The long, harsh winter slowed the state's economic recovery. And it took a bite out of tax revenues, leaving Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature with about $300 million less to work with as they put the finishing touches on a new state budget.
Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is spending a couple of days in Lansing for closed-door meetings with state officials. He's primary mission is to convince reluctant state lawmakers to support the Detroit bailout package.
The state's share, which would have to be approved by the Legislature, is $350 million dollars. That would help mitigate cuts to pension benefits as part of the city's bankruptcy, and ensure the assets of the Detroit Institute of Arts are safe from the auction block.
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.
Governor Rick Snyder has filed 26 thousand petition signatures to put his name on the Republican primary ballot in August, and - if all goes as planned - make him a candidate for reelection in November.
The governor was joined by Michigan First Lady Sue Snyder, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, and a couple dozen supporters to cart boxes of petitions into the state Bureau of Elections.
Snyder says he intends to run on his record and the state's improving economy.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE 4:52 PM Rick Pluta is reporting that no decision was reached in today's hearing. The trial is likely to go to the Supreme Court which is not likely to decide another same-sex marriage case before its next session. Attorneys seeking to overturn Michigan’s ban say holding up recognition of same-sex marriages hurts families with children.
Rick Pluta reports on the debate over expansion of the Controversial EAA
By a single-vote majority, the state House has approved a measure that allows Michigan to put some of the worst-performing schools into an alternative system. It expands a bill approved a year ago that created the Education Achievement Authority, which currently runs 15 schools in Detroit.
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.
Rick Pluta reports on plans for legislative hearings on electricity deregulation.
Hearings open this week at the state Capitol on a proposal to lift Michigan's cap on electricity companies competing for customers. A 2008 law says no more than 10 percent of the state's electricity can be directly provided to consumers by an alternative to a region's major utility.
The campaign to stop wolf hunts in Michigan says it has more than enough petition signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot. This would be the second ballot challenge to a wolf hunt because the state's first wolf hunting law was blocked by a petition challenge that will also go before voters in November.
The Legislature got around that by passing a new law that's the target of this ballot drive.
The list of Michigan school districts that have budget deficits is shrinking, and the list of districts that are getting in the black is growing. That according to the state Department of Education. There are 46 districts on the deficit list today, compared to 50 at the end of last year.
And that was good news to state Senator Howard Walker (R-Traverse City), who chairs the Senate K-through-12 budget subcommittee.
A campaign to increase Michigan’s minimum wage expects to file its petition language later today with state elections officials. As Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta reports, the campaign wants to boost the state minimum wage to nine-50 an hour.