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Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some Michigan House Democrats are making voter reform a primary goal for the new session.

With only two session days of the year under their belt, several lawmakers have introduced legislation that would, among other things, allow no reason absentee voting and automatic voter registration.

State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn, is a bill sponsor. He said these bills packages are long overdue.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Republicans in Congress are working quickly to set the stage for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. The Senate’s Republican majority took the lead in the effort. At this point, it does not appear that they have a clear plan for a replacement healthcare policy.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow joined Stateside on Friday to discuss these recent developments in the U.S. Capitol. She said that the lack of a replacement plan is a problem.

Traffic lights
Thomas Hawk / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan is competing with other states to become a leader in the nation when it comes to autonomous cars. Google is opening a development center in Novi. The University of Michigan has M-City, the Mobility Transformation Center.

And the governor recently signed laws to make Michigan more friendly to the development of driverless cars.

Kirk Steudle is the Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). He said that these recent developments have established the state as a leader in the transition to autonomous vehicles.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr

In just five years, more than 35% of American households could find themselves unable to afford water bills.

That’s the startling conclusion of a new study from Michigan State University.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Automakers are celebrating new models at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It seems to us at Cheers! that calls for a drink.

“Since the auto show opened this week, I wanted to find a cocktail that had an automotive connection and I went all the way back to the Packard Twin Six automobile,” explained Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings.

State requests power supply plans from utilities

Jan 13, 2017
DTE's St. Clair Power Plant in East China, Michigan.
user cgord / wikimedia commons

The Michigan Public Service Commission is giving power supply companies three months to report how they will meet electricity demands through 2021.

This announcement marks the third time the MPSC has requested that utilities come up with a five-year plan.

Sally Talberg is a chairman for the Public Service Commission. In a statement, she said that the Commission is responsible for ensuring electric supplies will fit the public's needs.

Says Talberg,

Asian carp at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.
Kate Gardiner / Creative Commons

Federal officials say they'll continue efforts to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, despite uncertainty about what Donald Trump might propose.

The Obama administration has spent over $388 million since 2010 to shield the lakes from the invasive fish, which could disrupt food chains and compete with valuable native species.

Officials say they've budgeted $42 million this year for Asian carp projects. They include further study of ways to fortify defenses at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam complex on a carp-infested Illinois waterway leading to Lake Michigan.

Michigan drivers are seeing changes in gas prices in 2017.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gas prices have gone up in Michigan now that the state tax on gas jumped from 19 cents to 26.3 cents per gallon. Taxes on diesel have gone up too, going from 14 cents a gallong to 26.3 cents. These "motor fuel taxes" don't include the state’s 6% sales tax, or the federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon.

That puts Michigan at one of the highest at-pump tax rates in the country, trailing Pennsylvania, Washington, Hawaii, New York and California, according to the Tax Foundation.

Dave Newman / Flickr

The federal investigation into corruption in Macomb county continues as a New Haven village trustee and a former village trustee are charged with bribery.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Trustee Christopher Craigmiles and former Trustee Brett Harris are accused of accepting $16,000 in bribes.

There are now a total of five county officials facing corruption charges in the federal probe.

Detroitsound.org

You could argue that the biggest Michigan story of the last decade was Detroit – the fall of its famously corrupt mayor, the city’s descent into bankruptcy, and its reemergence and renaissance. Nobody would have believed 10 years ago that downtown Detroit would be booming today, or that Midtown near Wayne State University would be a trendy place to live.

Today, Detroit’s streetlights are all on again, and a balding and plump white guy from the suburbs is the most popular mayor in years.

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