Michigan News

The state Senate will move forward with legislation to end prevailing wage requirements in Michigan. The state and many communities require that workers on publicly-funded construction projects get union-level pay and benefits.

Rick Snyder
Michigan Public Radio Network

Voters said no Tuesday to Proposal One by a margin of almost four-to-one. But, as unhappy as people were with the ballot question, they’re still unhappy with the state of Michigan’s roads. So Governor Rick Snyder and lawmakers say they’ll go back to work on finding money for roads – and they will heed the lessons of Proposal One.

Michigan State Capitol
Wikimedia Commons / Nikopoley

A $54 billion plan to fund schools and state agencies through the next fiscal year has cleared the state Senate.

The Senate’s budget plan includes increases for early childhood reading and school programs in high poverty areas.

Wikipedia

Since January, Governor Rick Snyder has been traveling the state with his rock collection – more accurately, hunks of concrete, asphalt, and brick from crumbling roads and bridges.  

“This is a piece of Michigan road,” he says he holds up a chunk of concrete twice as big as his fist. “This is the kind of thing that can fall on your vehicle or go through your windshield. That’s scary folks.”

The governor spent the last full day before voting begins on those scary roads trying to convince voters to support Proposal One.

Voters are about to decide whether to raise Michigan’s sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. If they approve Proposal One, that generates $1.3 billion to fix roads and another $300 to $400 for schools and local services. If it’s voted down, Governor Snyder and the Legislature go back to the drawing board. 

Bills to expand access to medical marijuana in Michigan may be benefiting from efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

At least three Michigan groups are already pursuing petition drives to legalize marijuana in 2016. 

Eighteen schools in Detroit were closed Thursday due to staffing shortages. Teachers and other school personnel took the day off to head to Lansing to protest Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to overhaul the district. The plan includes enabling more charter schools to open in the city. 

  Gov. Rick Snyder says the city of Flint no longer faces a financial emergency. That means a state board will oversee the transition back to local control of the city’s finances.

The governor says Flint has shed more than $600 million in long-term liability costs. And the state just authorized a loan to eliminate a $7 million deficit in the city’s general fund.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

  Crowds gathered as the US Supreme Court prepared to arguments on whether same-sex marriage bans like Michigan’s violate the Constitution.

A line of people camped out for several days hoping to get into the historic arguments before the Supreme Court.

For April DeBoer, it’s been a bit longer.

 A state Senate committee will hold a hearing tomorrow (Tue.) on legislation that could limit the reach of a US Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. State Senator Rick Jones chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hear testimony on a proposed Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But Jones says no vote is expected on the legislation – in part because Governor Rick Snyder doesn’t support it.

Car Crash
Flickr/ ODOT

A state House committee has approved some big changes to Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance law. It would set new limits on what hospitals could charge insurance companies. It would also guarantee, for two years, at least, motorists will save money on their coverage.

A state Senate panel has OK’d bills that would allow faith-based private adoption agencies that take public funds to turn away same-sex couples.

The bills come as the US Supreme Court is about to hear arguments on whether Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution. A decision is expected this summer.

Faith-based agencies say they shouldn’t be forced to violate their religious beliefs if the court strikes down the marriage ban. And, they say, some faith-based services may simply close their doors.

A no-fault insurance overhaul continues to move quickly through the Legislature. The state House has opened hearings on two bills adopted last week by the state Senate.

State Representative Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt Township) chairs the House Insurance Committee.

“My top priorities are ensuring that we keep the best benefits in the country and also finding ways to lower rates for our consumers,” he said. “We need rate relief for our consumers. The latest numbers I’ve seen --    $4,000 per-premium in Detroit, $2,500 for the rest of the state, and they’re going up every year.”

State lawmakers could rethink how much and what kind of information schools are required to report to the state.

Schools must report financial, academic, and other information. But school groups often complain the number of mandated reports diverts too much time and too many resources away from classroom instruction.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s open to the idea of the state taking over debt from Detroit Public Schools (DPS).

A long-awaited report released this week by the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren recommended the move. It urges the state to assume hundreds of millions of dollars in DPS debt.

  

Michigan families could lose their cash assistance if one or more of their children persistently miss school. That’s under a bill approved by the state House on Thursday.

The Michigan Department of Human Services (MDHS) already cuts off welfare payments due to child truancy. House Bill 4041 would put that policy into state law.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission hopes to help local governments draft non-discrimination laws.

The commission has released a model civil rights ordinance communities can use as a template for their own laws.

michiganmarriagechallenge.com

At the state Capitol in Lansing, Democrats have called for a new statewide vote on Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. It was approved by voters in 2004.

Democrats rolled out a package of legislation that would also repeal state laws that discriminate against same-sex couples. One would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Another would specifically allow gay and lesbian couples to jointly file state tax returns. 

Dearborn Public Schools

The State Board of Education (SBE) has selected a new state superintendent of schools. Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston will take over the Michigan Department of Education in July. That’s when current state Superintendent Mike Flanagan will retire.

The state House is poised to vote Wednesday that would allow faith-based adoption agencies in Michigan to turn away couples based on a religious objection to their lifestyle

House Republicans rejected a number of amendments in preliminary debate on the legislation. They would have required agencies to put the best interests of children over religious concerns, and to state in advance who they would refuse to serve.  

Governor Rick Snyder has rolled out a new state department with the job of matching skilled workers with employers.

Meet TED. That’s the new state Department of Talent and Economic Development. Governor Snyder created the department by executive order to look at better ways to train and place workers with businesses that are hiring.

Gov. Rick Snyder has taken direct control over the state office tasked with monitoring Michigan’s worst performing schools.

Laurie Avocado
Wikimedia Commons

Tenants would have to get permission from their landlord to smoke or grow medical marijuana inside rental units. That’s under a bill approved today (Tue.) by the state Senate.

State Senator Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor was one of three Democrats who voted against the measure.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Gov. Rick Snyder says there’s no backup plan to boost road funding if voters reject a sales tax increase in May.

Snyder urged listeners to vote “yes” on the measure during an appearance on Michigan Public Radio’s statewide call-in program “Michigan Calling.”

ROGER HART MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY / MPRN

The Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta sat down with the Republican Governor, Rick Snyder on Monday, March 9th,  on our call-in program "Michigan Calling." 

Snyder took questions from the Michigan Public Radio Network's statewide audience. 

Legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to work with LGBT couples or anyone else based on moral or religious grounds is headed to the floor of the state House.

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