Michigan News

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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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LGBT activists ready to “blow up” civil rights bill if it ignores gender identity

Supporters of adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law say they have enough votes in the Legislature to pass a bill before the end of the year. But they say that’s only if Republican leaders take up a version of the bill that includes protections for gender identity.

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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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Michigan jobless rate falls slightly to 7.1 percent

More people were looking for work last month, but more businesses were hiring, which helped drive Michigan's unemployment rate to 7.1 percent, the lowest it's been so far this year.

That's one-tenth of a percentage point below where it was a month ago, and one-and-half percentage points below a year ago.

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Judge allows legal challenge to emergency manager law to move ahead

A federal judge in Detroit has refused to toss out a legal challenge to Michigan's emergency manager law. Judge Joseph Caram Steeh will allow a trial on the claim the law violates equal protection rights in the US Constitution.

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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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DeBoer case appealed to SCOTUS

The legal team for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse filed its appeal Monday with the US Supreme Court. They want the court to rule that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage and others like it across the country are unconstitutional.

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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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A debate is shaping up in the Michigan House on whether Michigan's civil rights law should be expanded to protect gays, lesbians, and bisexuals from discrimination. There's also a fight brewing on whether those protections should extent to transgender people.


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Legislation that would make changes to Michigan's regulations on non-profit organizations is stirring controversy at the state Capitol. 


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Democratic lawmakers fear another 'toxic' lame duck session

The state Legislature reconvenes Wednesday to continue its "lame duck" session between now and the end of the year.

Democrats fear Republican leaders will take up a bill that would assign the state's Electoral College votes for president by congressional district.

"Probably at the top of my list of concerns is the Republican bill to rig how Electoral College votes are allocated in this state," House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, told reporters last week.

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DNR adds 7 invasive species to banned list

With the addition of seven new plants and animals, Michigan now bans 40 non-native species. That means they cannot be possessed or transported in Michigan or the rest of the Great Lakes region.

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Chief justice: Michigan has more vets courts than other states

The Michigan Supreme Court hosted a training day for judges and others assigned to work in specialty veterans courts. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young says veterans accused and convicted of crimes have unique issues that must be addressed if they're going to be rehabilitated.  

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Search for state Superintendent moving forward now that election is over

The state Board of Education has taken a big step toward hiring a new state superintendent. On Monday, it selected a search firm to find possible candidates.

The board still needs to iron out contract details with Iowa-based Ray & Associates. Assuming that goes smoothly, it expects to hire a replacement for retiring state Superintendent Mike Flannagan before May.

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Schuette, DeBoer and Rowse to cooperate in getting same-sex marriage case before SCOTUS

Attorney General Bill Schuette and the couple trying to overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage are on opposite sides of the case. But they’ve agreed they will cooperate in trying to get the case on the US Supreme Court docket during the current session.

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Peters sees greater chance for bipartisanship as he enters Senate in minority

Democrat Gary Peters is optimistic he will be able to work with Senate Republicans to pass measures he has championed as a candidate. That's despite the fact that he will be entering the U.S. Senate in the minority party after Republicans seized control in Tuesday's election.

Peters believes he will get bipartisan support for some of his priorities. Those include opening up more loans for small businesses and helping people burdened with student loans.

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Snyder hopes Legislature will tackle road funding in "lame duck"

Fresh of a re-election victory that also saw more Republicans elected to the Legislature, Governor Rick Snyder is developing plans for the next four years. But he says the Legislature should not wait for the new year to approve some sort of plan to raise more than a $1 billion dollars in revenue for roads and transit projects.

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Debbie Dingell is going to Washington, where she'll take her husband, John's 12 Congressional District seat.

Dingell defeated Republican Terry Bowman in Tuesday's election.

Speaking live Tuesday night on WEMU, Dingell said her priorities will be Michigan's priorities.

The Associated Press is reporting that Democratic US Rep. Gary Peters has defeated former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land for US Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Carl Levin.

The Detroit Free Press projects Republican Governor Rick Snyder will win re-election, defeating Democrat Mark Schauer.

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MI GOP looks to energize conservatives ahead of election with Rand Paul visit

The Michigan Republican Party is trying to energize its conservative base ahead of next week's election. On Wednesday, Republicans brought in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to speak with GOP supporters and volunteers in and around Detroit.
    
During a rally in Livonia, Paul reiterated his belief that conservative principles would turn the city around.

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Eleven more Michigan cities could legalize small amounts of pot on Nov. 4

On Election Day, eleven Michigan cities will consider legalizing small amounts of marijuana. That’s the largest number of municipalities to consider the question in a single election in Michigan.

Chuck Ream is the guy working to bring a pro-marijuana law to a city near you. He directs the Safer Michigan Coalition, which is organizing all of these local ballot campaigns. He expects this to be a banner year for the proposals despite not being able to actively promote them.

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Newspaper endorsement a ritual of the political season with the occasional surprise

One of the rituals of the political campaign season is the newspaper endorsement. This past weekend, the liberal-leaning editorial page of The Detroit Free Press - also the state's largest newspaper -- caused some head-scratching and tongue-wagging with its endorsement in the governor's race.

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Gov. Snyder directs state agencies to eliminate hurdles for disabled employees

Gov. Rick Snyder is asking state departments to hire more people who have disabilities.

It’s part of an ongoing effort to promote employment in Michigan for the disabled. That effort has been led by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, whose daughter has a disability. Calley says stigmas about hiring disabled people and obstructive work environments keep too many talented people out of the workforce.

  

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