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State of Michigan

Governor Requests More Help For Refugees

Jun 17, 2014
wikipedia commons

Snyder: More needs to be done to help refugees in Michigan

The number of refugees who have settled in Michigan has grown in recent years - and Governor Rick Snyder says more should be done to help them.

At a town hall meeting at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Snyder called on community leaders to help the state find ways to help refugees.

"It's important that we find ways to help these people - they've gone through terrible circumstances - about making them feel welcome in our country," Snyder told reporters after the town hall.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Michigan forges official relationship with Israel on industrial R&D

Gov. Rick Snyder has cemented a formal relationship between Michigan and Israel to collaborate on industrial research and development.

The governor and Israeli Consul General to the Midwest Roey Gilad signed a memorandum of understanding Monday in Dearborn.
    
Snyder says the deal was reached after more than a year of talks with Israeli officials.

wikimedia commons

Michigan Supreme Court takes two more medical marijuana cases

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear two more medical marijuana cases. Two medical marijuana cardholders want the state's highest court to rule that a voter-approved law shields them from criminal charges.

In both cases, the defendants say the fact that they have medical marijuana cards should protect them from prosecution even if they did not abide by the letter of the law.

michigan.gov

Snyder: Restoring MEAP test not his preference

Governor Rick Snyder says he's not giving up on plans to change Michigan's standardized student test. That's despite a provision in the School Aid budget that lawmakers could send to the governor soon. It says schools have to stick with the current test - the MEAP -- for at least another year.

The governor wants the state to use "Smarter Balanced," a new student test that's aligned with the controversial "Common Core" education standards.

Andrew Cluley

The Ann Arbor School Board was set to vote on a balanced budget tonight, but the latest proposal for state funding would leave a big hole to fill.

A House Senate committee's proposal would give the district $2.5 million less than Governor Rick Snyder's plan. 

Superintendent Jeanice Swift indicated the board will likely still vote on the original budget tonight.

Richardville: More Funding For Film Incentives

Jun 11, 2014
wikimedia commons

Michigan film incentives to stay at $50 million, Senate leader wants more

The top Republican in the state Senate says he's not satisfied with the amount of money lawmakers have set aside for film and TV productions.

The Legislature is expected to wrap up a state budget this week. It will include $50 million in film incentives. That's the same as last year, but half of that money is now slated to continue into future budgets.

wikimedia commons

'Right to work' part of discussions on roads package

Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats at the state Capitol over road funding may have resurrected the controversy over Michigan's right-to-work law.

There's a lot of deal-making happening in Lansing as the Legislature enters the final days before its summer recess. The two biggest issues are finishing the state budget, and coming up with more than $1.2) billion new dollars a year for roads - Governor Rick Snyder's top priority before lawmakers leave Lansing.

Road Funding Deal May Have To Wait

Jun 10, 2014
Andrew Cluley

Gov. Snyder eyes road funding deal this week

Gov. Rick Snyder wants a road funding solution on his desk by the end of this week.

Lawmakers will meet three days this week before they're expected to go on their summer break.

One of the governor's biggest priorities in his first term has been to boost infrastructure spending by more than $1 billion a year. But with political campaigns about to heat up over the summer, a legislative deal still hasn't materialized.

The governor does not want the issue to stay unresolved until the fall - or later.

michigan.gov/mde

Michigan schools' finances "stabilizing," says state superintendent

Late last year, the state's top education official had dire predictions for the finances of Michigan schools. He predicted the number of districts in deficit could reach 100 "before long."

Now, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the situation is stabilizing, and he credits increased funding from the state.

markschauer.com

Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Lisa Brown made a stop in Washtenaw County last weekend to push running mate Mark Schauer's plan to move Michigan forward.

Brown says education is an important issue for the people she spoke with during a visit to Ann Arbor, adding that Governor Rick Snyder has disappointed a lot of people who plan to vote Democratic next time.

wikimedia commons

Michigan Supreme Court names workgroup to improve system for collecting fines

A group of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys goes to work Thursday on finding new and better ways to collect fines and fees from defendants, and to ensure that people are not sent to jail because they don't have the money to pay.

Road Funding Up In The Air In Lansing

Jun 4, 2014
Andrew Cluley

Road funding talks in flux at state Capitol

It looked like there might be a wave of bipartisan cooperation in Lansing. Lawmakers recently voted to raise the state's minimum wage and contribute almost $200 million to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy.

But that doesn't seem to be the case anymore with road funding negotiations in flux.

State lawmakers want to find a way to increase funding for roads in the next couple weeks. That's when they leave Lansing for the summer.

michigan.gov

MI Supreme Court says governor cannot un-commute life sentence

The Michigan Supreme Court says a governor cannot take back a decision to commute a prison sentence once the papers are signed and filed.

Matthew Makowski helped plan the robbery of a co-worker in 1988, but was not there when the attempt went awry and Pietro Puma was stabbed to death. Makowski was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the killing and sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole, the mandatory sentence.

wikimedia commons

Michigan Supreme Court strikes down "one parent" doctrine

A Jackson County man will get a trial on whether he gets to keep his kids after a ruling by  the Michigan Supreme Court.

The state Supreme Court struck down a policy that allows authorities to limit or terminate both parents' rights to their children when one of them runs into trouble with the law. In this case, the mother lost her parental rights when the couple's newborn daughter tested positive for drugs.

Governor Defends Taxing Of Pensions

Jun 2, 2014
Michigan.gov

Snyder defends "pension tax" in special message on aging

Gov. Rick Snyder is firing back against critics of his so-called "pension tax."

Snyder gave a special address on aging Monday in Rochester. He used part of the speech to defend his 2011 decision, which ended the practice of exempting pensions from state income tax.

michigan.gov

The local LGBT community is hopeful the state legislature will take Governor Rick Snyder up on his challenge for them to vote on civil rights protections for the LGBT community before the November elections.

Mary Larkin directs Eastern Michigan University's LGBT Resource Center.  She says EMU's LGBT students are a talented bunch who can't wait to get out of Michigan because of the state's outdated civil rights laws. 

Ypsilanti Businesses React To Minimum Wage Hike

May 28, 2014
pixabay.com

The rising minimum wage doesn't appear to have too many Ypsilanti businesses concerned.

In fact at the Sidetrack Bar and Grill, owner Linda French says she pays her workers at least $10 an hour.  She doesn't think the legislature raised the minimum wage high enough. 

Haab's President Mike Kabat is glad the issue didn't come down to referendum that sought to hike the minimum wage for all employees to $10.10 an hour. 

He says tipped workers may have lost out in the long run under that plan, since they earn a good portion of their income from tips.

Michigan Legislature OKs Minimum Wage Hike

May 27, 2014
Raise Michigan
Raise Michigan

Legislature approves $9.25 Michigan minimum wage

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to quickly sign a bill increases the Michigan minimum raise as a petition campaign is about to file signatures to force the wage floor even higher.

That will cap days and weeks of feverish negotiations between Republicans and Democrats and business and labor groups that produced the compromise measure that cleared the House and the Senate with bipartisan support.

wikimedia commons

Republican wants to make sure state minimum wage doesn't get tied to inflation

A bill to boost Michigan's minimum wage would not be tied to inflation if a state House committee chair gets his way.

The legislation would gradually boost the wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour over three years. After 2017, it would index the minimum wage to inflation.

That last provision is something House Government Operations Committee Chair Pete Lund doesn't want.

wikimedia commons

Senate Democrats do not support plan to fix roads

It looks like efforts to boost state road funding by about $1.4 billion dollars may have stalled in the state Senate. That's after Senate Democrats came out against the plan because it would significantly increase the state's gas tax.

Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, says increasing the amount people pay at the pump would disproportionately hurt the poor.

Minimum Wage Hearing Planned In State House

May 20, 2014
gophouse.org

Bill boosting minimum wage to $9.20 an hour to get hearing in state House

The debate over raising Michigan's minimum wage moves to the state House Wednesday.

A legislative panel will hear testimony on a bill that cleared the state Senate last week. Senate Bill 934 would gradually increase the wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.20 an hour. After 2017, the minimum wage would rise with inflation.
    
State Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, chairs the panel. He says he's open to the plan - but he has some concerns.

wikimedia commons

Lawmakers could cast first votes on Detroit bailout

There could be a first vote Wednesday in the Legislature on an almost 200 (m) million dollar bailout for the city of Detroit. Mayor Mike Duggan was one of those who testified prior to the historic vote. Duggan says, overall, he supports the plan.

Michigan Hosts Virtual Job Fair Wednesday

May 20, 2014
Bob Eccles

Michigan is using state-of-the-art technology to help people find work without leaving the comfort of their own home.

The state is hosting a virtual career fair Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Joe Quick is the manager of talent programs at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

He says they hope this fair will generate some great connections between employers and qualified talent for these positions.

Here's a link to the virtual job fair:

http://michiganvirtualcareerfair.com

Andrew Cluley

The idea of raising the tax on gasoline to help pay for road repairs in Michigan is drawing mixed reviews locally.

WEMU news caught up with Billy Starr walking along Huron Street in downtown Ypsilanti.  He says gas is taxed plenty already.

"I think it's way too high," Starr says. He worries people won't be able to afford to drive.

Others say they'd be willing to pay a little more for gas if it'll help repair Michigan's crumbling roads. 

Michigan Senate Approves Minimum Wage Hike

May 15, 2014
wikimedia commons

State Senate votes to raise Michigan's minimum wage to $9.20 an hour

A bill to raise Michigan's minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour by 2017 has cleared the state Senate.

The bill is really an attempt by Republicans in Lansing to kill a petition drive that would raise the minimum wage to 10.10 an hour - including for tipped workers.

wikimedia commons

Michigan's economy improves, but at a slower pace

The long, harsh winter slowed the state's economic recovery. And it took a bite out of tax revenues, leaving Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature with about $300 million less to work with as they put the finishing touches on a new state budget.

Washtenaw County Reports Illness Due To E. Coli

May 14, 2014
Ecoli
Rocky Mountain Laboratories/Creative Commons

  Michigan health officials say they have five confirmed cases of people getting sick from the eColi bacteria, including one in Washtenaw County.

Washtenaw County Public Health epidemiologist Laura Bauman says the local victim appears to have gotten sick after eating an under-cooked hamburger at a restaurant.  She says the victim has since recovered.

Bauman says it's important to make sure any meat or chicken you throw on the grill this summer is thoroughly cooked.

State Senate Postpones Teacher Evaluations

May 14, 2014
theguardian.com

State Senate votes to delay statewide teacher evaluations… again

It looks like lawmakers could once again delay the implementation of a new statewide teacher evaluation system. The state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to push back the deadline until the 2015-2016 school year.

State law requires the new evaluation system to be in place during the current school year. State Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, says that clearly isn't going to happen.

michigan.gv/mde

Bill would take standardized testing duties away from state education officials

State education officials would no longer oversee K-12 standardized testing in Michigan under a bill in the state House. It would move those duties to the state Department of Treasury.

The state Legislature and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) have been sparring in recent months over standardized tests. The MDE wants to replace the state's MEAP test with a computer-based exam that measures student growth - unlike the MEAP.

senatorrandyrichardville.com

State Senate leader plans to up the ante on road funding in coming weeks

Until recently, it seemed like boosting the state's gas tax, vehicle registration fees, or other new sources of revenue to help fix Michigan's crumbling roads was off the table this year.

But now, state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he hopes to introduce such a plan in the coming weeks.

"It's just a matter of time," Richardville told reporters Tuesday.

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