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State of Michigan

Michigan House Democrats Communications

Insurers would be required to offer abortion insurance under Democrats' bill

Democrats in the state Legislature want to require insurance companies to offer coverage for abortions.

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a petition-initiated law last year banning abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Under that law, people can only buy coverage for abortions as a separate insurance plan, known as a "rider."

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Gov. Snyder close to supporting medical marijuana dispensaries, edibles

It looks like Gov. Rick Snyder could be close to supporting bills that would relax restrictions on medical marijuana in Michigan.

Jake Neher

Lt. Gov. Calley says he'll push for better employment for disabled people

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley says the state needs to do more to help people with disabilities get good jobs.

michigan.gov.mdch

Health director calls for reluctant parents to get vaccine counseling

Michigan's top health official says parents who want to opt out of vaccinating their children should first have to be counseled about the risks.

Michigan has one of the highest rates of parents who opt out of vaccinating their childen for preventable diseases such as mumps and measles.

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State superintendent backs "early warning system" for districts in financial trouble

Michigan's top education official says he supports legislation designed to prevent schools from getting into financial trouble.

No Huge Budget Hole In Michigan's Future

Sep 10, 2014
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Lawmakers approve bill to avoid $1 billion budget hole

It looks like Michigan will not face a $1 billion budget hole due to a recent state Supreme Court ruling after all.

The state Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on Wednesday to fix the issue, less than 24 hours after the bill cleared the state House.

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Vote on LGBT rights not likely before November election

Legislation that would add LGBT protections to Michigan’s anti-discrimination law will probably have to wait until after the November election.

Some supporters of the measure hoped lawmakers would take it up before voters go to the polls in November. But the bill has not even been introduced yet.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he wants to take up the issue. Be he does not expect to hold a vote until the Legislature’s “lame duck” session.

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Dems say businesses should warn employees about to lose contraception coverage

Democrats in the Legislature say women should get 90 days advance warning if their employers are about to drop contraception coverage from company-provided insurance policies.

The legislation is a response to the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The court said business owners don’t have to cover contraception if they have a sincere moral objection.

Rested Legislature Faces Smorgasbord Of Issues

Sep 8, 2014
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Roads, pot, civil rights on agenda as state lawmakers return from summer break

The state Legislature returns Tuesday after a two month summer break.

Republican leaders still have some big priorities to accomplish before the end of the year. None are bigger than finding a way to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.

But it looks like that and other major bills will have to wait until the Legislature’s “lame duck” session in December. Top lawmakers say they do not expect many major votes between now and the November election.

Courtney Hurtt, WDET

Gov. Snyder defends his record on statewide call-in program

Gov. Rick Snyder spent an hour fielding questions from Michiganders on Friday. The questions spanned a broad range of topics, including education, the economy, the environment, and social issues.

Judge Rules Teachers Can Leave Union Any Time

Sep 4, 2014
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Judge says Michigan's largest teachers' union must let member leave any time

A Michigan labor judge says the state's largest teachers' union must let members leave at any time.

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) only allows teachers to quit the union during a one-month period in August. But conservative groups say that is a violation of Michigan's right-to-work law. They are applauding administrative law judge Julia Stern's decision this week.

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State House Dems call for higher minimum school funding

As many Michigan students return to school, the debate over education funding is starting up again at the state Capitol in Lansing.

Democrats in the state House plan to introduce a bill that would increase minimum payments to districts. Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers this year set that amount at an additional $50 per student.

michiganauthorizers.com

Charter school authorizers vow to hold themselves to higher standards

A group of institutions that oversee Michigan charter schools has come up with a system it says will lead to better oversight.

It's a voluntary accreditation system that would judge authorizers based on things like transparency and efforts to turn around failing schools.

State Health Director Stepping Down

Aug 28, 2014
michigan.gov/mdch

Michigan's top health official resigns after suffering mild stroke

The state's top health official is stepping down to focus on his personal health. Michigan Department of Community Health Director Jim Haveman says he suffered a mild stroke in May.

Haveman served as director of the Michigan Department of Community Health twice - once during Gov. John Engler's second term, and then Gov. Rick Snyder named him the head of MDCH again in 2012.

Michigan's State House Approves Wolf Hunts

Aug 27, 2014
Jake Neher

Lawmakers vote to allow wolf hunts in Upper Peninsula

Wolf hunts in the Upper Peninsula will be able to continue under a law approved on Wednesday by the state House. The petition-initiated proposal cleared the state Senate earlier this month.

The new law does not need Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval to take effect. It’s designed to circumvent two anti-wolf hunting proposals on the November ballot.

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Education groups join calls for LGBT rights in Michigan

The list of groups calling on state lawmakers to pass protections for LGBT people is growing. Organizations representing Michigan college, university, and school officials now say they support the measure.

They join more than 50 business and non-profit groups urging lawmakers to pass the legislation, which the coalition expects to be introduced next month.

Jake Neher

Judge hears arguments over recognizing 300 same-sex marriages in Michigan

Some 300 same-sex couples in Michigan are waiting to hear whether a federal judge will force the state to recognize their marriages. Judge Mark Goldsmith heard arguments on Thursday from attorneys for the state and for the same-sex couples.

Detroit Public Schools Granted Emergency Loan

Aug 20, 2014
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State approves loan for Detroit Public Schools requested by emergency manager


Andrew Cluley

Talks over ways to fix Michigan's roads "back at square one"
 

State lawmakers are hitting the reset button on talks over how to fix Michigan's crumbling roads.

A state Senate workgroup met for the first time Thursday to hammer out a solution. Senators and staff involved in the meeting say it consisted of members offering wide ranging ideas for how to address the issue.

Most estimates say the state needs to boost road funding by between $1 billion and $2 billion a year just to keep the roads from getting worse.

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Democrats blast Scott Woosley for unnecessary expenditures in the tens of thousands of dollars. 


Bob Eccles

More voters cast ballots in primary than expected, but turnout still low

More than 82 percent of all registered voters sat out Michigan's primary election this week.

That's not the all-time low some observers predicted before the election, but they say the number is still dismal. And many of them expect low voter turnout again for Michigan's general election in November.

Don't Expect Much Company At The Polls Today

Aug 5, 2014
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Historic low voter turnout possible in Tuesday's primary

Voters head to the polls Tuesday for Michigan's primary election. Some observers say there could be a historically low number of people casting ballots.

"I think what we're seeing is we could have an election where we have about 13% to 15.1% of the people that are going to make a decision about what happens in the state on election day," said Matt Marsden with RevSix Data Systems, which is tracking absentee ballots.

Jake Neher

Proposal One is a solution born of suspicion

Until recently, businesses in Michigan had to pay taxes on almost all their equipment. Not surprisingly, they didn't like this tax - the personal property tax.

Businesses pay the personal property tax on everything from the factory machines that build cars and trucks to desks and computers -- or, in the case of the Wee Discover child daycare center in Waterford, playground equipment and changing tables.

Michigan Pubic Radio Network

100+ show up to give input on new standardized test

Michigan education officials are in the process of finding a new standardized test… again.

More than a hundred people were in Lansing Wednesday to tell the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) what they want out of a new assessment.

MDE had already chosen the Smarter Balanced assessment three years ago. But many lawmakers were not happy with that test because it's aligned with the controversial Common Core school standards.

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$10.10/hour minimum wage petition shot down by state elections board

A state elections board has rejected a petition to raise Michigan's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

A bipartisan majority of the Board of State Canvassers threw out dozens of signatures after a last-minute challenge from opponents. They say the signatures were from people who signed the petition more than once, which is illegal under Michigan election law.

michigan.gov

Snyder: Pensioner approval of grand bargain sets Detroit up for faster recovery

Gov. Rick Snyder is praising Detroit pensioners for approving the city's bankruptcy restructuring plan.

The so-called "grand bargain" is designed to prevent deep cuts to retirement benefits and protect city-owned artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Snyder says the vote this week makes it more likely the city will emerge from bankruptcy soon.

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Court ruling on Obamacare tax breaks has no immediate effect in Michigan

An appeals court ruling Tuesday out of Washington DC could jeopardize tax subsidies that help nearly 240,000 Michiganders buy health coverage under Obamacare.

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AG prison report cites human, technology errors as prime cause of inmate escape

A report by the Michigan Attorney General's office has found both human and technology failures played a part in the prison escape of a convicted murderer.

Michael Elliot slipped out of the Ionia Correctional Facility last February 2 by crawling under fences during a heavy snowfall. He wore white clothes to blend into the snow. He was captured about 24 hours later in Indiana.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Henry Paulson tells Michigan to seek out Chinese investment

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says foreign investment and immigration will be critical to turning around Michigan's economy.

The former aide to President George W. Bush spoke before the Detroit Economic Club (DEC) Monday afternoon with Gov. Rick Snyder.

"Make Michigan attractive for investment, period. OK? Make it attractive," said Paulson.

michigan.gov

State could become more transparent about infection rates at hospitals

The state's top health official says Michigan could be more transparent about how many people get infections while at hospitals.

A recent MLive.com series suggests the state has withheld that information from the public. That includes infection rates at specific hospitals.
    
Jim Haveman, director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), says that information is becoming more important for many patients.

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