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State of Michigan

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Legislation that would make changes to Michigan's regulations on non-profit organizations is stirring controversy at the state Capitol. 


Michigan Dems Worry About 'Lame Duck' Measures

Nov 11, 2014
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Democratic lawmakers fear another 'toxic' lame duck session

The state Legislature reconvenes Wednesday to continue its "lame duck" session between now and the end of the year.

Democrats fear Republican leaders will take up a bill that would assign the state's Electoral College votes for president by congressional district.

"Probably at the top of my list of concerns is the Republican bill to rig how Electoral College votes are allocated in this state," House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, told reporters last week.

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DNR adds 7 invasive species to banned list

With the addition of seven new plants and animals, Michigan now bans 40 non-native species. That means they cannot be possessed or transported in Michigan or the rest of the Great Lakes region.

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Chief justice: Michigan has more vets courts than other states

The Michigan Supreme Court hosted a training day for judges and others assigned to work in specialty veterans courts. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young says veterans accused and convicted of crimes have unique issues that must be addressed if they're going to be rehabilitated.  

Firm Hired To Help Find New State Schools Chief

Nov 10, 2014
http://www.rayassoc.com/

Search for state Superintendent moving forward now that election is over

The state Board of Education has taken a big step toward hiring a new state superintendent. On Monday, it selected a search firm to find possible candidates.

The board still needs to iron out contract details with Iowa-based Ray & Associates. Assuming that goes smoothly, it expects to hire a replacement for retiring state Superintendent Mike Flannagan before May.

michigan.gov

Schuette, DeBoer and Rowse to cooperate in getting same-sex marriage case before SCOTUS

Attorney General Bill Schuette and the couple trying to overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage are on opposite sides of the case. But they’ve agreed they will cooperate in trying to get the case on the US Supreme Court docket during the current session.

Marriage Equality Petition Drive Beginning

Nov 6, 2014
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Local marriage equality advocates are gearing up for a petition drive.  The action follows Thursday's federal appeals court decision to uphold anti-gay marriage laws in Michigan and three other states.

Sanndi Smith is Board President of Ann Arbor's Jim Toy LGBT Community Center.  She says the court's decision is devastating to the LGBT community.

Coalition Demands Road Funding Solution

Nov 6, 2014
Andrew Cluley

With the elections over, attention is swinging back to an issue high on most motorists' list of concerns:  Michigan's crumbling roads.  More than 20 organizations across the state are banding together to demand Michigan legislators take action.

The Local Matters Coalition argues getting some sort of road maintenance measure passed during the lame duck session would allow major construction and repair work to start as early as next spring.

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Snyder hopes Legislature will tackle road funding in "lame duck"

Fresh of a re-election victory that also saw more Republicans elected to the Legislature, Governor Rick Snyder is developing plans for the next four years. But he says the Legislature should not wait for the new year to approve some sort of plan to raise more than a $1 billion dollars in revenue for roads and transit projects.

Pot Legalization On Ballot In 11 Michigan Cities

Oct 28, 2014
Michigan Public Radio Network

Eleven more Michigan cities could legalize small amounts of pot on Nov. 4

On Election Day, eleven Michigan cities will consider legalizing small amounts of marijuana. That’s the largest number of municipalities to consider the question in a single election in Michigan.

Chuck Ream is the guy working to bring a pro-marijuana law to a city near you. He directs the Safer Michigan Coalition, which is organizing all of these local ballot campaigns. He expects this to be a banner year for the proposals despite not being able to actively promote them.

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Gov. Snyder directs state agencies to eliminate hurdles for disabled employees

Gov. Rick Snyder is asking state departments to hire more people who have disabilities.

It’s part of an ongoing effort to promote employment in Michigan for the disabled. That effort has been led by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, whose daughter has a disability. Calley says stigmas about hiring disabled people and obstructive work environments keep too many talented people out of the workforce.

  

The Senior Vote: How Big Will It Be In Michigan?

Oct 23, 2014
Bob Eccles

Seniors could play an especially big role in upcoming election

Michiganders age 50 and over are expected to represent well over half of the voters that show up to the polls on November 4th.

That is pretty typical of a non-presidential election. But seniors and retirees are already playing an especially important role in this year's election.

Former President Clinton Stumps In Flint

Oct 22, 2014
Michigan Public Radio Network

Bill Clinton stumps for Michigan Democratic ticket in Flint

Another Clinton was in Michigan on Wednesday urging Democrats to show up to the polls on November 4th. Last week it was former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This time it was her husband rallying Democrats to try to get out the vote.

"We don't win these races and we get this gridlock because too many people don't vote at midterm," said former President Bill Clinton in front of a crowd of hundreds of Democrats.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Snyder signs bill cementing ban on Tesla sales in Michigan

Tesla Motors, Inc. and other auto manufacturers will not be allowed to sell their vehicles directly to customers in Michigan. That's under a new law signed by Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday.

Snyder says that part of the new law doesn't "fundamentally" change anything. He says it simply strengthens an existing law that already bans auto manufacturers from selling directly to consumers.

Michigan Holds First 'Heroin Summit'

Oct 20, 2014
washtenawhealthinitiative.org

Government officials from across Michigan gathered in East Lansing Monday for the state's first Heroin Summit. Michigan's departments of Education and Community Health as well as the State Police held presentations and participated in panel discussions to determine how to stem the rising heroin problem.

Washtenaw Public Health epidemiologist Adreanne Waller says local organizations like the Washtenaw Health Initiative are already combating the problem.

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Report: Lack of autism specialists creating long wait times for children

A new report says Michigan lacks enough autism specialists to handle the number of children being diagnosed and treated with the disorder.

Saturday Is 'Shake Your Mailbox' Day

Oct 16, 2014
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Governor Rick Snyder and county road commissions across the state are asking Michigan residents to take some time Saturday giving their roadside mailboxes a shake.  "Shake Your Mailbox Day" is meant to help make sure mailboxes and their supports are ready for the harsh winter months.

Washtenaw County Road Commission Director of Operations Jim Harmon says it's a seasonal burden for property owners with mailboxes by the side of the road.

Policies Focus On Infants In Foster Care

Oct 15, 2014
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State launches effort to reduce trauma for infants in foster care

State officials say too many infants experience psychological trauma when they are removed from their homes and put into foster care. The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) hopes to change that with a new set of policies.

Michigan Public Radio Network

State's top education official will not weigh in on education funding issue

The state superintendent of schools is refusing to weigh in on the debate over school funding ahead of the November election. That issue has been a central talking point in the governor's race.

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Environmentalists blast bill to repeal Michigan's renewable energy standard

New legislation that would repeal Michigan's renewable energy standard has been met with heavy opposition from environmentalists, and even some utilities.

michigan.gov/dnr

Anti-wolf hunt groups question need for new Michigan Wildlife Council

Groups trying to end wolf hunting in Michigan are criticizing an upcoming pro-hunting and fishing campaign by the state. They worry it could be used to oppose two anti-wolf hunting referenda on the November ballot.

The Michigan Wildlife Council, which will oversee the media campaign, met for the first time on Wednesday.

FEMA Approves Michigan Disaster Assistance

Oct 7, 2014
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FEMA approves more than $33 million for flood assistance in less than two weeks

Federal and state officials say their efforts to get Michigan flood victims to apply for assistance are working. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says more than 40,000 people have applied in less than two weeks.

FEMA has already approved close to $34 million dollars for 18,000 of those applicants.

"We do feel that we're getting the word out," said Erika Lopez, a spokesperson with FEMA's team in Metro Detroit.

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Status of same-sex marriage in MI still awaiting 6th Circuit decision

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear seven same-sex marriage cases. And that leaves the fate of Michigan's same-sex marriage ban with the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Gov. Snyder wants dental care program for low-income kids expanded statewide

Gov. Rick Snyder says one of his budget priorities in his second term would be to expand a program that helps low-income kids get dental care.

Right now, the Healthy Kids Dental program is available to more than 500,000 children in 80 of Michigan's 83 counties. But the program is not available in three of the state's largest counties - Wayne, Oakland, and Kent.

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Who can access your online accounts when you die? State lawmakers could set rules

State lawmakers are considering legislation that would decide who can access a person's online accounts after they die or become incapacitated. A state House panel approved the bills on Thursday.

Michigan's Prevailaing Wage Law Not Going Away

Oct 2, 2014
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State Senate leader all but rules out repealing prevailing wage

The Republican leader of the state Senate says he's not interested in repealing Michigan's prevailing wage law.

"Some other Legislature can do it, but not this one," Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, told reporters Thursday.

Some Republicans see a prevailing wage repeal as the logical next step to the state's right-to-work law.

But Richardville says he doesn't see how repealing the law would benefit workers.

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Aramark will boost pay, staffing & training to help fix prison food problems

The private company that manages food services in state prisons has agreed to hire more people and improve wages and training.

It's part of an effort to fix the state's problem-plagued agreement with Aramark. Those troubles include food shortages, high staff turnover, intimate contact between Aramark employees and inmates, and drug smuggling. A food services worker is suspected now of trying to hire an inmate to arrange a murder.

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Human trafficking bills expected to clear state Legislature this week

Bills meant to fight human trafficking in Michigan are on track to clear the state Legislature before the end of this week.

The bipartisan legislation would make it easier to prosecute human trafficking cases, increase penalties, and provide more services for victims. The state House passed several bills in the package on Wednesday.

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AG's office to investigate Aramark employee accused in 'murder-for-hire' plot

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says his office will investigate a possible murder-for-hire plot involving a prison food service worker.

Michigan State Police suspects an Aramark employee of approaching an inmate of an Upper Peninsula prison about having another inmate killed.

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Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley says he'll propose changes to help Michigan's disabled residents have access to better jobs.  Calley hasn't offered specifics, but the head of one local organization that advocates for the disabled has some thoughts on the subject.

Carolyn Grawi is interim President and CEO of the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, which works to help ensure the success of disabled residents in school, at home, at work and in the community. 

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