Michigan House of Representatives

wikimedia commons

Republican wants to make sure state minimum wage doesn't get tied to inflation

A bill to boost Michigan's minimum wage would not be tied to inflation if a state House committee chair gets his way.

The legislation would gradually boost the wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour over three years. After 2017, it would index the minimum wage to inflation.

That last provision is something House Government Operations Committee Chair Pete Lund doesn't want.

Minimum Wage Hearing Planned In State House

May 20, 2014
gophouse.org

Bill boosting minimum wage to $9.20 an hour to get hearing in state House

The debate over raising Michigan's minimum wage moves to the state House Wednesday.

A legislative panel will hear testimony on a bill that cleared the state Senate last week. Senate Bill 934 would gradually increase the wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.20 an hour. After 2017, the minimum wage would rise with inflation.
    
State Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, chairs the panel. He says he's open to the plan - but he has some concerns.

Flickr.com

Divided Michigan lawmakers have voted to allow for the use of coal ash and other industrial byproducts in cement and other products. The main bill approved 68-42 Tuesday by the Republican-led House would classify coal ash and other materials as "low-hazard" industrial wastes.   

Wikipedia

The state Senate returns this week after three weeks away from Lansing. 

    

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.

Wikipedia

The Republican-controlled Michigan House is asking Congress to convene a constitutional convention requiring that the federal budget be balanced.  

A resolution approved 77-32 Thursday would join Michigan with around 20 other states that have called for a balanced budget convention. Thirty-four states are needed to convene the convention, and 38 would have to ratify the convention's proposal to go into effect.

Alfred T. Palmer
Wikimedia Commons

Lawmakers revive talks over scrap metal theft
By Jake Neher

There's a new push in Lansing to pass legislation meant to fight scrap metal theft in Michigan. Votes in the House and Senate could come as soon as this week.

Supporters of House Bills 4593 and 4595 say the state must require there to be a paper trail whenever someone sells commonly-stolen items to a scrap yard.
    
State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, says there has been disagreement over how best to do that. But she says she is confident lawmakers will reach a deal soon.

Wikipedia Media Commons

The state House and Senate have not been able to agree on a mid-year budget bill. 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are looking to remove the terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" from state law.  The legislation in Lansing incorporates some recent recommendations from a mental health commission appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder. 

Lawmakers encourage Year-Round School

Feb 18, 2014

State lawmakers look to encourage year-round schoolsBy Jake Neher Some at-risk schools in Michigan could soon get more state funding if they agree to go year-round. A state House panel heard testimony on the idea Tuesday. In his budget address this month, Governor Rick Snyder called for a state pilot program to encourage year-round schooling.

Lawmakers encourage Year-Round School

Feb 18, 2014

State lawmakers look to encourage year-round schoolsBy Jake Neher Some at-risk schools in Michigan could soon get more state funding if they agree to go year-round. A state House panel heard testimony on the idea Tuesday. In his budget address this month, Governor Rick Snyder called for a state pilot program to encourage year-round schooling.

Michigan's college students could soon have a new way to pay for school. Democrats in the state legislature are proposing a pilot program that would completely pay for a student's college tuition. State Representative Jeff Irwin says students who use the program would pay back a percentage of the their yearly income for the next 20 years, rather than a fixed amount of money like with a typical student loan. If approved, the 53rd District Democrat says the pilot program would assist 200 students, divided evenly between 2-year community colleges and 4-year universities.

Environmental groups divided over possible tax break for oil and gas companies

By Jake Neher  

Push for Part-Time State Legislature Begins

Jan 24, 2014

Campaign launches effort to make the state Legislature part-time

By Jake Neher

Michigan voters could see a question on the November ballot this year asking them to make the state Legislature part-time.

The Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature has turned in petition language to the state Bureau of Elections.

Adam Zemke

State Representative Adam Zemke supports tax relief for Michigan residents, but not in the form being discussed in Lansing. 

The 55th district Democrat says he'd rather see the earned income tax credit restored than a cut in the state income tax. Zemke says that would better help Michigan's low-income families displaced by the state's fluctuating economy.

Zemke is also outlining his legislative goals for 2014, and education is at the top of the list.

Zemke says Michigan's most valuable resource is the talent of its residents. He has been calling for an increased focus on STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - in public schools.

Bolger, state House GOP stand firm against repealing tax on pensions
By Jake Neher

State House Republicans on Thursday formally unveiled their priorities for 2014 - and an election-year tax cut is near the top of the list.

The big question is, who will get that tax cut?

Democrats say it should be retirees. A couple years ago, the state stopped allowing people to exempt pension income from their taxes. Democrats say that policy unfairly burdened retirees and needs to go.

But state House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) says he's not open to that idea.

"If you're going to tax income, all income should be treated the same," Bolger said.

"I would be very resistant to undoing the reform we did last time. That is a reform that makes our tax system more fair."

Many Republicans in Lansing favor reducing the state's income tax rate.

Bolger says improving Michigan's roads and bridges and overhauling the state's controversial auto no-fault law are also among legislative priorities in the new year.

The State House had already passed a version of a bill that would extend Medicaid benefits to about 320,000 low-income residents in 2014. The State Senate stalled the measure until this week, when it passed a version with some new elements. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, State House lawmakers are again preparing to vote on Medicaid expansion.