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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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.

Michigan Public Radio Network

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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Seniors could play an especially big role in upcoming election

Michiganders age 50 and over are expected to represent well over half of the voters that show up to the polls on November 4th.

That is pretty typical of a non-presidential election. But seniors and retirees are already playing an especially important role in this year's election.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Bill Clinton stumps for Michigan Democratic ticket in Flint

Another Clinton was in Michigan on Wednesday urging Democrats to show up to the polls on November 4th. Last week it was former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This time it was her husband rallying Democrats to try to get out the vote.

"We don't win these races and we get this gridlock because too many people don't vote at midterm," said former President Bill Clinton in front of a crowd of hundreds of Democrats.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Snyder signs bill cementing ban on Tesla sales in Michigan

Tesla Motors, Inc. and other auto manufacturers will not be allowed to sell their vehicles directly to customers in Michigan. That's under a new law signed by Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday.

Snyder says that part of the new law doesn't "fundamentally" change anything. He says it simply strengthens an existing law that already bans auto manufacturers from selling directly to consumers.

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Report: Lack of autism specialists creating long wait times for children

A new report says Michigan lacks enough autism specialists to handle the number of children being diagnosed and treated with the disorder.

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State launches effort to reduce trauma for infants in foster care

State officials say too many infants experience psychological trauma when they are removed from their homes and put into foster care. The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) hopes to change that with a new set of policies.

Michigan Public Radio Network

State's top education official will not weigh in on education funding issue

The state superintendent of schools is refusing to weigh in on the debate over school funding ahead of the November election. That issue has been a central talking point in the governor's race.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Schauer rallies seniors on heels of gubernatorial town hall

Democratic nominee for governor Mark Schauer rallied retirees a day after his first, and probably only, public joint appearance with Gov. Rick Snyder. He blasted Snyder's decision to end income tax exemptions for pension income.

Schauer spoke in front of a friendly crowd at a UAW center in Warren.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Jeb Bush makes campaign stops across Michigan for Snyder, Land

Former Florida governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush campaigned for GOP candidates across Michigan on Monday.

Bush spoke in front of hundreds of Republicans in Troy to cap off his visit to Michigan. He urged GOP faithful to show up to the polls in November for U.S. Senate nominee Terri Lynn Land and Governor Rick Snyder.

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