State of Michigan

Michigan News
11:16 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Expansion Of Medicaid Exceeding Expectations

Credit michigan.gov/mdch

Medicaid expansion sign-ups hit one-year target in just four months

In less than four months, Michigan has already hit its 2014 enrollment goal for the state's expanded Medicaid program.

More than 322,000 low-income Michiganders now have government sponsored healthcare through the Healthy Michigan program.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) say the dramatic jump in enrollment will help boost the state's economy.

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Michigan News
5:13 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Audit Points To Failings At Michigan Department Of Human Services

Credit wikimedia commons

Another audit says Michigan has failed to protect vulnerable adults

Gov. Rick Snyder's administration is again taking heat for failing to protect vulnerable adults.

A state audit released Wednesday shows the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) has mismanaged its Adult Protective Services (APS) program since 2010. Among other things, it says DHS did not adequately train caseworkers and supervisors and failed to investigate complaints of abuse.

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WEMU News
5:12 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Washtenaw County's Representatives In Lansing Do Well On Environmental Scorecard

Credit michiganlcv.org

Washtenaw County's legislative representatives continue to score highly in the Michigan League of Conservation Voters annual Environmental Scorecard.

State Senator Rebekah Warren and Representatives David Rutledge, Jeff Irwin and Adam Zemke all scored 100 percent, while Representative Gretchen Driskell received an 85 percent rating. 

Senator Warren was singled out for her support of legislation to update and increase fees for hunting and fishing licenses.

Find the complete scorecard online:

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Michigan News
8:26 am
Wed July 9, 2014

State Schools Superintendent Has Warning For Charter School Authorizers

Michigan Schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan.
Credit michigan.gov/mde

State superintendent predicts institutions will lose ability to charter schools

The top education official in Michigan says there's a good chance some institutions will lose their authority to create charter schools.

That statement comes a day after state Superintendent of Schools Mike Flanagan said he's ready to use his authority to revoke that ability from charter school authorizers. That's if they fail to meet new standards for transparency set by state education officials.

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Michigan News
4:31 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Good News, Bad News In State Test Data

Credit wikimedia commons

High schoolers' test scores up in all areas, many still not ready for college

Michigan high school juniors are improving in all core academic subjects. That's according to standardized test results released Monday.

The Michigan Merit Exam (MME) is given to high school juniors each year. The data released by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) includes the ACT college entrance exam.

The biggest improvements in the results were in social studies and reading. State education officials credit tougher graduation requirements approved in 2006.

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WEMU News
3:29 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Irwin Blasts Road Funding 'Earmarks'

53rd District State Representative Jeff Irwin (D)
Credit http://053.housedems.com/

A local state representative is among Democrats crying "foul" in Lansing over the latest round of road funding.

The state chose projects that'll receive $115 million in funding based on request from lawmakers, and Democrats complain that most of the work is being done in districts represented by majority Republicans. 

Representative Jeff Irwin says this is what happens when road projects are funded by earmarks rather than by a set formula.

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Michigan News
5:47 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Michigan School Superintendents Want Budget Re-Do

Credit wikimedia commons

Superintendents blast education budget

As Michigan schools begin their new budget year this week, some local superintendents are urging lawmakers to return from their summer break to boost education funding.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a new education budget last week that boosts funding for all public schools by at least $50 per student. But Forest Hills Schools Superintendent Dan Behm says districts face new costs that wipe out that minimum increase.

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Michigan News
5:47 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Governor Warns Of Possible Prison Food Service Contract Cancellation

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Credit wikimedia commons

Snyder: Prison food contract troubles are "unacceptable"

Governor Rick Snyder says a deal with a private contractor to provide food for state prisons could be terminated if there are future problems with the company. Aramark Food Services was awarded the $145 million, three-year contract last December. But the arrangement has been beset by problems since then.

Aramark has been fined by the state for unapproved menu changes and running out of food. Also, 70 Aramark employees are banned from state prisons for inappropriate relationships with prisoners.

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Michigan News
8:28 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Home-Aid Workers To Undergo Background Checks

Credit wikimedia commons

Background checks coming for home-aid workers, state can't exclude all felons

Michigan cannot ban all felons from being caregivers in the state's Medicaid in-home care program. That's according to state officials who outlined an upcoming background check system on Monday.

People convicted of patient abuse or neglect, health care fraud, or drug-related crimes will be barred from working with in-home Medicaid patients. But state officials say federal law prevents them from excluding people based on crimes that are not related to in-home care.

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Michigan News
4:23 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Schauer Speaks Out On Charter School Regulation

Democratic candidate for Michigan governor Mark Schauer.
Credit Facebook.com/ShauerforMichigan

Schauer says he'd push stricter regulations on charter schools as governor

Former Congressman Mark Schauer says he would put tougher regulations on charter schools if he's elected governor. The Battle Creek Democrat says Gov. Rick Snyder has given bad charter operators a "free pass."

"We need to write into law the oversight that was left out when Rick Snyder lifted the cap on the number of charter schools," said Schauer. "It's the Wild West right now, and these schools see kids with dollar signs on their foreheads."

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Michigan News
7:40 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Economists: Michigan Didn't Think Ending Public Employee Pensions Through

Credit wikimedia commons

Michigan economists warn against ending pensions for public employees

Some economists say Michigan failed to consider the consequences of ending pension plans for public workers.

The state stopped offering pensions to new employees in 1997. Budget officials say that decision has cut Michigan's long-term debt by about $5 billion.

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Michigan News
7:27 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Office To Help Skilled immigrants Find Work In Michigan

Credit wikimedia commons

Michigan welcomes office to help skilled immigrants get jobs

Highly skilled immigrants in Michigan now have a new resource to help them find jobs. The national nonprofit organization Upwardly Global opened a new office in Detroit on Monday.

Upwardly Global says immigrants and refugees often have valuable job skills that are in high demand in the United States. But the group says they often still have trouble finding work because of cultural differences.

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Michigan News
4:44 am
Thu June 19, 2014

State Jobless Rate Up Slightly

Credit wikimedia commons

Michigan's jobless rate jumps very slightly to 7.5 percent

Michigan's monthly unemployment rate has edged up slightly 7.5 percent. It's a statistically small nudge of one-tenth of a percentage point, and most of the change is attributed to more people looking for jobs.

A one-tenth of a percentage point shift in the unemployment rate represents about 2,000 people, and statistically that's considered virtually unchanged from the month before. The slight bump in the rate is attributed primarily to more people joining the workforce to compete for jobs.

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Michigan News
4:43 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Court Costs May Only Be Ordered For Defendants If Allowed By Legislature

Michigan Hall of Justice.
Credit wikimedia commons

MI Supreme Court: Judges can't impose fines for court costs on their own

The Michigan Supreme Court says judges can't order people convicted of a crime to pay the costs to the legal system -- unless it's been specifically allowed by the Legislature.

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Michigan News
4:43 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Official: Snyder Not To Blame For Home Care Flubs

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Credit michigan.gov

State health director says Snyder not to blame for home care failings

Michigan's top health official is defending Gov. Rick Snyder amid claims his administration put in-home care patients in danger.

A new audit shows the state allowed convicted felons to work with vulnerable Medicaid patients. That includes people convicted of Medicaid fraud and violent crimes including assault and murder.

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Michigan News
4:43 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Expanded Medicaid Enrollment Soars

Credit medicaid.gov

Sign-ups for expanded Medicaid program soar over 300,000

More than 300,000 low-income Michiganders have signed up for the state's expanded Medicaid program.

In just eleven weeks, the Healthy Michigan program has almost reached the sign-up goal for its entire first year. State officials say that bodes well for the success of the program.

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Michigan News
3:23 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Audit: State Misspent In-Home Care Funding

Credit wikimedia commons

Audit slams state for $160 million in improper payments for in-home care

Two state departments are under fire for mismanaging a program that provides in-home care for Medicaid patients.

A new audit shows the program has misspent at least $160 million since 2010.

The Michigan auditor general's report says the state also failed to make sure money was actually used to deliver services and that caregivers were qualified.

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Michigan News
4:32 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Governor Requests More Help For Refugees

Credit wikipedia commons

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.

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Michigan News
4:32 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Michigan, Israel Sign Research And Development Agreement

Gov. Snyder and Israeli Consul General to the Midwest Roey Gilad met in Dearborn on Monday to sign a memorandum of understanding to do joint industrial research and development.
Credit 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 News
4:47 am
Fri June 13, 2014

State Supreme Court To Hear Two More Medical Marijuana Cases

Credit wikimedia commons

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.

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Michigan News
8:43 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Governor Snyder Not Fan Of Restoring MEAP Test

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Credit 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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WEMU News
3:06 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Ann Arbor Area Superintendents Blast State K-12 Funding Proposal

Ann Arbor Superintendent Jeanice Swift speaks as other district superintendents and school board members look on.
Credit Andrew Cluley

The Ann Arbor School Board was set to vote on a balanced budget tonight, but the latest proposal for state funding would leave a big hole to fill.

A House Senate committee's proposal would give the district $2.5 million less than Governor Rick Snyder's plan. 

Superintendent Jeanice Swift indicated the board will likely still vote on the original budget tonight.

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Michigan News
5:24 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Richardville: More Funding For Film Incentives

Credit wikimedia commons

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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Michigan News
5:24 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Road Funding Discussions Dredge Up 'Right To Work'

Credit wikimedia commons

'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.

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Michigan News
4:21 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Road Funding Deal May Have To Wait

Credit 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.

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