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The federal government subsidized the construction of interstate highways , which were intended to strengthen military access, but also allowed commuters and business traffic to travel the region more easily. Since , modern advances in the auto industry have led to increased automation, high-tech industry, and increased suburban growth. Detroit is the centrally located metropolitan area of the Great Lakes Megalopolis and the second-largest metropolitan area in the U. The Grand Rapids metropolitan area in Western Michigan is the state's fastest-growing metro area, with over 1.

Metro Detroit receives more than 15 million visitors each year. On November 6, , the state electorate voted to pass Proposal 2 that amended the state constitution to create a independent redistrict commission. Michigan is governed as a republic, with three branches of government: The power of initiative extends only to laws which the legislature may enact under this constitution".

Lansing is the state capital and is home to all three branches of state government. The governor and the other state constitutional officers serve four-year terms and may be re-elected only once. The governor is Gretchen Whitmer. Michigan has two official Governor's Residences ; one is in Lansing, and the other is at Mackinac Island. The other constitutionally elected executive officers are the lieutenant governor , who is elected on a joint ticket with the governor, the secretary of state , and the attorney general.

The lieutenant governor presides over the Senate but only voting when ties occur, and is also a member of the cabinet. The secretary of state is the chief elections officer and is charged with running many licensure programs including motor vehicles, all of which are done through the branch offices of the secretary of state. Members of both houses of the legislature are elected through first past the post elections by single-member electoral districts of near-equal population that often have boundaries which coincide with county and municipal lines.

Senators serve four-year terms concurrent to those of the governor, while representatives serve two-year terms. The Michigan State Capitol was dedicated in and has hosted the executive and legislative branches of the state ever since. The Michigan judiciary consists of two courts with primary jurisdiction the Circuit Courts and the District Courts , one intermediate level appellate court the Michigan Court of Appeals , and the Michigan Supreme Court.

There are several administrative courts and specialized courts. District courts are often responsible for handling the preliminary examination and for setting bail in felony cases. District court judges are elected to terms of six years. In a few locations, municipal courts have been retained to the exclusion of the establishment of district courts.

Circuit courts are also the only trial courts in the State of Michigan which possess the power to issue equitable remedies. Circuit courts have appellate jurisdiction from district and municipal courts, as well as from decisions and decrees of state agencies.

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Most counties have their own circuit court, but sparsely populated counties often share them. Circuit court judges are elected to terms of six years.

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State appellate court judges are elected to terms of six years, but vacancies are filled by an appointment by the governor. Cases are heard by the Court of Appeals by panels of three judges, who examine the application of the law and not the facts of the case unless there has been grievous error pertaining to questions of fact. The Michigan Supreme Court consists of seven members who are elected on non-partisan ballots for staggered eight-year terms. The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction only in narrow circumstances but holds appellate jurisdiction over the entire state judicial system.

Michigan has had four constitutions , the first of which was ratified on October 5 and 6, Michigan, like every U. Voters in the state elect candidates from both major parties. Economic issues are important in Michigan elections. The state has elected successive Republican attorneys general twice since Bush , and Donald Trump.

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The Governor Gretchen Whitmer —present is a Democrat. In contrast, the state supported Democratic candidates in each presidential election from to Senator Debbie Stabenow , a Democrat, has served since after narrowly beating former Republican U. Senator Spencer Abraham in the elections. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell , a Democrat, became the first person to succeed a living spouse when she replaced former Dean of the House of Representatives John Dingell in Republican strongholds of the state include rural areas of Western and Northern Michigan , the Grand Rapids metropolitan area, and Livingston County.

Much of suburban Detroit—which includes parts of Oakland , Macomb , and Wayne counties—is politically competitive between the two parties. Historically, the first county-level meeting of the Republican Party took place in Jackson on July 6, , [34] and the party thereafter dominated Michigan until the Great Depression. In the election , Michigan was one of the six states to support progressive Republican and third-party candidate Theodore Roosevelt for president after he lost the Republican nomination to William Howard Taft.

Michigan remained fairly reliably Republican at the presidential level for much of the 20th century.

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It was part of Greater New England, the northern tier of states settled chiefly by migrants from New England who carried their culture with them. Dewey in his losing bid against Harry S. Michigan went to the Democrats in presidential elections during the s and voted for the Republican candidate in every election from to Between and it supported the Democrats; early on in , it was pegged as a swing state , and was narrowly won by the G. Born in Nebraska, he moved as an infant to Grand Rapids.

In Michigan became the first state in the Union, as well as the first English-speaking government in the world, [37] [38] to abolish the death penalty. Historian David Chardavoyne has suggested the movement to abolish capital punishment in Michigan grew as a result of enmity toward the state's neighbor, Canada. Under British rule, it made public executions a regular practice.

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Michigan has recognized and performed same-sex marriages since June 26, , following the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. On November 6, , Michigan approved a proposal to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. State government is decentralized among three tiers—statewide, county and township. Counties are administrative divisions of the state, and townships are administrative divisions of a county. Both of them exercise state government authority, localized to meet the particular needs of their jurisdictions, as provided by state law.

There are 83 counties in Michigan. Cities, state universities , and villages are vested with home rule powers of varying degrees. Home rule cities can generally do anything not prohibited by law. The fifteen state universities have broad power and can do anything within the parameters of their status as educational institutions that is not prohibited by the state constitution. Villages, by contrast, have limited home rule and are not completely autonomous from the county and township in which they are located.

There are two types of township in Michigan: Charter township status was created by the Legislature in and grants additional powers and stream-lined administration in order to provide greater protection against annexation by a city.


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In general, charter townships have many of the same powers as a city but without the same level of obligations. For example, a charter township can have its own fire department, water and sewer department, police department, and so on—just like a city—but it is not required to have those things, whereas cities must provide those services. Charter townships can opt to use county-wide services instead, such as deputies from the county sheriff's office instead of a home-based force of ordinance officers. Lawrence watershed and is the only state with the majority of its land thus drained. It has more public golf courses , registered boats and lighthouses than any other state.

The state is bounded on the south by the states of Ohio and Indiana , sharing land and water boundaries with both. Michigan's western boundaries are almost entirely water boundaries, from south to north, with Illinois and Wisconsin in Lake Michigan; then a land boundary with Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, that is principally demarcated by the Menominee and Montreal Rivers ; then water boundaries again, in Lake Superior, with Wisconsin and Minnesota to the west, capped around by the Canadian province of Ontario to the north and east.

The heavily forested Upper Peninsula is relatively mountainous in the west. The surface on either side of this range is rugged. The peninsula is as large as Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island combined but has fewer than , inhabitants.

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They are sometimes called "Yoopers" from "U. The Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten and many residents hold up a hand to depict where they are from. The surface of the peninsula is generally level, broken by conical hills and glacial moraines usually not more than a few hundred feet tall. It is divided by a low water divide running north and south. The larger portion of the state is on the west of this and gradually slopes toward Lake Michigan. The geographic orientation of Michigan's peninsulas makes for a long distance between the ends of the state. Ironwood , in the far western Upper Peninsula, lies miles 1, kilometers by highway from Lambertville in the Lower Peninsula's southeastern corner.

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The geographic isolation of the Upper Peninsula from Michigan's political and population centers makes the U. A feature of Michigan that gives it the distinct shape of a mitten is the Thumb. This peninsula projects out into Lake Huron and the Saginaw Bay.


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  • The geography of the Thumb is mainly flat with a few rolling hills. Other peninsulas of Michigan include the Keweenaw Peninsula , making up the Copper Country region of the state. See Also Michigan Regions.

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