Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EDT

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GOVERNOR’S POWERS

Michigan Supreme Court strikes down governor’s virus orders

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has struck down months of orders by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that were aimed at that were aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The court says Whitmer illegally drew authority from a 1945 law that doesn’t apply. The court determined that the law was an “unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution.” The decision is an extraordinary development in a monthslong tug-of-war between Whitmer, a Democrat, and the Republicans who control the Legislature. They’ve complained that they’ve been shut out of major orders that have restricted education, the economy and health care.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Whitmer moves UP back after surge of virus cases

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered the Upper Peninsula back to phase four of her reopening plan, pointing to a surge of coronavirus cases. The move, which takes effect Oct. 9, will leave just the Traverse City region as the only part of the state in phase five. In phase four, Upper Peninsula residents who can work remotely will be required to do so, and crowd sizes at social gatherings and organized events will have to be smaller. Also, K-12 students will have to wear a mask in class.

THREE DEAD-BOY

Police hunt for ‘monsters’ in 3 deaths; 6-year-old a victim

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — Police suspect drugs were at the root of three killings, including the death of a 6-year-old suburban Detroit boy. Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer hopes federal authorities join the case and seek the death penalty. Michigan doesn’t have the death penalty for murder. No arrests have been made. Detroit police found a man’s body in a burned-out car Thursday. Investigators contacted Warren police to notify the man’s family. Police then found the bodies of the boy and a 28-year-old woman in the basement of a home. Dwyer says only “monsters and godless creatures” would kill a boy execution-style.

ELECTION 2020-MICHIGAN BALLOTS

Appeals court will take absentee ballot dispute next week

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A controversy over absentee ballots is on a fast track at the Michigan Court of Appeals. The court said a three-judge panel will meet Oct. 9 but will rely on legal briefs and not hear arguments. The Republican-controlled Legislature is appealing an order that requires the counting of absentee ballots long after Election Day. A judge says ballots can be counted if postmarked by Nov. 2 and delivered within 14 days after the Nov. 3 election. Judge Cynthia Stephens pointed to mail delays during the coronavirus pandemic. The Legislature intervened in the case after Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, both Democrats, said they would not fight the decision.

STATE WORKERS-UNION DUES

Judge won’t block policy on union dues from state workers

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has refused to halt a new policy that will reduce the flow of union dues paid by thousands of Michigan state workers unless they personally authorize them each year. The rule by the Michigan Civil Service Commission was challenged by labor unions as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s contracts clause and the First Amendment. But federal Judge George Caram Steeh declined a request for an injunction. He notes that the commission has sent several emails to workers about how to renew their payroll deductions.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNEMPLOYMENT

Michigan: People who exhaust unemployment get 20 weeks more

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — People who exhaust 39 weeks of unemployment benefits in Michigan are eligible for up to 20 weeks of additional payments. The federal extended benefits program kicked in because Michigan has had an unemployment rate of 8% or higher for three straight months during the coronavirus pandemic. People out of work get up to 26 weeks of regular benefits and an additional 13 weeks because of the virus outbreak. Their weekly payment will be the same as what they received for regular unemployment insurance and not include the since-expired supplemental federal benefit of $600 and later $300.  

BUS SERVICE STOPPED-DETROIT

Detroit bus drivers won’t work; rides stop for thousands

DETROIT (AP) — Bus riders are stranded in Detroit as drivers concerned about the coronavirus refused to report to work Friday. A union official says drivers are having conflicts with riders about wearing masks and facing other challenges. Detroit buses serve an average of 85,000 people a day. In March, early in the pandemic, drivers staged a strike over safety and the condition of their buses. In response, Detroit eliminated fares, promised more cleaning and told riders to enter and exit from the rear door only. Masks are mandatory.

AP-US-ELECTION-2020-DETROIT-ROBOCALLS

Conservative hoaxers face charges over false voter robocalls

Two conservative activists have been charged with multiple felonies in Michigan for a series of false robocalls that aimed to dissuade urban residents in Detroit and other cities from voting by mail. Twenty-two-year-old Jacob Wohl and 54-year-old Jack Burkman were each charged Thursday with four felony counts in Detroit, including intimidating voters, conspiracy and using a computer to commit crimes. The calls falsely warned residents in majority-Black Detroit and urban areas in at least four other states that voting by mail in the Nov. 3 election could subject people to arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination. In August, the men denied involvement. 

ELECTION 2020-DETROIT-ROBOCALLS

Conservative hoaxers face charges over false voter robocalls

Two notorious conservative activists have been charged with multiple felonies in Michigan for a series of false robocalls that aimed to dissuade urban residents in Detroit and other cities from voting by mail. Jacob Wohl, 22, and Jack Burkman, 54, each were charged Thursday with four felony counts in Detroit, including intimidating voters in violation of election law, conspiracy and using a computer to commit crimes. The calls falsely warned residents in majority-Black Detroit and urban areas in at least four other states that voting by mail in the Nov. 3 election could subject people to arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination. In August, the men denied involvement. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says the pair created and funded them.

AP-US-VOTERS-OF-COLOR-DEBATE-REACTION

Trump debate comment pushing Black Americans, others to vote

DETROIT (AP) — Black Americans and other people of color say President Donald Trump’s refusal to outright condemn white nationalists during this week’s debate has strengthened their resolve to vote. Trump also urged his supporters to monitor polling sites during the debate. For many Black Americans, it was a harsh reminder that the nation has yet to fully grapple with its history of systemic racism laid bare this year by protests against police killings of Black people, the coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting economic fallout. Activists say they hope it will power voters to head to the polls.