Daily Briefs

Redistricting commission sued over deadline for new maps

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan commission drawing new maps for seats in Congress and the Legislature is being sued over its plan to skip a Nov. 1 deadline to create the districts.

The lawsuit by a Detroit-area activist means the Michigan Supreme Court could ultimately get involved. The court earlier this year turned down the commission's request for new deadlines  and legal cover from lawsuits.

The commission hopes to have maps ready for a final vote by Dec. 30, citing a delay in detailed census data. Critics, however, said an earlier deadline in the Michigan Constitution can't be ignored.

"Despite having the required 2020 census data, the defendant has chosen to deliberately ignore the clear mandate" in the constitution, Robert Davis said in a lawsuit Tuesday.

The commission was approved by voters to take mapmaking out of the hands of lawmakers and the governor. Four are aligned with the Democratic Party, four with the Republican Party and five with no party.


Whitmer proposes spending $200M to replace lead water pipes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday proposed spending $200 million in federal pandemic relief funding to replace lead water pipes across Michigan, where aging underground infrastructure was exposed by Flint's disaster.

The plan, if approved by the Legislature, would set aside $20 million to replace all of the lines in Benton Harbor in five years. The majority Black city in the state's southwestern corner has been exceeding the federal lead limit since 2018.

That year, Michigan began enforcing the nation's strictest rules for lead in drinking water in the wake of the crisis in the majority Black city of Flint. The regulations will result in replacing every lead service pipe statewide by 2038 unless a utility can show regulators it will take longer.

"Every Michigander deserves access to safe drinking water and every community deserves lead-free pipes," the Democratic governor said in a statement.

The proposal would expand upon a water plan that Whitmer announced nearly a year ago, including $102 million to replace lead service lines in disadvantaged communities. In June, Republicans who control the Senate unveiled a $2.5 billion water infrastructure proposal that would be funded primarily with federal COVID-19 relief aid. Their plan includes $600 million for pipe replacements, triple what the governor is seeking.

Whitmer said more money is needed to replace all pipes but noted the state is expected to get additional funds under President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion infrastructure agenda, which is pending in Congress.

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