State of Michigan

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State Senate leader all but rules out repealing prevailing wage

The Republican leader of the state Senate says he's not interested in repealing Michigan's prevailing wage law.

"Some other Legislature can do it, but not this one," Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, told reporters Thursday.

Some Republicans see a prevailing wage repeal as the logical next step to the state's right-to-work law.

But Richardville says he doesn't see how repealing the law would benefit workers.

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Aramark will boost pay, staffing & training to help fix prison food problems

The private company that manages food services in state prisons has agreed to hire more people and improve wages and training.

It's part of an effort to fix the state's problem-plagued agreement with Aramark. Those troubles include food shortages, high staff turnover, intimate contact between Aramark employees and inmates, and drug smuggling. A food services worker is suspected now of trying to hire an inmate to arrange a murder.

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Human trafficking bills expected to clear state Legislature this week

Bills meant to fight human trafficking in Michigan are on track to clear the state Legislature before the end of this week.

The bipartisan legislation would make it easier to prosecute human trafficking cases, increase penalties, and provide more services for victims. The state House passed several bills in the package on Wednesday.

michigan.ogv

AG's office to investigate Aramark employee accused in 'murder-for-hire' plot

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says his office will investigate a possible murder-for-hire plot involving a prison food service worker.

Michigan State Police suspects an Aramark employee of approaching an inmate of an Upper Peninsula prison about having another inmate killed.

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Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley says he'll propose changes to help Michigan's disabled residents have access to better jobs.  Calley hasn't offered specifics, but the head of one local organization that advocates for the disabled has some thoughts on the subject.

Carolyn Grawi is interim President and CEO of the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, which works to help ensure the success of disabled residents in school, at home, at work and in the community. 

Michigan House Democrats Communications

Insurers would be required to offer abortion insurance under Democrats' bill

Democrats in the state Legislature want to require insurance companies to offer coverage for abortions.

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a petition-initiated law last year banning abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Under that law, people can only buy coverage for abortions as a separate insurance plan, known as a "rider."

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Gov. Snyder close to supporting medical marijuana dispensaries, edibles

It looks like Gov. Rick Snyder could be close to supporting bills that would relax restrictions on medical marijuana in Michigan.

Jake Neher

Lt. Gov. Calley says he'll push for better employment for disabled people

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley says the state needs to do more to help people with disabilities get good jobs.

michigan.gov.mdch

Health director calls for reluctant parents to get vaccine counseling

Michigan's top health official says parents who want to opt out of vaccinating their children should first have to be counseled about the risks.

Michigan has one of the highest rates of parents who opt out of vaccinating their childen for preventable diseases such as mumps and measles.

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State superintendent backs "early warning system" for districts in financial trouble

Michigan's top education official says he supports legislation designed to prevent schools from getting into financial trouble.

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Lawmakers approve bill to avoid $1 billion budget hole

It looks like Michigan will not face a $1 billion budget hole due to a recent state Supreme Court ruling after all.

The state Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on Wednesday to fix the issue, less than 24 hours after the bill cleared the state House.

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Vote on LGBT rights not likely before November election

Legislation that would add LGBT protections to Michigan’s anti-discrimination law will probably have to wait until after the November election.

Some supporters of the measure hoped lawmakers would take it up before voters go to the polls in November. But the bill has not even been introduced yet.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he wants to take up the issue. Be he does not expect to hold a vote until the Legislature’s “lame duck” session.

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Dems say businesses should warn employees about to lose contraception coverage

Democrats in the Legislature say women should get 90 days advance warning if their employers are about to drop contraception coverage from company-provided insurance policies.

The legislation is a response to the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The court said business owners don’t have to cover contraception if they have a sincere moral objection.

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Roads, pot, civil rights on agenda as state lawmakers return from summer break

The state Legislature returns Tuesday after a two month summer break.

Republican leaders still have some big priorities to accomplish before the end of the year. None are bigger than finding a way to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.

But it looks like that and other major bills will have to wait until the Legislature’s “lame duck” session in December. Top lawmakers say they do not expect many major votes between now and the November election.

Courtney Hurtt, WDET

Gov. Snyder defends his record on statewide call-in program

Gov. Rick Snyder spent an hour fielding questions from Michiganders on Friday. The questions spanned a broad range of topics, including education, the economy, the environment, and social issues.

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Judge says Michigan's largest teachers' union must let member leave any time

A Michigan labor judge says the state's largest teachers' union must let members leave at any time.

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) only allows teachers to quit the union during a one-month period in August. But conservative groups say that is a violation of Michigan's right-to-work law. They are applauding administrative law judge Julia Stern's decision this week.

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State House Dems call for higher minimum school funding

As many Michigan students return to school, the debate over education funding is starting up again at the state Capitol in Lansing.

Democrats in the state House plan to introduce a bill that would increase minimum payments to districts. Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers this year set that amount at an additional $50 per student.

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Charter school authorizers vow to hold themselves to higher standards

A group of institutions that oversee Michigan charter schools has come up with a system it says will lead to better oversight.

It's a voluntary accreditation system that would judge authorizers based on things like transparency and efforts to turn around failing schools.

michigan.gov/mdch

Michigan's top health official resigns after suffering mild stroke

The state's top health official is stepping down to focus on his personal health. Michigan Department of Community Health Director Jim Haveman says he suffered a mild stroke in May.

Haveman served as director of the Michigan Department of Community Health twice - once during Gov. John Engler's second term, and then Gov. Rick Snyder named him the head of MDCH again in 2012.

Jake Neher

Lawmakers vote to allow wolf hunts in Upper Peninsula

Wolf hunts in the Upper Peninsula will be able to continue under a law approved on Wednesday by the state House. The petition-initiated proposal cleared the state Senate earlier this month.

The new law does not need Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval to take effect. It’s designed to circumvent two anti-wolf hunting proposals on the November ballot.

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Education groups join calls for LGBT rights in Michigan

The list of groups calling on state lawmakers to pass protections for LGBT people is growing. Organizations representing Michigan college, university, and school officials now say they support the measure.

They join more than 50 business and non-profit groups urging lawmakers to pass the legislation, which the coalition expects to be introduced next month.

Jake Neher

Judge hears arguments over recognizing 300 same-sex marriages in Michigan

Some 300 same-sex couples in Michigan are waiting to hear whether a federal judge will force the state to recognize their marriages. Judge Mark Goldsmith heard arguments on Thursday from attorneys for the state and for the same-sex couples.

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State approves loan for Detroit Public Schools requested by emergency manager


Andrew Cluley

Talks over ways to fix Michigan's roads "back at square one"
 

State lawmakers are hitting the reset button on talks over how to fix Michigan's crumbling roads.

A state Senate workgroup met for the first time Thursday to hammer out a solution. Senators and staff involved in the meeting say it consisted of members offering wide ranging ideas for how to address the issue.

Most estimates say the state needs to boost road funding by between $1 billion and $2 billion a year just to keep the roads from getting worse.

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Democrats blast Scott Woosley for unnecessary expenditures in the tens of thousands of dollars. 


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