Michigan Legislature

WEMU News
2:57 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Irwin Proposes Tax Break For Teachers Who Donate Supplies

State Representative Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor.
Credit twitter.com

Michigan teachers could soon get some tax relief for donating materials to the classroom.

Ann Arbor State Representative Jeff Irwin has proposed a bill that would give a tax credit to educators who spend up to $1,000 on supplies for their students.

Irwin says this issue is a symptom of a much larger problem facing public education in Michigan, and shows the state is not doing enough to fund public education.

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Michigan News
2:57 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Teacher Evaluation Standard Closer To State Approval

Credit wikipedia commons

Statewide teacher evaluations move forward in state Legislature

Legislation that would create a statewide teacher evaluation system has cleared its first hurdle in the Michigan Legislature. A state House panel approved the bills Tuesday with bipartisan support.

A diverse coalition of Michigan education groups recently came out in support of the legislation. Supporters say that could help clear the way for the Legislature to approve the bills before lawmakers leave Lansing in June for two months.

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Michigan News
8:16 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Kevyn Orr Pushing Detroit Bailout In Lansing

Credit wikimedia commons

Detroit EM tries to sell bailout to lawmakers

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.

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Michigan News
8:14 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Gun Owners Converge On State Capitol

Jim Howley (left) and his son Josh Howley (right) at 2nd Amendment rally at the state Capitol Tuesday.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Pro-gun activists pack heat at the state Capitol

More than 200 gun owners descended on the state Capitol in Lasing Tuesday - many of them openly carrying firearms. Several pro-gun groups from across the country participated in the annual 2nd Amendment Day demonstration.

They say the rally is an important way to remind state policymakers to protect residents' gun rights.

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Michigan News
8:10 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Wages Focus Of Lansing Protests

Danielle Atkinson of the Raise Michigan Coalition, and founder of Mothering Justice, speaking with Democratic lawmakers Tuesday at an equal pay rally in the state Capitol.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Minimum wage and equal pay advocates join forces at state Capitol
 

Women's rights advocates say boosting the state's minimum wage would be a big step toward equal pay in the workplace. Groups backing both causes joined forces Tuesday during an equal pay rally at the state Capitol.

"Women are disproportionately represented in low-wage work. So, when we raise the minimum wage we are raising them a little bit more out of poverty," said Danielle Atkinson with Raise Michigan, a coalition working to put a minimum wage increase on the November ballot.

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WEMU News
7:55 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Sheriff Warns Of Jail Crowding If State Measure Passes As-Is

Credit eWashtenaw.org

Washtenaw County's jail system could soon see an influx of new prisoners.

State Senator John Proos is proposing a bill to limit the number of inmates held in the state's prison system. If passed, it would restrict Michigan's prison population to 38,000, or about 6,000 less than are currently housed in state prisons.

Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton says if the bill is left unchanged, it could lead to overcrowding in county jails.

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Michigan News
7:39 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Vote Pending On Education Achievement Authority Expansion In Michigan

Credit michigan.gov/eaa

EAA debate heats up in Lansing, final vote possible this week

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville hopes to hold a final vote this week on a bill to expand the state's Education Achievement Authority (EAA).

The EAA is the entity the state uses to take over persistently failing schools. Right now, it runs 15 schools in Detroit. The bill would pave the way for it to expand up to 50 schools statewide.

Richardville, R-Monroe, says the EAA is not a perfect solution, but it's better than doing nothing.

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Michigan News
8:04 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Road Funding Debate Begins In Lansing

Credit Andrew Cluley

Legislature begins debate over $500 million road funding plan

A plan to boost state road spending by about half-a-billion dollars a year is taking shape. State lawmakers introduced four bills Thursday that are now part of the package.

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Michigan News
7:35 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Prominent Democrats Skeptical About Road Fix Proposal

Credit Andrew Cluley

Some prominent Democrats skeptical about proposal to fix roads

A state House Republican plan to fix Michigan's crumbling infrastructure is drawing criticism from some prominent Democrats.

The proposal seeks to boost road funding by about $500 million a year. That's well short of the $1-2 billion most estimates say is needed to adequately address the problem.

Some Democrats say the plan could make passing a more comprehensive solution unlikely any time soon.

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Michigan News
4:18 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Lieutenant Governor Signs Bill To Eliminate 'Dumb' Tax

Michigan State Capitol
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

       LANSING - Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has signed legislation designed to ensure local government budgets aren't hurt if manufacturers and small businesses get planned tax cuts.

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Michigan News
9:47 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Michigan Road Fixes May Be Coming Soon

State Senator Arlan Meekhof
Credit senatorarlanmeekhof.com/

A top Republican in the state Senate thinks a long-term fix for Michigan’s roads could be coming sooner than expected. Jake Neher reports.
    A top Republican in the state Senate thinks a long-term fix for Michigan’s roads could be coming sooner than expected. 
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Michigan News
8:52 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Labor Courses could cost MSU

Credit en.wikipedia.org

MSU could lose $500k for offering labor courses

Michigan State University could risk losing half-a-million dollars if it does not stop offering courses that allegedly promote unionization.

A state Senate panel approved a measure Thursday banning courses at public universities that promote or discourage organizing efforts. It's a reaction to MSU's recent decision to take over some programs from the National Labor College.

Republicans say those courses violate the proposed rule.

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Michigan News
8:27 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

State Lawmakers Push for Balanced Budget Amendment

Credit wikimedia commons

Michigan lawmakers urge Congress to require a balanced federal budget
By Jake Neher

Michigan is joining at least 17 other states in calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

On Wednesday, the state Senate gave final approval to a resolution formally asking Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider the amendment. It would take 34 total states to compel Congress to call a constitutional convention.

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Michigan News
9:13 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Snyder touts EAA in New York ahead of possible Senate vote this week

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is attending a Manhattan Institute conference on Detroit this week
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

  The state Senate could vote this week on a bill to bolster a controversial state-run authority meant to turn around failing schools. 

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WEMU News
2:42 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Legislative Breakfast to focus on No-Fault Proposal

Credit mbipc.org

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor hosts a legislative breakfast Monday at which the topic will be the effort to change Michigan's no-fault auto insurance system.

The meeting is the latest in a series sponsored by the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Council.

Attendees will hear from families who have benefited from no-fault insurance coverage for catastrophic auto accident injuries, along with health care professionals, including Dr. Owen Perlman, Medical Director of Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers.

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Michigan News
7:30 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Governor Snyder Supports Treating E-Cigarettes Like Tobacco

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Snyder: Treat e-cigarettes like tobacco

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.

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Michigan News
8:47 am
Sun March 16, 2014

Michigan metal theft bill caught up in legislative fight

Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

  Five years after Michigan targeted copper thefts plaguing cities like Detroit and disrupting railroads and utilities, plans to better restrict sales of stolen scrap metal are caught in a legislative fight.

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Michigan News
7:43 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Abortion Coverage Not an Option for those Buying their Own Insurance

Credit flickr.com

Michiganders buying insurance on their own cannot get abortion coverage

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Michigan News
8:14 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Bill to Lift Cap on Microbreweries on Governor's Desk

State could soon pop the cap off microbreweries - or at least lift it By Jake Neher  Michigan craft breweries are cheering the state Legislature for passing bills to ease some state regulations.  The state House sent the bill package to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk Thursday. One bill would double the amount of beer Michigan microbreweries can produce every year. "We know that immediately this is going to result in some businesses being expanded and some additional employees being hired," said state Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mt.

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Michigan News
7:48 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Wolf Hunt Issue getting Closer to Ballot

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Campaign to stop wolf hunt to turn in petitions

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.

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Community
7:18 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

State Attorney General Officers Talk About Human Trafficking During Visit To EMU

(l-r) Carol Isaacs, Chief Deputy Attorney General; Kelly Carter, Assitant Attorney General; and John Lazet, the Attorney General's Director of Crime Victim Advocacy.
Credit Bob Eccles

When you think about crime in Michigan, human trafficking may not leap to mind.  But three high-ranking officers in the state Attorney General's office say it probably should.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Carol Isaacs was among those who participated in a discussion on human trafficking at the Eastern Michigan University Student Center Tuesday. 

She says human trafficking - both sexual and labor trafficking - is prevalent in Michigan.

"We think it is under-reported," Isaacs said. "Mis-labeled, un-reported and hidden in plain sight."

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Michigan News
8:04 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

State Lawmakers, Governor Wrangle Mid-Year Budget

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Governor meets with legislative leaders to hammer out road fix, Medicaid deal

State lawmakers are about to dive into the process of crafting a budget for next fiscal year. But they have to fix some problems with the current year's budget first.

One of the biggest concerns is a hole in the state's Medicaid budget of more than $100 million. Everyone agrees that shortfall needs to be addressed. But the state House and Senate have not been able to agree on how to fix it or where that money should come from.

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Michigan News
8:54 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Taking a New Look at Foreclosure Rules

Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

       Legislation to rewrite or clarify recent changes in Michigan's foreclosure rules has taken a step forward.

     The bill approved 107-3 by the House last week retains main elements of a law signed last summer by Governor Rick Snyder, including taking away someone's right to save his or her property if an inspector discovers the home's in bad shape due to neglect or other reasons.

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Michigan News
8:49 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Michigan Bill Would Encourage "Main Street" Investment

State Representative Nancy Jenkins
Credit Michigan State Legislature

       Michigan cities are getting behind legislation to create local stock exchanges allowing residents to invest in smaller businesses.

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Michigan News
8:06 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Michigan Edging Toward Year-Round School

An empty classroom
Credit Flick user john.murden

Lawmakers in the state House have approved a $2 million program to encourage schools to go year-round. Schools in mostly low-income areas could get money from the state to add air-conditioning and other things allowing them to operate in the summer.

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