👋 Happy Sunday! No snappy intro to this week’s newsletter, just a reminder that we’re living through unprecedented times.
Donald Trump on Thursday became the first ex-president to be indicted for a crime, when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced a long-awaited grand jury decision.
- This historic development, including the responses rippling through Michigan, tops our five big stories of the week.
That’s how former Michigan congressman Peter Meijer described Trump’s indictment on charges likely related to an alleged $130,000 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign.
🔴 Republicans like Meijer quickly came to Trump’s defense on social media, arguing the prosecution is politically motivated and is setting a damaging precedent.
- It’s “a mockery of our justice system,” U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga tweeted.
Kristina Karamo, chair of the Michigan GOP, called it “weaponization of our government against citizens.”
- Thursday was “a dark day in American history,” the MIGOP said officially.
🔵 On the Democratic side, congresswoman Debbie Dingell called for peace and calm, adding “our judicial system will do its job.”
- “No one is above the law. Right?” state Rep. Betsy Coffia, D-Traverse City, tweeted.
🏛️ Trump is expected to turn himself in Tuesday, which will involve being photographed and fingerprinted at a Manhattan courthouse.
- A judge will arraign him on charges currently under seal.
Trump has maintained his innocence, and his 2024 campaign raised more than $4 million in the 24 hours post-indictment.
➕ More: Among 160 years of presidential scandals, Trump stands alone
Your Michigan tax refund next year may be a little bigger thanks to a reduction in the state income tax.
🧮 The math: An unmarried filer with no children making Michigan’s median income – $52,500 – would get an extra $95 back, according to the state treasury department.
- For the average taxpayer, it will be $50.
- The income tax rate automatically dropped from 4.25% to 4.05% this year as the state took in more money than expected.
“Heading into the next fiscal year, Michigan is enjoying a record budgetary surplus, which analysts estimated may be as large as $9 billion after a 14% jump in revenue,” MLive’s Simon Schuster writes.
⌛ Limited time only: The cut will only last for one year, Attorney General Dana Nessel said in an advisory opinion.
Flint-area congressman Dan Kildee announced Friday he was diagnosed with a serious but curable form of cancer.
✍️ “Thankfully, I caught it very early. With early detection and great doctors, they found a very small tumor in one of my tonsils,” the Democrat said in a statement.
Diagnosis: Kildee said he was scanned a few weeks ago for a swollen lymph node. Doctors say he has squamous cell carcinoma.
- Kildee will have surgery in a few weeks to remove it, and his doctors say recovery will take a few weeks.
- “I am going to get through this. I’m going to beat cancer,” he said.
Although gun violence is the leading killer of children in the U.S., did you know its public health impacts aren’t even studied at the federal level?
A rider in the federal budget since 1996 has prevented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studying the problem.
- But a bill proposed by Michigan congresswoman Elissa Slotkin and Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, both Democrats, would change that.
🗣️ The Gun Violence Prevention Research Act would let the CDC “study the root causes of gun violence and help shine a light on the steps we can take to make our communities safer,” Slotkin announced Wednesday.
The CDC would get $50 million a year for five years to study the problem.
- There have been 131 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, per the Gun Violence Archive.
Slotkin also introduced these bills:
- One-week waiting period for buying a gun.
- Prohibit transfer of a gun for three years to someone after they were convicted of a misdemeanor during which they carried or possessed a gun.
✋ Reality check: The three bills are longshots to pass the Republican-led U.S. House.
The Michigan House recently passed a bill to eliminate an A-through-F letter system for schools.
Don’t be confused: This would drop the rating system for schools, not the grading system for students.
🅰️ The system “gives each public school in the state letter grades and ranking labels based on an annual performance review,” MLive’s Jordyn Hermani explained this week.
- The state education department then makes a list of the lowest performing schools.
It’s duplicative, the department argues, as there’s also a federally required 0-100 rating system based on factors like student proficiency, graduation rates and attendance.
- House Bill 4166 now heads to the Senate.
5 more stories from MLive:
✡️ Antisemitic tweets, threats could prompt changes to Michigan’s civil rights law
🎓 Dr. Fauci among speakers for 2023 MSU commencements
🥚 Michigan AG asks Kroger to properly label eggs from caged chickens
Ensuring parolees have state IDs critical to post-prison success, lawmakers, advocates say
🗣️ Child labor fines should be more than ‘mere pennies,’ Congresswoman Scholten says
➕ BONUS! You may have seen MLive data wiz Taylor DesOrmeau’s stories in this space before.
- 🥳 A well-earned congratulations to him this week on being named editor of our Kalamazoo newsroom.