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.

GOP leadership calls off Thursday session, says protest not a factor

By: - May 13, 2020

Earlier this week, GOP legislative leadership had insisted that plans to meet for session Thursday were still on — despite another armed right-wing protest also scheduled for that day. Those plans for the state Legislature changed late Wednesday afternoon. After the state Senate voted on spending bills for COVID-19, both chambers adjourned until next week. […]

Mitchell forms ballot committee to cap Whitmer’s powers

By: - May 13, 2020

As tensions — and lawsuits — continue to mount between Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state’s GOP-controlled state Legislature over Whitmer’s COVID-19 response, one Michigan congressman is taking another shot at dealing with the matter on his own terms. U.S. Rep Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden) first filed a federal lawsuit against Whitmer on May 4 […]

Dems warn inaction on guns could lead to violence at Capitol Thursday

By: - May 13, 2020

Update, 4:41 p.m., 5/13/20: Both the House and Senate have now canceled session Thursday. Check back at the Advance for further coverage.  Fears are ramping up among some lawmakers ahead of Thursday’s session, which is set to coincide with a planned armed right-wing protest that organizers have dubbed “judgment day.” “It only takes one person […]

Panel punts on Capitol gun ban, another right-wing protest planned for Thursday

By: - May 11, 2020

Updated, 5:36 p.m. 5/11/20, with remarks from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer The hotly debated issue of whether to prohibit firearms at the Michigan Capitol found itself Monday in the hands of a commission usually focused on building restoration and grounds maintenance. That panel, the Michigan State Capitol Commission (MSCC), chose not to make an immediate decision. […]

‘It’s hell’: COVID-19 concerns grow at federal immigrant prison in Baldwin

By: - May 10, 2020

Sixteen staff members at Michigan’s only private, for-profit immigrant prison in the rural village of Baldwin have been confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday. But for loved ones of the inmates housed there, that’s where their access to clear COVID-19 information at the North Lake Correctional Facility ends. The owner of […]

Nessel joins 19 states, Kentucky governor in defense of ACA in Supreme Court case

By: - May 8, 2020

The fight to prevent President Donald Trump’s administration and the state of Texas from repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continued Wednesday as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, 19 other attorneys general and Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court. In the brief, the attorneys general argue that patients, […]

Dems: Chatfield only gave security option to GOP during armed protest

By: - May 7, 2020

Updated, 7:47 p.m., 5/7/20, 6:02 a.m, 5/8/20 with comments from Chatfield’s office One week after heavily armed protesters spilled into the Michigan Capitol during session, prompting some lawmakers to fear for their lives, Democratic House members say that they were not made aware of police security available to them. But they said their Republican colleagues […]

Rural, Republican counties are Michigan’s newest COVID-19 hotspots

By: - May 6, 2020

While Republicans in the Legislature continue to push to reopen Michigan’s economy quickly, new data suggests that relaxing restrictions too early would come at an elevated risk for a second — possibly worse — wave of COVID-19 for which the state’s hospitals would be underprepared. And many of the areas that likely would be hardest […]

Shirkey turns to ballot measure before courts to limit Whitmer’s powers

By: - May 4, 2020

In an apparent reversal of course, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) has at least temporarily stepped back from the idea of a lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that the GOP-led Legislature authorized Thursday. Now, it appears that Shirkey is instead placing his bets on a ballot petition to reject one of two Michigan laws […]

National Guard to test 7,500 U.P. prisoners for COVID-19 by Saturday

By: - May 4, 2020

Starting Monday, the Michigan National Guard is stepping in to help the Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC) test inmates for COVID-10 at all six of the Upper Peninsula’s state prisons in just six days. The U.P. correctional facilities have, so far, seen few tests. As of Sunday evening, just 108 tests had been done between […]

Nessel to probe canceled state contract with Dem firm for COVID-19 contact tracing

By: - May 1, 2020

Attorney General Dana Nessel, in response to Republicans who have sounded the alarm about the state’s since-canceled contract with a Democratic political firm hired to lead Michigan’s COVID-19 contact tracing efforts, has agreed to open an investigation into how the contract was awarded. State Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) on Tuesday had requested that Nessel’s […]

It’s May 1 and thousands can’t pay their rent. Here’s what some Michiganders are doing.

By: - May 1, 2020

Madeline Smith, a 23-year-old Michigan State University student set to graduate this month, can’t pay her rent for May. She didn’t pay her April rent, either. And she doesn’t plan to pay for June. Smith lost her two on-campus jobs in March when the university shut down due to COVID-19. Suddenly, she was unable to […]