LANSING — Bronna Kahle’s campaign for state representative came full circle when she was sworn in at a ceremony in her hometown of Adrian, rather than the state capital.
“A lot of people do that in Lansing,” said Kahle, R-Adrian. “But I just had to do it in Adrian. I’m representing Lenawee County.”
Over 100 people watched as Kahle took the oath of office administered by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley in an Adrian College lecture hall in mid-December. Looking into the audience, she said it was humbling to recognize everyone in the room who helped with her campaign.
“I remember when I did that with that person, I remember when they made phone calls — oh, they hosted a coffee with me,” Kahle said in her Lansing office, gesturing toward the community members she recalled sitting in her swearing-in crowd. “I am honored to serve these people.” Continue reading →
Ash and M.K. Kelly in a Lansing bookstore during the interview
By CHAO YAN Capital News Service
LANSING — TwinsMK and Ash Kelly, both wearing wire-rimmed glasses and hoodies in navy blue, are wandering on Michigan Avenue in Lansing, jamming their hands into jeans pockets. Someone in a coffee shop recognizes them andwaves enthusiastically through thewindow as they pass by.
MK and Ash, 20, are ofsome renown in Lansing, andnot only because they do music and drawing. Lots of people aregetting to know them from a video on Popsugar about their GoFundMe campaign to help pay fortheir gender reassignment surgeries, which are not covered by their health insurance. MK works in a tattoo shop and Ash is unemployed.
Sexually assigned as girls at birth,Ashcame outas “non-binary” in 2014 and MK in 2015. Non-binary describes any gender identity which doesn’t fit strictly into categories of male or female.Continue reading →
LANSING — The number of state civil rights complaints has not increased, despite increasing anxiety among immigrant and minority residents post-election, according to Agustin Arbulu, director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
Vicki Levengood, the department’s communications director, said Civil Rights has monitored 86 bias incidents since Election Day. That’s a 10 percent increase in calls to the department’s toll-free intake center, but it has not resulted in a corresponding increase in complaints filed.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a national legal rights advocacy group, has tracked 1,372 bias incidents in the U.S. since Election Day. Of those incidents, 346 were motivated by anti-immigrant rhetoric, 260 were anti-black and 127 were anti-Muslim. Other incidents targeted LGBT groups, members of the Jewish faith, women and other groups. Continue reading →
LANSING — Amy Shamroe felt proud to hear Traverse City recognized in a speech by Michigan filmmaker Michael Moore at the Women’s March on Washington.
“Michael Moore said Traverse City is a place where people are active and engaged and you can find people there who make a difference,” said Shamroe, a Traverse City city commissioner and president of the local American Association of University Women (AAUW) chapter.
Though she was pleased by the shout-out, Shamroe wasn’t surprised: Since Election Day, she has seen increased engagement with AAUW Traverse City, which focuses on empowering women and girls. Shamroe has always had to recruit members, but now they’re coming to her.
“It’s something I haven’t seen in my six years in this community,” she said. “People are showing up and saying, ‘Where do I sign up?’ and ‘How can I help?’” Continue reading →
LANSING — Attorneys married to someone on active duty in the military would be admitted to the Michigan Bar without taking the exam, if a pair of bills passes.
Introduced by Reps. Robert Wittenberg, D-Oak Park, and David Maturen, R-Vicksburg, this two-bill bipartisan package passed the House and was voted through the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously.
It would make it easier on military spouses who already passed the bar in one state when they follow their husband or wife to duty in Michigan.
“Military families move, on average, every two to three years,” said Angela Allen, an attorney at Jenner & Block and military spouse to an Illinois National Guard member, who also serves as the Illinois director for the Military Spouse J.D. Network. To obtain a new bar license with every move is expensive, time-consuming and exhausting, she said.
These bills would make it easier for military families and allow for many military spouse attorneys to continue practicing law.Continue reading →
LANSING — Prison reform advocates worry that the lack of policies for solitary confinement in Michigan prisons has exacerbated violence and mental health problems among inmates.
Michigan has no age or time limits for putting inmates in administrative segregation, commonly known as solitary confinement. And while almost half the states ban solitary confinement for juveniles, Michigan does not.
“We need to have some sort of blanket reform here,” said Kristen Staley, deputy director of the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. “This is a big fight, but it has to happen.”
Some prisons have tried to reduce the use of solitary, said Staley. But that patchwork change is slow and that makes it ineffective. Continue reading →
LANSING — Only Montana’s drunken driving laws are worse than Michigan’s, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The group recently rated all states, giving Michigan just one star out of five and Montana half of one star. Idaho, Iowa, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Wyoming were tied for third-worst, with one-and-half stars each. No state earned five stars.
Michigan is the only one-star state.
Michigan isn’t using interlock devices enough, isn’t strict enough on people arrested for drunken driving, needs harsher penalties for people who drive drunk with kids in the car and police should be running sobriety checkpoints, according to MADD.
“Unfortunately, it’s in keeping with Michigan’s history,” said Fred Timpner, executive director of the Michigan Association of Police. He cited then-Gov. James Blanchard’s failed attempt to use sobriety checkpoints in the late 1980s as an example.Continue reading →