Michigan News

Michigan News
9:24 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Sleeping Bear Dunes wilderness bill heads to Obama

Sleeping Bear Dunes warning sign
Credit Flickr user mstephens7

       Congress has given final approval to a bill designating 32,000 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as wilderness.      With U.S. House passage of the bill, it now heads to President Barack Obama for signature. The U.S. Senate passed it in June 2013.      The lakeshore is headquartered in Empire in the northwestern Lower Peninsula.      Hunting and fishing would be permitted in the wilderness areas.      More than 1.4 million people visited Sleeping Bear Dunes in 2011, pumping about $120 million into the local economy.      Democratic Michigan U.S.

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Michigan News
1:08 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Lansing Considers Regulation of E-Cigarettes

Smoking an Electronic Cigarette
Credit Flickr

There is an effort afoot in Lansing to regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes - and ban their sale to minors. But there is a difference of opinion on how to go about it. 

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Michigan News
1:06 am
Wed March 5, 2014

State Senate OKs Legislation to Protect Municipalities from Tax Losses

Michigan State Capitol Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

Legislation to repeal and replace a tax on business equipment has cleared the state Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bills seek to make sure local governments are not hit hard by a repeal of Michigan's Personal Property Tax (PPT). 

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Michigan News
6:25 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Great Lakes Advocates Head To Washington

Great Lakes Advocates to make plea for continued funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Credit David M Smith

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Great Lakes advocates are meeting in Washington, D.C., this week to lobby for funding of environmental projects and to discuss strategies for dealing with challenges such as invasive species.  More than 100 people from the eight-state region are attending the Great Lakes Commission's semiannual meeting and other activities.

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Michigan News
5:57 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Gay Marriage Trial To Resume In Detroit Today

Jayne Rowse, April DeBoer and the children they are raising together. The couple seeks to overturn Michigan's ban on gay marriage and to adopt the children.
Credit michiganmarriagechallenge.com

(Detroit)-A University of Texas professor will face a vigorous cross-examination in the trial over Michigan's gay-marriage ban.  Mark Regnerus is returning to the witness chair this morning in Detroit federal court. He testified Monday for the state of Michigan. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette  is defending a 2004 constitutional amendment that recognizes marriage as only between a man and a woman. 

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Michigan News
4:58 am
Tue March 4, 2014

State Lawmakers Look To Get Rid of the "R" Word

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are looking to remove the terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" from state law.  The legislation in Lansing incorporates some recent recommendations from a mental health commission appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder. 

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Michigan News
7:07 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

State of Michigan's First Witness in Gay Marriage Ban Trail Barred from Testifying

Supporters of Michigan's gay marriage ban march around the federal court building in Detroit Monday. Some opponents of the ban marched alongside them.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

The state's defense of Michigan's same-sex marriage ban got off to a rocky start Monday.

Federal Judge Bernard Friedman tossed out the state's first witness in the case. He said Yale law student Sherif Girgis did not qualify as an expert witness. The plaintiffs' attorneys pointed to the fact that Girgis is still a student, and said he would only be expressing his opinion on gay marriage - not actual evidence. 

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Michigan News
2:17 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Detroit Gay Marriage Trial Enters Day Four

Jayne Rowse, April DeBoer and the three special needs children they are raising and hope to legally adopt
Credit michiganmarriagechallenge.com

The final witness for two women challenging Michigan's gay-marriage ban is a Harvard University professor who has written a history of marriage in the U.S.

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Michigan News
11:10 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Number of Michigan School Districts In Defecit On Decline

State Senator Howard Walker
Credit senatorhowardwalker.com

The list of Michigan school districts that have budget deficits is shrinking, and the list of districts that are getting in the black is growing. That according to the state Department of Education.  There are 46 districts on the deficit list today, compared to 50 at the end of last year.

And that was good news to state Senator Howard Walker (R-Traverse City), who chairs the Senate K-through-12 budget subcommittee. 

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Michigan News
10:42 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Governor Snyder Proposes Foster Care System Overhaul

Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan
Credit Jake Neher

Governor Rick Snyder says the state could do a better job protecting foster children if it changed the way it paid for the service.  The governor unveiled a report Thursday that says the state should pay foster care agencies based on their performance. Right now, those agencies all get paid the same regardless of their track records or the needs of individual foster children.  "Let's focus on what's best for the child," said Snyder. "And the child shouldn't have to think about, worry about, or be concerned about who's bringing those services. They just want the outcomes.

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Michigan News
10:27 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Rep. David Camp Releases Tax Overhaul Plan

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., left, walks with House Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. to a Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:08 pm

In the three years Republican Rep. David Camp has wielded the gavel of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, overhauling the tax code has been his abiding ambition.

The last revamping of the tax code was 28 years ago, and facing the prospect of having to relinquish that gavel at the end of this year, Camp declared today the time has come to start the debate on a new tax code overhaul.

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Michigan News
11:48 am
Wed February 26, 2014

74,476 Reasons You Should Always Get The Bigger Pizza

Somebody check the cheese.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:28 pm

One day last year, an engineer and I went to a pizza place for lunch. The engineer told me he wasn't very hungry, but he said he was going to get the 12-inch medium instead of the 8-inch small — because the medium was more than twice as big as the small, and it cost only a little bit more. This sort of blew my mind.

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Michigan News
12:49 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Lawmakers Move to protect Local Governments if Tax Repeal is Successful

Michigan State Capitol Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

Bills would make sure local government budgets don't get slashed with tax repeal
By Jake Neher
 

Michigan lawmakers want to make sure local governments do not take a hit if voters decide to repeal an unpopular tax on business equipment.

State officials are urging voters to repeal the tax. They say it is outdated and kills jobs. But local governments depend on that tax to provide basic services to residents.

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Environment
1:04 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Isle Royale wolf dies after escaping

Wolves on Isle Royale

One of the few remaining gray wolves of Isle Royale National Park has been found dead after escaping to the mainland across a Lake Superior ice bridge, a scientist said Tuesday.

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Michigan News
10:20 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Same-Sex Parenting Trial In Detroit

Jayne Rowse, April DeBoer and the three special needs children they are raising and hope to legally adopt
Credit michiganmarriagechallenge.com

The State of Michigan’s highly anticipated gay marriage trial began Tuesday in Detroit, where a Federal judge will hear the pros and cons of raising children in same-sex families and rule on the definition of marriage in Michigan. 

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Michigan News
4:27 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Michigan DNR Services Interrupted This Week

Service Interruptions for the Michigan DNR this week
Credit Michigan Department of Natural Resources

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says its license sales system will be offline for parts of Tuesday and Friday so it can be updated.  You won't be able to buy licenses online or in stores during those times. 

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Michigan News
9:12 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Gay Marriage Opposition Speaks Out in Detroit

Jubilee City Church founder Ellis L. Smith speaks at a rally with dozens of pastors Monday in support of Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Pastors rally in opposition to gay marriage ahead of federal court case in Detroit
By Jake Neher

A federal judge will hear arguments this week over whether Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.  The trial begins Tuesday in Detroit.

Ahead of the arguments, dozens of Michigan pastors rallied in support of the ban Monday in Detroit.

"We're not standing here against anybody. We're standing here for the biblical principle and foundation of marriage," said Ellis L. Smith, founder of Jubilee City Church in Detroit.

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Michigan News
10:34 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Rep. John Dingell To Retire

Rep. John Dingell speaks to students at Eastern Michigan University

WASHINGTON (AP) - A person familiar with his plans says Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history, will announce his retirement later today.  The 87-year-old Dingell was first elected in 1955, filling the House seat vacated by his late father. The person was not authorized to speak publicly ahead of Dingell's announcement.  He became the longest-serving member of Congress last year.  His plans were first reported by The Detroit News and The Detroit Free Press.

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Michigan News
7:48 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Lansing Seeks Long-Term Medicaid Funding Fix

State lawmakers look to patch Medicaid shortfall, say long-term solution criticalBy Jake Neher Michigan's Medicaid program faces a budget shortfall this year of more than $100 million dollars. That's because a new tax on health insurance claims is not producing as much revenue as state officials expected. This week, the state Senate passed a mid-year budget bill that would patch that hole in the Medicaid budget.

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The Two-Way
12:34 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Detroit Bankruptcy Plan Proposes 34 Percent Cut To Pensions

The monument to the boxer Joe Louis in Detroit.
Carlos Osorio AP

The city of Detroit filed a so-called exit plan with a federal bankruptcy court on Friday. The plan, intended to resolve the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, would free up cash and allow the city to resume providing some basic services to citizens of Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the plan proposes paying retired city workers and retired policemen and firemen less money for their pension.

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Michigan News
4:50 am
Fri February 21, 2014

U-M gets $8.5 million for kidney data collection

Credit University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The federal government has awarded an $8.5 million, five-year contract to the University of Michigan's Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center to coordinate the United States Renal Data System.  The national data system collects, analyzes and distributes information about patients with chronic kidney disease.   

The university announced the contract Thursday, saying that about 13 percent of Americans have chronic kidney disease. It says that each year, 100,000 Americans develop end-stage kidney disease that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.

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Michigan News
9:24 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

GOP lawmakers try to revive no-fault overhaul

House Speaker Jase Bolger unveils new Republican no-fault overhaul proposal that would set limits on fees, cap lifetime medical benefits at $10 million.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

At the state Capitol, House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) says he still hopes to get an overhaul of Michigan's no-fault auto insurance law through the Legislature this year.  He rolled out a new plan to end Michigan's unlimited lifetime medical benefits coupled with the promise of a rate reduction. 

Rick Pluta reports.

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Michigan News
9:22 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

$100 million for emergency road repairs and plowing clears state Senate

The state Senate has approved a plan to fix and maintain roads being ripped apart by brutal winter weather. The Senate passed a mid-year budget bill Thursday that includes $100 million of emergency money for roads.

Jake Neher reports.

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Michigan News
9:20 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Former Governor Milliken Joins Debate over Parole for Juvenile Lifers

Milliken joins effort to win parole hearings for juvenile lifersBy Rick Pluta Former Michigan Governor William Milliken says more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life without parole as juveniles deserve a chance at freedom. Milliken - along with more than 100 law school deans and retired judges and prosecutors -- filed a brief today with the state Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court holds oral arguments in the case next month. The court will decide whether a US Supreme Court decision that struck down automatic life without parole for juveniles applies retroactively - or only to current and future cases. The Milliken brief says justice demands that the decision should apply regardless of when a juvenile was sentenced.  It says juveniles sentenced before the decision have the same protections against cruel and unusual punishment as teens sentenced today. It also says Michigan's indigent defense system is particularly unfair to juveniles.   Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says families of murder victims deserve to know the rules will not be changed in their cases.  Michigan's adult-time-for-adult-crimes law was signed 18 years ago by Governor John Engler. William Milliken served as governor from 1969 to 1983.  

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Michigan News
2:51 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Detroit Bankruptcy Update

State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr (right) and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, at a news conference in Detroit.
Credit Carlos Osorio / AP

DETROIT (AP) - The office Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says the blueprint for the city's restructuring through and after bankruptcy is expected to be filed Friday in federal court.       Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes had set a March 1 deadline for the long-awaited plan of adjustment. The plan will spell out how individual creditors will be treated as Orr reduces the city's $18 billion debt.       Spokesman Bill Nowling says Orr's office plans to file the plan with the court Friday.

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