State of Michigan

Michigan News
9:39 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Michigan Senate Approves Minimum Wage Hike

Credit wikimedia commons

State Senate votes to raise Michigan's minimum wage to $9.20 an hour

A bill to raise Michigan's minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour by 2017 has cleared the state Senate.

The bill is really an attempt by Republicans in Lansing to kill a petition drive that would raise the minimum wage to 10.10 an hour - including for tipped workers.

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Michigan News
9:35 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Conference Confirms Revenue Reduction

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Michigan's economy improves, but at a slower pace

The long, harsh winter slowed the state's economic recovery. And it took a bite out of tax revenues, leaving Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature with about $300 million less to work with as they put the finishing touches on a new state budget.

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Health
8:48 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Washtenaw County Reports Illness Due To E. Coli

Scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, grown in culture and adhered to a cover slip.
Credit Rocky Mountain Laboratories/Creative Commons

  Michigan health officials say they have five confirmed cases of people getting sick from the eColi bacteria, including one in Washtenaw County.

Washtenaw County Public Health epidemiologist Laura Bauman says the local victim appears to have gotten sick after eating an under-cooked hamburger at a restaurant.  She says the victim has since recovered.

Bauman says it's important to make sure any meat or chicken you throw on the grill this summer is thoroughly cooked.

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Michigan News
8:40 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

State Senate Postpones Teacher Evaluations

Credit theguardian.com

State Senate votes to delay statewide teacher evaluations… again

It looks like lawmakers could once again delay the implementation of a new statewide teacher evaluation system. The state Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to push back the deadline until the 2015-2016 school year.

State law requires the new evaluation system to be in place during the current school year. State Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, says that clearly isn't going to happen.

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Michigan News
8:36 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Changes Possible In Who's In Charge Of Standardized Testing

Credit michigan.gv/mde

Bill would take standardized testing duties away from state education officials

State education officials would no longer oversee K-12 standardized testing in Michigan under a bill in the state House. It would move those duties to the state Department of Treasury.

The state Legislature and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) have been sparring in recent months over standardized tests. The MDE wants to replace the state's MEAP test with a computer-based exam that measures student growth - unlike the MEAP.

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Michigan News
7:20 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Richardville: Gas Tax, Vehicle Registration Fee Increases 'Just A Matter Of Time'

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R) of Monroe.
Credit senatorrandyrichardville.com

State Senate leader plans to up the ante on road funding in coming weeks

Until recently, it seemed like boosting the state's gas tax, vehicle registration fees, or other new sources of revenue to help fix Michigan's crumbling roads was off the table this year.

But now, state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he hopes to introduce such a plan in the coming weeks.

"It's just a matter of time," Richardville told reporters Tuesday.

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Michigan News
8:09 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

A Push To Make Natural Gas More Readily Available In Michigan's Rural Areas

Credit wiklimedia commons

State lawmakers look to expand natural gas in rural communities

New legislation in Lansing would make it easier for utilities to expand access to natural gas in rural Michigan.

A state House panel will hold a hearing on the bills Tuesday.

Supporters hope it will help people keep the heat on during the cold winter months. A number of Michigan communities faced propane shortages during this past winter.

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WEMU News
2:57 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Irwin Proposes Tax Break For Teachers Who Donate Supplies

State Representative Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor.
Credit twitter.com

Michigan teachers could soon get some tax relief for donating materials to the classroom.

Ann Arbor State Representative Jeff Irwin has proposed a bill that would give a tax credit to educators who spend up to $1,000 on supplies for their students.

Irwin says this issue is a symptom of a much larger problem facing public education in Michigan, and shows the state is not doing enough to fund public education.

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Michigan News
2:57 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Teacher Evaluation Standard Closer To State Approval

Credit wikipedia commons

Statewide teacher evaluations move forward in state Legislature

Legislation that would create a statewide teacher evaluation system has cleared its first hurdle in the Michigan Legislature. A state House panel approved the bills Tuesday with bipartisan support.

A diverse coalition of Michigan education groups recently came out in support of the legislation. Supporters say that could help clear the way for the Legislature to approve the bills before lawmakers leave Lansing in June for two months.

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Michigan News
8:16 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Kevyn Orr Pushing Detroit Bailout In Lansing

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Detroit EM tries to sell bailout to lawmakers

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is spending a couple of days in Lansing for closed-door meetings with state officials. He's primary mission is to convince reluctant state lawmakers to support the Detroit bailout package.

The state's share, which would have to be approved by the Legislature, is $350 million dollars. That would help mitigate cuts to pension benefits as part of the city's bankruptcy, and
ensure the assets of the Detroit Institute of Arts are safe from the auction block.

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Michigan News
8:14 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Gun Owners Converge On State Capitol

Jim Howley (left) and his son Josh Howley (right) at 2nd Amendment rally at the state Capitol Tuesday.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Pro-gun activists pack heat at the state Capitol

More than 200 gun owners descended on the state Capitol in Lasing Tuesday - many of them openly carrying firearms. Several pro-gun groups from across the country participated in the annual 2nd Amendment Day demonstration.

They say the rally is an important way to remind state policymakers to protect residents' gun rights.

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Michigan News
8:10 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Wages Focus Of Lansing Protests

Danielle Atkinson of the Raise Michigan Coalition, and founder of Mothering Justice, speaking with Democratic lawmakers Tuesday at an equal pay rally in the state Capitol.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Minimum wage and equal pay advocates join forces at state Capitol
 

Women's rights advocates say boosting the state's minimum wage would be a big step toward equal pay in the workplace. Groups backing both causes joined forces Tuesday during an equal pay rally at the state Capitol.

"Women are disproportionately represented in low-wage work. So, when we raise the minimum wage we are raising them a little bit more out of poverty," said Danielle Atkinson with Raise Michigan, a coalition working to put a minimum wage increase on the November ballot.

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WEMU News
7:55 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Sheriff Warns Of Jail Crowding If State Measure Passes As-Is

Credit eWashtenaw.org

Washtenaw County's jail system could soon see an influx of new prisoners.

State Senator John Proos is proposing a bill to limit the number of inmates held in the state's prison system. If passed, it would restrict Michigan's prison population to 38,000, or about 6,000 less than are currently housed in state prisons.

Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton says if the bill is left unchanged, it could lead to overcrowding in county jails.

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Minimum Wage
8:09 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Some Michigan Lawmakers Critical Of Republican Minimum Wage Bill

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A Republican state Senator's legislation to raise Michigan's minimum wage from $7.40 and hour to $8.15 an hour is drawing criticism from local lawmakers.

Legislation introduced by Rick Jones of Grand Ledge would also raise the minimum wage for tipped employees ten cents to $2.75 and hour. 

Democratic State Representative David Rutledge says he'd rather see the minimum wage issue decided by voters, because people recognize fairness.

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Michigan News
7:36 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

E-Cigarettes: Tobacco Products?

Credit en.wikipedia.com

Bill would define e-cigarettes as tobacco products in Michigan

Efforts to keep electronic cigarettes out of the hands of minors continue this week in Lansing. A state House panel will hold a hearing Tuesday morning on legislation that would make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors.

The smokeless devices produce a nicotine-laced vapor, but do not contain any actual tobacco. The bipartisan bill would define e-cigarettes as tobacco products. But it would also exempt them from the state's tobacco tax.

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Michigan News
8:38 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Inmate Limit Proposed

Credit flickr.com

Lawmakers could set limit on number of inmates in Michigan prisons

One Michigan legislator wants to put a limit on the number of inmates in state-run prisons.

State Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, says legislation he introduced this week could save the state tens of millions of dollars. It would require the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) to keep the number of inmates in its prisons under 38,000. Right now, that number is about 44,000.

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Michigan News
8:07 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Minimum Wage Alternative Offered In State Legislature

Michigan senator Rick Jones.
Credit SenatorRickJones.com

State GOP Senator offers minimum wage hike alternative

A Republican in the state Senate wants to boost Michigan's minimum wage to $8.15 an hour.

Sen. Rick Jones' introduced the legislation Thursday, which would be an alternative to a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage.

That ballot drive would boost the rate from $7.40 an hour to $10.10 an hour. It would also eventually raise the rate for tipped workers from $2.65 to $10.10 an hour.

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Michigan News
8:11 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Republicans At Odds Over Detroit Pensions

Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger.
Credit gophouse.org

Gov. Snyder and Senate leader not embracing Bolger's union demands

Republican leaders in Lansing are not joining House Speaker Jase Bolger's calls for unions to contribute to Detroit's bankruptcy settlement.

Gov. Rick Snyder and several foundations have signed off on a complicated deal to protect retiree pensions and artwork at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The state's contribution to the so-called "grand bargain" would be about $350 million, and state lawmakers would have to approve that money.

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Michigan News
7:39 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Vote Pending On Education Achievement Authority Expansion In Michigan

Credit michigan.gov/eaa

EAA debate heats up in Lansing, final vote possible this week

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville hopes to hold a final vote this week on a bill to expand the state's Education Achievement Authority (EAA).

The EAA is the entity the state uses to take over persistently failing schools. Right now, it runs 15 schools in Detroit. The bill would pave the way for it to expand up to 50 schools statewide.

Richardville, R-Monroe, says the EAA is not a perfect solution, but it's better than doing nothing.

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Michigan News
8:25 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Johnson Running Again For Michigan Secretary Of State

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.
Credit michigan.gov

Ruth Johnson announces reelection bid for Secretary of State

Ruth Johnson will seek another term as Michigan's Secretary of State.

Johnson made the announcement Monday and kicked off a four-stop campaign tour across the state. She says the Secretary of State's office has become more efficient under her direction, largely because of technological improvements.

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WEMU News
8:20 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Peters Files Petitions For U.S. Senate Run

Peters files nominating petitions for US Senate

Congressman Gary Peters has filed petition signatures to put his name on the ballot. Peters is a Democrat running to succeed retiring US Senator Carl Levin. Peters' support for the federal healthcare law has been an issue in the campaign. Peters says that's OK with him.

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Michigan News
8:04 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Road Funding Debate Begins In Lansing

Credit Andrew Cluley

Legislature begins debate over $500 million road funding plan

A plan to boost state road spending by about half-a-billion dollars a year is taking shape. State lawmakers introduced four bills Thursday that are now part of the package.

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Michigan News
8:25 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Schauer Says Education Is Tops In Schools Plan

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer and running mate Lisa Brown announced their education plan Wednesday in Lansing.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Schauer calls education his "top priority" in schools plan

The Democrat likely to challenge Gov. Rick Snyder in November says improving public schools would be his top priority in office.

Former Congressman Mark Schauer and his running mate, Lisa Brown, unveiled their education plan Wednesday in Lansing.

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Michigan News
8:29 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Study Suggests State Of Michigan Not Sharing Fairly With Local Governments

Credit wikimedia commons

Local governments: Tax Day study shows state not paying fair share

Local officials say not enough of the revenue Michigan takes in around Tax Day goes to cities, towns, and counties.

The nonpartisan Citizens Research Council released a study Tuesday that shows state revenue grew by more than $1 billion between 2009 and 2012. At the same time, local government revenue dropped by about the same amount.

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Michigan News
8:48 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Gay Michigan Couple Hopes To Force State To Recognize Their Marriage

Plaintiffs Clint McCormack (front), Bryan Reamer (back), and some of their 13 children.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Gay couple trying to force state to recognize their marriage, "for our 13 kids"

The ACLU of Michigan is suing the state to force it to recognize the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples who got married last month.

Clint McCormack and Bryan Reamer are one of eight couples named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday.

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