Michigan News

General Motors is recalling 3.2 million more cars in the U.S. because of ignition switch problems.  

Courtesy Image / detroitzoo.org

The Detroit Zoo plans to "break ice" on a center dedicated to penguins. Officials are to take part in an "ice-breaking" ceremony  today for the $29.5 million, 33,000-square-foot Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the zoo in suburban Royal Oak. 

Wikipedia

Oral arguments have been officially scheduled by a federal appeals court about Michigan's dispute over gay marriage. 

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Snyder: More needs to be done to help refugees in Michigan

The number of refugees who have settled in Michigan has grown in recent years - and Governor Rick Snyder says more should be done to help them.

At a town hall meeting at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Snyder called on community leaders to help the state find ways to help refugees.

"It's important that we find ways to help these people - they've gone through terrible circumstances - about making them feel welcome in our country," Snyder told reporters after the town hall.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Michigan forges official relationship with Israel on industrial R&D

Gov. Rick Snyder has cemented a formal relationship between Michigan and Israel to collaborate on industrial research and development.

The governor and Israeli Consul General to the Midwest Roey Gilad signed a memorandum of understanding Monday in Dearborn.
    
Snyder says the deal was reached after more than a year of talks with Israeli officials.

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Michigan Supreme Court takes two more medical marijuana cases

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear two more medical marijuana cases. Two medical marijuana cardholders want the state's highest court to rule that a voter-approved law shields them from criminal charges.

In both cases, the defendants say the fact that they have medical marijuana cards should protect them from prosecution even if they did not abide by the letter of the law.

a2schools.org

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education has approved hiring company to run its custodial services starting in July.  The Ann Arbor News reports 114 custodians will no longer be employees of the district as of June 30. Crew chiefs also would be laid off. 

michigan.gov

Snyder: Restoring MEAP test not his preference

Governor Rick Snyder says he's not giving up on plans to change Michigan's standardized student test. That's despite a provision in the School Aid budget that lawmakers could send to the governor soon. It says schools have to stick with the current test - the MEAP -- for at least another year.

The governor wants the state to use "Smarter Balanced," a new student test that's aligned with the controversial "Common Core" education standards.

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Michigan film incentives to stay at $50 million, Senate leader wants more

The top Republican in the state Senate says he's not satisfied with the amount of money lawmakers have set aside for film and TV productions.

The Legislature is expected to wrap up a state budget this week. It will include $50 million in film incentives. That's the same as last year, but half of that money is now slated to continue into future budgets.

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'Right to work' part of discussions on roads package

Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats at the state Capitol over road funding may have resurrected the controversy over Michigan's right-to-work law.

There's a lot of deal-making happening in Lansing as the Legislature enters the final days before its summer recess. The two biggest issues are finishing the state budget, and coming up with more than $1.2) billion new dollars a year for roads - Governor Rick Snyder's top priority before lawmakers leave Lansing.

Wikipedia

Michigan lawmakers have given initial approval to a school budget that boosts spending by 4 percent and prohibits the state from replacing its standardized test next year with one developed by a group of states. The bill approved 4-1 Tuesday by a House-Senate conference committee is expected to win final legislative approval this week.

Ann Arbor Public Schools / aaps.k12.mi.us

Custodians with Ann Arbor schools are considering forming a worker-owned cooperative as part of an effort to keep their jobs if their work is outsourced by the district.    The custodians' union AFSCME Local 1128 voted Saturday to pursue forming the cooperative. The Ann Arbor News reports  the district could contract with the co-op for custodial work without paying into the state retirement system for school employees.

Andrew Cluley

Gov. Snyder eyes road funding deal this week

Gov. Rick Snyder wants a road funding solution on his desk by the end of this week.

Lawmakers will meet three days this week before they're expected to go on their summer break.

One of the governor's biggest priorities in his first term has been to boost infrastructure spending by more than $1 billion a year. But with political campaigns about to heat up over the summer, a legislative deal still hasn't materialized.

The governor does not want the issue to stay unresolved until the fall - or later.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
Michael Barera / Wikimedia Commons

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are stepping into Detroit's bankruptcy picture by pledging $26 million to help support retiree pensions while keeping the city's art treasures off the auction block.

The Detroit Institute of Arts, Gov. Rick Snyder and representatives from the automakers announced the donation Monday at the art museum.

Local governments in Michigan may get a smaller increase in state revenue sharing than hoped.

Gov. Rick Snyder proposed a 15 percent increase in statutory shared revenue. But House Republicans say a budget agreement includes a 5.5 percent boost in statutory revenue sharing for cities, townships and villages — not including $8 million for financially distressed local governments.

Municipalities also are expected to get 3 percent more next year in revenue-sharing payments guaranteed under Michigan's constitution. A House-Senate committee plans to approve the budget plan Monday.

The Snyder administration said last week revenue sharing would stay "pretty close" to what Snyder proposed. But it's looking like that may not be the case after revenue estimates were revised downward recently.

Snyder's plan to significantly boost payments to counties is intact.

michigan.gov/mde

Michigan schools' finances "stabilizing," says state superintendent

Late last year, the state's top education official had dire predictions for the finances of Michigan schools. He predicted the number of districts in deficit could reach 100 "before long."

Now, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the situation is stabilizing, and he credits increased funding from the state.

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Michigan Supreme Court names workgroup to improve system for collecting fines

A group of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys goes to work Thursday on finding new and better ways to collect fines and fees from defendants, and to ensure that people are not sent to jail because they don't have the money to pay.

Andrew Cluley

Road funding talks in flux at state Capitol

It looked like there might be a wave of bipartisan cooperation in Lansing. Lawmakers recently voted to raise the state's minimum wage and contribute almost $200 million to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy.

But that doesn't seem to be the case anymore with road funding negotiations in flux.

State lawmakers want to find a way to increase funding for roads in the next couple weeks. That's when they leave Lansing for the summer.

michigan.gov

MI Supreme Court says governor cannot un-commute life sentence

The Michigan Supreme Court says a governor cannot take back a decision to commute a prison sentence once the papers are signed and filed.

Matthew Makowski helped plan the robbery of a co-worker in 1988, but was not there when the attempt went awry and Pietro Puma was stabbed to death. Makowski was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the killing and sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole, the mandatory sentence.

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Michigan Supreme Court strikes down "one parent" doctrine

A Jackson County man will get a trial on whether he gets to keep his kids after a ruling by  the Michigan Supreme Court.

The state Supreme Court struck down a policy that allows authorities to limit or terminate both parents' rights to their children when one of them runs into trouble with the law. In this case, the mother lost her parental rights when the couple's newborn daughter tested positive for drugs.

Eastern Michigan University

Two Detroit men face pre-trial hearings in the robbery and fatal shooting of Eastern Michigan University football player Demarius Reed.    The hearings are scheduled this afternoon for Kristopher Pratt and Ed Thomas in Washtenaw County Trial Court in Ann Arbor.

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Everybody's favorite fictional crime-fighting cyborg is heading to the Detroit Tigers game.  

RoboCop is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at Comerica Park tonight as the Tigers host the Toronto Blue Jays.

RoboCop's motorcycle is to be on display at the stadium and the first 10,000 fans will get a RoboCop cheer card after getting inside.

Michigan.gov

Snyder defends "pension tax" in special message on aging

Gov. Rick Snyder is firing back against critics of his so-called "pension tax."

Snyder gave a special address on aging Monday in Rochester. He used part of the speech to defend his 2011 decision, which ended the practice of exempting pensions from state income tax.

Flemming lost nearly 400 pounds and overcame an alcohol addiction, in just 19 months.

A southeast Michigan public school teacher has been reinstated after his removal from the classroom while district officials assessed his lesson plan on African-American history and racial segregation laws.

The Monroe News reports hat Alan Barron was placed on paid leave last month after he showed an eighth-grade history class at Monroe Middle School a video of how white entertainers once used black face paint to imitate blacks.

An assistant principal sat in on the class.

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