Two Michigan State Representatives Excluded From House Committees


TTwo Michigan House members were stripped of their committee duties this week after, respectively, an alleged incident of domestic violence and a struggling representative allegedly slipped a key out of handcuffs in jail.

The first case concerns allegations by State Representative Mari Manoogian, D-Birmingham, who said she was in a “volatile relationship” with someone who has committed domestic violence. Shortly after, Representative Steve Marino of the Township of R-Harrison was removed from his committees. Michigan State Police are investigating. The nature of the dispute is not clear.

House Speaker Jason Wentworth R-Clare stripped Marino of his duties as chairman of the trade committee and member of the local government committee.

Manoogian explained in a declaration with the leader of the parliamentary minority Donna Lasinski, canton of D-Scio.

“The sad reality is that many people in our society have been victims of domestic violence, which often comes from someone we would never expect,” they said. “None of us are immune to a volatile relationship, no matter what our career. It can happen right here in our legislature, where abuse of power and threats to ruin a colleague’s reputation, as well as threats of public humiliation, can be used to intimidate other members of the legislature. ”

Lasinski asked for confidentiality.

“I will always put the safety of our members first,” Lasinski said in a statement. “I support Representative Manoogian and her request for confidentiality. Our caucus is keenly aware of the challenges of being an elected woman and will not tolerate threats of abuse, retaliation and public embarrassment that are used to intimidate women.

It is not clear what happened. In a statement on Thursday, Marino admitted the two were in a relationship that ended over a year ago, but said the allegations were “nothing more than personal injury. of a political nature ”.

“She sat on a committee that I chaired,” Marino said. “I regret that I accepted his request not to disclose the previous relationship with the president. However, I will be clear: the innuendos made are nothing more than an assault on the politician who I am. sure, will end as a waste of the public’s time.I look forward to fulfilling my duties and maintaining the confidence that I have worked so hard to build in my seven years in the public service.

“I will always prioritize the safety of state lawmakers and those who serve their communities on the State Capitol,” Wentworth said in a statement. Once I learned of this situation, I took immediate action. Going forward, the House will honor Representative Manoogian’s request for confidentiality while others examine the allegations. ”

Wentworth said they would share more “timely” updates.

“The Chamber will continue to assist in the Michigan State Police investigation, take every precaution to ensure the safety of Representative Manoogian, and ultimately allow the legal process to unfold.”

In the second case of a current lawmaker stripped of his committee duties, troubled Jewell Jones representative D-Inkster made national headlines after an arrest in April for driving while intoxicated with a loaded gun and resistance to the police. Jones was shown a badge when asked for ID, then threatened to call Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and cut police budgets shortly before her arrest, according to the News reported .

Jones subsequently violated his parole three times and allegedly slipped a handcuff key in prison.

“Representative. Jewell Jones’ increasingly disruptive and distracting behavior in the months following her arrest in April has eroded my confidence in her ability to do people’s jobs,” Wentworth said in a statement. hit a new low yesterday when he appears to have made a bizarre attempt to escape jail, which could lead to two new charges. Steps must be taken to protect the public interest. I now remove Representative Jones from all committees of the House and encourage him to use this time to make changes and take control of his actions.

Wentworth removed him from seats on the Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee and the Regulatory Reform Committee.

“The Michigan House of Representatives will continue to make sure he has access to all the services and support we have to assist him on his journey,” Wentworth said. “I sincerely hope that he finally takes advantage of these opportunities and receives the help he needs. The people he serves are counting on him to do it.