Jake Neher

MPRN Capitol Reporter

Jake Neher is a state Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. 

He joined MPRN in September of 2012. Before that he served as a reporter and anchor for WFUV Public Radio in the Bronx, New York, and as News Director for KBRW Public Radio in Barrow, Alaska. He has been working in radio in some capacity since he was 15 years old.

A native of southeast Michigan, Jake graduated from Central Michigan University in 2010. He has a master's degree in public communications from Fordham University.

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Civil asset forfeiture grants state and federal agents the ability to seize any property they think could be connected to criminal activity.
user GPDII / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Legislature has given its OK to create an alert system for people suspected of killing or injuring on-duty police officers.

The “blue alert” system would be similar to amber alert systems for missing children. It would use media broadcasts and highway signs to send out information on suspects who are at-large and considered a public threat.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Gov. Rick Snyder wants the Legislature to adopt an expensive, controversial plan to overhaul Detroit’s schools by the end of the year.

Snyder outlined his plan in Detroit on Monday. The goal is to rescue Detroit Public Schools from crushing debt and dismal academic results.


Supporters of overhauling Michigan’s parole system are pushing back against Attorney General Bill Schuette’s claims about the bill.

Schuette says House Bill 4138 would compromise public safety by allowing violent criminals to be released from prison early.

School student in Japan reading a book outside
Mehan / Creative Commons

The state House has approved a controversial bill meant to improve young students’ reading skills.

The goal is to increase early intervention for kids who struggle with reading before fourth grade. But the bill would also eventually require schools to hold back some third graders who aren’t proficient – even if those students are making significant progress.

Researchers at Virginia Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents. Dr. Edwards and his team there were among the first to call attention to lead contamination in Flint's water.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to quickly sign a bill containing almost $10 million to help Flint resolve its water crisis.

The bill moved swiftly through the state Legislature – winning unanimous support in both the state House and Senate.

State Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, is the top Democrat in the state Senate and has championed efforts to have the state contribute financially toward the problem. He says it was critical for lawmakers to act quickly on the funding.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Michigan education officials are moving ahead with plans to improve teacher evaluations statewide.

That’s as the state House nears a possible vote this week to overhaul the way districts assess teachers and administrators.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston says his department can’t wait around while lawmakers debate the bill.

photo by Vincent Duffy

A progressive group is crying foul over the price tag a state agency requested for processing a public information request it submitted.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Treasury sent an email to officials in his department and the governor’s office that said the department considered denying the request because it was too broad. But he said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette advised it to use “the fee approach.”

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state House has overwhelmingly approved bills to overhaul Michigan’s medical marijuana system.

The legislation creates legal protections for dispensaries and for patients using non-smokable forms of cannabis.

Bill sponsors say patients should not face prosecution for using forms of marijuana that are safer than smoking.

Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

Michigan would stop automatically charging 17-year-olds as adults under new bills in the state House.

The bipartisan legislation would prohibit placing people under 18 years old in adult prisons and jails. Any teenager could still be charged as an adult for violent crimes such as murder.

Sponsors say putting minors in adult jails and prisons keeps them from the rehabilitative services they need.

Alberto G. / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The public comment period is winding down for proposed new state science and social studies standards. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will hold three public meetings on the standards this week.

MDE has already held several other meetings across the state on the standards.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Michigan would release more inmates on parole under bills approved by the state House on Thursday.

The legislation would guarantee release for many prisoners who’ve served their minimum sentences and are deemed unlikely to re-offend. It does not apply to inmates currently behind bars.

user alkruse24 / Flickr

This story was updated with additional information at 2:42 pm on 10/1/15

State and local officials may be close to a deal to create a new K-14 school system in Highland Park.

A number of community colleges are interested in bankrolling much of the revamped system, according to people involved in the talks.

micropterus_dolomieu / Wikimedia commons

A state lawmaker wants to make sure commercial fish farms will never be allowed to operate in portions of the Great Lakes controlled by Michigan.

State Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says commercial fish farming could create a huge problem with waste.

“This waste could create algae blooms, all sorts of problems on the shore, as well as out on the lake,” he says.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Bills that would create criminal penalties for coercing a woman to have an abortion have cleared a state House committee.

The panel sent House Bills 4787 and 4830 to the full state House on party-line votes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A bipartisan bill meant to strengthen reading skills by the third grade has cleared a state House committee.

New language in House Bill 4822 encourages schools to adopt summer reading camps for students who fall behind.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent. Enbridge performs inspections, but won't share what they find.
Credit an Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

Both U.S. senators from Michigan are spearheading legislation meant to protect the Great Lakes from an oil spill.

Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow say the measures would ban shipping of crude oil on the lakes. That’s something that’s not happening now, the senators admit.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

People would face criminal penalties for coercing someone to have an abortion under a bill in the state House.

Republican state lawmakers have been trying to add the penalties for years. Supporters say prosecutors should have them as a tool to crack down on domestic abuse.

flickr user bobdoran / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A state House panel has approved long-stalled bills to overhaul Michigan’s medical marijuana system.

House Bills 4209, 4210, and 4827 would add protections for dispensaries and non-smokable forms of medical marijuana. But to get the necessary support from Republicans on the committee, the bills now include taxing and tracking cannabis sold through dispensaries.

kyle rw / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan Child and Adult Protective Services workers are now eligible for more overtime pay. That’s after the workers won a big arbitration decision for on-call employees.

Ray Holman is with UAW Local 6000, which represents the workers. He’s also a former Child Protective Services worker.

Update 5:44 pm:

Former state Rep. Todd Courser is running again for the state House seat he resigned last week. Courser filed shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday to run in a special election for the seat.

Courser admitted to trying to cover up an affair with former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, who was expelled for her part in the scandal. Gamrat filed to run for her former seat on Thursday.

In an interview on Friday with CNN, Courser, R-Lapeer, said the decision came after discussions with his wife.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Senate has created a new committee which will look into Planned Parenthood’s operation in Michigan.

Planned Parenthood has been under attack nationally for how it handles fetal tissue.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Updated 5:40 p.m.

The state Senate has approved a bill that would enter Michigan into a compact of states calling for a federal balanced budget requirement in the U.S. Constitution.

The bill passed on a party-line vote.

Jake Neher / MPRN

There’s a deep divide at the state Capitol over plans to rescue Detroit Public Schools.

The governor hopes to sell lawmakers on a plan to restructure DPS and have the state pay off its massive debt. He says state-appointed emergency managers drove up that debt.

Jeremy Brooks / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

If some Democrats in Lansing get their way, all high school sex education classes would teach that “yes means yes” when it comes to sex.

The legislation says anything short of a conscious “yes” does not count as consent to sex.

Cindy Gamrat speaking at an August 14, 2015 press conference.
screen shot - LiveStream

New bills in the state House would add restrictions on abortions and protections for religious leaders who refuse to marry same-sex couples.

But the future of the bills could be hampered by the representative who introduced them. Now-former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, was expelled from the House last week after a sex-and-cover up scandal. She introduced the legislation just two days before her expulsion vote.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The state House returns this week with two fewer members.

The House expelled Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser resigned late last week due to a sex-and-cover-up scandal.

Speaker Kevin Cotter says lawmakers can focus on roads now that the scandal is no longer a distraction.

morgueFile

A bill to improve third graders’ reading skills in Michigan is winning support from Democrats and some school groups.

The bipartisan bill differs quite a bit from controversial legislation that died last year. That bill would have forced schools to prevent kids who fail a state reading test from advancing to the fourth grade.

President Obama speaks at Macomb Community College.
White House / YouTube screen grab

President Obama was in Michigan yesterday to roll out new initiatives meant to boost job training and community college enrollment. He said he’ll create a new board meant to promote the idea of two free years of community college.

“Whether it is a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, a journeyman’s card from an apprenticeship program, having a credential above and beyond your high school diploma, that’s the surest ticket to the middle class,” the president said. “And in global competition for jobs and industries, having the best educated workforce in the world is the surest way for America to stay on top.”

Michigan House Republicans

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is pushing for changes in Michigan’s special education system.

He outlined findings of his special education listening tour and survey on Tuesday to the state Board of Education.

Of almost 2,000 parents surveyed, 24% said their child had been subjected to restraints or seclusion.

user alkruse24 / Flickr

Tuesday marks the first time the city of Highland Park will not offer high school classes.

The district’s emergency manager Don Weatherspoon closed the city’s only high school due to low enrollment.

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