Michigan News

GOP lawmakers try to revive no-fault overhaul

Feb 20, 2014
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. 


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.


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.  

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.

Michigan Senate

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has voted to spend more for winter road maintenance and to adjust the budget to account for a delay in the expansion of Medicaid. The legislation includes $100 million to fix potholes and help governments with higher-than-usual salting and snow plowing bills. Expanding Medicaid to more low-income adults was supposed to occur in January before senators delayed  it until April.  

Brian Jackson

DETROIT (AP) - The Nation of Islam is returning to the place it started for its annual four-day convention.

 The Chicago-based movement kicks off Saviours' Day today at Cobo center in Detroit. Organizers say it will feature workshops, spiritual renewal, fellowship and networking.

EAA no longer Only Option for Struggling Schools

Feb 19, 2014

State ends contract with the Education Achievement AuthorityBy Jake Neher This time next year, the Education Achievement Authority will no longer be the only entity that can take over failing schools in Michigan.  State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has notified the EAA that the state is ending its exclusive contract with the authority.

Lawmakers Consider Emergency Road Funding

Feb 18, 2014

Emergency road funding could be coming after nasty winterBy Jake Neher  A monster pothole season is upon us - and state lawmakers say they want to help.  A state Senate panel on Tuesday added $100 million for road repairs and maintenance to a mid-year budget bill to help communities fix potholes and plow roads. Lawmakers say local governments need the help to offset the costs of constant snow removal and efforts to fix potholes caused by the nasty winter weather. "That warming and freezing will add to the problems that our counties, our villages, and townships, and state ha

Lawmakers encourage Year-Round School

Feb 18, 2014

State lawmakers look to encourage year-round schoolsBy Jake Neher Some at-risk schools in Michigan could soon get more state funding if they agree to go year-round. A state House panel heard testimony on the idea Tuesday. In his budget address this month, Governor Rick Snyder called for a state pilot program to encourage year-round schooling.

Lawmakers encourage Year-Round School

Feb 18, 2014

State lawmakers look to encourage year-round schoolsBy Jake Neher Some at-risk schools in Michigan could soon get more state funding if they agree to go year-round. A state House panel heard testimony on the idea Tuesday. In his budget address this month, Governor Rick Snyder called for a state pilot program to encourage year-round schooling.

Landlords could ban tenants from smoking or growing medical marijuana under billBy Jake Neher  Some Michigan medical marijuana patients and caregivers could soon be banned from smoking or growing cannabis where they live.  A state Senate panel approved a bill on Tuesday that would let landlords decide whether to allow tenants to grow or smoke medical marijuana. "We've had a lot of apartment owners that have people smoking marijuana or growing marijuana, doing damage to the apartments, creating danger for other residents," said state Sen.

Campaign Sets Sights on Higher Minimum Wage

Feb 17, 2014

Minimum wage campaign sets its sights at $10.10
By Rick Pluta

The campaign to increase Michigan's minimum wage has upped its goal to $10.10 an hour in four years.

The petition drive had initially set its sights on raising the state minimum wage from its current $7.40 an hour to $9.50 by 2016, and then indexing the wage to inflation. The new wage target is part of an amended filing with the state.

Lawmakers to probe Army Corps of Engineers report on invasive species Tuesday
By Jake Neher

State lawmakers want to know whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is inflating the cost and time it would take to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes.

Army Corp officials will face questions from legislators Tuesday about a report it released last month. It says separating the lakes from the Mississippi River would take more than two decades and up to $18 billion to complete.

Lawmakers Could Vote on E-A-A Expansion This Week

Feb 17, 2014

A bill that would bolster a state-run system for struggling schools could get a vote this week in the state Legislature.  Right now, the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) is trying to turn around 15 schools in Detroit. The legislation would allow it to operate up to 50 schools across the state by July of 2015. “That means that the same school reform model that has failed in 15 schools in Detroit could be coming to a neighborhood school near you,” said state Rep. Collene Lamonte (D-Montague).

Michigan Public Radio Network

MI corrections director: Ionia prison escape "had nothing to do with" budget cuts
By Jake Neher

The head of the state's prison system blames a murderer's recent escape from an Ionia prison largely on human error. That prisoner escaped earlier this month, and was caught in Indiana the next day.

Report says parole systems costs taxpayers millions
By Rick Pluta

A new report says Michigan's parole system is too stingy when it comes to releasing prisoners with sentences of up to life in prison.

The report by the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending says there are 850 lifers in Michigan prison for second-degree murder and other violent crimes who could be paroled. In many cases, they're older and the report says very unlikely to re-offend.

Backyard Farmers Upset with State Proposal

Feb 12, 2014

Backyard farmers blast proposal to exclude them from "Right to Farm" law
By Jake Neher

A state board is expected to decide next month whether to strip protections from Michiganders who raise chickens and other livestock in residential areas.

Dozens of "backyard farmers" and their supporters blasted the proposed rule change Wednesday at an agriculture commission meeting in Lansing. It would exclude them from Michigan's Right to Farm Act, which protects farmers from nuisance complaints and lawsuits.

The Michigan State Board of Education hopes public school funding will be a top priority for voters when they head to the polls in November.

MI agriculture commission closer to decision on backyard livestockBy Rick Pluta The Michigan Commission on Agriculture and Rural Development is about to hold its final hearing on a controversial new rule. It would end Right to Farm protections for people who raise chickens and other livestock in residential areas.  The 1981 Right to Farm Act is the state's effort to preempt nuisance lawsuits filed against farmers as more people moved from cities and suburbs to rural areas.

This story comes from the Ann Arbor News. WEMU is following up on the matter, stay tuned for an update.

LaPorte County Sheriff's Office

Democrats say state attorney general not fit to investigate prisoner escape

By Jake Neher

State House Democrats are calling for an independent investigation into a recent prison escape in Ionia.

The state’s Republican attorney general is looking into the escape, including whether recent state budget cuts played a role. But Democrats say Bill Schuette cannot conduct an impartial inquiry because his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature voted for those budget cuts, and citing them as a factor would make Republicans look bad.

Wolf hunt opponents challenge Michigan law

Feb 11, 2014

Wolf hunt opponents challenge Michigan law limiting who can circulate petitions

By Jake Neher (Michigan Public Radio Network)

Right now, only Michigan residents are allowed to collect signatures for ballot campaigns and voter initiatives.

Democrats say state attorney general not fit to investigate prisoner escapeBy Jake Neher 

A goup hoping to end wolf hunting in Michigan says a law banning out-of-state petition circulators is unconstitutional. It filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court challenging the law.

DETROIT (AP) — The city of Detroit says it will file a plan to emerge from bankruptcy next week, just days before a March 1 deadline.

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