State of Michigan

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State Senate approves increasing penalties for coercing abortion

Coercing someone to have an abortion would carry tougher penalties under bills approved by the state Senate on Thursday. The crime could result in criminal penalties under Senate Bills 1156 and 1157.

Andrew Cluley

State Legislature getting ready to hammer out compromise on road funding

The state Legislature is taking steps to hammer out a road funding compromise in the final days of its 2014 session.

The House and Senate passed plans that are drastically different. The Senate approved legislation that would essentially double the state's gas tax to pay for road improvements. The House plan would divert revenues from schools and local governments and would not raise any taxes.

Michigan Public Radio Network

Detroit officially exits bankruptcy

At the stroke of midnight, the city of Detroit officially exits of bankruptcy. Governor Rick Snyder has signed the order terminating the city’s emergency manager, and officially transferring control to the mayor and the city council.

The action is something of a formality since Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has had control over most day-to-day operations for months now.

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Film credit extension heads to Gov. Snyder's desk

Gov. Rick Snyder will decide whether to extend Michigan's film credit program through 2021.

The incentives are currently set to expire in 2017. The state Senate gave final legislative approval to the extension Tuesday morning with bipartisan support.

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Ban on student athlete unions clears state House

Student athletes at Michigan's public universities would be banned from unionizing under a bill approved by the state House on Tuesday. House Bill 6074 passed on a party-line vote.

Rick Snyder
Michigan Public Radio Network

Snyder: House transit plan not sufficient

Governor Rick Snyder says a plan adopted by the state House to shift sales taxes collected on fuel sales to roads won’t work. He says that could rob schools and local governments of money they need to operate.

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Religious protection bill teed up for House vote

A bill that's supposed to protect people exercising sincerely held religious beliefs has been approved by the state House on a party-line vote.
 

Michigan Public Radio Network

House holds hearing on LGBT civil rights bill

A state House committee adjourned Wednesday without voting on
legislation that would add LGBT protections to Michigan's civil rights
law, and it appears the effort has stalled as the Legislature grows
close to wrapping up for the year.

State Rep. Frank Foster (R-Petoskey) both testified and presided over
the hour-long hearing that allowed supporters and opponents to voice
their opinions. He said it's time for Michigan to update its civil
rights law.

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State House approves suspicion-based drug testing for welfare recipients

The state House has approved a bill that would revoke welfare payments from people who fail drug tests. The state would implement the one-year pilot program in three counties that have not yet been selected.

The drug testing will be conducted based on "reasonable suspicion," unlike previous programs in Michigan that made testing mandatory.

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State Senate rejects bill to reduce truck weight limits

The state Senate has rejected a bill that would reduce the amount of weight trucks are allowed to carry on Michigan's roads. The state has the highest truck weight limits in the country.

Democrats say reducing the limits will help keep the roads from crumbling.

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MI asks federal judge to end oversight of child foster care

Michigan wants out from under court-ordered oversight of the state's child foster care system. The state filed a motion Tuesday with the US District Court in Detroit to bring an end to the protracted litigation.

The class action lawsuit was filed in 2006 by the advocacy group Children's Rights. The court found high caseloads and too many kids who weren't finding permanent homes.

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Gov. Snyder urges state House to pass gas tax increase for roads

State lawmakers have just nine or ten more session days in 2014, and still no consensus on how to raise money to help fix Michigan's roads.

With the Legislature's "lame duck" session about to start up in earnest on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Snyder spent Monday promoting a specific road funding plan at events in Detroit and Southfield.

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Bills to keep schools out of deficit on long list of "lame duck" issues

State lawmakers could take up legislation next week meant to keep schools out of deficit.

The legislation would require more reporting from schools that are deemed to be in financial trouble. It could also open up more money in state grants and loans.

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State House expected to take up film credit extension in December

The state House is expected to take up legislation next month that could decide the future of Michigan's film credit program.

The credits will go away in 2017 if lawmakers do not act to extend them. The state Senate passed a bill last month that would keep them alive. Senate Bill 1103 got wide bipartisan support.

It appears the bill will continue to move now that it is in the state House.

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LGBT activists ready to “blow up” civil rights bill if it ignores gender identity

Supporters of adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law say they have enough votes in the Legislature to pass a bill before the end of the year. But they say that’s only if Republican leaders take up a version of the bill that includes protections for gender identity.

M-STEP Replacing MEAP For Some Students In Spring

Nov 20, 2014
michigan.gov

Michigan is saying goodbye to the MEAP test this coming spring.  Washtenaw County school districts appear ready to roll out the new online Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP test.

 

Naomi Norman is Executive Director of Achievement Services for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. 

She says M-STEP is more than a bunch of multiple choice questions - students are going to have to answer some questions in writing.

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Prison reform activists see opportunity in "lame duck" for legislative overhaul

Bills that seek to reduce prison spending in Michigan seem to have momentum going into the last weeks of the Legislature's 2014 session.

Michigan spends about $2 billion every year on prisons. The legislation seeks to reduce the length of some prison stays and provide more supervision for people after they are released from prison.

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Effort to get LGBT civil rights protections pressing on after setbacks

A coalition of business and civil rights groups is still optimistic state lawmakers this year will make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people.

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Michigan jobless rate falls slightly to 7.1 percent

More people were looking for work last month, but more businesses were hiring, which helped drive Michigan's unemployment rate to 7.1 percent, the lowest it's been so far this year.

That's one-tenth of a percentage point below where it was a month ago, and one-and-half percentage points below a year ago.

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Judge allows legal challenge to emergency manager law to move ahead

A federal judge in Detroit has refused to toss out a legal challenge to Michigan's emergency manager law. Judge Joseph Caram Steeh will allow a trial on the claim the law violates equal protection rights in the US Constitution.

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Governor Rick Snyder has said that the 300 or so same-sex marriages performed in Michigan back in March are void.  Local marriage equality supporters are not happy.

Sandi Smith is President of the Jim Toy Community Center. 

She says they held a community meeting Sunday night where about 50 people gathered to talk about the situation.

"It really throws them into chaos," Smith says, "and I think that the Governor ought to consider that before making sweeping statements."

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Bill to overhaul Michigan's electoral votes blasted in committee hearing

A plan to change the way Michigan awards its electoral votes for president got largely panned at a state House hearing on Monday.

The legislation would award up to seven of the state's 16 Electoral College votes to the presidential runner-up in Michigan. The number of votes they get would depend on how close the popular vote is.

Michigan Public Radio Network

DeBoer case appealed to SCOTUS

The legal team for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse filed its appeal Monday with the US Supreme Court. They want the court to rule that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage and others like it across the country are unconstitutional.

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Snyder says Electoral College overhaul should wait

Governor Rick Snyder says he's not on board with changing how Michigan divvies up presidential electors. A bill that was just rolled out would change Michigan from a winner-take-all state to one that divides the votes between the Democratic and Republican candidates.
    
The bill's Republican sponsor says making Michigan more competitive will mean more attention from presidential candidates.

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A debate is shaping up in the Michigan House on whether Michigan's civil rights law should be expanded to protect gays, lesbians, and bisexuals from discrimination. There's also a fight brewing on whether those protections should extent to transgender people.


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