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.

Michigan’s dam problem isn’t just in Midland — and it’s part of a larger infrastructure crisis

By: - June 14, 2020

Michigan has a dam problem, as the Midland disaster has shown. We’re not alone — but the Great Lakes State faces unique challenges in remedying the issue. Across the country, dams are increasingly becoming a relic of America’s infrastructural past. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) estimates that the average age of the country’s […]

Michigan has $2.8B left in federal COVID-19 relief, some lawmakers want flexibility to spend it

By: - June 12, 2020

Michigan has yet to spend $2.8 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds, and some legislators are hoping that Congress will allow that money to fill substantial budget holes. So far, Michigan has received $3.1 billion in federal relief money through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. But as the Detroit Free Press […]

Michigan has almost 5,800 COVID-19 deaths, model predicts 9K by October

By: - June 12, 2020

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports Friday that 59,621 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 5,745 have died from the virus — an additional 125 cases and eight deaths since Thursday. The virus has now spread to all but one of Michigan’s 83 counties. The first two cases of COVID-19 […]

Court of Appeals rules Enbridge tunnel deal is constitutional

By: - June 11, 2020

Updated with comment from Nessel’s office, 11:28 a.m., 6/12/20 In another legal win for Canadian oil company Enbridge, a Michigan Court of Appeals panel ruled Thursday that Enbridge’s plan to build a new tunnel-encased oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac is constitutional.  Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a legal opinion last year that it […]

Lawmakers advance bills to push back July budget deadline, urge congressional help

By: - June 11, 2020

Both chambers of the Legislature on Thursday took steps on the budget process, as measures were introduced to compel Congress to provide more flexible financial assistance to states and to waive the Legislature’s quickly approaching deadline to present a budget to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. House Concurrent Resolution 26, sponsored by state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) […]

NAACP protest in Lansing draws more than 1K

By: - June 10, 2020

Sweltering, nearly 90-degree weather did not deter a crowd of more than 1,000 protesters who took part in a peaceful march down Michigan Avenue Wednesday afternoon to the state Capitol as a show of solidarity against police brutality and systemic racism. The “We Are Done Dying March” was hosted by the NAACP Youth and College […]

Republican sues Michigan to purge voter rolls, SOS says suit uses old data

By: - June 10, 2020

Michigan’s election officials are being sued in federal court for failing to “clean up the state’s voter rolls,” according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Grand Rapids. The Republican activist who filed the lawsuit, Tony Daunt, alleges that Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has not done enough to purge ineligible voters and other irregularities […]

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 […]