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, Duggan reverse course on water shutoffs amid coronavirus concern

By: - March 9, 2020

In an apparent change of mind, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) announced on Monday a plan that will restore water service in Detroit at “no initial cost to customers” for the duration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Last week, Whitmer’s administration and state health department […]

Sanders appeals to indigenous, environmental activists at Grand Rapids rally

By: - March 8, 2020

At his Grand Rapids rally on a sunny Sunday afternoon, U.S Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was able to draw an audience of more than 7,600 people with just a few days’ notice. A common concern among many attendees: climate change and environmental justice. Sanders’ policies on climate change and environmental protections are popular — not […]

Benson warns of late primary results on Tuesday

By: - March 5, 2020

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, hoping to temper expectations of when Michigan’s presidential primary votes will be fully counted for Tuesday’s presidential primary, held a press conference Thursday to warn that it may take hours — and possibly days — longer than usual to achieve a full vote count. Benson said the expectation there will […]

Lucido yanked from key Senate post after sexual harassment probe kicked off by Donahue’s story

By: - March 5, 2020

A months-long Senate Business Office investigation into sexist comments made by state Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Twp.) concluded Thursday, resulting in a decision from Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) to remove Lucido from his position as chair of the influential Senate Advice and Consent Committee. Lucido will also be required to participate in additional […]

GOP bill to quash local gun buyback efforts passes state House

By: - March 4, 2020

Michigan’s GOP-led state House made quick work of new legislation to preemptively block local gun buyback efforts, securing a 58-49 vote on the bill during Wednesday’s legislative session. House Bill 5479 had been introduced by state Rep. Annette Glenn (R-Midland) just last month. It passed out of the House Judiciary Committee without amendment on Tuesday […]

Whitmer signs wrongful imprisonment bills into law

By: - March 4, 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a flurry of bills into law on Tuesday. Among those are three bipartisan pieces of legislation related to compensation for wrongful imprisonment, which is an area of criminal justice reform that began seeing progress in the Michigan Legislature last year. The legislation will ensure that Michiganders who were wrongfully imprisoned receive […]

House panel debates drinking water filters for schools, daycares

By: - March 3, 2020

Updated, 12:57 p.m., 3/4/20 A bipartisan “filter first” bill package to ensure safe drinking water for children in schools and child care centers had a favorable reception at a state House committee Tuesday afternoon. Testing for lead in drinking water is not mandated for schools and daycares in Michigan, but a 2018 study detected PFAS […]

New civil rights chief to be chosen next week

By: - March 3, 2020

After more than six months without a permanent executive director, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) will have its final candidate for the position chosen by next week. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has been conducting a national search for a permanent department director since October. The commissioners fired former MDCR director Augustin Arbulu […]

As Michigan preps for coronavirus, groups demand end to Detroit water shutoffs

By: - March 3, 2020

Citing heightened concerns over public health risks, a coalition of Michigan-based social justice organizations released a letter Friday calling on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to force an end to water shutoffs in Detroit. The groups, led by the People’s Water Board Coalition, say continuing to shut off water for Detroit-area residents who haven’t paid their bills […]

Michigan lawmakers call out xenophobic reactions to coronavirus

By: - March 2, 2020

In the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) reaching national public health emergency status, two Democratic Michigan lawmakers are condemning heightened hostility and racist sentiments toward people of Asian descent as a reaction to the illness. The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, and has so far affected at least 89,000 people and killed more than […]

Michigan depts. release plan to cut Lake Erie phosphorus

By: - February 29, 2020

This week, Michigan’s three environmental departments released the state’s targeted plan to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie by 40% over the next five years. Michigan’s departments of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Natural Resources (DNR) collaborated on the effort, which they are calling the draft Michigan Lake Erie […]

Michigan’s first PFAS rules for drinking water move forward

By: - February 27, 2020

A state environmental rulemaking panel voted Thursday afternoon to approve draft rules for setting limits on toxic contaminants known as PFAS in Michigan’s drinking water. The rules now head to a panel of state lawmakers for final consideration. If they are passed, Michigan will go from having no rules at all on per- and polyfluoroalkyl […]