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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.
Subterranean / Flickr

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.”

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

cncphotos / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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."

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

cncphotos / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

Userl @Doug88888 / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

State House and Senate likely to vote on "right to work" Tuesday

"It’s likely that the state House and Senate will take up their final votes on so-called “right to work” legislation tomorrow. But, first, protests and legal actions are expected today and tomorrow. Republican majorities in the Michigan House and Senate have already voted once to adopt a “right-to-work” law. Democrats and labor unions plan more protests over the bills that were placed on a very fast track last week. If enacted, Michigan would become the 24th state to adopt a “right-to-work” law," Rick Pluta reports.

President Obama to speak about "fiscal cliff" at suburban Detroit auto plant today

"President Obama will visit a Redford Township factory today - as part of his effort to galvanize support for his plan to avert the fiscal cliff.  The President's visit also comes at a high stakes time for the United Auto Workers, since state Republicans could vote to make Michigan a so-called "right to work" state this week," Tracy Samilton reports.

Detroit could get an emergency financial manager

"A committee overseeing Detroit's finances could recommend an emergency financial manager for the state's largest city. The committee meets today to begin a 30-to-40 day review. Detroit mayor, Dave Bing will ask City Council tomorrow to approve audits, including an audit of disability fraud. And he wants the council to approve another 400 to 500 job cuts, along with furloughs, as the city faces the prospect of running out of cash," Tracy Samilton reports.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Three right-to-work bills approved

Three right-to-work bills moved forward at the state capitol Thursday. The bills would prohibit unions from collecting fees from nonunion workers. The Michigan House voted to approve right-to-work legislation (HB 4054) for private-sector workers. The Senate passed two right-to-work bills. A measure dealing with private-sector workers (SB 116) passed on a 22-16 vote Thursday after hours of impassioned debate. Moments after it passed, the Senate passed a bill (HB 4003) with similar provisions for government employees. Democrats walked out before the bill was approved on a 22-4 vote. To clarify where these bills came from, the Lansing State Journal reports,

According to legislative records, HB 4054 had been dormant since it was introduced in January 2011, until it was suddenly reported out of committee on Wednesday. SB 116 also had no action since February 2011 before it was brought forward Thursday. House Bill 4003, which the Senate also took up, had had no action for one year prior to Thursday. today.

In other lame duck news. . .

EMERGENCY MANAGER LAW GOES TO HOUSE

"A Michigan House panel has moved a replacement to the state’s Emergency Manager law to the House floor. Voters rejected Public Act Four last month. The replacement would give local governments and school districts more options. They could request an emergency manager. They could reach a consent agreement with the state. They could agree to mediation to construct a recovery plan. Or they could file for municipal bankruptcy," Jake Neher reports

ABORTION BILLS PASS IN SENATE

"The state Senate has passed a bill that bans insurance companies in Michigan from providing coverage for elective abortions. The Senate also approved another bill  to require clinics that do abortions to be licensed as outpatient surgical centers. Both bills now move to the House," Tracy Samilton reports

BILL TO DENY HEALTH COVERAGE FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS PASSES IN SENATE

"A bill in the state Legislature would let health care providers, facilities, or insurers deny service based on religious, moral or ethical objections. The state Senate passed the bill Thursday. The measure would not apply to emergency situations, and providers would have to let patients know where they can go for treatment. It now goes to the state House," Jake Neher reports.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

New emergency manager bill to be rolled out today

A new version of a local  government emergency manager bill will be rolled out today at the state Capitol. It would replace the emergency manager law that was rejected last month by voters, Rick Pluta reports. Under this new version, local governments deemed to be  in a fiscal crisis would have four options:

1. They could reach a consent agreement with the state.

2. They could agree to mediation to come up with a plan to meet the crisis.

3. They could request a state-appointed emergency manager.

4. They could go into Chapter Nine municipal bankruptcy. Under this measure, the state would pick up more of the costs of emergency managers.

Judge rules emergency financial manager law still in effect

"An Ingham County judge has dismissed a legal challenge to Michigan’s controversial Emergency Financial Manager law.  Under the law the governor can appoint a manager to run cities and school districts in ‘financial stress’.  The old law had been repealed when a new law was passed in 2011 giving Emergency Managers broader powers. An Ingham County judge ruled yesterday that the old law went back into effect when the new, tougher law was suspended.  The ruling means the work of Emergency Financial Managers in a handful of Michigan cities and school districts can continue," Steve Carmody reports.

GOP will continue to push for right-to-work even in 2013

Republicans are hoping a right-to-work bill will be passed in the remaining weeks of the lame duck session. Demonstrators gathered in Lansing yesterday to voice opposition against the idea of Michigan becoming the 24th  right-to-work state. But as MLive reports, if a right-to-work bill is not taken up in this session, advocates will put more pressure on the issue in the New Year.

"Advocates pressuring the GOP-controlled Legislature to act now have let it be known they will gather petitions for a voter-initiated right-to-work initiative if nothing is done. If more than 258,000 valid signatures are collected, the House and Senate would have 40 days to enact the law."
 

cncphotos / flickr

This week in Michigan politics revolves around what bills might be passed during the remaining weeks of the lame duck session. Morning Edition host Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessnberry  talked about the possibility of passing an education overhaul and a right-to-work bill.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder says right-to-work bill is now up for discussion

Governor Rick Snyder met with Republican legislative leaders yesterday about a right-to-work bill. Afterwards he said it is on the agenda - at least for discussion - but he wouldn't say whether legislation would be taken up by year's end. A right to work bill would limit unions' ability to collect fees from nonunion workers. The Detroit Free Press reports,

"Snyder, choosing his words carefully, said the issue has been "highlighted" so much in recent weeks -- mostly by business leaders and Republicans -- that it found a place on the Capitol agenda. While not saying he is personally pushing the effort, the governor did say that there are ramifications to the decision by labor leaders to proceed against his urgings with an unsuccessful ballot initiative last month that would have enshrined collective bargaining rights in the state constitution."

Red Wings and Detroit Tigers owner has plans for new district in Downtown Detroit

"Officials from the Mike Ilitch Organization have outlined plans for a new district in Downtown Detroit featuring shopping, apartments, offices and entertainment -- including a new home for the Red Wings. Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings.  A state Senate committee yesterday approved changes Tuesday to the Detroit Downtown Development Authority to help pay for the $650 million project," Michigan Radio reports.

Legislation would make recall elections tougher

"A Michigan House panel has approved legislation that would tighten language related to recall elections and restrict the time period in which people can be voted out of office. One bill would amend a section of state election law to limit recall elections to the two election dates set annually in May and November. Another would require that reasons for the recall are stated 'factually and clearly'. The current petition is reviewed for 'sufficient clarity.' Another proposed change calls for a challenger to compete for the office against the official up for recall," the AP reports.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Mayors and local officials voice oppose changes to gun laws

"Mayors and other local officials were at the state Capitol Monday to oppose a rewrite some of Michigan’s gun laws. Specifically, they are asking the Legislature to continue to require people who buy pistols from private owners to get a state background check and a license. Background checks are already required by federal law when people buy from dealers. Law enforcement officials say the state’s licensed pistol registry helps them solve crimes and return stolen guns. But supporters of the legislation say the state makes it too difficult for people to legally buy firearms to for self defense," Rick Pluta reports.

Judge dismisses lawsuit over Asian Carp

A federal judge in Chicago dismissed a lawsuit Monday filed by five Great Lake states over threats posed by Asian carp. The states want barriers placed in Chicago-area waterways to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. The Detroit Free Press reports,

"U.S. District Judge John Tharp said he couldn’t order the agencies to do what the states want because federal law requires the corps to keep shipping channels open between Lake Michigan and one of the Chicago waterways -- the Des Plaines River -- and prohibits constructing dams in any navigable waterway without Congress’ consent."

GOP want right-to-work legislation before year's end

GOP lawmakers on Monday focused their efforts to pass right-to-work legislation before the year's end. The Detroit News reports,

"The chamber is pushing for the legislation in response to Indiana becoming a right-to-work state in February and Michigan voters' defeat last month of the union-backed Proposition 2. The initiative aimed to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution in an attempt to block a right-to-work law. . . Right-to-work laws seek to ban "union security" clauses in collective bargaining agreements that require employees who don't want to join a union to pay an agency fee — sometimes up to 95 percent of monthly union dues — or be subject to termination by the employer."

NASA Goddard Photo and Video / flickr

This week on Seeking Change, Christina Shockley spoke with Loreen Niewenhuis. She's a Michigan author who hiked 1,000 miles to parts of all the Great Lakes.  She wanted to learn how this water that surrounds our state-- and defines our state-- works. She also wanted to learn about the concerning points for the lakes.  She'll write about this experience as well, in a book out early next year.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Bill would ease restrictions for concealed pistol permits

"The state House is considering a bill that would remove a state background check requirement for  concealed pistol permits. The bill would eliminate state background checks for people who want to carry concealed pistols.  The bill would also eliminate a data base of Michigan's pistol owners, which State Police say is used to help solve crimes. If the bill passes, it would also put county sheriffs in control of the permit process, rather than county boards," Rina Miller reports.

Legislation would allow insurance companies to deny medical marijuana coverage

"Bills in the state House would let insurance companies deny coverage for medical marijuana. Employers could also refuse to reimburse medical marijuana expenses through workers compensation. Opponents of the bills say the policy would keep some patients from receiving proper and legal medical treatment. But some medical marijuana advocates support the measures. They say when Michigan voters approved the drug, they never meant to force insurers to cover it. The state Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the bills in May," Jake Neher reports.

Bill would allow medical personnel to refuse care on religious grounds

"A bill before the state senate would allow medical personnel to refuse care based on their religious beliefs. The bill would also protect them against civil, criminal, and administrative liability. However, the bill would require medical personnel to provide medical care in an emergency, regardless of a conflict with their religious beliefs," Chris Zollars reports.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

State-run health exchange rejected in House

Action on a state-run exchange for people to shop for health coverage was rejected in the state House Thursday. As the Lansing State Journal reports,

"Gov. Rick Snyder prefers a state-run program, but his administration this month applied for a federal grant as a first step toward the fallback position of teaming with the federal department. States have the option of creating their own exchange, teaming up with the federal government or having a federal system. . . Some Democrats opposed the legislation because it was linked to bills that would prohibit qualified health plans offered through a state exchange from providing coverage for elective abortion but would allow people to buy optional supplemental coverage for elective abortion outside the exchange."

Bills move forward to make gray wolf a game species

The Michigan Senate has approved a bill that would designate the gray wolf as a game species. The bill gives the Natural Resources Commission authority to decide whether to establish wolf hunting seasons. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"The wolves were removed from the endangered species list in January, but only the DNR is allowed to manage the wolf population, which has begun to encroach upon U.P. towns, according to residents. The animals also are having a big impact on the U.P.'s deer population, killing between 17,000 and 29,000 deer every year, according to a report from the DNR."

State threatens to sue Troy over special election

"The state is threatening to sue the city of Troy over plans for a special election to replace recalled Mayor Janice Daniels. The Michigan Department of Elections says state law requires an election in February. Troy officials want to wait until next November. The state sent a letter to city leaders giving them until 1pm Friday to comply with the directive, and avoid litigation," Chris Zollars reports.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Snyder pushes renewable energy and drilling for natural gas

Governor Rick Snyder gave a special address on energy and the environment Wednesday. Highlights of his address include a push for more renewable energy and more drilling for natural gas. As the Lansing State Journal reports,

"The Republican governor gave natural gas a central role in an energy policy that seeks greater efficiency and improvements to infrastructure such as pipelines and the electric transmission grid. It proposes establishing a “strategic natural gas reserve” designed to make the resource more affordable and defends the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to extract gas from deep underground."

GOP pushing for right-to-work in lame duck

Republicans are still working to make Michigan a right-to-work state. This comes after voters rejected a ballot proposal to enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution. As the Detroit News reports,

"Today could be the last chance to introduce a bill making union membership optional as a condition of employment in the private and public sectors to get it passed by Dec. 13. That's the day legislative leaders hope to head home for the holidays."

Sorry Michigan, no one won the Powerball jackpot in the state

"The Michigan Lottery says two Powerball tickets worth $1 million each were sold in the state. Officials say the tickets were sold at a liquor store in Kentwood and a CVS pharmacy in Dearborn. The Michigan tickets matched five numbers drawn last night, but not the Powerball number. Powerball officials said early Thursday that tickets sold in Arizona and Missouri matched all six numbers to win the $579.9 million jackpot," the AP repots.

Pages