Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. EST

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Whitmer asks Michigan Legislature for statewide mask law

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is urging the Michigan Legislature to impose a statewide mask-wearing law to fight the coronavirus. The Democratic governor said Thursday that she asked Republican leaders to pass a measure requiring masks indoors and in crowded outdoor areas. That’s already state policy under an emergency order. But Whitmer says compliance might improve if the requirement were made law with bipartisan support. Michigan continues to shatter records for coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are steadily rising. Whitmer says mask wearing is the single most important weapon in the fight against the virus.

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-MICHIGAN

Peters says James’ refusal to concede election ‘pathetic’

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Celebrating his reelection, Sen. Gary Peters is pledging to fight for Democratic values and be bipartisan in his second term while saying it is “sad” and “pathetic” that Republican challenger John James refuses to concede defeat. James, without citing evidence, issued a written statement Thursday saying he had “deep concerns that millions of Michiganders may have been disenfranchised by a dishonest few who cheat.” Peters, who won, was up by about 87,000 votes, or 1.6%, with almost all precincts reporting. Peters laughed off James, calling his allegations “sad” and “pathetic.”

WOMAN SLAIN

Arrests made in ’17 slaying of suburban Detroit woman

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say two people have been arrested in the slaying of a suburban Detroit woman who was shot and bound with Christmas lights in 2017. State police disclosed the arrests but offered no other details. Egypt Covington was a 27-year-old musician, singer and account manager for a beer distributor. Covington was found dead in June 2017 at her home in Van Buren Township. Covington’s older brother, D’Wayne Turner, said he had urged state police to pick up the case from local police. In 2017, Arbor Brewing created a beer, A Girl Named Egypt, to honor Covington.

ELECTION 2020-COLORADO-WOLVES

Colorado agency says it’s planning on wolf reintroduction

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s wildlife agency says it considers a ballot initiative to reintroduce the gray wolf into the state to have passed after a group that opposes the initiative conceded the race and after the agency consulted with the office of Gov. Jared Polis. An announcement by Colorado Parks and Wildlife that it would begin planning for an eventual restoration of wolves in the state came even though thousands of ballots are still uncounted and another group opposed to the initiative said it was not conceding. Coloradans Protecting Wildlife and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association issued statements saying it appeared that the initiative would succeed. Other opposition groups made no such declaration. 

MICHIGAN HOUSE-NEW LEADERS

Republicans continue majority in Michigan’s state House

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans will continue to hold the majority in Michigan’s state House following Tuesday’s election. The party holds the same 58-52 edge it did in 2018, despite some expectations that the GOP would lose seats. Republicans have secured House leadership for six consecutive terms. With that advantage, state Rep. Rep. Jason Wentworth from Clare takes over as House speaker. The previous speaker, Rep. Lee Chatfield of Levering was unable to run for re-election due to term limits. Wentworth told reporters Thursday at the state Capitol that he looks forward to working with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer whose relationship with Republicans in the state legislature has been strained since she took office two years ago.

ELECTION 2020-TURNOUT

Record 5.5M voted in Michigan; highest percentage in decades

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — More than 5.5 million people voted in Michigan’s presidential election. That’s most ever and the highest percentage of voting-age residents to cast a ballot in 60 years. The number of voters smashed the record of 5 million in 2008. About 71% of those age 18 and older voted. The only general election in the past 72 years with a larger portion was 1960. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Thursday it was “particularly inspiring and encouraging” that more than 28,000 people took advantage of a new option and registered and voted on Election Day.

ELECTION 2020-TRUMP LAWSUIT

Trump campaign loses legal challenge over ballot counting

DETROIT (AP) — President Donald Trump’s campaign has lost a legal challenge to Michigan’s absentee ballot counting. The GOP claimed state election officials had prevented a sufficient number of Republican observers to watch the process. But Judge Cynthia Stephens says the counting is over. The Associated Press has declared Joe Biden the winner in Michigan. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson denies that Republicans were shut out of the vote counting process. The lawsuit was filed while pro-Trump protesters were at TCF Center in Detroit where absentee ballots were being counted. There were Republican observers inside.   

ELECTION 2020-ANTRIM COUNTY

Small Michigan county goes back to the win column for Trump

BELLAIRE, Mich. (AP) — President Donald Trump didn’t win Michigan. But he can put a small county in the victory column after an unusual second look at the results. Trump defeated Joe Biden in Antrim County, getting 56% of the vote. Questions were raised after the county first reported a local landslide for Biden in an area that usually votes Republican. Officials promised a second look. It wasn’t a full recount of every ballot. Results that were spit out by vote machines were tallied again. Officials were working with the company that provides election software and hardware to determine what happened. 

AP-US-ELECTION-2020-LEGAL-CHALLENGES-POLL-WATCHERS

Poll watchers emerge as a flashpoint in battle over ballots

Election officials in key battleground states are pushing back on claims by the Trump campaign that Republican poll watchers were being improperly denied access to observe the counting of ballots. They say rules are being followed and they are committed to transparency. Partisan poll watchers are designated by a political party or campaign and tasked this year with monitoring a record number of mail ballots. They are also a central element of legal battles that have erupted in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Nevada. Monitoring polling places and election offices is allowed in most states, but rules vary and there are limits to avoid harassment or intimidation. 

ELECTION 2020-JUDGE-NAME

Another Judge Hathaway elected after candidate changes name

DETROIT (AP) — It doesn’t hurt to be a Hathaway to become a judge in Wayne County. Nicholas Hathaway will join his wife as a judge on the Detroit-area Circuit Court after changing his last name to hers and winning election. Hathaway finished second Tuesday in a four-candidate race for two seats on the court. Hathaway legally changed his name last year from Nicholas Bobak. He’s married to Judge Dana Hathaway. By blood or by marriage, at least 10 members of the Hathaway family have served as Wayne County judges over the last two decades.