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.

 

Michigan may have to pay up to $2 million in legal fees related to the case that struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

The six attorneys who successfully challenged the ban want the state to reimburse them for their legal costs. They say they worked thousands of hours on the case – which was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Pill, Birth Control, Michigan
Wikimedia Commons

The State of Michigan would have to take measures meant to increase access to birth control under new proposals in the state Legislature.

A new bill in the state House would require schools to adopt policies on social media interactions between students and school employees. Supporters of House Bill 4791 say social media can be a great tool for teachers to communicate with students.

State lawmakers could consider adding new penalties for universities that hike tuition above the state’s cap on tuition increases. This year, lawmakers set that cap at 3.2 percent.

Oakland University this week decided to join Eastern Michigan University in blowing past the cap. OU will hike tuition 8.48 percent, and EMU will raise tuition 7.8 percent.

Education Funding
401kcalculator.org

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed bills into law meant to prevent financial emergencies in schools.

The state and intermediate schools districts (ISDs) now have more power to step in sooner when schools show signs of financial trouble.

Ann Arbor-Saline Road
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

A plan to boost road funding by about $1 billion a year could clear the state House this week. House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) is pushing a plan that would rely mostly on shifting existing funds in the state budget and expected revenue increases in the coming years. 

Michigan would give police less freedom to seize and sell property under bills making their way through the state Legislature. The state House approved the bills on Thursday with wide bipartisan support.

Bake Sale Michigan
Creative Commons/ Flickr / joelorama

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill that will allow student groups to sell baked goods in school to raise money.

New federal guidelines adopted by the Michigan Department of Education limited the kinds of food that could be sold in school. Several groups complained that the guidelines hindered their ability to fundraise.

A state elections board has given a green light to a petition drive to ban prevailing wage requirements in Michigan.

The petition language mirrors legislation currently in the state House that would end laws requiring union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects. Those bills appear to be stalled.

  

Gov. Rick Snyder outlined a public safety agenda on Monday that includes parole and sentencing reforms, job training for inmates, and more help finding a job once they’re released from prison.

Snyder says there are data-driven ways to reduce the state’s prison population without compromising public safety.

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hand down a ruling that may decide whether thousands of Michiganders can afford health insurance.

The court could strike down insurance subsidies offered under the federal health care law. That’s in states like Michigan where the federal government runs the health care exchange.

Legislation to repeal prevailing wage laws in Michigan has cleared the state Senate. Those laws require union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects. Critics of the change say it would hurt thousands of working families.

Michigan State Capitol
Wikimedia Commons / Nikopoley

Unions are expected to push back this week against bills that would repeal prevailing wage laws in Michigan.

A state Senate panel is expected to hold hearings on Senate Bills 1, 2, and 3. The legislation would ban laws requiring union-level compensation for workers on publicly-funded construction projects.

The state Senate will move forward with legislation to end prevailing wage requirements in Michigan. The state and many communities require that workers on publicly-funded construction projects get union-level pay and benefits.

Michigan State Capitol
Wikimedia Commons / Nikopoley

A $54 billion plan to fund schools and state agencies through the next fiscal year has cleared the state Senate.

The Senate’s budget plan includes increases for early childhood reading and school programs in high poverty areas.

Bills to expand access to medical marijuana in Michigan may be benefiting from efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

At least three Michigan groups are already pursuing petition drives to legalize marijuana in 2016. 

  Gov. Rick Snyder says the city of Flint no longer faces a financial emergency. That means a state board will oversee the transition back to local control of the city’s finances.

The governor says Flint has shed more than $600 million in long-term liability costs. And the state just authorized a loan to eliminate a $7 million deficit in the city’s general fund.

State lawmakers could rethink how much and what kind of information schools are required to report to the state.

Schools must report financial, academic, and other information. But school groups often complain the number of mandated reports diverts too much time and too many resources away from classroom instruction.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s open to the idea of the state taking over debt from Detroit Public Schools (DPS).

A long-awaited report released this week by the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren recommended the move. It urges the state to assume hundreds of millions of dollars in DPS debt.

  

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission hopes to help local governments draft non-discrimination laws.

The commission has released a model civil rights ordinance communities can use as a template for their own laws.

Dearborn Public Schools

The State Board of Education (SBE) has selected a new state superintendent of schools. Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston will take over the Michigan Department of Education in July. That’s when current state Superintendent Mike Flanagan will retire.

Gov. Rick Snyder has taken direct control over the state office tasked with monitoring Michigan’s worst performing schools.

Laurie Avocado
Wikimedia Commons

Tenants would have to get permission from their landlord to smoke or grow medical marijuana inside rental units. That’s under a bill approved today (Tue.) by the state Senate.

State Senator Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor was one of three Democrats who voted against the measure.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Gov. Rick Snyder says there’s no backup plan to boost road funding if voters reject a sales tax increase in May.

Snyder urged listeners to vote “yes” on the measure during an appearance on Michigan Public Radio’s statewide call-in program “Michigan Calling.”

Michigan’s film credits are a step closer to being eliminated by the state Legislature. A House panel approved a bill Wednesday that would end the program on October 1st.

The vote was largely party-line, with almost all Republicans voting in favor and most Democrats voting against. The legislation now heads to the House floor.

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