Jake Neher

MPRN Capitol Reporter

Jake Neher is a state Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. 

He joined MPRN in September of 2012. Before that he served as a reporter and anchor for WFUV Public Radio in the Bronx, New York, and as News Director for KBRW Public Radio in Barrow, Alaska. He has been working in radio in some capacity since he was 15 years old.

A native of southeast Michigan, Jake graduated from Central Michigan University in 2010. He has a master's degree in public communications from Fordham University.

 

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Legislation to ease medical marijuana restrictions in Michigan will have to wait until 2015. Listen below as Jake Neher explains why. 

 

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Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

A group of semi-truck drivers made some noise Tuesday outside the state Capitol.

Several 18-wheelers circled the building with horns blaring to protest legislation that would increase fines and fees for overweight vehicles. It’s likely to be part of a compromise plan to increase funding to fix Michigan’s roads.

Supporters of a religious freedom bill in the state Legislature are pushing back against recent criticism. The legislation is meant to protect religious practices against state and local government interference.

Opponents of House Bill 5958 say it would make it easier for people and businesses to discriminate. For example, they claim emergency medical workers could legally refuse to treat LGBT people.

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Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

The state Senate will meet for a rare Monday session to kick off the final week of the Legislature’s “lame duck” session.

The goal is to get a head start on finding a compromise plan to boost road funding. 

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he also wants to hold votes this week on easing legislative term limits.

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State Senate approves increasing penalties for coercing abortion

Coercing someone to have an abortion would carry tougher penalties under bills approved by the state Senate on Thursday. The crime could result in criminal penalties under Senate Bills 1156 and 1157.

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State Legislature getting ready to hammer out compromise on road funding

The state Legislature is taking steps to hammer out a road funding compromise in the final days of its 2014 session.

The House and Senate passed plans that are drastically different. The Senate approved legislation that would essentially double the state's gas tax to pay for road improvements. The House plan would divert revenues from schools and local governments and would not raise any taxes.

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Film credit extension heads to Gov. Snyder's desk

Gov. Rick Snyder will decide whether to extend Michigan's film credit program through 2021.

The incentives are currently set to expire in 2017. The state Senate gave final legislative approval to the extension Tuesday morning with bipartisan support.

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Ban on student athlete unions clears state House

Student athletes at Michigan's public universities would be banned from unionizing under a bill approved by the state House on Tuesday. House Bill 6074 passed on a party-line vote.

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State House approves suspicion-based drug testing for welfare recipients

The state House has approved a bill that would revoke welfare payments from people who fail drug tests. The state would implement the one-year pilot program in three counties that have not yet been selected.

The drug testing will be conducted based on "reasonable suspicion," unlike previous programs in Michigan that made testing mandatory.

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State Senate rejects bill to reduce truck weight limits

The state Senate has rejected a bill that would reduce the amount of weight trucks are allowed to carry on Michigan's roads. The state has the highest truck weight limits in the country.

Democrats say reducing the limits will help keep the roads from crumbling.

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Gov. Snyder urges state House to pass gas tax increase for roads

State lawmakers have just nine or ten more session days in 2014, and still no consensus on how to raise money to help fix Michigan's roads.

With the Legislature's "lame duck" session about to start up in earnest on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Snyder spent Monday promoting a specific road funding plan at events in Detroit and Southfield.

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Bills to keep schools out of deficit on long list of "lame duck" issues

State lawmakers could take up legislation next week meant to keep schools out of deficit.

The legislation would require more reporting from schools that are deemed to be in financial trouble. It could also open up more money in state grants and loans.

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State House expected to take up film credit extension in December

The state House is expected to take up legislation next month that could decide the future of Michigan's film credit program.

The credits will go away in 2017 if lawmakers do not act to extend them. The state Senate passed a bill last month that would keep them alive. Senate Bill 1103 got wide bipartisan support.

It appears the bill will continue to move now that it is in the state House.

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LGBT activists ready to “blow up” civil rights bill if it ignores gender identity

Supporters of adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law say they have enough votes in the Legislature to pass a bill before the end of the year. But they say that’s only if Republican leaders take up a version of the bill that includes protections for gender identity.

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Prison reform activists see opportunity in "lame duck" for legislative overhaul

Bills that seek to reduce prison spending in Michigan seem to have momentum going into the last weeks of the Legislature's 2014 session.

Michigan spends about $2 billion every year on prisons. The legislation seeks to reduce the length of some prison stays and provide more supervision for people after they are released from prison.

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Effort to get LGBT civil rights protections pressing on after setbacks

A coalition of business and civil rights groups is still optimistic state lawmakers this year will make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people.

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Bill to overhaul Michigan's electoral votes blasted in committee hearing

A plan to change the way Michigan awards its electoral votes for president got largely panned at a state House hearing on Monday.

The legislation would award up to seven of the state's 16 Electoral College votes to the presidential runner-up in Michigan. The number of votes they get would depend on how close the popular vote is.

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


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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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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.

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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.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Peters sees greater chance for bipartisanship as he enters Senate in minority

Democrat Gary Peters is optimistic he will be able to work with Senate Republicans to pass measures he has championed as a candidate. That's despite the fact that he will be entering the U.S. Senate in the minority party after Republicans seized control in Tuesday's election.

Peters believes he will get bipartisan support for some of his priorities. Those include opening up more loans for small businesses and helping people burdened with student loans.

Michigan Public Radio Network

MI GOP looks to energize conservatives ahead of election with Rand Paul visit

The Michigan Republican Party is trying to energize its conservative base ahead of next week's election. On Wednesday, Republicans brought in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to speak with GOP supporters and volunteers in and around Detroit.
    
During a rally in Livonia, Paul reiterated his belief that conservative principles would turn the city around.

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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.

  

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