Emily Fox

Host/Producer/Reporter

Emily is the producer and fill-in host for Morning Edition. She is also a reporter and producer for Stateside.

Before working for Michigan Radio, Emily hosted and produced an award winning weekly talk show on Michigan State University's student radio station, IMPACT 89FM. Some of the feature stories she has contributed over the years at WKAR-FM, WJR-AM and Michigan Radio have been recognized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the Society for Professional Journalists.

Emily holds a B.A. in music education and an M.A. in telecommunication from MSU. For her Master's thesis project, she produced an audio documentary about migrant workers in Michigan that aired on Michigan Radio.

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In this week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the likelihood of Michigan having a part time legislature, what will happen to former Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway and who is likely to replace her. Lessenberry and Shockley also talk about the 26-year-old who will soon be the emergency manager for Benton Harbor.

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Survey: It should be tougher to become a teacher

"It should be a lot tougher to become a teacher in this state. At least that's what the Center for Michigan found in a statewide survey of some 7,500 people. Eighty percent of educators polled say Michigan needs better teacher preparation," Kate Wells reports.

Governor Snyder wants state to put more money in early childhood education

Governor Rick Snyder wants the legislature to support more funding for early childhood education. As the Detroit News reports,

"Gov. Rick Snyder said Tuesday he will ask the Legislature to undertake a "significant phase-in" of 29,000 4-year-olds into public preschool programs over the next few years, an annual investment of $130 million. The state can't afford to add all 29,000 children eligible for the Great Start Readiness Program at once, Snyder said, so he intends to propose ramping up enrollment over a period of years to ease the impact on the budget."

Former Michigan Supreme Court justice Hathaway expected to plead guilty

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway will be in court next week. She resigned from the high court on Monday.  As the Detroit News reports,

"Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway will find herself on the other side of the bench on Tuesday when she's likely to plead guilty to bank fraud charges related to questionable real estate transactions, legal experts say."

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

When someone from out of town travels to Detroit, the usual destinations might be the Fox Theater for a concert, or Comerica Park for a Tiger’s game. But how do you explore the city on a deeper level without the double decker busses and big tour companies that many big cities have?

When Hostel Detroit opened its doors in April of 2011, its mission was to give its guests a behind the scenes look of the city and take visitors to places that would otherwise be overlooked.

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Critics of Governor Snyder's roads funding say weight limit an issue

Critics of Governor Rick Snyder's proposal to spend more than a billion dollars to fix Michigan's roads say the state should change it's weight limit on roads. Michigan has the highest weight limit on roads in the nation. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"They say if Michigan brought its weight restrictions more into line with other states, its roads and bridges would last longer. State officials acknowledge Michigan's maximum truck weight of 164,000 pounds -- just more than twice the federal weight limit."

Hathaway resignation could give Supreme Court a Republican 5-2 majority

State Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway officially resigned yesterday. As Kate Wells reports, "She's facing federal charges for bank fraud. But it's not just the political scandal: Hathaway was nominated to the bench by a Democratic governor. Now, Republican Governor Rick Snyder gets to choose her replacement. That could bring the court's tally to five Republican judges and just two Democrats."

McDonalds to pay fine to a Detroit-area restaurant over claim on Muslim dietary law

"McDonald's and one of its franchise owners have agreed to pay $700,000 dollars to members of the Muslim community. That's in an effort to settle allegations a Detroit-area restaurant falsely advertised its food as being prepared according to Islamic dietary laws. A spokesman says there's no evidence McDonald's set out to deceive customers," the Associated Press reports.

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Governor Snyder to listen for finance issues in Presidential inauguration

"Governor Rick Snyder says he’ll be listening for plans to fix the nation’s finances in President Obama’s second inaugural address today. He says bickering in Washington about the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling are delaying a more-robust economic recovery," Rick Pluta reports.

Changes in Michigan income taxes

"Michigan income tax returns for 20-12 will look a lot different than last year. That's because a slew of deductions and credits have disappeared. Many retirees will have to pay taxes on their pensions. The state's homestead property tax credit will go away for many people. And there won't be a credit for college and tuition fees anymore," Rina Miller reports.

A 26-year-old to replace Benton Harbor emergency manager

"The incoming emergency financial manager for the City of Benton Harbor doesn’t start until February First, but he’s already working hard to create new relationships and get a complete picture of the city’s finances.  Tony Saunders is 26. But he says people should consider his experience working in Detroit and Highland Park, not his age. Saunders replaces outgoing emergency manager Joe Harris," Lindsey Smith reports.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul reintroduced without abortion language

Lawmakers have reintroduced a proposed overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Lansing State Journal reports.

"This time it is without the "objectionable language" on abortion that led Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the first package that cleared the Legislature last month. Two Senate bills would convert Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan into a nonprofit mutual insurance company."

Michigan might ignore federal gun control laws

"Michigan may join a small group of states that say they plan to ignore some federal gun control laws. A bill before the state legislature would exempt any guns or ammunition made, sold and kept in Michigan from any new federal regulations," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan gets $30 million grant to help shop for health coverage

"The federal government is giving Michigan a $30 million  grant to help set up its health care insurance exchange. The exchange is mandated under the Affordable Care Act. It'll help people research and buy health coverage," Rina Miller reports.

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Governor Snyder addresses roads, schools and partisan divisions in State of the State

"In his State of the State speech last night, Governor Rick Snyder asked lawmakers to fix roads, schools, and partisan divisions. Snyder wants them to find a way to increase spending on roads and transportation by more than a billion dollars a year. He says bad roads are a financial burden on drivers and the state alike," the Michigan Public Radio Network reports.

Michigan foreclosure rate plummets

"A new report suggests Michigan is becoming more of a home seller’s market. Home sale prices plunged in Michigan during the recession. But Realty Trac reports in 20-12 home sellers were getting about 94 percent of their initial home sale price listings," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan set 160 weather records in 2012

One hundred and sixty extreme weather records were set in Michigan in 2012. That's according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. As the Detroit News reports,

"The Detroit News reports, "Last year's statewide weather broke records across the spectrum including, 139 heat records in 44 counties, 18 rainfall records in 14 counties and three snow records in three counties. Michigan's weather seems to be paralleling the national trend of record-breaking heat, rain and snow."

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In this “Week in Michigan politics” Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Governor Rick Snyder’s upcoming State of the State address and how a judge ruling over the Detroit Public School district could set a precedent for emergency managers in the state.

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Roads and bridges to be a focus of the State of the State address

Governor Rick Snyder will deliver his State of the State address this evening. According to the Detroit News,

"Snyder, preparing to lay out a new road funding scheme in his third State of the State address tonight, admitted it will be tough to persuade lawmakers to approve raising $1.6 billion that a bipartisan legislative report says is needed to keep roads and bridges from crumbling faster than they can be repaired."

Snyder approval rating rises

A new poll shows that the controversial right to work legislation that Governor Rick Snyder signed last month did not hurt his approval rating. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

The poll by the Republican firm Mitchell Research and Communications -- released on the eve of Snyder's third State of the State address today -- is sharply at odds with a poll released Dec. 18 by a Democratic polling firm, Public Policy Polling of North Carolina. The Mitchell poll shows Snyder with a 50% approval rating, up 3 percentage points from a poll Mitchell took in December. It also shows 50% support for the controversial right-to-work legislation Snyder signed after it was passed by the Legislature in December.

In contrast, the PPP poll found 38% approval of Snyder, down 9 percentage points from an earlier PPP poll just before the Nov. 6 election. The PPP poll found 41% of voters support the right-to-work legislation, and 51% oppose it.

Judge ruling could set precedent for emergency managers

A court ruling today could determine what power the Detroit Public School board has over operations. The district is under the control of an emergency manager. The Detroit Free Press reports,

"The court hearing could indicate the effect -- if any -- the school board will have on district operations between now and March 27, when a new emergency manager law will strip the board of its limited authority over academic operations. The board will remain in existence under the new law and could seek to remove the emergency manager after 18 months.

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Referendum campaign will try to block wolf hunts

After Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation opening up the doors to a possible wolf hunt in the state, a referendum campaign is trying to block the move. The Detroit News reports,

A petition committee, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, is attempting to gather 225,000 signatures in the next two and a half months for a statewide ballot question that would protect wolves from being hunted as a trophy animal.

Governor Snyder criticizes right to work as Pure Michigan ad

Governor Rick Snyder has criticized a Michigan Economic Development Corporation ad that ran in the Wall Street Journal that touts the new right to work legislation as "Pure Michigan. "Governor Snyder says he would not have singled out right-to-work. Instead, he says he hoped the ad would highlight a broad range of new economic policies," Jake Neher reports.

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Road funding to be discussed in State of the State Wednesday

"Governor Rick Snyder says he’ll outline a new plan to fund road improvements during his State of the State address on Wednesday. The plan could include higher vehicle registration fees to pay for road projects and maintenance," Jake Neher reports.

Michigan left out of Superstorm Sandy relief money

Michigan is one of three states affected by Superstorm Sandy that will be left out from federal money for disaster relief. Steve Carmody reports, "Superstorm Sandy largely missed Michigan last October.  Now the state appears poised to miss out on the billions of dollars of federal disaster relief tied to the storm. The U.S. House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a $50 billion relief bill."

Chevrolet and Mercedes Benz show off cars at auto show early

Chevrolet  and Mercedes Benz got an early start to Detroit's North American International Auto Show. They showed off their most important cars the night before the official start of press days. Chevrolet unveiled the seventh generation Corvette called the "Stingray" at a gala event.  "For its part, Mercedes Benz showed journalists a new $30,000 car that will be its lowest priced luxury sedan ever, aimed at younger buyers who never thought they could afford a Mercedes," Tracy Samilton reports.

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Ad claims "right to work" is Pure Michigan

"Michigan’s Economic Development Corporation will continue to use the Pure Michigan brand to promote business growth, including the fact that Michigan is now a so-called right to work state. The MEDC faced criticism for buying a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal this week touting the state's new right-to-work law as "Pure Michigan." It cost $144,000," Lindsey Smith reports.

Flint public safety administrator resigns

"Barnett Jones was Ann Arbor’s police chief before being picked to oversee Flint’s police and fire departments last April. But Jones has also been working as the head of security for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department since May. When news media outlets raised questions this week about Jones’ ability to do both jobs, Jones submitted his resignation in Flint," Steve Carmody reports.

Democrats want to ban "lame duck" sessions

"Some Democratic state lawmakers want to end so-called “lame duck” sessions. If lawmakers pass the measure and voters approve it, the Legislature would be barred from meeting between November elections and the end of December on even-numbered years," Jake Neher reports.

The Michigan Supreme Court opens its 2012 session this week.
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This week in Michigan politics, Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host, Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio’s political analyst, Jack Lessenberry discuss the resignation of Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway and the firing of Detroit’s top lawyer.

Justice Hathaway resigned this week. This comes after a disciplinary panel filed an ethics complaint against her. The complaint accuses Hathaway of cheating and lying about a real estate transaction that saved her $600,000.

Lessenberry says, “It’s another black eye to the Michigan Supreme Court which has been rated the least respected of all Supreme Courts in the Nation by the University of Chicago by a law school study there.”

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State of the State to address road funding

"Governor Rick Snyder plans to propose a more detailed plan to boost spending to maintain roads in next week's State of the State address. His previous calls for an additional $1.4 billion a year for roads and bridges stalled in the Legislature. Snyder in 2011 called for replacing the 19-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline with a tax on the wholesale price of fuel. He also suggested a source of new revenue could be higher vehicle registration fees. Snyder says that he'll present new specifics in his Jan. 16 speech," the Associated Press reports.

Detroit top lawyer fired

"Detroit’s top lawyer lost her job Tuesday. Mayor Dave Bing garnered enough Detroit City Council votes to remove corporation counsel Krystal Crittendon. Crittendon continually bucked Bing’s wishes, and challenged Detroit’s consent agreement with Lansing in court. Bing had tried to have Crittendon removed before. But he couldn’t muster the necessary six votes from City Council. But this time, Bing got exactly six votes. Bing and state officials said Crittendon’s legal challenges threatened to derail Detroit’s efforts to regain its financial footing. This all comes as Detroit awaits a verdict from a state-appointed financial review team—expected as early as this week," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Young drivers banned from using phones

"Young and inexperienced motorists will be banned from using cell phones while driving under a bill Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Tuesday. Kelsey's Law is named after Kelsey Raffaele of Sault Ste. Marie, who was 17 when she died in a cell-phone-related automobile crash in 2010," the Detroit Free Press reports.

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Supreme Court Justice Hathaway resigns

"Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway announced Monday she will retire from the bench Jan. 21 after the Judicial Tenure Commission filed a formal complaint calling for her immediate suspension from the bench for alleged “blatant and brazen violations” of judicial conduct rules the commission said were “unprecedented in Michigan judicial disciplinary history.” Among the charges in the complaint is that Hathaway submitted false answers to the Judicial Tenure Commission during its recent investigation of private real estate transactions by Hathaway which are the subject of an FBI investigation," the Lansing State Journal reports.

Electric cars required to make more noise

The federal government is planning to issue new rules regulating car noise for electric vehicles. Electric and hybrid cars are sometimes too quiet. That could increase pedestrian and vehicle accidents, especially when it comes to visually impaired pedestrians. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants all electric and hybrid vehicles to make some noise when traveling under 18 miles per hour to deal with the problem, Tracy Samilton reports.

Child welfare workers protected under new Michigan law

"A new law signed by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson gives private child welfare agencies and their workers in Michigan extra protection from lawsuits if they're under contract with the state. They'll be immune from liability for personal injuries or property damages unless their conduct amounts to 'gross negligence or willful misconduct,'" the Associated Press reports.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield encourages legislation in new session

"The state's largest health insurer is back encouraging action on legislation enabling its restructuring after Governor Rick Snyder vetoed it. Snyder balked last month at the bill he proposed because of language added by lawmakers preventing insurers and businesses from providing elective abortion coverage in employee health plans. Both hope the legislation without the abortion provisions will be passed and signed into law early in the legislative session that begins Wednesday," The Associated Press reports.

Detroit search for police chief stalled

"The search for a new Detroit police chief appears to have stalled. Former Detroit police chief Ralph Godbee hastily retired amidst a sex scandal in October. Under the new city charter, the Board of Police Commissioners must first select search firms to vet potential candidates for chief. Police Commissioner Jerome Warfield says they’ve done that, and sent them to the mayor's office. But they’ve gotten conflicting signals from the administration about whether there’s money to go forward. A Bing spokesman declined comment on the matter for now," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Red Wings back on ice after lockout

"Peace came to the NHL over the weekend, and now pieces need to fall in place for the Red Wings. They will start a lockout-shortened, likely 50-game season within two weeks and training camp within a week after the league and the NHL Players' Association agreed in principle early Sunday morning to a 10-year deal after a 16-hour negotiation session that ended a 113-day lockout. The new collective bargaining agreement still has to be ratified, but from management on down, the overwhelming response was one of relief," The Detroit Free Press reports.

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Michigan population increases for the first time in seven years

Michigan gained population in 2012 for the first time in seven years, the Detroit News reports.

'This halts a decade of population losses, but population is still growing far slower than other states. U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday show the state grew at just 0.1 percent, adding 6,559 residents to 9,883,360.'

Snow dumps 14 inches in northern Michigan

"A snowstorm hitting the Midwest has dumped more than 10 inches of snow in northern Michigan and knocked out power to at least 60,000 state electricity customers. The weather service says snowfall totals could reach 13 inches in northern Michigan and 14 inches in northern lower Michigan before the storm exits Michigan Friday," the Associated Press reports.

Snyder signs personal property tax and mining legislation

"Governor Rick Snyder has signed a plan to phase out the state’s tax on business and industrial equipment. Manufacturers, in particular, say the tax discourages investment in Michigan. Snyder also approved an overhaul of how mining in Michigan is taxed. The new tax on mining production will replace a hodgepodge of taxes paid by mines," Rick Pluta reports.

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Gov. Snyder signs three bills for Detroit

"Governor Snyder was in Detroit yesterday to sign several bills he says will boost Detroit’s long-term fortunes. One bill establishes a Regional Transit Authority to fund and operate mass transit in southeast Michigan. Snyder also signed bills establishing an authority to run Detroit’s troubled public lighting system, and a downtown development district to subsidize a proposed new hockey arena for the Red Wings," Sarah Cwiek reports.

"End of the world" rumors close Genesee and Lapeer schools

"Schools are closed in Genesee and Lapeer counties today and tomorrow as a precaution and to calm people down. Police say they have determined that social media rumors about an armed ‘student revolt’ in conjunction with and "end of the world" Mayan prophecy were unfounded," Steve Carmody reports.

First snowstorm of the season sweeping the Midwest and northern Michigan

"Snow is falling in parts of northern Michigan as part of the Midwest's first major snowstorm of the season that's sweeping across several states. For parts of Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula, the weather service forecasts that 8 to 14 inches of snow will fall Thursday and into Friday. For parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the weather service says that 8 to 13 inches of snow could fall by Friday afternoon. In West Michigan, several inches of snow could fall. Rain and snow are expected in southeast Michigan," the AP reports.

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This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the end of the lame duck session.

Lessenberry says “this probably has been the most productive and momentous and game changing lame duck session doing back to the 1960s.”

Lessenberry says making Michigan a right to work state was probably the biggest moment in Michigan politics this year.

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Governor Snyder vetoes gun bill

Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed legislation that would have allowed people with concealed pistol permits to carry their guns in school buildings. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"He said that school security measures in Michigan needed a thorough review. He also wants to find a way to better incorporate community mental health workers into schools. Snyder also said in his veto letter to the Legislature that the bill had a fatal loophole that didn't allow for those public institutions -- schools, churches, day care centers and stadiums -- to opt out of the new legislation and prohibit weapons from their buildings. The law specifically addressed only private buildings."

Earlier this week Snyder said the Connecticut shooting would play a role in his decision on the bill.

Snyder's approval rating drops 28 points after right-to-work

"A new poll from a firm that primarily does work for Democrats finds a huge drop in approval for Governor Rick Snyder among Michigan voters. Snyder has a 56-percent disapproval rating, after he supported and signed bills that make it harder for unions to collect dues. That's a 28-point drop," Tracy Samilton reports.

Flint names interim school superintendent

"The Flint school board last night picked a longtime district administrator to be its interim superintendent. Larry Watkins retired from the Flint school district in August. But he applied for the interim job when Flint’s former superintendent announced her retirement last month. Watkins takes charge of a school district that’s running a budget deficit in the millions of dollars," Steve Carmody reports.

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Michigan's Electoral College cast votes for President Obama

"Michigan has officially cast its 16 Electoral College votes for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. The state’s delegates met yesterday at the Michigan Senate Chambers in Lansing," Jake Neher reports.

Michigan clergy to rally against gun bill in Lansing

"Clergy from across Michigan are expected to rally in Lansing and call on Governor Rick Snyder to veto legislation that could allow concealed weapons in schools and churches. The gun bill would allow someone with extra training to carry a concealed weapon in a gun-free zone," the Associated Press reports.

Lakes Erie and Ontario are the most threatened of the Great Lakes

A three-year study has found that Lakes Erie and Ontario are the most seriously threatened of the Great Lakes, along with large sections of the Lake Michigan shoreline. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"Among the biggest threats: Invasive mussels and lamprey that threaten the food chain, climate change that can affect water temperature and water levels, ballast water from ships that may introduce more uninvited species, a buildup of urban areas along the coast that sweeps auto and human waste into the waters during rainfall, and a continual runoff of phosphorous from farmlands."

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Snyder says Connecticut shooting will play role in Michigan gun legislation

"Governor Rick Snyder must decide whether to approve or veto legislation that would allow concealed pistols in churches, day care centers, and public schools. The governor says the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings will play a role in his thinking. The legislation would allow enhanced concealed pistol privileges for licenseholders who get additional training and range practice," Rick Pluta reports.

Police force down in Michigan

The number of police officers in Michigan is down 16 percent since 2001. As the Detroit News reports,

"Michigan has lost roughly 1 in 5 law enforcement officers since 2001, as a lingering recession led cash-strapped cities and townships to lay off police, trim services and, in some cases, turn over patrols to county sheriffs. The state's law enforcement ranks dropped to 18,834 as of Oct. 31 from 22,488 in 2001, says the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards."

No plan for Detroit's cash crunch

"Lansing is fast-tracking a review of Detroit’s finances, but there’s still no clear short-term plan to address the city's cash crunch. The review process is taking place under a weaker state law than one Governor Snyder is likely to sign soon. That means there are fewer options for dealing with the city’s immediate fiscal crisis. A preliminary state report issued last week found that Detroit 'continues to experience significant cash flow problems.' But the report also notes that 'city projections change from month to month,' and it’s not clear when Detroit would actually run short of cash," Sarah Cwiek reports.

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Many bills made moves yesterday at the state capitol. Here are some of the bills that are now headed to Governor Rick Snyder's desk:

Abortion bills

Governor Rick Snyder will have the final say on a measure to add restrictions for abortion providers. State lawmakers approved the legislation yesterday. Among other things, it requires physicians to screen women to make sure they’re not being forced or coerced to have an abortion.

Bill to phase out personal property tax

State lawmakers have approved a plan to phase out Michigan’s tax on industrial and business equipment. Local governments rely heavily on the tax to provide services. The bill is headed to Governor Snyder's desk. The measure would also make up for 80-percent of funding for non-essential services.

Emergency manager bill

The Michigan Legislature has sent Governor Rick Snyder a new local government emergency manager bill -- five weeks after voters rejected their last effort. The new law will give local governments in financial trouble some options. They can negotiate an agreement with the state, accept an emergency manager, or go a federal bankruptcy court.

Troy Evans preaches at Edge Urban Fellowship in a rundown Grand Rapids, Mich., neighborhood known for prostitution. Inside what looks like an abandoned office building are walls covered by graffiti. There are tattooed people wearing baseball caps and jeans. Three 20-year-old men holding mics get ready to bust out some elaborate dance moves.

It may seem like a hip-hop show, but it's actually church.

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Senate passes bills to add restrictions on abortions

The state Senate has passed legislation that would add restrictions for abortion providers. The Detroit News reports,

"The bills would require physicians to determine if a woman was coerced into having an abortion; clinics be licensed and fetuses be disposed of in the same way as 'other dead bodies.'"

Senate likely to vote on emergency manager law today

The state Senate is likely to vote today on a replacement of the emergency manager law that was repealed in the November election. According to the Detroit Free Press,

"The governor's administration says the bill is designed to address shortcomings in the much-maligned Public Act 4, which voters repealed last month, by giving local officials in financially troubled cities and school district more input in decisions -- addressing one of the major sticking points in PA 4."

Senate rejects repeal of handgun checking

The Michigan Senate has rejected a National Rifle Association-backed proposal to let people buy handguns without undergoing criminal background checks. The state House earlier approved a bill to repeal the requirement to undergo a check before buying a handgun. But the Senate voted 27-11 yesterday for a substitute bill that requires background checks by a federally licensed dealer or the police. The bill retains the state's hand gun permitting system.

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It has been quite a week in Michigan politics.

Morning Edition host Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what happens now that right to work bills have been signed into law and what other controversial bills are being looked at in the remainder of the lame duck session.

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Right to work bills signed

"Michigan has officially joined 23 other so-called "right-to-work" states. Governor Rick Snyder signed the bills in the last half-hour. The legislation will end the practice of requiring workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. It's an extremely divisive idea in Michigan - which has long been a union stronghold. Critics call it 'right to work for less.' But the governor says he disagrees. The bill is expected to take effect in March. But opponents say legal action to pre-empt the law is likely," Sarah Hulett reports.

Other controversial bills are being looked at in Lansing

"The right to work legislation is getting all the attention right now. But with time still left in the lame duck session, Michiganders could wind up with a whole slew of controversial new laws next year. But here's what else is going on: there's the overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Michigan's largest insurer. Then there's a package of abortion bills that would make it dramatically tougher for a woman to get and pay for an abortion. And there's a bill that lets doctors and employers opt out of providing any medical care that doesn't fit with their moral or religious beliefs, like birth control or abortions. Plus, there's a bill pending that would let people buy handguns without needing a state-issued license," Kate Wells reports.

Detroit City council approves measures to help the city's finances

The Detroit City Council has narrowly approved a series of measures that should stave off an immediate cash crisis. As the Detroit News reports,

Council members approved five of six items requested by the Bing administration to accommodate the city's financial restructuring, including a controversial contract with the Miller Canfield law firm. The council sent one item, a proposed pay cut for nonunion employees, to a committee for further study.

State officials said Tuesday they are prepared to release $10 million in bond money pending a formal request from Mayor Dave Bing. Another $20 million likely will be released later this month, they said.

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Right to work legislation expected to be sent to Snyder

"The state House is expected to send legislation to Governor Rick Snyder today that would make Michigan the 24th so-called “right-to-work” state. Democrats are preparing a last-ditch effort to try and stall progress on the bills. Meanwhile, police officers from across the state are in Lansing preparing for protests as lawmakers get ready to vote on so-called “right-to-work” bills," the Michigan Public Radio Network reports.

President Obama talks fiscal cliff and right to work in Michigan

"President Obama talked about the controversy in Lansing, Michigan as well as the one in Washington, D.C. during his visit to a Redford Township engine plant yesterday. He told a crowd of hundreds of union workers that the consequences of going over the fiscal cliff are huge, both for the economy and the middle class. President Obama says he will insist that Americans making more than $250-thousand a year pay more taxes. He also rebuked state Republicans for pushing so-called "right to work" bills that would let people opt out of paying union dues.  He says such laws bring down middle class wages," Tracy Samilton reports.

State Treasurer initiates review of Detroit's finances

"Detroit’s march toward a state-appointed emergency financial manager appeared to speed up yesterday. The city’s financial advisory board voted to support the state treasurer’s move to start the process. It can last up to 30 days. Officials told the advisory board Detroit is burning through cash at an alarming speed. They project that without help, the city will end the fiscal year more than 100-million dollars in the hole," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

If you want to get fit but don’t have equipment, you get a gym membership.

But what if you want to create something but don’t have a workshop or the tools to make it happen?

Well, there’s a place in Detroit called TechShop, and it functions a lot like a gym for carpenters, welders, designers, engineers and the like.

TechShop is a new facility that recently opened up in Allen Park near Detroit.

Members pay about $100  a month to access hundreds of thousands of dollars in tools and equipment. They can also take any of the 100 or so classes offered every month to teach members how to use the tools.

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This week on Seeking Change, Christina Shockley talks with Kenny Hemler of Ben's Encore. It's an organization that aims to give kids in the Detroit area the tools they need to continue the Motor City's rich musical heritage.

It was created after the death of Ben Borowiak. Hemler talks about how the organization has impacted the Detroit area and about the life of Borowiak.

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