Michigan Legislature

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State Senate approves increasing penalties for coercing abortion

Coercing someone to have an abortion would carry tougher penalties under bills approved by the state Senate on Thursday. The crime could result in criminal penalties under Senate Bills 1156 and 1157.

Andrew Cluley

State Legislature getting ready to hammer out compromise on road funding

The state Legislature is taking steps to hammer out a road funding compromise in the final days of its 2014 session.

The House and Senate passed plans that are drastically different. The Senate approved legislation that would essentially double the state's gas tax to pay for road improvements. The House plan would divert revenues from schools and local governments and would not raise any taxes.

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Film credit extension heads to Gov. Snyder's desk

Gov. Rick Snyder will decide whether to extend Michigan's film credit program through 2021.

The incentives are currently set to expire in 2017. The state Senate gave final legislative approval to the extension Tuesday morning with bipartisan support.

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Ban on student athlete unions clears state House

Student athletes at Michigan's public universities would be banned from unionizing under a bill approved by the state House on Tuesday. House Bill 6074 passed on a party-line vote.

Rick Snyder
Michigan Public Radio Network

Snyder: House transit plan not sufficient

Governor Rick Snyder says a plan adopted by the state House to shift sales taxes collected on fuel sales to roads won’t work. He says that could rob schools and local governments of money they need to operate.

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Religious protection bill teed up for House vote

A bill that's supposed to protect people exercising sincerely held religious beliefs has been approved by the state House on a party-line vote.
 

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House holds hearing on LGBT civil rights bill

A state House committee adjourned Wednesday without voting on
legislation that would add LGBT protections to Michigan's civil rights
law, and it appears the effort has stalled as the Legislature grows
close to wrapping up for the year.

State Rep. Frank Foster (R-Petoskey) both testified and presided over
the hour-long hearing that allowed supporters and opponents to voice
their opinions. He said it's time for Michigan to update its civil
rights law.

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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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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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Snyder says Electoral College overhaul should wait

Governor Rick Snyder says he's not on board with changing how Michigan divvies up presidential electors. A bill that was just rolled out would change Michigan from a winner-take-all state to one that divides the votes between the Democratic and Republican candidates.
    
The bill's Republican sponsor says making Michigan more competitive will mean more attention from presidential candidates.

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ACLU of Michigan director denies major roadblocks for LGBT rights in Legislature

Groups that support adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law say they’re confident state lawmakers will act this year. That’s despite some recent setbacks.

State House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, says he wants to make sure the measure doesn’t infringe on religious liberties. And people working closely on the issue say some Republican lawmakers don’t want to include transgender people in the legislation.

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Environmentalists blast bill to repeal Michigan's renewable energy standard

New legislation that would repeal Michigan's renewable energy standard has been met with heavy opposition from environmentalists, and even some utilities.

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Who can access your online accounts when you die? State lawmakers could set rules

State lawmakers are considering legislation that would decide who can access a person's online accounts after they die or become incapacitated. A state House panel approved the bills on Thursday.

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State Senate leader all but rules out repealing prevailing wage

The Republican leader of the state Senate says he's not interested in repealing Michigan's prevailing wage law.

"Some other Legislature can do it, but not this one," Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, told reporters Thursday.

Some Republicans see a prevailing wage repeal as the logical next step to the state's right-to-work law.

But Richardville says he doesn't see how repealing the law would benefit workers.

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Human trafficking bills expected to clear state Legislature this week

Bills meant to fight human trafficking in Michigan are on track to clear the state Legislature before the end of this week.

The bipartisan legislation would make it easier to prosecute human trafficking cases, increase penalties, and provide more services for victims. The state House passed several bills in the package on Wednesday.

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Insurers would be required to offer abortion insurance under Democrats' bill

Democrats in the state Legislature want to require insurance companies to offer coverage for abortions.

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a petition-initiated law last year banning abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Under that law, people can only buy coverage for abortions as a separate insurance plan, known as a "rider."

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Lawmakers approve bill to avoid $1 billion budget hole

It looks like Michigan will not face a $1 billion budget hole due to a recent state Supreme Court ruling after all.

The state Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on Wednesday to fix the issue, less than 24 hours after the bill cleared the state House.

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Vote on LGBT rights not likely before November election

Legislation that would add LGBT protections to Michigan’s anti-discrimination law will probably have to wait until after the November election.

Some supporters of the measure hoped lawmakers would take it up before voters go to the polls in November. But the bill has not even been introduced yet.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he wants to take up the issue. Be he does not expect to hold a vote until the Legislature’s “lame duck” session.

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Dems say businesses should warn employees about to lose contraception coverage

Democrats in the Legislature say women should get 90 days advance warning if their employers are about to drop contraception coverage from company-provided insurance policies.

The legislation is a response to the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The court said business owners don’t have to cover contraception if they have a sincere moral objection.

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