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.

 

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.

Gov. Rick Snyder is getting some tough questions about the May ballot proposal to boost road funding at his education and economic summit this week in Detroit.


State lawmakers have approved diverting surplus school aid revenues to help close a $400 million dollar budget hole.

The legislation would shift $250 million dollars in money originally earmarked for the state’s School Aid Fund.  Another bill in the package would make cuts to several state departments.

Bitter cold weather and snow continues to cause Michigan schools to cancel days.

Many Michigan school districts have already called off classes for six or more days. That’s the limit on how many days schools can close without tacking on extra time at the end of the school year.

Retired federal law enforcement officials would be able to carry concealed weapons in “no carry zones” under a bill approved by the state Senate. The bill got overwhelming bipartisan support.

“No carry zones” include places such as schools, day care centers, taverns, hospitals, and sports arenas where concealed weapons are prohibited.

Supporters say former federal agents face extraordinary danger.

  A state Senate panel will take up a bill on Tuesday that would allow college graduates to claim a tax credit based on student loan interest payments.

Supporters say skyrocketing student loan debt is causing recent grads to move out of Michigan.


A group of state lawmakers will try again to make major changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana law. Republican state Representative Lisa Lyons is sponsoring a bill that would allow patients to use non-smokable forms of cannabis – such as baked goods or oils

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a budget-cutting executive order, and presented a spending plan for the coming fiscal year. Schools, universities, and local governments were spared cuts as part the order to help clear away a deficit.


Grey Wolf
WikiMedia Commons

  The state Senate is urging Congress to end endangered and threatened species protections for gray wolves in Michigan. It passed the resolution Tuesday on a mostly party-line vote.

Michigan has been debating for about two years whether to allow a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. That question was recently put to rest when a federal judge ordered Michigan wolves back on the endangered species list, along with wolves in two other states.

  Democratic state lawmakers are again hoping to allow no-reason absentee voting in Michigan.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has said recently that more people who have died or moved out of state must be removed from the state’s voter registration database before lawmakers will agree to stop putting conditions on who can vote absentee.

Michigan teens would be able to pre-register to vote under a proposal in Lansing.

The measure would allow 16 and 17 year olds to fill out their voter registration paperwork when they get their driver’s licenses. The state would mail their voter cards when they turn 18.

Two unmarried people would be able to jointly adopt children together under a bill in the state House. Under current law, only married couples or single individuals can be grated parental rights to an adopted child.

For many same-sex couples, the issue could be decided when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Michigan’s gay marriage ban. But the bill’s sponsor says the ruling still won’t affect joint adoption for unmarried people.

Legislation to streamline approval of concealed pistol licenses is likely to clear the state Senate this week.

The bills are similar to legislation Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed last month over concerns it would put domestic abuse victims in danger. But that controversial language was taken out of Senate Bill 34 when it was reintroduced.

Michigan teens would be able to pre-register to vote under a proposal in Lansing.

The measure would allow 16 and 17 year olds to fill out their voter registration paperwork when they get their driver’s licenses. The state would mail their voter cards when they turn 18.

“It’s another way of making government much more efficient,” said state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren. “It saves people in lines at secretary of state offices. It saves more correspondence going to the secretary of state’s office. It makes it a much easier process.”

The state has rejected ACT’s claim that Michigan unfairly switched its free college entrance exam to the SAT starting in spring 2016.

ACT protested two aspects of the bidding process. It said the state changed the timeline of the proposed contract and penalized ACT for having a writing portion. It says both of those things unfairly benefitted SAT.

State officials say they reviewed those concerns carefully.

A controversial gun bill similar to one that was recently vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder is likely to get a committee hearing this week.

The bill’s sponsor says the reintroduced legislation no longer contains language the governor and others worried could have put domestic abuse victims in danger. Opponents said it would have allowed people with personal protection orders (PPOs) against them to get concealed pistol licenses.

Online shoppers in Michigan could see a sales tax added to their purchases starting next October.

The legislation is now in front of Gov. Rick Snyder.

Supporters say it would end an unfair advantage for retailers such as Amazon.com over stores located in Michigan.

“What really pushed it over the line is the amount of companies that are doing business online,” said Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake. “And you have all the brick-and-mortar people that are dying.”

Michigan high school juniors will take the SAT instead of the ACT starting in spring 2016. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced the switch on Wednesday.

The state has provided a free college entrance exam for eleventh graders on the state’s standardized test for several years.

The College Board – the company that administers the SAT – won a three-year, $17.1 million contract.

MDE spokesperson Martin Ackley says the SAT will be a better test that will save the state money.

Courtesy Image / Pixabay.com

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

 

Semis
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.

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