Lansing

Photo provided by the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich (AP) — A state building previously named after a slave owner now bears the name of two former state legislators who led efforts to reform Michigan’s civil rights laws. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials unveiled the new sign in a ceremony on Monday in Lansing, marking the first time in state history a state building is named after an African-American woman. Formerly known as the Lewis Cass Building, after a former U.S. senator from Michigan and slave owner, the building will now be called the Elliott-Larsen Building. Reps.

Photo provided by the State of Michigan

UPDATE:

Hair Cutting Protest Outside Michigan Capitol

May 20, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Police have ticketed seven people for cutting hair during a protest outside the Michigan Capitol, where about a dozen barbers and hair stylists defied stay-at-home orders to give free hair cuts. At one point, about 300 people attended Wednesday's demonstration organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition to protest the measures imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to curb the coronavirus. Seven barbers have been cited for disorderly conduct after being warned by state police. The cases were referred to the state attorney general.

The coronavirus crisis has forced many people to stay apart but for one newly married Michiana couple, the pandemic has had an unexpected perk. It's a modern day love story in the age of coronavirus.

Panel Forms Committee To Review Issue Of Guns At Michigan Capitol

May 11, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A commission that oversees the Michigan Capitol has formed a committee to study whether to ban or restrict guns inside the building. The State Capitol Commission voted Monday to seek input from the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The move comes after some lawmakers reported feeling intimidated by armed demonstrators protesting her orders to curb the coronavirus. Attorney General Dana Nessel says the panel can legally prohibit firearms in the Capitol. But some commission members wanted time to study the issue.

Michigan AG Says Guns May Be Banned At Capitol In Lansing

May 7, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya File)

BREAKING: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says guns may be banned in the state Capitol. Nessel said so in a letter today (Fri) to the Michigan Capitol Commission. The commission sets rules for the public areas of the building. The commission has an online meeting scheduled for Monday.
 

This action is being considered after a large number of people carrying guns and dressed in para-military gear were among those who gathered for a protest last week at the Capitol.    (Read more below from a press release issued by the State of Michigan.) 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has sent a letter to the Michigan State Capitol Commission confirming that the Commission has the legal authority to prohibit the presence of firearms in the state Capitol, if it chooses to do so. That authority is consistent with the current state of the law regarding firearms in public buildings and an informational letter sent to Speaker Chatfield in 2018. 

“The Capitol is a place for free expression of thought and debate. But the freedom of civil discourse does not imply the right to threaten others with harm or violence,” Nessel said. “In our current environment and as the chief law enforcement officer in this state, I am gravely concerned for the safety of both our legislative members and the public at large. 

“With exceptions to those tasked with protecting our Capitol, the only way to assure that a violent episode does not occur is to act in concert with the many other state legislatures around the nation that have banned firearms in their capital facilities. The employees at our Capitol and members of the public who visit are entitled to all the same protections as one would have at a courthouse and many other public venues. Public safety demands no less, and a lawmaker’s desire to speak freely without fear of violence requires action be taken.” 

The Commission, which manages the Capitol grounds and building, is made up of the Secretary of the Senate, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, two individuals jointly appointed by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House, and two individuals appointed by the Governor.  

Nessel wrote in her letter to commissioners that the Commission has the legal authority to ensure the “safety of the visiting public, as well as those who carry out the People’s work by prohibiting firearms within the Capitol building.” 

The Attorney General notes that the regulation of firearms generally stems from state statute, but the prohibition of firearms from public spaces does not need to originate from the Legislature.  

The Michigan Supreme Court, for example, adopted an administrative order that bars firearms from any courtroom, office or other space used for official court business or by judicial employees without prior approval. That order applies to open carry of firearms as well, Nessel notes, as it was cited in a Court of Appeals decision in an open carry challenge to a school district prohibition of weapons on school grounds. 

“The concept of ‘open carry’ in Michigan law does not provide the unfettered right to bring firearms into any public space,” Nessel wrote in her letter. 

The Supreme Court also ruled that state law, which preempts regulations by local units of government, does not apply to school districts. Therefore, a non-local unit of government – such as a school district, the Supreme Court or the Michigan State Capitol Commission – may lawfully impose regulations that impact firearms. 

Nessel notes in her letter that residents are currently permitted to enter the Capitol while clad in body armor and armed with high-capacity loaded semi-automatic assault weapons. 

“This is permitted during active legislative sessions and during moments of controversial debate where emotions and passions are known to run hot,” she wrote. “At the risk of stating the obvious, this is an absurdly dangerous combination that would cause the heart of any security expert to skip a beat.” 

During recent protests at the Capitol, many residents have been carrying firearms leading lawmakers and other Capitol employees to express that they felt threatened and feared for their safety. 

Nessel’s position on restrictions to open carry and weapons possession is consistent with guidance provided to House leaders from the previous administration of the Attorney General’s office

Paul Sancya / AP / File

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Protesters are back at the Michigan Capitol to denounce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-home order and business restrictions. They're try to put pressure on Republican lawmakers who are meeting to consider extending Whitmer's coronavirus emergency declaration hours before it expires.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/potterparkzoo/posts/?ref=page_internal

UPDATE:

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Lansing zoo is holding a naming contest for a rare black rhino calf that was born on Christmas Eve.

Potter Park Zoo officials have released a list of six potential names for the male calf, which is a member of a critically endangered species.

The names include options in Swahili and Afrikaans. Zoo fans can cast ballots online with a donation.

Proceeds will go to development of the zoo's animal health program.

The contest ends Jan. 8. Zoo officials say there are only 54 black rhinos in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

3 Dead, 3 Hurt In Small Plane Crash Near Michigan Airport

Oct 3, 2019
wkar.org

DEWITT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say three people have died and three others were injured after a single-engine plane crashed near Capital Region International Airport in mid-Michigan.

Airport spokesman Spencer Flynn says the pilot was approaching to land at the Lansing-area airport when “something went wrong” and the six-passenger plane crashed about 9 a.m. on Thursday.

Fernando Vergara/AP Photo

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she would veto a bill to ban state buildings from flying anything other than the U.S. and Michigan flags. A Republican lawmaker proposed the measure after the gay pride flag was displayed outside Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Lansing office.

Steve Luciano/AP Photo

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Pride flags are flying on the state office building in Lansing for the first time in Michigan's history.

Jennfer Metz/Michigan State Historic Preservation Office

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The historic Lansing campus where the Michigan School for the Blind operated for more than a century is on track to reopen as a housing development by early next year.