UAW sign.

Union leaders announced today that they're teaming up to support graduate student workers at universities across the country.

Graduate Assistants at some universities complain they have voted to unionize, but the results of those elections are being ignored by school administrations.

Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers - which is part of the organizing effort.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A bill on its way to the state Senate floor would prevent school union reps from getting paid release time when they're on union business.   SB 796 passed the state Senate Education committee on a four to one vote Tuesday.

State Sen. Marty Knollenberg [R-Troy) insists his bill is not infringing on local school boards' authority when negotiating contracts.

“We’re not taking away collective bargaining.  We’re not taking away leave time,” says Knollenberg. “We’re just saying…taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for work being done by a private organization.”

someone getting a shot
Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed Michigan's first case of measles in 2018.

The individual was contagious while flying to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport after a trip abroad on March 6, according to a statement released Wednesday. The patient is now hospitalized and recovering.  

Brian Ellison
Ellison for Senate campaign

A Michigan man running as a Libertarian for U.S. Senate says he wants to raise money to buy 20 pump style shotguns for homeless individuals.

"Not only are the homeless constantly under threat from would-be criminals," says Brian Ellison, "but they are also under threat from governments at various levels that criminalize activities that homeless people rely on for survival."

Ellison says he has no fears that the guns would be misused, for example, to shoot police who are trying to move people off an illegal encampment.

Kym Worthy (file photo).
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The last of over 11,300 rape kits discovered in a Detroit police facility are currently being processed by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office.

614 kits remain, and they were shipped to Bode Cellmark Forensics and Sorenson Forensics labs for testing before they are reviewed by the Michigan State Police lab.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A lawsuit has been filed to challenge Michigan's ban on public aid for private schools.

The ban has been in place since voters added it to the state Constitution in 1970. A judge recently cited it while blocking the state from giving $2.5 million to private schools for fire drills, inspections, and other state requirements. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to intervene.

The lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of a group that includes a Roman Catholic school in Grand Rapids, parents and lawmakers.

Detroit schools chief: District can now pay for counselors, art classes, and gym in every school

Mar 14, 2018
kids hula-hooping

After months spent talking about expensive new programs he’d like to see, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says he’s found money in the Detroit district’s budget to hire a slew of educators who’ve been missing for years from city schools.

The budget framework he presented to a school board committee Friday calls for every city school to have a guidance counselor, an arts or music teacher, a gym teacher, and a “dean of school culture” who would be in charge of student discipline and creating in-school suspension programs.

flooded Grand River
City of Grand Rapids / Facebook

Gov. Rick Snyder wants a federal disaster declaration for eight Michigan counties affected by severe flooding last month. He's asking the federal Small Business Administration to study the damage caused by heavy rainfall and snow melt Feb. 19-21.

If approved, the disaster assistance program would provide money and low-interest loans to repair homes and businesses.

park sign
Flcikr user Patricia Drury

A National Park Service conservation program will help pay for a new 6-mile multi-use trail around Detroit's Belle Isle Park.

Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters say the program is providing $750,000 for the project. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund State and Local Assistance program provides grants for local and state park projects outside national park boundaries. Private investments will match the federal funding for the trail.

Power plant
Courtesy of Duke Energy

A majority of Americans now say all levels of government need to act on climate change.

That’s one finding from the latest survey in a series of National Surveys on Energy and Environment.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint public school district is beginning the search for a new superintendent.

Bilal Tawwab became Flint schools superintendent in 2015. His tenure has been dominated by the city’s tainted tap water crisis. Recent tests have shown lead levels remain high in several Flint schools.

A theatre wall

As he often does, David Kiley of Encore Michigan returned to Stateside today to bring us the latest on theater happening across Michigan.

Listen above to hear Kiley’s previews of the following shows:

A cafeteria worker's gloved hand grabs waffle fries with tongs.
U.S. Air Force

An effective food system in the state’s prisons should go beyond just feeding prisoners. That’s the message of some lawmakers in the state Senate.

The governor announced he wants to end privatized food service in the state’s prisons. Senator John Proos, R-St. Joseph, said this is an opportunity to go a step further. He’s put together a work group to explore training inmates in food services. Proos said there are thousands of available jobs across the state in the restaurant industry. 

M-43 inside Old Nation Brewing Co.
Media Advantage

You may know M-43 as the state road that runs through Williamston and on past Lansing, aka Grand River. But more and more beer lovers are recognizing M-43 as their favorite brew.

This New England-style India pale ale has made a world of difference for Old Nation Brewing Company, based in Williamston.

Detroit skyline.
Derek Gauci / Wikimedia Commons

Detroit and the state of Michigan pulled out the stops in their unsuccessful bid to lure Amazon and its second headquarters to the Motor City. But the full extent of that effort, including how much of the public's money and property city and state leaders were willing to give up, is a secret, and it’s likely to stay that way.

School shootings in the United States
Data: Everytown Research | Quartz / Atlas

A former police officer and SWAT team leader didn't believe traditional lockdown drills gave students the knowledge they needed to survive. So, he developed an active shooter training program called ALICE: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. Over 4,000 school districts have had ALICE training.

A photocopy of a photo of Line 5 being installed in 1953.
State of Michigan

Enbridge Energy has started drilling on property it owns on the north and south sides of Line 5, the oil and gas pipeline it owns under the Mackinac Straits.

Spokesman Michael Barnes says the company has agreed to look at ways to replace the aging pipeline. 

That could mean a new pipeline in a tunnel, inside a horizontally drilled tube, or in a trench.

"It tell us what the composition of the rock is, and so that will help both the state and us analyze what alternatives may be best possible for that area," says Barnes.

Blue lockers
C.C. Chapman / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

As we debate solutions for gun violence in our schools, teachers and administrators continue to prepare for active shooter situations by holding lockdown drills.

Semi truck
Greg Gjerdingen / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

As part of Michigan Radio’s ongoing MI Curious project, Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, has been answering your questions about our roads.

Today’s question comes from John Echelbarger from Belleville:

Why has Michigan not lowered the weight restrictions on semis compared to Ohio or Indiana? In Michigan, trucks can carry double the weight.

President Donald Trump at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference
Gage Skidmore / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1f2P1w6

The Trump administration has been in office for a little more than a year, and it’s done a lot to change the federal government’s stance on environmental issues -- from announcing the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, to opening up thousands of miles of U.S. coastline to offshore drilling.

A street pole in the middle of flood water
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has declared a state of disaster for 17 counties and two cities hit hard by recent flooding from heavy rain and melting snow. He also opened the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to local governments in those areas. 

U.S. Treasury

Michigan says more than one-fifth of local governments have an underfunded pension plan, retirement health care plan or both.

The Treasury Department on Monday issued the results of an initial round of reporting required under the Protecting Local Government Retirement and Benefits Act.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is not ruling out some “pain” as the city deals with a rising legacy costs.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor sat down with his Financial Health Team for the first time today to discuss ways of dealing with the capitol city’s long-term liabilities.

Out of the limelight, Cindy Garcia keeps fighting for immigrant family reunification

Mar 13, 2018
Cindy Garcia
Georgi-Ann Bargamian / New Michigan Media

Cindy Garcia methodically sorts and folds #TeamGarcia fundraiser T-shirts in her Lincoln Park living room. The TV is on, the dog is barking, and her granddaughter is trying to get her attention.

It’s a typical Saturday for Garcia, wife of Jorge Garcia, who was deported to Mexico on Jan. 15. That’s the day Jorge Garcia became a Michigan flesh-and-blood symbol of the Trump Administration’s decision to make every undocumented individual in the United States subject to immediate removal.

campus sign and building
Central Michigan University / Facebook

Classes at Central Michigan University resumed Monday for first time since a deadly shooting on campus.

James Davis, Jr. is accused of killing his parents in his dorm room on March 2, right before the start of CMU’s spring break. He’s being held in a county jail.

Michigan Radio’s “Morning Edition” host Doug Tribou spoke with CMU’s associate vice president for student services Tony Voisin about the first day back.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit

With real estate prices climbing steadily in some parts of Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan is putting out more details about his plan to guarantee some affordable housing remains in the city.

Duggan first laid out the plan in his state of the city address last week. 

kate wells / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Senate may vote this week on a package of bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. However, some groups are expressing concern that the legislation would retroactively extend the time victims would have to file lawsuits and remove an immunity defense for governmental agencies.

Former Detroit State Senator Bert Johnson.
Bert Johnson

Voters in one Michigan Senate district will have to wait until November to get a new state senator.

Michigan’s 2nd Senate District covers parts of Detroit and some small bordering communities, including Highland Park, Hamtramck, and the Grosse Pointes.

Bert Johnson has been the district’s state senator since 2010, but resigned earlier this month after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to commit theft charge. He put a “ghost employee” on his Senate payroll after borrowing money he couldn’t pay back.

Courtesy of Melissa Butler

Growing your own business means persisting past uncertainty and rejection: having a clear idea of what your product is about, and where you want to take your business.

Detroiter Melissa Butler is proof of that idea. She’s the founder and CEO of The Lip Bar. It is a non-toxic, cruelty-free and vegan line of lipsticks and lip-glosses.

Senator Gary Peters sits across a table from Stateside host Cynthia Canty.
Michigan Radio

The Trump administration has rolled out its plan to respond to violence and guns in our schools. It wants to provide firearms training to some teachers. But it has backed off on making major changes to gun legislation: For example, there’s nothing about raising the minimum age to buy guns from 18 to 21.

Following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz has admitted killing 17 people, President Trump said he was in favor of raising the minimum age but backed off after meeting with the National Rifle Association.