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Governor Rick Snyder said today that he would veto a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act if it's sent to his desk by the Legislature. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the measure in Indiana that has been stirring controversy.

Snyder says he would not sign a Michigan RFRA unless it is coupled with legislation adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state's civil rights law.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

Indiana has been in the national spotlight this week after passing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Today, Gov. Rick Snyder said he will veto such a law if it comes to his desk without legislation that adds protections for LGBT people to Michigan's civil rights law.

man repairs front of wwii bomber
Flickr user England / Flickr

There's a lot of talk about supporting our military veterans as they come home and transition back to civilian life. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency is standing by to help vets in a variety of ways, from employment to benefits and resources to transition assistance.

MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

There hasn't been a whole lot for Wolverine fans to cheer about lately.

But, amidst all the buzz about Michigan State University and the Final Four, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says there's something for the Maize and Blue to be excited for.

"The spring game this year for the first time since 2000 is going to be an actual game," says Bacon.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s bus service will make it easier for people to get to the grocery store starting Friday.

Two supermarket chains closed stores in Flint last month. That left thousands of city residents without a nearby store to buy fresh food. 

“This devastates the community and we've got to take action,”says Charlene Kowalski with the Mass Transportation Authority. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two mid-Michigan mayors are trying to lure convention planners looking to move their events out of Indiana. 

The controversy over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration law has many groups rethinking their convention plans in the Hoosier state.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett have posted an open letter encouraging convention planners to look to mid-Michigan.

A number of people have been outraged that I haven’t denounced the Constitutional amendment that would raise the sales tax, largely to fix the roads.

Well, in a less imperfect world, this is indeed not how legislation should be made.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Gov. Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder says he would veto a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act if the Legislature sends it to him.

The governor, who’s previously expressed skepticism about the legislation, went further than he ever has before, and told The Detroit Free Press he’s willing to reject the legislation if there are no accompanying protections for LGBT protections added to the state’s civil rights law.

Brian Wybenga

Back in December, there was a toxic spill in Detroit.

In my kitchen.

It was a Sunday morning. My kids were watching a cartoon. I was reading the paper. And my husband, who does some small-time antiques dealing in his spare time, was monkeying around with one of his treasures in the kitchen.

Urine Collection Event
Hayley Hershman

It looked like an April Fools' Day joke.

A pair of Porta-potties set up near a busy campus bus stop, student and faculty volunteers in T-shirts with "Pee Maize 4 Blue" written on the back, and a #peecycler Twitter campaign.

Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has announced a new program to grow neighborhood businesses and match them with the right physical space.

The program is called Motor City Match.

"There is tremendous interest among entrepreneurs who want to open or grow their businesses in the city of Detroit," said Duggan. "The Motor City Match program is designed to expand the growth we are seeing downtown, Midtown, and Corktown to key neighborhood corridors across our city." 

By Jim Conrad [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has put the northern long-eared bat on the “threatened” species list. The agency stopped short of saying the species is in danger of being wiped out by white-nose bat syndrome. The fungus has already killed millions of bats across the country.

FLICKR USER SENATOR STABENOW / FLICKR

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is announcing legislation aimed to support those with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s known as the “HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act.”

“This is a very important piece of what needs to be done, because it focuses on encouraging doctors to diagnose early and to do caregiver planning,” Stabenow said.

user redjar / Flickr

Transportation Security Administration officers rallied at Detroit Metro Airport on Wednesday afternoon, demanding more armed personnel at airports across the country.

Alan Jackimowicz is American Federation of Government Employees Council 100 Executive Vice President. He represents 46,000 TSA screeners in the U.S. He suggests Congress cut spending overseas to pay for improved domestic airport security.

FLICKR USER DREAD PIRATE JEFF / FLICKR

As part of our “Learning to Teach” series this week, we’ve been talking about teacher effectiveness.

Paramount to that effectiveness are teacher evaluations.

“There’s nothing more powerful to move the needle in student learning gains than great teaching,” said John Austin, president of the State Board of Education.

Austin says evaluations must be improved on all levels of a teacher’s career. That includes supporting new teachers in their learning, professional development, and creating rewarding teacher career paths, so that teachers advancing in their careers don’t solely end up  in administration and out of the classrooms.

Erna Roberts has had a full life. As a survivor of the WWII Nazi takeover of her homeland, Latvia, as well as two separate Russian occupations, still living on her own at the age of 97 is the least of her feats.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University officials hope to discourage “destructive” celebrations during next week’s final four basketball games.

Ten people were arrested Sunday after the MSU Spartans won their quarterfinal game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Jason Cody is an MSU spokesman. He bristles at the suggestion post big game rowdiness is a school tradition. 

He says the university is pushing a message to get more students to celebrate responsibly.

We asked all 148 Michigan lawmakers the following questions:

"Do you have K-12 school-aged children?"

"If so, what type of school do they attend?"

"What type of K-12 school did you attend?"

See our infographic below.

The chambers inside Michigan's Capitol.
user CedarBendDrive, ae1106, and Lester Graham / Flickr/Michigan Radio

Jeff Salisbury asked us this question as part of our M I Curious news experiment. It's where you ask a question, questions are put to a vote, and we investigate the question with the most votes. 

Two days ago a group calling itself the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren presented its recommendations for how to fix the Detroit Public Schools.

They had some good ideas, such as creating a citywide data system so parents can better compare schools to find the best options for their children. 

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

This Week in Michigan PoliticsEmily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss the likelihood of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act being passed and signed into law in Michigan, and if the state will take over some of the hundreds-of-millions of dollars in debt from the Detroit Public Schools. 


Porta potties in a lovely setting.
E. Dronkert / Flickr

Researchers have set up two Porta potties by a bus stop on the University of Michigan's central campus today. They're hoping to gather enough urine to research whether disinfected human urine can be safely recycled to fertilize food crops.

In a press release, the University of Michigan said they're working with four other institutions in this "first of its kind" research project.

Why recycle pee? Good question.

RegBarc / Wikimedia Commons

The American Lung Association is not happy with state health insurance plans.

Jim Harrington with the Lung Association says in Michigan, many plans aren't covering the drugs or therapy needed to help people quit. 

David Bazemore

Ira Glass, host of This American Life, is bringing his multimedia show, "Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host " to the Wharton Center on the Michigan State University campus.

EMU president will step down this summer

Mar 31, 2015
Susan Martin, EMU president.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin announced today she'll step down as president in July.

Martin will take a one-year sabbatical before returning to EMU as a tenured professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance in the College of Business.

Daniel Lobo / Creative Commons

Nearly 100 workers at seven Michigan hotels will share $50,000 in back pay. The consent judgment was announced today.

Housekeepers and maintenance workers at the hotels in Grand Rapids and Monroe were paid less than minimum wage in some cases, didn’t get overtime pay, or were not paid fully for work they did before and after their shifts ended.

A gay couple marries in Michigan.
Emily Fox

We've said it before, and then we said it again.

There's no Michigan or federal law that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people from discrimination.

Michigan's civil rights law protects you from discrimination based on your religion, race, color, national origin, age, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.

(courtesy of KQED)

In our informal survey, 61% of teachers indicated that better pay is the best way to retain teachers. As part of our "Learning to Teach" week at Michigan Radio, Joshua Cowen, an associate professor at the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, discusses teacher pay in the state.

flickr/David Allen

Frogs really sing in earnest after dark.

They drink and breathe through their skin without a filter and are very sensitive to environmental changes. Scientists can determine the health of an area by measuring how much the frog and toad population is increasing or decreasing – sort of like a canary in a coal mine. How does Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources count the number of frogs and toads across the state?

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

DETROIT – The federal government has ended 10 years of management of Detroit's public housing system and restored it to local control.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says in a statement Tuesday that the change is effective March 16. U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro says the update "represents an important milestone in Detroit's road to recovery."

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