State of Michigan

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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'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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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.

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.

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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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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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.

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 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.

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.

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 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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'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.

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.

michigan.gov/mde

Michigan schools' finances "stabilizing," says state superintendent

Late last year, the state's top education official had dire predictions for the finances of Michigan schools. He predicted the number of districts in deficit could reach 100 "before long."

Now, state Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the situation is stabilizing, and he credits increased funding from the state.

markschauer.com

Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Lisa Brown made a stop in Washtenaw County last weekend to push running mate Mark Schauer's plan to move Michigan forward.

Brown says education is an important issue for the people she spoke with during a visit to Ann Arbor, adding that Governor Rick Snyder has disappointed a lot of people who plan to vote Democratic next time.

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Michigan Supreme Court names workgroup to improve system for collecting fines

A group of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys goes to work Thursday on finding new and better ways to collect fines and fees from defendants, and to ensure that people are not sent to jail because they don't have the money to pay.

Andrew Cluley

Road funding talks in flux at state Capitol

It looked like there might be a wave of bipartisan cooperation in Lansing. Lawmakers recently voted to raise the state's minimum wage and contribute almost $200 million to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy.

But that doesn't seem to be the case anymore with road funding negotiations in flux.

State lawmakers want to find a way to increase funding for roads in the next couple weeks. That's when they leave Lansing for the summer.

michigan.gov

MI Supreme Court says governor cannot un-commute life sentence

The Michigan Supreme Court says a governor cannot take back a decision to commute a prison sentence once the papers are signed and filed.

Matthew Makowski helped plan the robbery of a co-worker in 1988, but was not there when the attempt went awry and Pietro Puma was stabbed to death. Makowski was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the killing and sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole, the mandatory sentence.

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Michigan Supreme Court strikes down "one parent" doctrine

A Jackson County man will get a trial on whether he gets to keep his kids after a ruling by  the Michigan Supreme Court.

The state Supreme Court struck down a policy that allows authorities to limit or terminate both parents' rights to their children when one of them runs into trouble with the law. In this case, the mother lost her parental rights when the couple's newborn daughter tested positive for drugs.

Michigan.gov

Snyder defends "pension tax" in special message on aging

Gov. Rick Snyder is firing back against critics of his so-called "pension tax."

Snyder gave a special address on aging Monday in Rochester. He used part of the speech to defend his 2011 decision, which ended the practice of exempting pensions from state income tax.

michigan.gov

The local LGBT community is hopeful the state legislature will take Governor Rick Snyder up on his challenge for them to vote on civil rights protections for the LGBT community before the November elections.

Mary Larkin directs Eastern Michigan University's LGBT Resource Center.  She says EMU's LGBT students are a talented bunch who can't wait to get out of Michigan because of the state's outdated civil rights laws. 

pixabay.com

The rising minimum wage doesn't appear to have too many Ypsilanti businesses concerned.

In fact at the Sidetrack Bar and Grill, owner Linda French says she pays her workers at least $10 an hour.  She doesn't think the legislature raised the minimum wage high enough. 

Haab's President Mike Kabat is glad the issue didn't come down to referendum that sought to hike the minimum wage for all employees to $10.10 an hour. 

He says tipped workers may have lost out in the long run under that plan, since they earn a good portion of their income from tips.

Raise Michigan
Raise Michigan

Legislature approves $9.25 Michigan minimum wage

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to quickly sign a bill increases the Michigan minimum raise as a petition campaign is about to file signatures to force the wage floor even higher.

That will cap days and weeks of feverish negotiations between Republicans and Democrats and business and labor groups that produced the compromise measure that cleared the House and the Senate with bipartisan support.

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Republican wants to make sure state minimum wage doesn't get tied to inflation

A bill to boost Michigan's minimum wage would not be tied to inflation if a state House committee chair gets his way.

The legislation would gradually boost the wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour over three years. After 2017, it would index the minimum wage to inflation.

That last provision is something House Government Operations Committee Chair Pete Lund doesn't want.

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