Michigan News

  Democratic state lawmakers are again hoping to allow no-reason absentee voting in Michigan.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has said recently that more people who have died or moved out of state must be removed from the state’s voter registration database before lawmakers will agree to stop putting conditions on who can vote absentee.

More than 300 gay and lesbian couples in Michigan are legally married now that Governor Rick Snyder has decided not to contest a court order. It says the state has to recognize the marriages that took place last spring.

But, the state will continue to defend the same-sex marriage ban in a case before the US Supreme Court.

It was Snyder’s call whether the state would appeal after a federal judge ruled that more than 300 same-sex couples are legally married and told the state to treat them as married.

Michigan teens would be able to pre-register to vote under a proposal in Lansing.

The measure would allow 16 and 17 year olds to fill out their voter registration paperwork when they get their driver’s licenses. The state would mail their voter cards when they turn 18.

An economic study says the May ballot proposal to raise the state sales tax could also collectively cost Michigan taxpayers $100 million more in federal income taxes.

The ballot proposal would raise the state sales tax by a penny on the dollar.

Two unmarried people would be able to jointly adopt children together under a bill in the state House. Under current law, only married couples or single individuals can be grated parental rights to an adopted child.

For many same-sex couples, the issue could be decided when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Michigan’s gay marriage ban. But the bill’s sponsor says the ruling still won’t affect joint adoption for unmarried people.

A federal appeals court says a former assistant state attorney general owes millions of dollars for stalking and harassing a gay student leader at the University of Michigan.

        

The episode has already cost Andrew Shirvell his job as a lawyer for the state. Now, he also owes $3.5 million to former UM student body president Chris Armstrong.

Shirvell challenged the jury award. He said he was exercising his First Amendment right to protest against a public figure. He also said the judgment was excessive.

Legislation to streamline approval of concealed pistol licenses is likely to clear the state Senate this week.

The bills are similar to legislation Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed last month over concerns it would put domestic abuse victims in danger. But that controversial language was taken out of Senate Bill 34 when it was reintroduced.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder talks to Robert Siegel as some states are experiencing major budget deficits and several Republican governors are opting to increase taxes to make up for the shortfall.


Michigan teens would be able to pre-register to vote under a proposal in Lansing.

The measure would allow 16 and 17 year olds to fill out their voter registration paperwork when they get their driver’s licenses. The state would mail their voter cards when they turn 18.

“It’s another way of making government much more efficient,” said state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren. “It saves people in lines at secretary of state offices. It saves more correspondence going to the secretary of state’s office. It makes it a much easier process.”

An economic study says the May ballot proposal to raise the state sales tax could also collectively cost Michigan taxpayers $100 million more in federal income taxes.

        

The ballot proposal would raise the state sales tax by a penny on the dollar.

The state has rejected ACT’s claim that Michigan unfairly switched its free college entrance exam to the SAT starting in spring 2016.

ACT protested two aspects of the bidding process. It said the state changed the timeline of the proposed contract and penalized ACT for having a writing portion. It says both of those things unfairly benefitted SAT.

State officials say they reviewed those concerns carefully.

A check by state health officials over the past year found an uptick in the number of retailers illegally selling tobacco to minors. The Department of Community Health Survey found 18 percent of retailers sold tobacco to minors. That’s a seven percentage point jump from two years ago.

Jennifer Smith of the Department of Community Health says the state plans to step up education and enforcement efforts.

Governor Rick Snyder says improving services for the mentally ill is a major civil rights issue. And he says it’s a high priority in his second term.

A controversial gun bill similar to one that was recently vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder is likely to get a committee hearing this week.

The bill’s sponsor says the reintroduced legislation no longer contains language the governor and others worried could have put domestic abuse victims in danger. Opponents said it would have allowed people with personal protection orders (PPOs) against them to get concealed pistol licenses.

There has been plenty of reaction to Michigan governor Rick Snyder's 2015 'State of the State' address.   

Michigan Public Radio Network

Governor Rick Snyder last night delivered his 5th State of the State Address on Tuesday evening. The Republican touched on a number of topics and even took a swipe at Washington. Still, he had to spend time discussing what was left undone last year that he wants accomplished in 2015. 


A federal judge says Michigan must recognize the marriages of 300 gay and lesbian couples that were performed last March. They were all married the day after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, but before an appeals court put the order on hold.  Judge Mark Goldsmith says the marriages were legal and must be recognized by the state. His order takes effect in 21 days.

Online shoppers in Michigan could see a sales tax added to their purchases starting next October.

The legislation is now in front of Gov. Rick Snyder.

Supporters say it would end an unfair advantage for retailers such as Amazon.com over stores located in Michigan.

“What really pushed it over the line is the amount of companies that are doing business online,” said Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake. “And you have all the brick-and-mortar people that are dying.”

Michigan high school juniors will take the SAT instead of the ACT starting in spring 2016. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced the switch on Wednesday.

The state has provided a free college entrance exam for eleventh graders on the state’s standardized test for several years.

The College Board – the company that administers the SAT – won a three-year, $17.1 million contract.

MDE spokesperson Martin Ackley says the SAT will be a better test that will save the state money.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

Governor Rick Snyder has begun his second term as Michigan’s 48th governor. He took the oath of office in a ceremony on the steps of the state Capitol in the freezing cold.   Rick Pluta was there. 


Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that forbids athletes at public universities in Michigan from organizing a union. It was one of 17 bills signed today by the governor.

The university athlete bill is an effort to preempt what happened at Northwestern University in Illinois, where football players at the private college voted last spring to form a union. There was no known similar effort at a Michigan university.

Wikimedia Commons

A proposed tax hike aimed at improving Michigan's transportation infrastructure and schools is heading to voters. 

          

Courtesy Image / Pixabay.com

Legislation to ease medical marijuana restrictions in Michigan will have to wait until 2015. Listen below as Jake Neher explains why. 

 

Two very different holiday displays will share the grounds of the Michigan State Capitol next week: a traditional Christian Nativity and an exhibit by the Satanic Temple. The situation has brought controversy — and energized Christians who realized that a planned Nativity was in danger of being canceled.

The story drew intense attention after it emerged that there was a chance the Capitol grounds might host only a Satanic holiday display during the Christmas season, because plans for a Christian display didn't take into account Michigan's rules.

State officials are reporting what they say is a small natural gas leak in a pipeline in the Upper Peninsula that’s owned by Enbridge Energy.

Brad Wurfel of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the leak near Manistique was discovered, reported, and fixed by Enbridge. He says there was a small amount of liquid natural gas
released, but it quickly evaporated. 

“The good news is there’s no lingering environmental damage to discuss with this incident,” he said. 

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