Michigan News

Texting While Driving On the Rise In Michigan

Mar 5, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

 A poll reports a doubling in the percentage of Michigan drivers who acknowledge they text or use email while behind the wheel since the previous survey two years earlier.

NASA Goddard Photo and Video

 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Great Lakes water levels rebounded sharply last year after a prolonged low period dating from the late 1990s.

Same Sex Parents
michiganmarriagechallenge.com

 A university economist says children raised by heterosexual couples have a much greater chance of making normal progress through school than kids living with same-sex parents.

Flickr user jason nahrung

       Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law changing sentencing rules for juvenile defendants convicted of murder and other serious crimes.

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       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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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. 

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). 

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

74,476 Reasons You Should Always Get The Bigger Pizza

Feb 26, 2014

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

Gay Marriage Opposition Speaks Out in Detroit

Feb 24, 2014
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.

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.

Lansing Seeks Long-Term Medicaid Funding Fix

Feb 21, 2014

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.

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.

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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