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Non-partisan commission would make more Michigan votes count

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Michigan House Republicans

A counterpoint to this essay can be found here

The Next Idea

Everybody who sets foot in a voting booth wants to know that their vote counts just as much as the vote of the next person in line. Faith in our democratic system rests on fair and representative elections.

Unfortunately, Michigan’s political map has been manipulated to the point that not all votes count the same. Politicians have drawn political districts so that in many places around our state, who wins or loses is a foregone conclusion long before the end of election night. They created the political map this way in order to give themselves and their party a head start in an election, much to the detriment of our democracy and your vote.

U.S. Supreme Court
user dbking / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  Michigan may have to pay up to $2 million in legal fees related to the case that struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

The six attorneys who successfully challenged the ban want the state to reimburse them for their legal costs. They say they worked thousands of hours on the case – which was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

General Motors

The Obama Administration says 13 of the nation's largest companies are taking the "American Business Act on Climate Pledge," including General Motors.

Other companies pledging to significantly reduce their emissions are Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, a popular tourist spot in Northern Michigan
flickr user Rodney Campbell / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Northern Michigan’s tourism industry is huge. Likely this summer alone you or someone you know has headed up that way at least once.

At first blush, that sounds as though all that tourism is nothing but great for the economy. It creates a lot of jobs at businesses like restaurants and hotels.

The primary election for Grand Rapids' new mayor will take place next Tuesday
All photos courtesy of candidate Facebook pages

Grand Rapids voters will be electing their first new mayor in more than 10 years, and the primary is a week from tomorrow.

Current Mayor George Heartwell is being term-limited out after serving in office for more than a decade.

Michigan House Republicans

A counterpoint to this essay can be found here

The Next Idea  

If the Michigan AFL-CIO or the Michigan Chamber of Commerce were each drafting a proposed constitutional amendment to “reform” redistricting, it would be met with media derision, with each eventual proposal seen as favoring one political party over the other.

But, when the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network announce that they are part of a Collaborative working to draft an amendment, no similar skepticism has yet arisen. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Developers have until tomorrow to tell Lansing school district officials what they would like to do with an iconic high school in the capitol city.

Children have been learning at Lansing’s Eastern High School for nearly 90 years. But the aging building’s future is unclear.

“Everybody likes the building,” says district spokesman Bob Kolt, “but it doesn’t meet the educational needs for the future.”

Ford Motor Company / Flickr

Indiana Michigan Power, an operating unit of American Electric Power, recently started building its first solar power facility in Indiana.

I&M will also be building three other solar power facilities. One will be located in Watervliet, Michigan.

Screenshot from Venmo.com

Venmo is a payment application with a social media aspect built-in. Users can easily transfer money to others who use the app, and anyone who is Facebook friends with them can see what the transaction is for.

But the app is attached to users’ bank account, debit card or credit card, and its safety has been continually questioned.

Two of Stateside's interns brought up the application's popularity at the daily production meeting, and host Zoe Clark was taken aback. Why would people want to see what others are doing with their money?

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Tod Machover is a composer and professor from MIT.  It’s his job to create a Symphony for Detroit and he’s asking Detroiters for help. Right now he’s working with people living in Detroit and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to compose what he’s calling “Symphony in D.”


Two weeks ago, I reported on a little-known trade conflict between the United States and Canada that could cost Michigan farmers nearly $700 million in retaliatory trade sanctions.

This involves a U.S. law known as COOL, for Country-of-Origin-Labeling. It took effect in 2008, and requires all meat to be labeled with its country of origin.

There is no stopping him.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump can’t stop talking. But, is that really such a bad thing for his fellow Republicans?

NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has slapped Fiat Chrysler with a $105 million civil penalty for multiple violations of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The penalty surpasses the previous record, a $70 million civil fine against Honda last year, over recall violations related to vehicles with defective airbags.

american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / Flickr

U.S. Senator Gary Peters wants service members who were forced out of the military for their sexual orientation to have their statuses upgraded.

Peters is co-sponsoring the Restore Honor to Service Members Act to help simplfy the process of getting a less-than-honorable discharge for being gay changed to honorable.

Church pew with hymnal
Bala Sivakumar / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Federal and local law enforcement officials are hosting a summit in Detroit on Monday to help area religious leaders make places of worship more secure.

The training session will focus on best practices during emergencies, including active shooter situations.

Attendees are also being encouraged to communicate more with each other, including making others aware of threats they've received or suspicious individuals.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan businesses are taking part in a new push to resurrect a federal agency that helped American companies do business overseas.

The Export Import Bank of the United States was created under President Franklin Roosevelt. It has been the official export credit agency of the U.S. government. Its purpose is to provide financing and insuring foreign purchases of U.S. goods for customers unable or unwilling to accept the credit risk. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s police chief says a crackdown on ‘parking lot partying’ is paying off. 

Convenience and party store parking lots have been a place to ‘hang out’ in Flint for years. But Police Chief James Tolbert says many people have been doing more than hanging out. The ‘parking lot partying’ has also included illegal drug use and prostitution.   Violent crime has also been an issue. 

We have alot to talk about today!

Wait...is it alot or a lot? My auto correct is saying a lot, but my heart is saying alot. What is going on here?!  

A lot, as one word instead of two, has a bit of a history to it, going back to Old English, says University of Michigan English Professor Ann Curzan.

It goes back to the Old English word hlot – a word you really got to gather a lot of air to say. 

“That combination hl was possible in Old English; a loaf of bread was a hlaf,” says Curzan. 

This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

The ADA prohibits discrimination based on a person’s disability. It affords people with disabilities similar protections against discrimination as the 1964 Civil Rights act, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal.

The ADA also requires covered employers to make reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities and requires accessibility in public places. 

Jason Lorenz / City of Flint

Along the mix of downtown buildings and neighborhoods filled with small single family homes, the city of Flint also has its share of mobile home parks.  

The trailer parks are the usual collection of mobile homes laid out in neat lines. But in some cases, it’s not so neat.

Flint has torn down thousands of old, dilapidated homes in the name of blight elimination.  The city is now turning its attention to its handful of trailer parks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s less than two weeks before Flint’s primary for mayor. 

Today, another candidate jumped in the race. 

City councilwoman Monica Galloway was elected to the city council two years ago. Now she’s seeking the city’s top elected job.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering a warning about bears in the state.

WLUC-TV reports the DNR has responded to dozens nuisance bear complaints so far this year as bears are on the move. The agency says that adult bears have been moving in mating season while younger bears are looking to find their own territory.

Courtesy photo / Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 1.4 million vehicles to prevent hackers from being able to remotely control the cars and trucks.

A couple of professional hackers worked with a reporter for Wired magazine to remotely access the computer system in a Jeep Cherokee. The magazine has posted a video showing what hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek could do.

They kill the engine, disable the brakes, mess with the A/C and the radio.

Blue Ocean Faith is an all-inclusive Christian community in Ann Arbor
user Marlith / Flickr

Some Michigan activists are lobbying members of Congress to pass civil rights protections for LGBT people.

The Equality Act of 2015 would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Historical Society of Greater Lansing

When the Historical Society of Greater Lansing hosted an oral history with the owner of Lansing's longstanding Jim's Tiffany restaurant, more than 80 people showed up to listen.

If you want a practical illustration of why term limits are a bad idea, here’s a good one. Yesterday, Senator Debbie Stabenow managed to engineer a deal to save perhaps $100 million in federal blight funds set aside to help Michigan cities tear down ruined buildings.

Rebecca Kruth

Unemployment fraud cases are on the rise in Michigan.

Advocates say the state’s automated unemployment insurance system is snagging innocent people for fraud without any human oversight.

Being wrongly accused of fraud can mean many months, lots of money and a hearing before an administrative judge to clear your name.

That's exactly what happened to George Patterson of Taylor, who saves everything.

“I’ve been accused of being a pack rat,” he said. “I have a lot of my paperwork from 10, 15 years ago.”

Traverse City Rotary Club / flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


Governor Snyder has made it official: Wayne County is in a state of financial emergency.

County Executive Warren Evans had asked for the declaration.

Wayne County faces a projected budget shortfall of $171 million by 2019.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A union-led petition drive is trying to increase the state’s Corporate Income Tax rate from 6% to 11%. The revenue would be used to fix roads.

Increasing the rate by 5 percentage points would generate about $900 million a year toward Governor Rick Snyder’s goal of $1.2 billion in new revenue for road repairs. It would also be a major change to the 2011 business tax overhaul engineered by Snyder and Republicans in the Legislature.

Harsha KR / Flickr/creative commons

It can certainly be risky to keep an older loved one behind the wheel if he or she is no longer driving safely.

It can also be risky to take away the keys. Social isolation and the many ills associated with social isolation can be the result.

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