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The state Senate could vote as soon as Wednesday on a road funding proposal that includes a possible income tax rollback.

A state Senate panel approved a plan Tuesday afternoon that could generate about $1.5 billion annually for roads, in part by raising Michigan’s gas tax by 15 cents a gallon over three years. It would also shift about $700 million in existing state funds to roads.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Photo courtesy of Governor Snyder's office

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a bill that stops local governments from adopting their own ordinances that cover wages and working conditions.

The new law does not affect existing ordinances, but it does preempt nascent efforts to adopt local “living wage” and mandatory sick leave ordinances. In a written statement, Governor Snyder says it makes sense to ensure consistency in local ordinances that regulate jobs and employment.

photo by Vincent Duffy

A Goodrich family is outraged after being told they would need to pay $77,718.75 for information about their son.

Sherry Smith sent a Freedom of Information request to Goodrich Area Schools for 14 months of emails that mention her son, after the school changed her son's individual education plan for his disability.

"I never in a million years would have imagined it would amount to $77,000 worth," Smith said.

Today on Stateside:

  • A 3.3 magnitude earthquake shook things up near Battle Creek this morning. The quake was centered 13 miles southeast of Battle Creek and only a few miles from where a 4.2 magnitude quake happened May 2.
     
  • Reports disagree on the effectiveness of the “Pure Michigan” campaign as state lawmakers look for money to fix the roads. Michigan State University economics professor Charley Ballard helps us sort it out.
     
  • Just a few years ago, no one knew the word “selfie,” but now they’ve invaded social media. Michigan Radio’s Kimberly Springer takes a look at how selfies fit in to our social and cultural landscape.

 U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho speaks on Capitol Hill for National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day June 27, 2012
user Army Medicine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

As veterans return home after serving in the Middle East, the nation is becoming increasingly aware of post-traumatic stress injury.

PTSI affects millions of vets and significantly boosts the risk of depression, suicide, and drug- and alcohol-related deaths.

On top of that, for the veterans struggling with PTSI, it can lead to more run-ins with police.

That’s why the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency has joined forces with the Michigan State Police, county and local law enforcement, and the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.

Macomb County offers free Uber to jurors

5 hours ago

Jurors in Macomb County are getting a free ride to court.

A pilot project will offer jurors free transportation via Uber.

And the best news: It comes at no cost to the county. The ride service company is picking up the tab for round trips under $40 for the duration of the 60-day trial.

Carmela Sabaugh is the Macomb County Clerk. She adds this innovation to an extensive list that includes providing restaurant-style pagers to jurors while they wait to be called into the courtroom and furnishing the jury room with free wireless Internet.

Michigan Radio, The Grand Rapids Press and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters  will host a Grand Rapids mayoral candidate forum at the Grand Rapids Public Museum at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22. All four mayoral candidates, including Rosalynn Bliss, Robert Dean, John George and Willard Lee, will participate.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan State University economist says a looming loan default by Greece should not greatly affect Michigan’s economy.

Greece and its European creditors will be discussing a last-minute proposal by Athens for a new two-year rescue deal.

The proposal came just hours before the country's international bailout expires – at which point it will lose access to billions of dollars in European funding.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents will soon get another letter saying there’s a problem with their tap water. It’s a letter they’ve seen before.

The city remains technically in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act for higher than acceptable levels of the disinfectant byproduct Total Trihalomethanes, otherwise known as TTHM.

The "Pure Michigan" campaign highlights beautiful and memorable places and experiences in Michigan.
user PunkToad / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

State lawmakers are searching for money to fix the roads, and they’ve been eyeing the budget of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and its “Pure Michigan” campaign.

The MEDC’s funding was reduced by $15 million with the recently passed budget.

Flickr / bitznbitez

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the state of Michigan, other states, and industry groups in a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions rules.

The justices ruled the EPA was unreasonable when it refused to consider costs in its initial decision to regulate mercury emissions from power plants.

Read the Supreme Court's ruling in Michigan vs. EPA here.

barbed wire fence
FLickr user H. Michael Karshis / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

How much does crime really cost? Millions of dollars per day and billions per year. The high cost has jail and prison administrators seeking ways to ease this burden on taxpayers.

One way to do that is charging the inmates fees.

In Michigan, inmates are required to pay for necessities. It's called "pay to stay." Backers say it teaches the prisoners a lesson and keeps them from making frivolous and wasteful requests. But what happens when a prisoner's small paycheck doesn't cover the expenses?

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, the U.S. Supreme Court has released a flurry of momentous decisions in the last few days covering everything from lethal injection methods to the environment.

The two which drew the most attention were, of course, the rulings which saved the Affordable Care Act, and found that same sex couples have the right to marry everywhere in America.

But the court made another tremendous ruling yesterday that, in effect, said we can take back representative democracy in this state if we want to.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Saginaw School Board may pick a new superintendent next month.

The district’s interim superintendent is retiring, in part, because of frustration with the board.    

Kelley Peatross came out of retirement 8 months ago to lead the district.  But she says the “antics” of some individuals have made it difficult for her to continue in the position. 

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Two bills are being considered by the Michigan Legislature that would give some former Michigan State Police troopers higher pensions.

Senate bills 21 and 22 would give 96 ex-troopers who retired before Oct. 1, 1986, a pension of at least $16,000 a year.

Hantz Farms

Wayne State University researchers are taking a close look at some of the potential hazards of urban agriculture.

They’ve launched a three-year study at several farm sites around Detroit, to examine soil and vegetable samples from those sites for “physical, chemical, and biological contaminants,” says Yifan Zhang, assistant professor of food and nutrition at Wayne State.

Dept of Corrections

The Michigan Supreme Court says a man convicted of killing a three-year-old girl deserves a new trial.

A Calhoun County jury convicted Leo Ackley of felony murder and child abuse in the death of his girlfriend’s daughter. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

DIA director retiring after 16-year tenure

Jun 29, 2015
DIA

The director of the Detroit Institute of Arts is retiring after leading the museum for 16 years.

Graham Beal first announced plans to step down from the position back in January. Tuesday will be his last day.

Manufacturing Tech Expo at College of DuPage 2014 4

Michigan has a teacher shortage, at least when it comes to vocational programs.

Education administrators say it's creating "emergency situations" in some parts of the state, especially rural areas. 

flickr/jmarty / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

Silicon Valley churns out apps to “change the world,” but whose world are they really changing? How do we know if these new technologies are going to work in a city like Detroit, for example?

All across America, digital innovations have proliferated in the last four decades, but poverty rates haven’t budged, and inequality has skyrocketed.     

cincy Project / Creative Commons

The landlord association in Kent County is teaming up with Grand Rapids police to try and reduce crime. They’re offering a new training program for their 1,400 members on how to react to, reduce, and even prevent crime at their properties.

The DeYoung Power Plant in Holland burns coal. The city is switching over to natural gas soon.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the state of Michigan, and many other states and industry groups, in their challenge to emissions rules from the Environmental Protection Agency.

They argued that the EPA should consider the costs and benefits of regulating mercury pollution from power plants.

Michigan Radio was recognized this past weekend with three awards from the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI). The station received a First Place award in the Large Newsroom-Commentary category for “Michigan athletics loses magic and fans thanks to Brandon's policies,” by John U. Bacon.  The commentary explored the controversial policies of former University of Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon that had alienated many students and fans.

Courtesy photo / Kalamazoo Growlers

The flooded Kalamazoo River that winds around Homer Stryker Field forced the Growlers to cancel games over the weekend. The field was inundated with water Saturday morning.

“The outdoors truly got the best of Homer Stryker Field on Outdoorsman’s Night,” read a post on the Kalamazoo Growlers’ webpage published Saturday morning.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage has many people happy and relieved. None more so, politically speaking, than Republicans who’ve wanted to see the issue go away.

Moderate Republicans like Governor Rick Snyder have always detested getting wrapped up in the culture wars. 

On the day the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal everywhere in the nation, I was in the town of Ironwood, which is both in Michigan and in another world.

Ironwood is more than six hundred miles from Detroit. It is so far west that it is one of a handful of Michigan communities on Central, not Eastern Time.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

People in Detroit pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan believes that’s part of the reason people move out of the city. He’s put together a plan to provide cheaper auto insurance for city residents. Some critics think it would be a bad deal for Detroiters.

Michigan Agri-Business Association

This has not been a good June for Michigan’s dry bean crop.

Dry beans are primarily grown in the Thumb region.  Dry beans account for about $250 million in Michigan’s agricultural economy.

But heavy rains this month have slowed planting by about 25%. Many of the crops that are the ground have also been damaged by the higher-than-normal rainfall.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s police chief says a campaign to persuade city residents to talk to police is having an effect.

The "Stop the Silence" campaign asks people to share what they know about crimes with law enforcement.

There are many words in our language that are just plain fun. But what exactly do they mean? University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan did a deep dive this week into colorful, sassy words. 

Let’s start with the ever-popular term, bumbershoot. What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of a bumbershoot?  

It means an umbrella.

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