Michigan Legislature

aclumich.org

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.

wikimedia commons

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.

wikimedia commons

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.

wikimedia commons

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.

wikimedia commons

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.

Michigan House Democrats Communications

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."

wikimedia commons

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.

wikimedia commons

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.

wikimedia commons

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.

wikimedia commons

Roads, pot, civil rights on agenda as state lawmakers return from summer break

The state Legislature returns Tuesday after a two month summer break.

Republican leaders still have some big priorities to accomplish before the end of the year. None are bigger than finding a way to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.

But it looks like that and other major bills will have to wait until the Legislature’s “lame duck” session in December. Top lawmakers say they do not expect many major votes between now and the November election.

wikimedia commons

State House Dems call for higher minimum school funding

As many Michigan students return to school, the debate over education funding is starting up again at the state Capitol in Lansing.

Democrats in the state House plan to introduce a bill that would increase minimum payments to districts. Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers this year set that amount at an additional $50 per student.

whitmer.senatedems.com

State Senate Dem leader launches women's health nonprofit

The top Democrat in the state Senate is launching a new nonprofit group to help women gain access to health care.

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, says the new organization, called Right to Health, will hold forums, conferences, and fundraisers to promote the cause.

Jake Neher

Lawmakers vote to allow wolf hunts in Upper Peninsula

Wolf hunts in the Upper Peninsula will be able to continue under a law approved on Wednesday by the state House. The petition-initiated proposal cleared the state Senate earlier this month.

The new law does not need Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval to take effect. It’s designed to circumvent two anti-wolf hunting proposals on the November ballot.

wikimedia commons

Education groups join calls for LGBT rights in Michigan

The list of groups calling on state lawmakers to pass protections for LGBT people is growing. Organizations representing Michigan college, university, and school officials now say they support the measure.

They join more than 50 business and non-profit groups urging lawmakers to pass the legislation, which the coalition expects to be introduced next month.

Andrew Cluley

Talks over ways to fix Michigan's roads "back at square one"
 

State lawmakers are hitting the reset button on talks over how to fix Michigan's crumbling roads.

A state Senate workgroup met for the first time Thursday to hammer out a solution. Senators and staff involved in the meeting say it consisted of members offering wide ranging ideas for how to address the issue.

Most estimates say the state needs to boost road funding by between $1 billion and $2 billion a year just to keep the roads from getting worse.

wikimedia commons

Democrats blast Scott Woosley for unnecessary expenditures in the tens of thousands of dollars. 


Bob Eccles

More voters cast ballots in primary than expected, but turnout still low

More than 82 percent of all registered voters sat out Michigan's primary election this week.

That's not the all-time low some observers predicted before the election, but they say the number is still dismal. And many of them expect low voter turnout again for Michigan's general election in November.

Wikipedia

Candidates for the Michigan Legislature are being chosen by voters in Tuesday's primary election.  Winners will face off in the November general election when control of the state House of Representatives will be at stake.  Republicans have controlled the House since 2010. A five-seat swing would be needed for Democrats to gain a majority there. The GOP holds a 59-50 edge. 

Michigan Pubic Radio Network

100+ show up to give input on new standardized test

Michigan education officials are in the process of finding a new standardized test… again.

More than a hundred people were in Lansing Wednesday to tell the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) what they want out of a new assessment.

MDE had already chosen the Smarter Balanced assessment three years ago. But many lawmakers were not happy with that test because it's aligned with the controversial Common Core school standards.

055.housedems.com

Michigan could soon ban gay "conversion therapy" for minors.

State Representative Adam Zemke from Ann Arbor introduced a bill last week that would prohibit health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18.

Sandi Smith is the president of the Jim Toy Center, a resource for Washtenaw County's LGBT community.

She says they are glad lawmakers are moving this issue forward.

wikimedia commons

Future of medical marijuana bills uncertain after clearing state Senate panel

Two bills that would ease restrictions on medical marijuana in Michigan are one step closer to becoming law. A state Senate panel approved the legislation Wednesday.

But it is not clear what will happen to the bills now that they are going to the full Senate.

michiganlcv.org

Washtenaw County's legislative representatives continue to score highly in the Michigan League of Conservation Voters annual Environmental Scorecard.

State Senator Rebekah Warren and Representatives David Rutledge, Jeff Irwin and Adam Zemke all scored 100 percent, while Representative Gretchen Driskell received an 85 percent rating. 

Senator Warren was singled out for her support of legislation to update and increase fees for hunting and fishing licenses.

Find the complete scorecard online:

Irwin Blasts Road Funding 'Earmarks'

Jul 3, 2014
http://053.housedems.com/

A local state representative is among Democrats crying "foul" in Lansing over the latest round of road funding.

The state chose projects that'll receive $115 million in funding based on request from lawmakers, and Democrats complain that most of the work is being done in districts represented by majority Republicans. 

Representative Jeff Irwin says this is what happens when road projects are funded by earmarks rather than by a set formula.

wikimedia commons

Superintendents blast education budget

As Michigan schools begin their new budget year this week, some local superintendents are urging lawmakers to return from their summer break to boost education funding.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a new education budget last week that boosts funding for all public schools by at least $50 per student. But Forest Hills Schools Superintendent Dan Behm says districts face new costs that wipe out that minimum increase.

wikimedia commons

Michigan economists warn against ending pensions for public employees

Some economists say Michigan failed to consider the consequences of ending pension plans for public workers.

The state stopped offering pensions to new employees in 1997. Budget officials say that decision has cut Michigan's long-term debt by about $5 billion.

Pages