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State of Michigan

Inmate Limit Proposed

Apr 25, 2014
flickr.com

Lawmakers could set limit on number of inmates in Michigan prisons

One Michigan legislator wants to put a limit on the number of inmates in state-run prisons.

State Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, says legislation he introduced this week could save the state tens of millions of dollars. It would require the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) to keep the number of inmates in its prisons under 38,000. Right now, that number is about 44,000.

SenatorRickJones.com

State GOP Senator offers minimum wage hike alternative

A Republican in the state Senate wants to boost Michigan's minimum wage to $8.15 an hour.

Sen. Rick Jones' introduced the legislation Thursday, which would be an alternative to a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage.

That ballot drive would boost the rate from $7.40 an hour to $10.10 an hour. It would also eventually raise the rate for tipped workers from $2.65 to $10.10 an hour.

Republicans At Odds Over Detroit Pensions

Apr 23, 2014
gophouse.org

Gov. Snyder and Senate leader not embracing Bolger's union demands

Republican leaders in Lansing are not joining House Speaker Jase Bolger's calls for unions to contribute to Detroit's bankruptcy settlement.

Gov. Rick Snyder and several foundations have signed off on a complicated deal to protect retiree pensions and artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The state's contribution to the so-called "grand bargain" would be about $350 million, and state lawmakers would have to approve that money.

michigan.gov/eaa

EAA debate heats up in Lansing, final vote possible this week

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville hopes to hold a final vote this week on a bill to expand the state's Education Achievement Authority (EAA).

The EAA is the entity the state uses to take over persistently failing schools. Right now, it runs 15 schools in Detroit. The bill would pave the way for it to expand up to 50 schools statewide.

Richardville, R-Monroe, says the EAA is not a perfect solution, but it's better than doing nothing.

michigan.gov

Ruth Johnson announces reelection bid for Secretary of State

Ruth Johnson will seek another term as Michigan's Secretary of State.

Johnson made the announcement Monday and kicked off a four-stop campaign tour across the state. She says the Secretary of State's office has become more efficient under her direction, largely because of technological improvements.

Peters files nominating petitions for US Senate

Congressman Gary Peters has filed petition signatures to put his name on the ballot. Peters is a Democrat running to succeed retiring US Senator Carl Levin. Peters' support for the federal healthcare law has been an issue in the campaign. Peters says that's OK with him.

Road Funding Debate Begins In Lansing

Apr 17, 2014
Andrew Cluley

Legislature begins debate over $500 million road funding plan

A plan to boost state road spending by about half-a-billion dollars a year is taking shape. State lawmakers introduced four bills Thursday that are now part of the package.

Schauer Says Education Is Tops In Schools Plan

Apr 16, 2014
Michigan Public Radio Network

Schauer calls education his "top priority" in schools plan

The Democrat likely to challenge Gov. Rick Snyder in November says improving public schools would be his top priority in office.

Former Congressman Mark Schauer and his running mate, Lisa Brown, unveiled their education plan Wednesday in Lansing.

wikimedia commons

Local governments: Tax Day study shows state not paying fair share

Local officials say not enough of the revenue Michigan takes in around Tax Day goes to cities, towns, and counties.

The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council released a study Tuesday that shows state revenue grew by more than $1 billion between 2009 and 2012. At the same time, local government revenue dropped by about the same amount.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Gay couple trying to force state to recognize their marriage, "for our 13 kids"

The ACLU of Michigan is suing the state to force it to recognize the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples who got married last month.

Clint McCormack and Bryan Reamer are one of eight couples named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday.

aclumich.org

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a judge to force the state of Michigan to recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed in March.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of couples who say their constitutional rights are being violated by Gov. Rick Snyder. He won't recognize the marriages for the purpose of benefits until federal courts decide the status of Michigan's ban on gay marriage. 

Jay Kaplan is staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project.  Kaplan says the Governor is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Scrap Metal Theft Bill Becomes Law

Apr 10, 2014
Michigan Public Radio Network

Bill to fight scrap metal theft signed into law

Michigan now has tougher laws on the books meant to crack down on scrap metal theft.

Under a bill signed by Gov. Rick Snyder Thursday, people can no longer get instant cash when they sell commonly-stolen items for $25 or more.

Supporters say mailing payments for those items will help law enforcement by creating a paper trail. They say communities all over the state have been literally ripped apart by illegal scrapping.

Immigration Center Approved For Michigan

Apr 9, 2014
Flickr.com

Feds approve center to encourage immigrant investment in Michigan

Michigan will be only the second state in the country to run a statewide center meant to encourage investment from immigrants.

The center will provide visas for people who invest at least $1 million in the state and create at least ten jobs. The required investment goes down to $500,000 if it is made in a rural community or one with high unemployment.

State Schools Superintendent Defends Teachers

Apr 8, 2014
www.michigan.gov

Flanagan defends teachers after report says Michigan schools falling behind

The state's top education official says people should not blame teachers for a new report that shows Michigan schools are falling behind.

The Education Trust-Midwest presented its study to the state Board of Education Tuesday. It shows student growth improving in other states while Michigan students lag behind, especially minority and low-income students.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the report is troubling. But he says it's important to provide some context.

Andrew Cluley

Some prominent Democrats skeptical about proposal to fix roads

A state House Republican plan to fix Michigan's crumbling infrastructure is drawing criticism from some prominent Democrats.

The proposal seeks to boost road funding by about $500 million a year. That's well short of the $1-2 billion most estimates say is needed to adequately address the problem.

Some Democrats say the plan could make passing a more comprehensive solution unlikely any time soon.

Kurt Lowenstein
wikimedia commons

Schuette asks for fast action marriage case

State Attorney General Bill Schuette has asked a federal appeals court to put the legal challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage on a fast track. Schuette is defending Michigan’s ban.

Schuette’s filed a motion with the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to skip a hearing before a three judge panel and go directly to the entire 15-judge court. That could shave months, maybe as much as a year, off the appeals process. Schuette says the question needs to settled regardless of who wins in the end. 

Schauer Announces Running Mate

Apr 3, 2014
Michigan Public Radio Network

Lisa Brown announced as Schauer's running mate in governor's race

Mark Schauer has made it official. He has chosen Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown to be his running mate in this year's race for governor.

Schauer, a former congressman from Battle Creek, is the likely Democratic challenger to Governor Rick Snyder in November.

T. Lawrence, Great Lakes Fishery Commission
glfc.org

Michigan replies to Army corps invasive species report

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed the state's response to the US Army Corps of Engineers invasive species report. Schuette says his biggest complaint is the report fails to outline an aggressive plan to stop Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

The report came out in January, and it outlines possibilities without making specific recommendations on what should happen next.

That was a disappointment, says Joy Yearout, Schuette's communications director.

flickr.com

Michigan's expanded Medicaid program starts today
By Jake Neher

Michigan's Medicaid expansion is officially up and running. That means hundreds of thousands of low-income Michiganders are now eligible for government-sponsored health care.

People making 133% of the federal poverty level or less are now eligible for the program, which is part of the federal Affordable Care Act. That's about $15,000 dollars or less a year for an individual and about $32,000 or less for a family of four.

flickr.com

Judge dismisses lawsuit against Michigan petition circulator law
By Rick Pluta

A bill to let out-of-state residents gather petitions signatures is awaiting Governor Rick Snyder's signature. Because of the bill, a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the state.

aecf.org

       LANSING - A report by a private foundation finds the well-being of Michigan's white children slightly below the national average while black children significantly lag the nation.

Michigan Road Fixes May Be Coming Soon

Mar 31, 2014
senatorarlanmeekhof.com/

    A top Republican in the state Senate thinks a long-term fix for Michigan’s roads could be coming sooner than expected. 

Labor Courses could cost MSU

Mar 27, 2014
en.wikipedia.org

MSU could lose $500k for offering labor courses

Michigan State University could risk losing half-a-million dollars if it does not stop offering courses that allegedly promote unionization.

A state Senate panel approved a measure Thursday banning courses at public universities that promote or discourage organizing efforts. It's a reaction to MSU's recent decision to take over some programs from the National Labor College.

Republicans say those courses violate the proposed rule.

wikipedia commons

Congressional Democrats ask Holder to recognize MI gay marriages
Rick Pluta

Some congressional Democrats are putting pressure on Michigan to recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed last weekend. They sent a letter today asking US Attorney General Eric Holder to grant federal recognition of the marriages.

wikimedia commons

Michigan lawmakers urge Congress to require a balanced federal budget
By Jake Neher

Michigan is joining at least 17 other states in calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On Wednesday, the state Senate gave final approval to a resolution formally asking Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider the amendment. It would take 34 total states to compel Congress to call a constitutional convention.

flickr.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan won't recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages performed last weekend.

Wikimedia Commons

Snyder: Treat e-cigarettes like tobacco

Governor Rick Snyder says he wants electronic cigarettes to be regulated in Michigan as tobacco products. E-cigarettes deliver a dose of nicotine to users in a mist. There is a bill in the Legislature to ban e-cigarette sales to minors, but would not tax them like cigarettes or subject them to other tobacco-related regulations.

The governor says it makes more sense to simply treat them as a tobacco product.

Andrew Cluley

The Washtenaw County Road Commission is warning that area roads will continue to be in rough shape for a while, as long as the weather continues to freeze and thaw.

Jim Harmon is the road commission's Director of Operations.

"We're experiencing rough road conditions s county-wide at this time," Harmon said, "both on our paved roads and un-paved roads, and our crews are working each day to try and patch and hold these roads together until things completely thaw out and stabalize."

Medical Marijuana Approved for PTSD in Michigan

Mar 18, 2014
Laurie Avocado
Wikimedia Commons

PTSD patients now able to get medical marijuana card in Michigan
By Jake Neher

Michiganders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can now get a card to use medical marijuana.

The state's Director of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Steve Arwood, gave final approval to add PTSD to the state's medical marijuana program about a week after it was recommended by a state review panel.

Michigan Lawmakers Discuss Scrap Metal Theft

Mar 17, 2014
Alfred T. Palmer
Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers revive talks over scrap metal theft
By Jake Neher

There's a new push in Lansing to pass legislation meant to fight scrap metal theft in Michigan. Votes in the House and Senate could come as soon as this week.

Supporters of House Bills 4593 and 4595 say the state must require there to be a paper trail whenever someone sells commonly-stolen items to a scrap yard.
    
State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, says there has been disagreement over how best to do that. But she says she is confident lawmakers will reach a deal soon.

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