Jennifer White http://michiganradio.org en ACA ruling and its impact on Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/aca-ruling-and-its-impact-michigan <p>This week two separate federal appeals court rulings came down on opposite sides of a key provision in&nbsp;the Affordable Care Act. This leaves thousands of low and middle income&nbsp;Michiganders&nbsp;who signed up&nbsp;for healthcare through Michigan’s exchange in a bit of limbo.&nbsp;</p><p>Jennifer White, host of&nbsp;<em>All Things Considered</em>, is joined by Marianne&nbsp;Udow&nbsp;Phillips, Director, Center for&nbsp;Healthcare Research and Transformation and Ken&nbsp;Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior&nbsp;Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Phillips states that although these rulings were issued nothing is going to change immediately and that&nbsp;it is important to understand that the legal rulings will take time to play out.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“It would have a huge impact and it would really push the whole system into chaos,” explains Phillips.&nbsp;“There are 240,000 in Michigan who have already gotten health insurance coverage through the health&nbsp;insurance exchange with a subsidy, and so were they to lose that subsidy, almost all of them would not&nbsp;be able to afford healthcare coverage.”&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Sikkema&nbsp;states that it is a very polarizing topic and coupled with an election year, politicians and&nbsp;candidates have honed in on the issue. “It already is a big political issue; it’s the primary political issue&nbsp;for Republicans who are running for office” says&nbsp;Sikkema, “but it’s really hard to look in your crystal ball&nbsp;and see what the future of the Affordable Care Act is going to be.”</span></p><p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:00:14 +0000 Jennifer White 18505 at http://michiganradio.org ACA ruling and its impact on Michigan The struggles of Muskegon Heights school district http://michiganradio.org/post/struggles-muskegon-heights-school-district <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Two years ago, Muskegon Heights made history by becoming the first school district in Michigan to convert entirely to a charter district, and turn the operation of its schools over to a for-profit company.&nbsp;</span></p><p></p><p>This week, Michigan Radio's Dustin Dwyer and Lindsey Smith take an in depth look at the changes in the Muskegon Heights School district and what that could that mean for other troubled districts in the state in a new <a href="http://michiganradio.org/programs/stateside-cynthia-canty">State of Opportunity</a> documentary called <em>Tiger Pride</em>.</p><p>Why focus on Muskegon Heights? How does it impact other struggling school districts in Michigan?</p><p>Dwyer and Smith joined us today to give us a preview of the documentary.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Tune in tomorrow afternoon at 3 pm to hear <em>Tiger Pride</em>.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:19:06 +0000 Jennifer White 18494 at http://michiganradio.org The struggles of Muskegon Heights school district How are leaders in Lansing reacting to Aramark problems? http://michiganradio.org/post/how-are-leaders-lansing-reacting-aramark-problems <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Every week, we take a look at what’s happening in Michigan politics with Susan </span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</span></p><p>It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Aramark, the company that provides food services for Michigan prisons, which has come under a lot of criticism.</p><p>Prisons have complained of food shortages and maggots have been found in prison kitchens. There have also been a number of issues with Aramark employees smuggling contraband into prisons and just this week, four&nbsp;Aramark staffers were fired for having inappropriate contact with prisoners.</p><p>According to Demas, when the state of Michigan decided to privatize the food services in prisons, the objective of the governor and the Legislature was to save money and increase efficiency, but so far it has been marred with problems.</p><p>Meanwhile, Sikkema explains that when the initial discussions were taking place about the most effective ways to save money, privatization was more of a priority for certain legislators, and not necessarily that of the Department of Corrections. Sikkema elaborates that the operational costs have gone up significantly over the past several decades, and as a result, legislators have called for some form of privatization to scale back the spending.</p><p>After issues began to surface with Aramark following the contract, Demas asserts that the response of the state has been keeping tabs and trying to correct the mistakes, but so far, there has been no push to try and eliminate the contract.</p><p>“I do think it clearly raises a question, whether the savings, which are estimated to between $12 to $16 million a year in a $2 billion budget, are worth the problems that they’ve encountered: food issues, sanitation issues, high turnover of staff, sexual misconduct, smuggling of contraband like marijuana into the prisons; I don’t see the contract surviving if these problems continue” says Sikkema.</p><p><em>Omar Saadeh - Michigan Radio Newsroom</em></p><p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:19:17 +0000 Jennifer White 18413 at http://michiganradio.org How are leaders in Lansing reacting to Aramark problems? Central American children destined for Michigan? http://michiganradio.org/post/central-american-children-destined-michigan <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There has been a recent influx of undocumented children who are crossing the Mexican border into the U.S. Many of these children hail from Central American nations where violence is prevalent. Recent news that some of these children could be housed here at a facility in Vassar, Michigan while awaiting immigration hearings has received mixed reactions.</span></p><p>Wolverine Human Services is an organization that owns and operates a facility in Vassar and might house some of the Central American children. Jennifer White, host of <em>All Things Considered</em>, is joined by Derrick McCree, senior VP of Wolverine Human Services.</p><p>McCree says as it stands right now, the contract is still under consideration by the Office of Refugee Settlement. The contracting company, Heartland Alliance of Chicago, Illinois, has been providing services for children in similar circumstances for the past 19 years. Due to the humanitarian crisis at the national level, Heartland Alliance reached out to other providers, particularly in Michigan, to inquire about providing assistance.</p><p>The services provided are essential, basic shelter services, medical care, education in the format of ESL, recreational activities, and trauma counseling. Heartland Alliance would cover the reunification fees to help seek relatives or family members within the U.S. where the child could stay while the court proceedings play out. If no family member or relative is located, the option of a foster family exists.</p><p>According to McCree, funding for the program comes from the federal government. And while there has been vocal opposition to the idea of housing children in Vassar, McCree says the Vassar community has been largely supportive, and he's heard from people who are interested in helping the Central American children.&nbsp;McCree says the children making their way to the southern U.S. border are escaping what are often very dangerous situaations, and they are in need of help.</p><p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">Omar Saadeh - Michigan Radio Newsroom&nbsp;</em></p><p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 21:29:18 +0000 Jennifer White 18406 at http://michiganradio.org Central American children destined for Michigan? Congressman Kildee says some Central American refugees will likely come to Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/congressman-kildee-says-some-central-american-refugees-will-likely-come-michigan <p></p><p></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In recent weeks we’ve been hearing about the surge of </span><a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/central-american-children-if-they-come-michigan-would-stay-just-2-4-weeks" style="line-height: 1.5;">undocumented minors from Central America</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> crossing into the U.S.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Some call it a humanitarian crisis while others look at it as the result of a failed immigration policy.&nbsp;</span></p><p>Wolverine Human Services has applied to be a sub-contractor to house these children at their facility in Vassar.</p><p>Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee&nbsp;talk about where things&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">stand right now.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"I think there is some degree of likelihood that Wolverine will be providing some shelter for these young unaccompanied minors that have made their way to our border," said Kildee.</span></p><p><em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Listen to the full interview above.</span></em></p><p> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 00:07:20 +0000 Jennifer White 18348 at http://michiganradio.org Congressman Kildee says some Central American refugees will likely come to Michigan How Lansing is responding to charter school investigation http://michiganradio.org/post/how-lansing-responding-charter-school-investigation <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>A <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20140622/NEWS06/140507009">recent investigation </a>by the Detroit Free Press suggested major issues with charter schools in the state. The investigation pointed to poor financial practices, conflicts of interest, and lack of transparency by charter schools and authorizers.</p><p>Now, State Superintendent of Schools Mike Flanagan says some charter authorizers may lose their authority to open additional schools.</p><p>Joining us now to talk about this are Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Zoe Clark with Michigan Radio’s <em>It’s Just Politics</em>.</p><p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:59:52 +0000 Jennifer White 18334 at http://michiganradio.org How Lansing is responding to charter school investigation Weekly Political Roundup: Outside money targets campaign ads in Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/weekly-political-roundup-outside-money-targets-campaign-ads-michigan <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It’s Thursday, the day we talk Michigan politics with Susan </span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We’re still about a month out from the primaries and four months out from the general election. Yet, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network this week reports that $18 million have already been spent in the Michigan gubernatorial and senate races. And such of this money is coming from outside groups.</span></p><p>Is it surprising that this much outside money is coming into Michigan so early or is this election politics as usual?</p><p> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:27:00 +0000 Jennifer White 18257 at http://michiganradio.org Weekly Political Roundup: Outside money targets campaign ads in Michigan Weekly Political Roundup: Detroit Mayor Duggan's first six months in office http://michiganradio.org/post/weekly-political-roundup-detroit-mayor-duggans-first-six-months-office <p></p><p>The city of Detroit continues to work through bankruptcy, at the same time Mayor Mike Duggan, now six months into his term, has been working to return basic city services to residents in the city.&nbsp;</p><p>Joining us today were Ken Sikkema, Former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.</p><p>Detroit remains under the emergency management of Kevyn Orr, but Duggan&nbsp;really positioned himself as more of a chief operating officer when he was running for mayor. How much of what we see happening in the city is the result of efforts by Orr and how much of it is Duggan?</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview&nbsp;above.</em></p><p> Thu, 26 Jun 2014 20:39:45 +0000 Jennifer White 18171 at http://michiganradio.org Weekly Political Roundup: Detroit Mayor Duggan's first six months in office Detroit will continue to face major challenges even after bankruptcy http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-will-continue-face-major-challenges-even-after-bankruptcy <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>As the city of Detroit swiftly works its way through bankruptcy court there are some bright spots on the horizon. The state of Michigan, foundations and corporations are contributing millions of dollars to shore up city pensions and protect art held by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Mayor Mike Duggan is making strides to alleviate blight across the city. However, even in a best case scenario, what issues and challenges will the city continue to face even after the bankruptcy proceedings conclude?</p><p>Jennifer White, host of <em>All Things Considered</em>, speaks with Michigan State University Economist Eric Scorsone about the challenges facing the city of Detroit and the key systemic issues that the city must address.</p><p>Scorsone emphasizes that although there has been some recovery in the city, the challenges of the high unemployment rate, the big differences in the Detroit labor market when it comes to earnings of city residents compared to non-residents, upgrading the skill levels of city residents and the creation of jobs are issues that no one individual will be able to resolve alone, and will require cooperation from many agencies and non-profit organizations.</p><p>According to Scorsone, blight removal is an important step, but it is not necessarily the final solution. There needs to be major changes when it comes to land designated for certain uses such as housing, and stabilizing certain neighborhoods is imperative to the city’s future health.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p><em>--Omar Saadeh</em></p><p> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 20:44:50 +0000 Jennifer White 18134 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit will continue to face major challenges even after bankruptcy New book celebrates diversity, food and culture http://michiganradio.org/post/new-book-celebrates-diversity-food-and-culture <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Most kids in the state are on summer break. And, while the year wrapped up with final tests, and end of year activities, one group of students celebrated the end of their school by becoming published authors.</p><p><a href="http://www.826michigan.org/">826 Michigan</a> is a nonprofit organization that supports students in developing their writing skills and helps teachers inspire students to write. This year the students worked with English Language Learner students and teachers at Ypsilanti Community High School.</p><p>This book is called <em>Enjoy! – Recipes for Building Community. </em>It includes essays, letters and recipes from the students and from chefs and other members of the local food community.</p><p>Joining us today were Liz Sirman, an ELL teacher at Ypsilanti Community High School, Lucy Centeno, one of the student writers from Ypsilanti Community High School, Ari Weinzweig, co-owner and founding partner of Zingerman’s.</p><p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 19:41:07 +0000 Jennifer White 18093 at http://michiganradio.org New book celebrates diversity, food and culture Why has it been so difficult to get consensus on a funding package? http://michiganradio.org/post/why-has-it-been-so-difficult-get-consensus-funding-package <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The intense Michigan winter has put roads funding at the top of the legislative agenda. Things lagged for the past few months but began to heat up as the Legislature prepares for summer break which begins next week.</span></p><p>Why has it been so difficult to get consensus on a funding package? &nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Today we talk Michigan politics with Ken&nbsp;</span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan&nbsp;</span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.</span></p><p><em>Listen to the interview above.</em></p><p> Thu, 12 Jun 2014 20:48:00 +0000 Jennifer White 17974 at http://michiganradio.org Why has it been so difficult to get consensus on a funding package? Support for Detroit a political liability? http://michiganradio.org/post/support-detroit-political-liability <p></p><p></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This week on </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">All Things Considered</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, host Jennifer White talks&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">about the status of state support for the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings and the risk of political fallout for lawmakers who support such measures.We have that conversation&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">with Ken </span>Sikkema<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan </span>Demas<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics,&nbsp;</span></p><p>Recently, Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by billionaires David and Charles Koch, announced they would run ads against a grand bargain for Detroit and against any Republican lawmaker who votes to support such a plan.</p><p>According to Ken Sikkema, while there may be some political risk involved for Republican lawmakers, it is imperative that the Legislature moves on this issue to get Detroit out of bankruptcy promptly.</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Wed, 21 May 2014 21:17:21 +0000 Jennifer White & Michigan Radio Newsroom 17702 at http://michiganradio.org Support for Detroit a political liability? Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons explains latest on statewide teacher evaluation bills http://michiganradio.org/post/rep-lisa-posthumus-lyons-explains-latest-statewide-teacher-evaluation-bills <p></p><p>A state wide teacher evaluation system is finally seeing some movement in the legislature. The plan would rate teachers and administrators based on student growth on standardized tests and in-class observations. If teachers and administrators are found to be ineffective for three year in a row, they would be fired.</p><p>Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons is the C<span style="line-height: 1.5;">hair of the House Education Committee. She joined</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;us today.</span></p><p> Fri, 09 May 2014 21:39:46 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 17547 at http://michiganradio.org Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons explains latest on statewide teacher evaluation bills House Speaker Bolger balks at state support for Detroit bankruptcy http://michiganradio.org/post/house-speaker-bolger-balks-state-support-detroit-bankruptcy <p></p><p></p><p></p><p>It’s Thursday, the day we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.</p><p>This week, Jennifer White, host of <em>All Things Considered,</em> examines the latest developments surrounding the Detroit bankruptcy case. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr spent two days in Lansing this week, trying to galvanize lawmakers to support a grand bargain to&nbsp;reinforce Detroit pensions while protecting the Detroit Institute of Arts. The state is being asked to contribute $350 million, but House Speaker Jase Bolger has balked at the proposal.</p><p>Ken Sikkema&nbsp;emphasizes that because it is an election year, Speaker Bolger will have a difficult time getting full Republican support to contribute state money to help with Detroit’s financial woes, and that in order for a deal to proceed where the state will contribute financially, it will rely on bipartisan support.</p><p>“The speaker is walking a fine line here, between driving a hard bargain to show that Republicans actually got something in the way of more accountability so that this doesn’t happen again,” Sikkema explains. “Down in Detroit, the pieces are starting to fall into place to make this happen and the last big piece is state participation. But he’s never going to get full Republican support for this, particularly in an election year, it’s going to have to be a bipartisan vote.”</p><p> Thu, 01 May 2014 21:15:42 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom & Jennifer White 17453 at http://michiganradio.org House Speaker Bolger balks at state support for Detroit bankruptcy Republican state senator introduces bill to increase minimum wage http://michiganradio.org/post/republican-state-senator-introduces-bill-increase-minimum-wage <p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Michigan voters could see a question about increasing the minimum wage on the ballot this year. A petition drive is under way to collect enough signatures. But one Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill to increase the minimum wage in Michigan. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, wants to increase the minimum wage from $7.40 to $8.15 an hour and an increase from $2.65 to $2.75 an hour for tipped workers.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“I’m suggesting that this is a good alternative," Jones says. "I don’t want to see all these waiters and waitresses lose these jobs; many of them are single moms who depend on this income and this is very good income for somebody typically with just a high school diploma."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Jones believes that minimum wage is intended as a starter job and that there are good jobs in Michigan, but that companies are having a difficult time filling those positions. Jones emphasizes that people need to understand the risks behind a possible ballot proposal to increase the minimum wage.</span></p><p> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 20:53:02 +0000 Jennifer White & Michigan Radio Newsroom 17403 at http://michiganradio.org Republican state senator introduces bill to increase minimum wage Flint's Amir Hekmati retried and sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison http://michiganradio.org/post/flints-amir-hekmati-retried-and-sentenced-10-years-iranian-prison <p>Amir Hekmati is a former Marine from Flint, Michigan.</p><p>More than two and a half years ago, while visiting family in Iran, Hekmati was arrested and charged with espionage. His initial death sentence was overturned, but now reports have surfaced that Hekmati&nbsp;was secretly retried in December 2013.</p><p>He was convicted of "partial collaboration with the American government," and sentenced to 10 years in prison.&nbsp;</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:20:08 +0000 Jennifer White & Michigan Radio Newsroom 17243 at http://michiganradio.org Flint's Amir Hekmati retried and sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison Michigan's Medicaid expansion goes into effect today http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-medicaid-expansion-goes-effect-today <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>“<a href="http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-2943_66797---,00.html">Healthy Michigan</a>” is available to more than 470,000 low-income Michiganders between the ages of 19 and 64.</p><p>Joining us today is Krista Nordberg, director of enrollment at the Washtenaw Health Plan.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Nordberg says the Healthy Michigan Plan is “extremely comprehensive health care coverage” for low-income individuals. The kind of coverage available includes medical benefits, prescription coverage, dental, vision and mental health services.</span></p><p>But under the new plan, people will be responsible for some of the cost of their health care.</p><p>“The co-pays range from about $1 to $3 for the dental and the vision and the prescriptions. And for people with higher incomes – incomes between 100-133% of poverty – they will be asked to contribute to a health savings account, and that is still something being worked out with the state as to how that would be administered through their health plan, and how they will pay into that,” said Nordberg.</p><p>For more information about Healthy Michigan click <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/healthymiplan">here</a>, or call 1-855-789-5610.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 20:26:00 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 17065 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's Medicaid expansion goes into effect today What's next for the EAA in Michigan? http://michiganradio.org/post/whats-next-eaa-michigan <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>A vote is expected on a final version of a bill that would expand the Education Achievement Authority into a statewide district.&nbsp;</p><p>The EAA was created by the Snyder administration to initially oversee the lowest performing schools in the Detroit Public School system where it currently oversees 15 schools. Supporters say the EAA will give troubled schools the opportunity to turn things around, but critics say the EAA hasn’t proved that its model for education is a successful one.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Brian Smith, the statewide education reporter for </span>MLIVE.com joined us today.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 21:02:26 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 16976 at http://michiganradio.org What's next for the EAA in Michigan? Audio: A conversation with former Benton Harbor emergency manager http://michiganradio.org/post/audio-conversation-former-benton-harbor-emergency-manager <p>The city of Benton Harbor is no longer in a financial emergency. Gov. Snyder today announced the appointment of a Receivership Transition Advisory Board.</p><p>Behind the turnaround is Benton Harbor’s former emergency manager, Tony Saunders II. He spoke with the host of&nbsp;<em>All Thing Considered</em>, Jennifer White.</p><p></p><p> Mon, 10 Mar 2014 21:22:03 +0000 Jennifer White & Mercedes Mejia 16801 at http://michiganradio.org Audio: A conversation with former Benton Harbor emergency manager Michigan attorney general is front, center and vocal on major court cases http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-attorney-general-front-center-and-vocal-major-court-cases <p>The Michigan attorney general’s office is very busy these days. The state’s position on juvenile life sentences is being questioned before the Michigan Supreme Court; the state’s constitutional amendment banning same sex-marriage and civil unions is being challenged in federal court; and at the same time, the rights of pensioners are being sorted out as Detroit continues to go through bankruptcy.<br /><br />Attorney General Bill Schuette has been front, center, and vocal in all of these cases.</p> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 22:02:00 +0000 Jennifer White 16746 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan attorney general is front, center and vocal on major court cases