Items of potential interest to government documents librarians or government information managers in Michigan. For more information contact Jon Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report Details Courser, Gamrat Misconduct
The long-awaited House Business Office report investigating Rep. Todd Courser and Rep. Cindy Gamrat released Monday said the two representatives were not only dishonest, but also used their staff, state time and resources to cover their extramarital affair and for attempted political and personal gain. While the report, which is a nine-page summary of the investigation, showed the two representatives likely broke campaign finance laws, it did not allege more serious criminal violations. However, Mr. Courser (R-Silverwood) and Ms. Gamrat (R-Plainwell) broke multiple House rules, the report said. The two also lied to the House Business Office and the public during the investigation, according to the report.
McBroom Wants Courser-Gamrat Committee To Wrap Up In Weeks
Rep. Ed McBroom, the newly named chair of the special committee to examine the House Business Office investigation into Rep. Cindy Gamrat and Rep. Todd Courser as it alleges the two used state resources to cover their extramarital affair and for attempted political and personal gains, said Monday he would like it to wrap up in a couple of weeks.
Report Murky On Whether House Properly Handled Allard, Graham Claims
House Speaker Kevin Cotter has come under heavy scrutiny about whether he and his staff properly handled the concerns from two of Rep. Todd Courser's and Rep. Cindy Gamrat's joint employees, but the summary report of the House Business Office investigation mostly absolves them of any mistakes.
Report: Campaign Finance Act Only Law Broken, No Referral To Law Enforcement
The only law that Rep. Todd Courser and Rep. Cindy Gamrat broke was the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, and at this point the House has not referred anything from the House Business Office investigation to law enforcement.
Whitmer Returns To Dickinson Wright Law Firm
Former Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer is rejoining the Dickinson Wright law firm where she started her legal career, the firm announced Monday.
DEQ Consolidates Water Use Permits System
Those needing water use or discharge permits now have a single website to visit under changes unveiled Monday by the Department of Environmental Quality. The new site, miwaters.deq.state.mi.us, includes applications for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, storm water, groundwater discharge, aquatic nuisance control, and land and water interface permits.
Advocates Urge Renewal Of Federal Nutrition Programs
With the programs scheduled to expire, advocates in Michigan gathered Monday to urge Congress to pass at least one of the pending bills to renew the Child Nutrition and WIC programs. Included in those programs are free and reduced school lunches, which benefit an average 602,928, and school breakfasts, which feed 3289,973.
Former Rep. Vera Rison Dies
Vera Rison, a long-time Genesee County leader and former House member, died over the weekend. Ms. Rison served three terms in the House after being elected in 1996 to succeed Rep. Floyd Clack, who left the chamber to take a county commission seat.
Commission Recommends Washtenaw Judge Be Removed
Washtenaw County District Judge Cedric Simpson should be removed from the bench for interfering with a police investigation involving his intern, the Judicial Tenure Commission recommended on Monday.
Supreme Court Announces Cases For October
A total of 11 cases. Including three "mini oral arguments on the application" for appeal, will open the 2015-16 term of the Supreme Court in October, and one case will look at whether a city can enact a prevailing wage statute. Among the "mini" arguments is one regarding whether documents in the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (created as part of the state's no-fault insurance act) are subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
Chinese Firm To Build New Headquarters In Northville, Snyder Says
On his return from his fifth trade mission to China, Governor Rick Snyder on Monday said CW Bearings USA has agreed to build a new headquarters for American operations in Northville Township. The company will invest $26 million into the project that should create 126 jobs, Mr. Snyder said.
Snyder Orders Flags Lowered For Trooper Wolf
Governor Rick Snyder has ordered U.S. flags lowered to half-staff on Tuesday in the Capitol Complex and at all state buildings in memory of State Police Trooper Chad Wolf, who died of injuries suffered in a traffic crash last week.
Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #54, Report 171, August 31, 2015. Full access requires a subscription or a visit to a subscribing library such as the Michigan State University Main Library. For assistance in accessing the database, stop by the MSU Library Reference Desk.
Reps. Todd Courser (R-Lapeer) and Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) used their taxpayer-funded staff to cover up an extramarital affair, to advance their political dreams and even to build a campaign database, a House investigation has found.
For Courser specifically, the new official report on the investigation alleged he had one staff member who did work for his Lapeer-based law firm while being paid by the House.
Plus, the report says, Courser instructed his House staff “to prioritize political tasks over legislative issues.”
For the full article, see "Investigation: Gamrat, Courser Misused Offices For `Political Advantage'", Inside MIRS Today, August 31, 2015.
Other topics covered include:
MIRSNews.com is available via the MSU Library electronic resources page. Access is restricted to the MSU community and other subscribers.
State Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat “misused” their House offices, staff and taxpayer resources “to cover-up an affair” and benefit “their own political advantage,” according to an internal House of Representatives report released Monday.
The report said “Representative Courser and Representative Gamrat are not credible witnesses” because their comments conflicted with documentary evidence and audios presented by their three former staff members that were deemed to be more accurate.
A 40-page summary of the House Business Office’s investigation, sparked by The Detroit News’ Aug. 7 revelation of Courser’s attempt to cover up the affair, alleges “deceptive, deceitful and outright dishonest conduct” by both Republican freshman representatives.
Courser and Gamrat’s unusual combined office “improperly and inextricably entwined political, personal, business and official state matters,” according to the report. “The use of state resources for non-official matters is an abuse of the office of State Representative.”
A special House committee — created on Aug. 19 — will meet Tuesday morning to review the summary report and other evidence of Courser and Gamrat’s conduct and determine whether they are fit to remain in office. The special panel of four Republicans and two Democrats is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. at the Capitol.
For the full article, see Chad Livengood, "Report: Courser, Gamrat misused offices to cover affair", Detroit News, August 31, 2015.
For another, see Nancy Kaffer, "Report makes Courser, Gamrat expulsion even likelier", Detroit Free Press, August 31, 2015.
The credit ratings of 43 school districts in Michigan have been downgraded so far this year by Moody’s Investors Service as they struggle with falling revenue and rising costs.
It’s no wonder, say financial experts. Districts are grappling with declining enrollment, and they can’t generate enough revenue because state law bars them from raising local property taxes for operating funds above 18 mills on non-homestead properties.
A credit downgrade, which can raise a district’s cost to borrow money, hits hardest the districts that have to borrow large amounts.
For the full article, see Shawn D. Lewis, "43 Michigan school districts’ credit ratings cut", Detroit News, August 31, 2015.
Lindsay VanHulle, "Swearing, sex and the path to a roads deal" : Lansing is getting rid of antiquated criminal laws and addressing the Courser and Gamrat mess. But a roads fix must wait until the fall.
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