambers introduced legislation […]

Enviros want Enbridge permits pulled after delayed report of equipment collapse in Straits of Mackinac

By: - December 5, 2019

Oil pipeline company Enbridge is once again in hot water with environmental groups over transparency concerns. Since June, the Canadian company has been collecting geological samples in the Straits of Mackinac as part of its preparation to build a tunnel around the aging Line 5. When that sampling work was completed in mid-November, Enbridge reported […]

Survivors have high hopes for new MSU trustee, but renew call to remove several legacy members

By: - December 4, 2019

As of Wednesday afternoon, Michigan State University’s embattled Board of Trustees once again has eight members. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the appointment of Trustee Renee Knake in a press release. Knake is a law professor, legal ethics expert and author who has taught at a number of universities, including MSU. Her appointment fills the seat […]

Report: Michigan has 300+ clean energy businesses, regulatory changes could spur more

By: - December 4, 2019

Updated, 2:52 p.m., 12/4/19 with the corrected link to the report The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) released a policy report Wednesday morning praising the progress Michigan has made on renewable energy and identifying areas that still need improvement. Growth in Michigan’s renewable energy sector has been spurred on by a combination of decreasing […]

Yes, there’s still a budget impasse in Michigan

By: - December 3, 2019

Despite occasional remarks that progress is being made on budget negotiations, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) have still not come to an agreement. However, at least the relationship between Whitmer and Shirkey seems less rocky than it was last month. Before the Legislature went […]

Michiganders can now register to vote online, use digital notary services

By: - December 2, 2019

As of Monday, Michiganders can now register to vote, update their voter registration information and have documents notarized from the comfort of their computer, tablet or smartphone. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the new online voter registration portal on Monday, making Michigan one of 38 states to allow voters to register online. “This fast, […]

A tale of two oil pipelines and their place in the presidential race

By: - December 1, 2019

The political debate over how to regulate the fossil fuel industry in the United States is more important — and ideologically divisive — than ever before, as the 2020 election is fully underway.  One of the core arguments is over the need for and the ethics of energy pipelines. With 2.4 million miles of pipeline, […]