State of Michigan

Michigan News
8:04 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

State Lawmakers, Governor Wrangle Mid-Year Budget

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Governor meets with legislative leaders to hammer out road fix, Medicaid deal

State lawmakers are about to dive into the process of crafting a budget for next fiscal year. But they have to fix some problems with the current year's budget first.

One of the biggest concerns is a hole in the state's Medicaid budget of more than $100 million. Everyone agrees that shortfall needs to be addressed. But the state House and Senate have not been able to agree on how to fix it or where that money should come from.

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Michigan News
8:48 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Michigan Requiring More Mental Health Services

Michigan Lt. Governor Calley
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

        Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has signed legislation designed to offer more treatment options in Michigan for people with mental illness, including those who are jailed or at risk of being imprisoned.

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Michigan News
10:01 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

State board says PTSD patients should be able to use medical marijuana

Dakota Serna served in the Marines during the Iraq War. He says memories of seeing friends and children killed left him suicidal after he came home. Serna says the only thing that has helped him get his life back on track is using marijuana. 

Jake Neher reports.

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Michigan News
9:59 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

State Lawmakers Target Sale to and Possession of E-Cigarrettes to Minors

Credit TheNorlo/Wikimedia Commons

State Senate votes to ban e-cigarette sales to minors

It could soon be illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to children in Michigan. The state Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday meant to keep the smokeless devices out of the hands of minors. 

So-called "e-cigarettes" deliver a nicotine-laced vapor, but don't contain tobacco. That means the state cannot currently regulate them along with regular cigarettes and other tobacco products.

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Michigan News
8:06 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Michigan Edging Toward Year-Round School

An empty classroom
Credit Flick user john.murden

Lawmakers in the state House have approved a $2 million program to encourage schools to go year-round. Schools in mostly low-income areas could get money from the state to add air-conditioning and other things allowing them to operate in the summer.

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Michigan News
8:05 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Detroit Mayor Pushing for Scrap Metal Legislation

An AC unit stripped for scrap
Credit Flickr user marsmet531

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan hopes to renew state lawmakers’ interest in curbing scrap metal theft across the state. Duggan met with Democrats and Republicans in the state House on Wednesday.     

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Michigan News
8:02 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Road Funding, Medicaid at Heart of Budget Impasse

Michigan State Capitol Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

The state House and Senate have not been able to agree on a mid-year budget bill. 

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Michigan News
8:01 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

AUDIO: Michigan Supreme Court to Decide the Fate of 350 Juvenile Lifers

The Michigan Hall of Justice
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether more than 350 inmates sent to prison for murder as juveniles for life without parole will get a chance someday at freedom.

Rick Pluta reports on the upcoming Supreme Court decision regarding the fate of 350 juvenile lifers

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Michigan News
2:39 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Texting While Driving On the Rise In Michigan

Many localities have enacted ordinances to ban texting while driving
Credit Wikimedia Commons

 A poll reports a doubling in the percentage of Michigan drivers who acknowledge they text or use email while behind the wheel since the previous survey two years earlier.

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Michigan News
9:47 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Great Lakes levels rebounded in 2013

View from space of a cloudless summer day over the Great Lakes
Credit NASA Goddard Photo and Video

 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Great Lakes water levels rebounded sharply last year after a prolonged low period dating from the late 1990s.

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Michigan News
9:28 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Snyder signs new sentencing rules for juveniles

Credit Flickr user jason nahrung

       Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law changing sentencing rules for juvenile defendants convicted of murder and other serious crimes.

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Michigan News
9:24 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Sleeping Bear Dunes wilderness bill heads to Obama

Sleeping Bear Dunes warning sign
Credit Flickr user mstephens7

       Congress has given final approval to a bill designating 32,000 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as wilderness.      With U.S. House passage of the bill, it now heads to President Barack Obama for signature. The U.S. Senate passed it in June 2013.      The lakeshore is headquartered in Empire in the northwestern Lower Peninsula.      Hunting and fishing would be permitted in the wilderness areas.      More than 1.4 million people visited Sleeping Bear Dunes in 2011, pumping about $120 million into the local economy.      Democratic Michigan U.S.

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Michigan News
1:08 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Lansing Considers Regulation of E-Cigarettes

Smoking an Electronic Cigarette
Credit Flickr

There is an effort afoot in Lansing to regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes - and ban their sale to minors. But there is a difference of opinion on how to go about it. 

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Michigan News
1:06 am
Wed March 5, 2014

State Senate OKs Legislation to Protect Municipalities from Tax Losses

Michigan State Capitol Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

Legislation to repeal and replace a tax on business equipment has cleared the state Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bills seek to make sure local governments are not hit hard by a repeal of Michigan's Personal Property Tax (PPT). 

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Michigan News
7:07 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

State of Michigan's First Witness in Gay Marriage Ban Trail Barred from Testifying

Supporters of Michigan's gay marriage ban march around the federal court building in Detroit Monday. Some opponents of the ban marched alongside them.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

The state's defense of Michigan's same-sex marriage ban got off to a rocky start Monday.

Federal Judge Bernard Friedman tossed out the state's first witness in the case. He said Yale law student Sherif Girgis did not qualify as an expert witness. The plaintiffs' attorneys pointed to the fact that Girgis is still a student, and said he would only be expressing his opinion on gay marriage - not actual evidence. 

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Michigan News
12:49 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Lawmakers Move to protect Local Governments if Tax Repeal is Successful

Michigan State Capitol Building
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons

Bills would make sure local government budgets don't get slashed with tax repeal
By Jake Neher
 

Michigan lawmakers want to make sure local governments do not take a hit if voters decide to repeal an unpopular tax on business equipment.

State officials are urging voters to repeal the tax. They say it is outdated and kills jobs. But local governments depend on that tax to provide basic services to residents.

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Michigan News
9:12 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Gay Marriage Opposition Speaks Out in Detroit

Jubilee City Church founder Ellis L. Smith speaks at a rally with dozens of pastors Monday in support of Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

Pastors rally in opposition to gay marriage ahead of federal court case in Detroit
By Jake Neher

A federal judge will hear arguments this week over whether Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.  The trial begins Tuesday in Detroit.

Ahead of the arguments, dozens of Michigan pastors rallied in support of the ban Monday in Detroit.

"We're not standing here against anybody. We're standing here for the biblical principle and foundation of marriage," said Ellis L. Smith, founder of Jubilee City Church in Detroit.

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Michigan News
7:48 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Lansing Seeks Long-Term Medicaid Funding Fix

State lawmakers look to patch Medicaid shortfall, say long-term solution criticalBy Jake Neher Michigan's Medicaid program faces a budget shortfall this year of more than $100 million dollars. That's because a new tax on health insurance claims is not producing as much revenue as state officials expected. This week, the state Senate passed a mid-year budget bill that would patch that hole in the Medicaid budget.

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Michigan News
9:24 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

GOP lawmakers try to revive no-fault overhaul

House Speaker Jase Bolger unveils new Republican no-fault overhaul proposal that would set limits on fees, cap lifetime medical benefits at $10 million.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

At the state Capitol, House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) says he still hopes to get an overhaul of Michigan's no-fault auto insurance law through the Legislature this year.  He rolled out a new plan to end Michigan's unlimited lifetime medical benefits coupled with the promise of a rate reduction. 

Rick Pluta reports.

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Michigan News
9:20 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Former Governor Milliken Joins Debate over Parole for Juvenile Lifers

Milliken joins effort to win parole hearings for juvenile lifersBy Rick Pluta Former Michigan Governor William Milliken says more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life without parole as juveniles deserve a chance at freedom. Milliken - along with more than 100 law school deans and retired judges and prosecutors -- filed a brief today with the state Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court holds oral arguments in the case next month. The court will decide whether a US Supreme Court decision that struck down automatic life without parole for juveniles applies retroactively - or only to current and future cases. The Milliken brief says justice demands that the decision should apply regardless of when a juvenile was sentenced.  It says juveniles sentenced before the decision have the same protections against cruel and unusual punishment as teens sentenced today. It also says Michigan's indigent defense system is particularly unfair to juveniles.   Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says families of murder victims deserve to know the rules will not be changed in their cases.  Michigan's adult-time-for-adult-crimes law was signed 18 years ago by Governor John Engler. William Milliken served as governor from 1969 to 1983.  

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Michigan News
2:34 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Senate OKs Road Cash And Medicaid Expansion Changes

Michigan Senator Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw
Credit Michigan Senate

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has voted to spend more for winter road maintenance and to adjust the budget to account for a delay in the expansion of Medicaid. The legislation includes $100 million to fix potholes and help governments with higher-than-usual salting and snow plowing bills. Expanding Medicaid to more low-income adults was supposed to occur in January before senators delayed  it until April.  

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Michigan News
6:23 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

EAA no longer Only Option for Struggling Schools

State ends contract with the Education Achievement AuthorityBy Jake Neher This time next year, the Education Achievement Authority will no longer be the only entity that can take over failing schools in Michigan.  State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has notified the EAA that the state is ending its exclusive contract with the authority.

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Michigan News
11:56 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Lawmakers Consider Emergency Road Funding

Emergency road funding could be coming after nasty winterBy Jake Neher  A monster pothole season is upon us - and state lawmakers say they want to help.  A state Senate panel on Tuesday added $100 million for road repairs and maintenance to a mid-year budget bill to help communities fix potholes and plow roads. Lawmakers say local governments need the help to offset the costs of constant snow removal and efforts to fix potholes caused by the nasty winter weather. "That warming and freezing will add to the problems that our counties, our villages, and townships, and state ha

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Michigan News
11:55 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Lawmakers encourage Year-Round School

State lawmakers look to encourage year-round schoolsBy Jake Neher Some at-risk schools in Michigan could soon get more state funding if they agree to go year-round. A state House panel heard testimony on the idea Tuesday. In his budget address this month, Governor Rick Snyder called for a state pilot program to encourage year-round schooling.

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Michigan News
11:55 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Lawmakers encourage Year-Round School

State lawmakers look to encourage year-round schoolsBy Jake Neher Some at-risk schools in Michigan could soon get more state funding if they agree to go year-round. A state House panel heard testimony on the idea Tuesday. In his budget address this month, Governor Rick Snyder called for a state pilot program to encourage year-round schooling.

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