Michigan News

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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.

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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.

michigan.gov/dnr

Anti-wolf hunt groups question need for new Michigan Wildlife Council

Groups trying to end wolf hunting in Michigan are criticizing an upcoming pro-hunting and fishing campaign by the state. They worry it could be used to oppose two anti-wolf hunting referenda on the November ballot.

The Michigan Wildlife Council, which will oversee the media campaign, met for the first time on Wednesday.

michigan.gov/dnr

Environmental officials taking steps after carp DNA found in river.

For the first time, Asian carp DNA has been detected in an inland Michigan river. Wildlife officials say they’ve turned up a single water sample from the Kalamazoo River that’s tested positive for carp DNA.

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FEMA approves more than $33 million for flood assistance in less than two weeks

Federal and state officials say their efforts to get Michigan flood victims to apply for assistance are working. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says more than 40,000 people have applied in less than two weeks.

FEMA has already approved close to $34 million dollars for 18,000 of those applicants.

"We do feel that we're getting the word out," said Erika Lopez, a spokesperson with FEMA's team in Metro Detroit.

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Status of same-sex marriage in MI still awaiting 6th Circuit decision

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear seven same-sex marriage cases. And that leaves the fate of Michigan's same-sex marriage ban with the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Gov. Snyder wants dental care program for low-income kids expanded statewide

Gov. Rick Snyder says one of his budget priorities in his second term would be to expand a program that helps low-income kids get dental care.

Right now, the Healthy Kids Dental program is available to more than 500,000 children in 80 of Michigan's 83 counties. But the program is not available in three of the state's largest counties - Wayne, Oakland, and Kent.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Land and Peters agree: U.S. should consider travel ban to prevent Ebola outbreak

The Republican and Democratic candidates for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat both say they would consider banning travel to and from countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks.

The first case of Ebola in the U.S. was recently confirmed by health officials in Texas. The man had come into contact with the virus in Liberia before traveling to the U.S.

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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.

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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.

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Aramark will boost pay, staffing & training to help fix prison food problems

The private company that manages food services in state prisons has agreed to hire more people and improve wages and training.

It's part of an effort to fix the state's problem-plagued agreement with Aramark. Those troubles include food shortages, high staff turnover, intimate contact between Aramark employees and inmates, and drug smuggling. A food services worker is suspected now of trying to hire an inmate to arrange a murder.

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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.

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AG's office to investigate Aramark employee accused in 'murder-for-hire' plot

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says his office will investigate a possible murder-for-hire plot involving a prison food service worker.

Michigan State Police suspects an Aramark employee of approaching an inmate of an Upper Peninsula prison about having another inmate killed.

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."

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Gov. Snyder close to supporting medical marijuana dispensaries, edibles

It looks like Gov. Rick Snyder could be close to supporting bills that would relax restrictions on medical marijuana in Michigan.

Jake Neher

Lt. Gov. Calley says he'll push for better employment for disabled people

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley says the state needs to do more to help people with disabilities get good jobs.

In the past week, world leaders have started using a mathematical term when they talk about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

"It's spreading and growing exponentially," President Obama said Tuesday. "This is a disease outbreak that is advancing in an exponential fashion," said Dr. David Nabarro, who is heading the U.N.'s effort against Ebola.

michigan.gov.mdch

Health director calls for reluctant parents to get vaccine counseling

Michigan's top health official says parents who want to opt out of vaccinating their children should first have to be counseled about the risks.

Michigan has one of the highest rates of parents who opt out of vaccinating their childen for preventable diseases such as mumps and measles.

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State superintendent backs "early warning system" for districts in financial trouble

Michigan's top education official says he supports legislation designed to prevent schools from getting into financial trouble.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Courtney Hurtt, WDET

Gov. Snyder defends his record on statewide call-in program

Gov. Rick Snyder spent an hour fielding questions from Michiganders on Friday. The questions spanned a broad range of topics, including education, the economy, the environment, and social issues.

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Judge says Michigan's largest teachers' union must let member leave any time

A Michigan labor judge says the state's largest teachers' union must let members leave at any time.

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) only allows teachers to quit the union during a one-month period in August. But conservative groups say that is a violation of Michigan's right-to-work law. They are applauding administrative law judge Julia Stern's decision this week.

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