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Michigan Bottlers Still Get Free Water, Despite Whitmer’s Tough Talk

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had pledged to crack down on bottled water companies taking water at the same time Flint, Michigan, faced a water crisis. Six years later and in her second term, little has changed.

Reporting From the Midwest

Our team in the Midwest covers Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri. Based in Chicago, it grew out of our first regional publishing operation, which focused on people living and working in Illinois. Read more.

The Price Kids Pay

An Illinois School District’s Reliance on Police to Ticket Students Is Discriminatory, Civil Rights Complaint Says

Two civil rights groups are asking the U.S. Department of Education to force Rockford Public Schools, the third-largest district in Illinois, to stop discriminatory discipline involving police.

America’s Dairyland

What You Need to Know If You’re Hurt While Working on a Wisconsin Dairy Farm

We spoke to lawyers, health care providers, government officials and others to help workers understand their rights if they’re injured on the job.

New York Education Department Hindered an Abuse Investigation at Boarding School for Autistic Youth

A state judge ruled that the agency must cooperate in a disability rights investigation into Shrub Oak International School. A ProPublica investigation found that would-be whistleblowers could not get state authorities to intervene at the school.

Local Reporting Network Partners

ProPublica is supporting local and regional newsrooms as they work on important investigative projects affecting their communities. Some of our past and present partners in the region:

Chicago Tribune
Chicago, Illinois
The Southern Illinoisan
Carbondale, Illinois
WBEZ
Chicago, Illinois
The Daily Herald
Arlington Heights, Illinois
The Business Journal
Youngstown, Ohio
Outlier Media
Detroit, Michigan

How Illinois’ Hands-Off Approach to Homeschooling Leaves Children at Risk

At 9 years old, L.J. started missing school. His parents said they would homeschool him. It took two years — during which he was beaten and denied food — for anyone to notice he wasn’t learning.

¿Qué hago si me lesiono en el trabajo en una granja de Wisconsin?

Esta guía explica sus derechos en ranchos grandes y pequeños. Se basa en entrevistas con abogados y otros expertos.

A Security Camera Caught an Employee Beating a Patient. It Took 11 Days for Anyone to Take Action.

After our investigation revealed patient abuse at Illinois’ Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center, the facility installed cameras to help. But the footage isn’t monitored unless there’s an allegation of misconduct.

Ticketed at School as a Teen, a Young Black Woman Is Suing an Illinois City for Violating Her Civil Rights

It took four years and a jury trial for Amara Harris to beat the ticket that accused her of stealing another girl’s AirPods. Now she’s heading back to court in the hope of stopping schools from using police to discipline students.

Scenes From a MAGA Meltdown: Inside the “America First” Movement’s War Over Democracy

Across the country, the Republican Party’s rank-and-file have turned on the GOP establishment. In Michigan, this schism broke the party — and maybe democracy itself.

How 3M Execs Convinced a Scientist the Forever Chemicals She Found in Human Blood Were Safe

Decades ago, Kris Hansen showed 3M that its PFAS chemicals were in people’s bodies. Her bosses halted her work.

Illinois School Districts Sent Kids to a For-Profit Out-of-State Facility That Isn’t Vetted or Monitored

A state law was meant to help families by allowing the use of public money to fund students’ tuition at special education boarding schools around the country. But in solving one problem, lawmakers created another.

Minnesota AG Sues Contract-for-Deed Seller Who Allegedly Targeted Muslim Community

The complaint, which alleges violations of lending law and religious discrimination, follows a ProPublica and Sahan Journal investigation.

Even When a Cop Is Killed With an Illegally Purchased Weapon, the Gun Store’s Name Is Kept Secret

A 2003 law pushed by the gun industry limits the information shared by federal agents and shields gun shops from public scrutiny, but ProPublica was able to identify the store that sold the gun used in the shooting of a Chicago police officer.

This School for Autistic Youth Can Cost $573,200 a Year. It Operates With Little Oversight, and Students Have Suffered.

No state agency has authority over Shrub Oak, one of the country's most expensive therapeutic boarding schools. As a result, parents and staff have nowhere to report bruised students and medication mix-ups.

Ten Years After the Flint Water Crisis, Distrust and Anger Linger

A city is forever changed, and so is residents’ relationship with their water. The betrayal of trust by the institutions meant to protect Flint’s residents has made some of them extra cautious as they look to keep themselves and their community safe.

The Chief Prosecutor in Elkhart, Indiana, Is Accused of Misconduct for Making Contradictory Allegations

A man serving 55 years has filed a motion to overturn his conviction, arguing that the state prosecuted him for giving a gun to a drive-by shooter even though another man had already pleaded guilty to giving the same gun to the shooter.

Inside the Historic Suit That the Gun Industry and Republicans Are on the Verge of Killing

For 25 years, gunmakers have repeatedly tried to end one city’s lawsuit over illegal gun sales. Meanwhile, illicit purchases of firearms continued at an unrelenting and hazardous pace.

Michigan Lawmakers Working to Fix a Program That Failed to Compensate the Wrongfully Convicted

State law provides $50,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment, but a ProPublica investigation showed how the law’s narrow requirements led to delays, partial settlements and outright denials of payments.

Indiana Enacts Law to Allow State Child Services to Investigate More Abuse Claims at Youth Centers

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law that aims to curb abuse at youth treatment centers for those 18-21 years old. It comes after a ProPublica-IndyStar investigation into employees at Pierceton Woods Academy.

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    How a Network of Nonprofits Enriches Fundraisers While Spending Almost Nothing on Its Stated Causes

    ProPublica identified a group of connected political nonprofits — with names like American Breast Cancer Coalition and National Coalition for Disabled Veterans — that appear to be funneling more than 90% of donations to fundraisers.

    North Carolina Supreme Court Secretly Squashed Discipline of Two GOP Judges Who Admitted to Violating Judicial Code

    The decisions came despite the Judicial Standards Commission’s recommendations to publicly reprimand the judges, and these are likely the only times in more than a decade in which the court didn’t follow the commission’s guidance.

    Breach of Trust

    When Therapists Lose Their Licenses, Some Turn to the Unregulated Life Coaching Industry Instead

    Despite past misconduct, some former therapists have continued their careers as life coaches. Now, after a high-profile conviction in Utah, legislators are asking whether it’s time for more oversight.

    Local Reporting Network

    Microsoft Chose Profit Over Security and Left U.S. Government Vulnerable to Russian Hack, Whistleblower Says

    Former employee says software giant dismissed his warnings about a critical flaw because it feared losing government business. Russian hackers later used the weakness to breach the National Nuclear Security Administration, among others.

    Nine Takeaways From Our Investigation Into Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Failures

    What you need to know about how a whistleblower repeatedly tried to get the software giant to fix a security flaw that left millions of Microsoft users exposed.