Monday, July 4

Lawmakers scramble to save abortion rights, Democrat flips conservative House district: The week in Michigan politics


LANSING, MI — Abortions could soon become illegal in the state if the Michigan Supreme Court fails to act before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade by summer.

A leak of a draft opinion obtained by Politico Monday showed what many have anticipated in recent months, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, since Justice Amy Comey Barrett’s confirmation furthered the Supreme Court’s conservative majority — that the court is expected to overturn the landmark 1973 decision that has guaranteed women the right to an abortion for the last 49 years.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said abortions will become illegal in Michigan “immediately” once Roe v. Wade is overturned, because of a 1931 law banning abortions apart from those necessary to preserve the mother’s life.

The law is still on the books in Michigan.

National attention turned to Michigan’s 74th House District special election after Carol Glanville became the first Democrat to represent the Kent County district since 1983. She defeated Republican Robert Regan, an election conspirator who made bizarre comments about rape that drew condemnation from Democrats and Republicans. Michigan GOP spokesperson Gustavo Portela said this week that Regan was “possibly the worst candidate I’ve ever seen.”

Glanville will face a new challenger after the term ends Jan. 1, 2023. Due to redistricting, the May election was the last time the current configuration of the 74th District will be in play.

“My opponent’s extreme, violent, and antisemitic views have no place in state government and tonight the people of the 74th District made clear that they won’t stand for extremism,” Glanville said in a statement.

Here’s more from the week in Michigan politics:

Abortion could be illegal soon in Michigan: What to know about Roe v. Wade fallout

Pro-choice rally at Michigan Capitol

Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow speaks on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building to protesters gathered in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. Sen. McMorrow was a guest speaker for a rally organized by Planned Parenthood Michigan in response to the leaked Supreme Court majority opinion suggesting that court is likely to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the United States. (Daniel Shular | MLive.com)Daniel Shular | MLive.com

Michigan is one of dozens of states where abortion could be illegal should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision which has guaranteed the right to abortion for Americans for nearly five decades.

Michigan Democrats have two potential tools to block the state’s 1931 law banning abortions: A citizens-led ballot initiative, and lawsuits from Planned Parenthood and Whitmer.

Whitmer filed a lawsuit April 7 asking courts to strike down the 1931 law and resolve whether abortion is enshrined in the state’s constitution. Planned Parenthood of Michigan also filed a lawsuit, the same day, to block enforcement of Michigan’s abortion ban.

There is also a petition initiative that has been collecting signatures since earlier this year, which would amend Michigan’s state constitution to guarantee abortion rights. It needs about 425,000 signatures by mid-July to qualify for the November ballot.

The Michigan Legislature could also repeal the state’s 1931 abortion ban. But to do so, it would have to pass through the Republican-controlled House and Senate, whose leaders have indicated they want to keep the law.

Michigan Democrats want state to be among first to host 2024 presidential primary

The Democratic National Committee is entertaining a revamped order for its 2024 presidential primaries, and Michigan is one of 16 states interested in going earlier.

The Michigan Democratic Party submitted a letter of interest to the DNC this week, saying it wants Michigan’s primary to be in the early “pre-window,” per a news release from the state party.

Earlier voting states typically have a larger influence on the choice. In 2020, Michigan’s Democratic primary was March 10 — more than a month after Iowa kicked off the voting.

Democrat lands upset victory over controversial Republican for state House’s 74th District in Kent County

Carol Glanville

Democrat Carol Glanville won the special election Tuesday, May 3, for a partial term representing the state House’s 74th District. (Photo provided by Carol Glanville)

Democrat Carol Glanville won the House seat during a special election Tuesday, May 3, taking 7,288 of 14,102 votes, or about 51.7%, according to the unofficial results from the Kent County Clerk’s Office.

Republicans were favored to take the district, as Republicans have held the seat since 1993.

The Republican primary winner, Regan, drew controversy and national attention in March after drawing a comparison between accepting the 2020 presidential election results with enjoying unavoidable rape. Regan said he believes the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

State superintendent urges Michigan lawmakers to invest more in K-12 system

The House, Senate and governor’s office have each put together their own budget proposals for the state’s School Aid Fund, which provides funding for 537 school districts, 293 public school academies and 56 intermediate school districts across the state.

All three budget drafts propose varying increases to the per-pupil foundation and varying levels of investment in areas like mental health, teacher retention and school safety.

While the governor’s budget increases categorical funding for all five student groups, the Senate and House budgets do not increase funding for rural students, low-income students and English language learners. The Senate budget also fails to increase funding for CTE students and disabled students.

State Superintendent Michael Rice said that simply adding a couple hundred dollars to the per-pupil allotment is not enough to support Michigan’s schools.

“In the absence of categorical funding, school safety funding, children’s mental health funding, infrastructure modernization funding, and the teacher recruitment and staff retention funding, this is not the budget that we need for Michigan school children,” Rice said, of the House and Senate budget proposals.

ALSO ON MLIVE:

Abortion could be illegal soon in Michigan: What to know about Roe v. Wade fallout

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