Steven Johnson

Unemployment head tells House panel she ‘absolutely’ takes responsibility for agency failures

BY: - September 9, 2021

Liza Estlund Olson, the acting director of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), testified before a state House panel Thursday on unemployment system problems since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Olson’s appearance before the Oversight Committee comes after Republican lawmakers have leveled withering criticism at the Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer administration over its handling of […]

Wentworth calls on Whitmer to fire state unemployment head

BY: - August 26, 2021

Updated, 4:49 p.m., with comments from Whitmer’s office As the deadline for workers to claim federal unemployment benefits is set to run out in 10 days on Sept. 4, Liza Estlund Olson, the acting director of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, will testify before a state House panel.  Olson agreed to appear before the Oversight Committee […]

Whitmer to use campaign funds for Florida trips to visit father

BY: - June 1, 2021

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will now use her own reelection campaign funds to visit her ailing father in Florida, following weeks of scrutiny over her decision to charter a private plane paid for by a nonprofit fund and shared by wealthy Detroit-area business families. In mid-March, Whitmer flew on a private jet out to Florida to […]

Airline company that flew Whitmer to Florida under federal investigation

BY: - May 18, 2021

Air Eagle, the company that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took to visit her ill father in Florida in March, may not have been authorized to operate charter flights, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Detroit Free Press reported Monday that the FAA has an ongoing investigation into Air Eagle, which it believes did not […]

Whitmer told former DHHS director she was ‘going in a new direction’ before his resignation

BY: - April 29, 2021

Former Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director Robert Gordon said Thursday that his abrupt resignation earlier this year came after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said “she wanted to go in a different direction.” Gordon, a former Obama administration official who Whitmer appointed in 2019, resigned from DHHS on Jan. 22. Weeks later, it was […]

A Michigan mom is the face of the push to let kids play sports during COVID-19. Her social media is filled with conspiracies.

BY: - January 31, 2021

Jayme McElvany is the organizer of Let Them Play Inc., a group advocating for an end to COVID-19 restrictions halting high school sports. She’s a staple of news coverage on the issue, including the most recent rally at the Michigan Capitol Saturday.  “I feel like a mom to 60,000 kids right now and I couldn’t […]

Giuliani takes over House committee hearing to boost election conspiracies

BY: - December 3, 2020

An unusual appearance by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, before a House panel Wednesday turned into an even more unusual Lansing spectacle, after Giuliani used his own testimony time to take over the hearing and question other “witnesses” — without being under oath. Two hours before the committee meeting, Giuliani had appeared on […]

Republicans want highway named for Brooks Patterson, after objections to honoring Dem rep, Aretha Franklin

BY: - April 29, 2020

Naming highways for notable Michiganders has traditionally been one of those easy bipartisan votes in the Legislature, akin to members of Congress naming post offices. On Tuesday, a new bill was introduced that would honor former Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who died last year of cancer, by putting his name on a section […]

Bills you may have missed: Tree frog as state amphibian, cell data privacy

BY: - March 1, 2020

A new bill introduced by state Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland) proposes to name the gray tree frog as Michigan’s official state amphibian. This comes after a fifth-grade class at Blessed Sacrament in Midland began learning about the frog and discovered that Michigan didn’t have an official state amphibian. According to a news release, Stamas said […]

Michigan Republican pops 2nd Amendment sanctuary state resolution

BY: - February 11, 2020

State Rep. Gary Eisen (R-St. Clair Twp.) has introduced several resolutions to protect Second Amendment rights, both at the state and local level.  They include House Resolution 219 which would declare Michigan a sanctuary state and “fully affirm its support of the rights ensured and protected by the constitutions of the United States and Michigan, […]

Data center tax break bill dead — for this year

BY: - December 12, 2019

Legislation to expand tax breaks for the Switch data center in Kent County passed out of the state House on Wednesday on a razor-thin margin, but is now dead at least for this year.   Senate Bill 455 took more than 30 minutes to get the needed votes before ultimately passing the lower chamber on a […]

Bills would allow cheaper drugs from Canada, but concerns raised about supply and safety

BY: - December 5, 2019

Bills aimed at lowering health care costs by importing less expensive drugs were heard Thursday in the Michigan House Health Policy Committee, but opponents say this isn’t a viable option.  No action was taken on the bills. The two-bill package, sponsored by state Reps. Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming) and Steven Johnson (R-Wayland), would allow Michiganders to […]