michigan

Michigan’s film credits are a step closer to being eliminated by the state Legislature. A House panel approved a bill Wednesday that would end the program on October 1st.

The vote was largely party-line, with almost all Republicans voting in favor and most Democrats voting against. The legislation now heads to the House floor.

The state House has adopted legislation that would exempt air-, spring-, and gas-powered guns from Michigan firearms laws.

The legislation is backed by the NRA. Supporters says Michigan’s rules are stricter and out of step with most other states and the federal government.

State lawmakers have approved diverting surplus school aid revenues to help close a $400 million dollar budget hole.

The legislation would shift $250 million dollars in money originally earmarked for the state’s School Aid Fund.  Another bill in the package would make cuts to several state departments.

State lawmakers say Michigan set the stage for states like Wisconsin to consider right-to-work laws.

Thousands of protesters gathered at the Wisconsin state Capitol on Tuesday as lawmakers there held a hearing on the measure. It would ban requirements that workers pay union dues as a condition of employment.

  

Michigan state Representative Brad Jacobsen (R-Oxford) says he and his Republican colleagues showed other Midwest states it could be done.

Bitter cold weather and snow continues to cause Michigan schools to cancel days.

Many Michigan school districts have already called off classes for six or more days. That’s the limit on how many days schools can close without tacking on extra time at the end of the school year.

Business Leaders For Michigan

A survey of Michigan business owners shows optimism about the state and national economies. The forecast by the Business Leaders for Michigan says almost half of the state’s largest employers plan to boost hiring this year.

Retired federal law enforcement officials would be able to carry concealed weapons in “no carry zones” under a bill approved by the state Senate. The bill got overwhelming bipartisan support.

“No carry zones” include places such as schools, day care centers, taverns, hospitals, and sports arenas where concealed weapons are prohibited.

Supporters say former federal agents face extraordinary danger.

  A state Senate panel will take up a bill on Tuesday that would allow college graduates to claim a tax credit based on student loan interest payments.

Supporters say skyrocketing student loan debt is causing recent grads to move out of Michigan.


A group of state lawmakers will try again to make major changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana law. Republican state Representative Lisa Lyons is sponsoring a bill that would allow patients to use non-smokable forms of cannabis – such as baked goods or oils

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a budget-cutting executive order, and presented a spending plan for the coming fiscal year. Schools, universities, and local governments were spared cuts as part the order to help clear away a deficit.


The Michigan Senate provides a live, unedited video feed of Legislative sessions and special events and you can view it right here:

Solar Energy
courtesy Michigan Solar Solutions

53rd District State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D)-Ann Arbor discussed the Energy Freedom package of bills he is co-sponsoring and what he would like to see set as the new mandate for the state's Renewable Energy Standard. 

 

Grey Wolf
WikiMedia Commons

  The state Senate is urging Congress to end endangered and threatened species protections for gray wolves in Michigan. It passed the resolution Tuesday on a mostly party-line vote.

Michigan has been debating for about two years whether to allow a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. That question was recently put to rest when a federal judge ordered Michigan wolves back on the endangered species list, along with wolves in two other states.

Washtenaw County's efforts to end homelessness are meeting with some success. Local officials have released the results of last month's Point In Time count of the local homeless population. The report indicates that the number of homeless individuals has dropped significantly from 2013.

    

A state appeals court judge has ruled there was no violation of Michigan’s open meetings act when the state Capitol was closed while the Legislature debated and voted on a right-to-work law. Judge Deborah Servitto dismissed the lawsuit without allowing the case to go to trial.

Democratic lawmakers and union activists filed the challenge. They wanted the law thrown out because two years ago, Republican leaders and the State Police ordered the doors to the Capitol locked as the Legislature debated and voted on the controversial legislation.

  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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Semis
Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

A group of semi-truck drivers made some noise Tuesday outside the state Capitol.

Several 18-wheelers circled the building with horns blaring to protest legislation that would increase fines and fees for overweight vehicles. It’s likely to be part of a compromise plan to increase funding to fix Michigan’s roads.

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