michigan legislature

Stateside
4:30 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Where are the women in Michigan politics?

The chamber of Michigan's House of Representatives in Lansing. Leaders in the Michigan legislature and Governor Granholm are close to an agreement on the budget.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

On this Election Day - Here's a question worth exploring: where are the women in Michigan politics?

The number of women in the State Legislature has now dropped to a 20 year low.  There are only four women serving in the Senate, and 24 in the House.

And that puts Michigan at 36th in the nation in terms of female State Senators and Representatives.

And when you look to Washington, the gender ratio in Congress isn't much better.

Barb Byrum joined us today. She’s the Ingham County Clerk, and she served in the State House of Representatives from 2007 to 2013.

Politics & Government
10:19 am
Mon November 4, 2013

State lawmakers to discuss changing when millage elections are held

Voters casting ballots (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some state lawmakers want to limit when local governments can hold property tax elections.

Right now, People in Michigan can find themselves voting on millages in February, May, August or November each year.  

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Politics & Government
12:22 pm
Sat November 2, 2013

Crackdown on Michigan charity poker rooms brings backlash

Against the odds?
eversio.info

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Poker's rise in popularity has helped Michigan's charities and civic groups stay afloat at a time of dwindling donations from elsewhere.

And efforts to rein in a charitable gambling industry that has grown more than 20-fold in a decade are sparking backlash.

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Politics & Government
11:01 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Emergency Room staffers might get protection from malpractice lawsuits in Michigan

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will discuss making it more difficult to sue emergency room doctors, nurses and technicians for malpractice on Thursday.

Livonia state representative John Walsh is the sponsor of HB 4354.   He says emergency room staffers should not have to worry about malpractice lawsuits while they provide potentially lifesaving treatment.

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Politics & Government
11:25 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Medicaid expansion delay may mean less money for Michigan roads

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Delaying Medicaid expansion in Michigan is having another side-effect besides forcing low-income adults to wait three months longer for health insurance under the federal health overhaul.

It also means there could be $73 million less for deteriorating roads at a time lawmakers are funneling more money there in part to avoid raising gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees.

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Politics & Government
12:00 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

Right to Life files abortion coverage petitions

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Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Abortion opponents have turned in more than 315,000 petition signatures calling on the Legislature to place new restrictions on health coverage.

The new law would require consumers to buy separate coverage for abortions.

Abortion opponents say they want to make sure that abortion coverage is not automatic when people buy insurance under the new federal healthcare law. The petition-initiated law would require consumers to buy a separate rider for abortion coverage.

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Politics & Government
7:26 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Drug test failure could imperil jobless benefits

State Capitol Building, Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Jobseekers who refuse or fail an employer drug test would put their unemployment benefits at risk under legislation that has cleared the state House.

The measure would create a one-year pilot project to try out the idea. Employers would not have to participate, but could choose to report to the state if a job applicant either refuses to take a drug test, or fails one.

State Representative Frank Foster (R-Petoskey) says this would help ensure jobless benefits go to people who are serious about looking for work.

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Education
7:22 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

State House approves funding for Common Core school standards

High school (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state House has voted to reinstate funding for the Common Core state school standards.

More than 40 other states have chosen to adopt the standards, which set yearly expectations for what students should learn at every grade level in math and language arts.

But earlier this year, Michigan lawmakers temporarily barred the state from spending money to implement Common Core. A legislative panel was formed to study the issue over the summer, and its chair, Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp.) crafted a resolution based on more than 17 hours of public testimony.

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Politics & Government
6:45 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Bills would allow faith-based agencies to refuse to process adoptions in Michigan

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A state House committee has approved legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to handle placements for religious reasons. Instead, under the legislation, an agency that has an objection would have to refer a qualified family to an adoption office that would handle the placement.

Almost all adoptions in Michigan are handled by private agencies that accept public funding. Faith-based adoption services are concerned future changes to adoption policies – such as allowing same-sex couples to adopt – could force them to violate their religious beliefs.

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Education
6:35 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

State Legislature could vote to reinstate Common Core funding soon

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State lawmakers have been debating the Common Core State Standards for months. The nationwide school standards lay out specific things that students should know after each grade level. The goal is to set expectations for students no matter where they live in the United States.

But opponents say Common Core would strip local control of school curriculum and could compromise the security of students’ personal information through data collection.

Now, the state House Education Committee is set to take up House Concurrent Resolution 11 Thursday morning.

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Politics & Government
7:01 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Michigan House votes to raise cost to request recount

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan House has voted to make candidates pay more to request a recount of ballots cast in an election.

Legislation approved 95-9 Thursday would increase to $25 the per-precinct deposit required to initiate a recount of votes in state or local elections. It now costs $10 per precinct.

Candidates would have to pay $125 per precinct if the election winner and loser are separated by more than 50 votes or a half-percentage point of votes cast, whichever is greater.

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Politics & Government
3:20 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Pot for potholes? GOP state lawmaker wants legal marijuana to pay for roads

Pot-holes?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There’s a new idea floating around the state Capitol about how to boost funding for roads. Supporters call the plan “pot for potholes.”

Lawmakers like state Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) would like to see the state legalize and tax marijuana and use that money to pay for road repairs.

“You can tax the heck out of marijuana,” Callton says, “put it into a separate fund for Michigan roads - because it doesn’t seem like that money is going to come from anywhere else at this point in time - and it’s a cute name, ‘pot for potholes.’”

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Law
6:49 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court “juvenile lifer” decision would not apply to past cases under Senate bill

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Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Legislation to overhaul Michigan’s juvenile lifer law would not apply to inmates already sentenced as teenagers to life without parole.

The bills were adopted today by the state Senate Judiciary Committee.

The legislation is required because the U.S. Supreme Court struck down automatic life-without-parole sentences for juveniles.

James Sorenson lost his son in 2007 to a teenaged murderer.    He says any rewrite of the law should put the interests of the victims’ families ahead of teenagers who participated in a murder.

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Politics & Government
3:41 pm
Sat September 14, 2013

Michigan legislators may vote on bills that let agencies refuse adoptions due to moral objections

State Capitol Building, Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A legislative committee could vote next week to let faith-based agencies in Michigan refuse to participate in adoptions that violate their beliefs, despite accusations that the legislation would permit discrimination.

Advocates say the bills would codify existing practice into law and preemptively protect adoption agencies from repercussions if Michigan legalizes gay marriage or civil unions.

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Politics & Government
9:36 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Not all craft brewers excited about bills to lift restrictions in Michigan

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Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A state House panel kicked off debate Tuesday about easing restrictions on Michigan’s craft brewers. It’s considering legislation that would double the amount of beer micro-breweries could produce each year.

The plan would also loosen regulations on brew pubs and larger producers such as Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo.

But Bell’s founder Larry Bell says some of the measures would hurt his company’s ability to compete with smaller brewers in Michigan. For example, they would let more restaurants brew their own beer, instead of buying it from others.

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Law
12:00 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Work on juvenile lifer bills stalls in Michigan legislature

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers attempting to respond to a ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional have hit a stalemate that threatens to derail any progress.

They can't agree on whether last year's Supreme Court decision last year applies retroactively to the roughly 360 Michigan inmates who were under 18 when they committed crimes.

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Politics & Government
10:31 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Michigan lawmakers return to work in Lansing this week

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Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Labor Day weekend signals an end to summer, and this week the Legislature returns to a full-time schedule.

The first order of business is final votes on expanding Medicaid.

Legislative leaders hope to wrap up the controversial question of expanding Medicaid to thousands of working poor people. The Senate has to vote on whether the coverage will begin January first, and a House vote is needed to send the bill to Governor Rick Snyder.

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Opinion
9:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Declining unions and Michigan's paycheck blues

Lessenberry commentary for 8/30/2013

  There’s a bumper sticker I occasionally see that says: Unions: The People Who Brought You the Weekend. For most Americans, that is certainly true. Unions created not only the weekend, but the modern middle class, something we tend to forget these days.

Yes, unions became complacent and some became corrupt. Some did not do enough for women or minorities. But all in all, they did far more good for America and the American worker than harm.

Unions are, however, widely unpopular with a sizable section of the public these days, and an even larger percentage of politicians.

The Republican majority in the Michigan legislature seems to have essentially declared war on unions, especially public sector unions. Unions have been in a long membership decline, something that may accelerate as the effects of becoming a Right-to-Work state kick in.

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Politics & Government
5:10 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

State lawmakers still far from agreeing on plan to fix Michigan's roads

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A plan to improve Michigan’s roads and infrastructure will probably not be on the November ballot. That’s according to leaders of both parties in the state Senate.

Governor Rick Snyder wants the state Legislature to boost road funding by more than a billion dollars a year. But lawmakers have not embraced his plan to raise registration fees and the state’s gas tax to pay for it.

Instead, multiple plans have surfaced that would include asking voters to increase the state’s sales tax.

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Politics & Government
2:57 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Snyder officials to meet with Michigan residents

Credit michigan.gov

Officials from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's administration are planning to travel across the state this week to take suggestions and answer questions from Michigan residents.

Representatives from the Office of Constituent Services will visit locations in Washtenaw, Livingston, Ingham, Shiawassee, Clinton and Ionia counties on May 23 and 24.

Snyder's office says topics that are open for discussion include the state budget and opportunities for getting involved in state government.

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