Jake Neher

MPRN Capitol Reporter

Jake Neher is a state Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. 

He joined MPRN in September of 2012. Before that he served as a reporter and anchor for WFUV Public Radio in the Bronx, New York, and as News Director for KBRW Public Radio in Barrow, Alaska. He has been working in radio in some capacity since he was 15 years old.

A native of southeast Michigan, Jake graduated from Central Michigan University in 2010. He has a master's degree in public communications from Fordham University.

Ways to Connect

Amit Gupta / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

One Republican state senator wants some criminal convictions to be automatically scrubbed from public records.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says he plans to introduce the legislation soon after lawmakers return from their three-week break for deer hunting and Thanksgiving.

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich brought his presidential campaign to southeast Michigan on Monday.

The Republican presidential hopeful toured a business incubator in Sterling Heights and spoke with a handful of supporters. He took some jabs at Donald Trump’s policy positions while speaking with reporters.

KeterMagick / morgueFile

Updated at 10:33 am

A Democratic state Senator hopes to repeal Michigan’s “stand-your-ground” law.

Under that law, a person can use deadly force against someone else with no requirement to retreat. That’s as long as the person isn’t engaged in a crime, is somewhere they’re legally allowed to be, and feels deadly force is the only way to defend themselves.

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

Activists have delivered thousands of signatures to Gov. Rick Snyder urging him to welcome more Syrian refugees. Snyder says he’s “pausing” his efforts to attract additional Syrian refugees to Michigan after last week’s attacks in Paris.

Julie Quiroz of Ann Arbor started an online petition asking the governor to reconsider. She says she didn’t expect it to get so much attention.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Some local school officials in Michigan would be OK with tapping the state’s School Aid Fund to help Detroit Public Schools pay down debt. That’s if they get some assurances.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal would tap the state’s School Aid Fund to pay for the measure. School leaders outside Detroit have balked at that idea – saying the plan shouldn’t come at the expense of every other Michigan student.

flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Local education officials say it shouldn’t be up to them to decide whether to allow guns in schools.

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder told WJIM host Steve Gruber that he could support legislation to allow concealed weapons in schools if it left the decision up to local districts. He says he’d veto bills currently being debated in the state Legislature because they don’t give local schools a choice.

flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Gov. Rick Snyder would veto legislation allowing concealed weapons in schools if it doesn’t give districts a choice.

Bills sitting on the state Senate floor would allow people to carry concealed weapons in gun-free zones. But Senate Bills 442 and 561 would also ban them from openly carrying in those areas, which is currently allowed in schools.

Snyder vetoed similar legislation in 2012.

"I vetoed it once. I’d veto it again,” the governor told WJIM Radio host Steve Gruber on Friday.


Democrats in the state Legislature want to establish water as a “human right” under state law. It’s part of a package of bills meant to address tap water contamination and mass water shutoffs in cities like Flint and Detroit.

“What we’re seeing is a complete disregard for human life, human safety, and the future of our children,” said Melissa Mays, a Flint resident who says her entire family has health problems because of contaminated water.

Jake Neher / MPRN

State lawmakers are taking a three-week break for deer hunting and Thanksgiving.


And they’ll have a lot of work waiting for them when they return to Lansing.

Lars Plougmann

Michigan would end straight-ticket voting under a bill that cleared the state Senate on Tuesday.

Voters would no longer be able to fill in one dot to vote for all candidates representing one political party on a ballot.

Tulane Public Relations / Creative Commons

Michigan school districts will implement new science standards over the next seven years.

The State Board of Education overwhelmingly adopted the new standards on Tuesday.

(courtesy of KQED)

Schools districts across Michigan will have to adhere to new standards for evaluating teachers and administrators. Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill on Thursday meant to improve teacher evaluation practices across the state.

Supporters of Senate Bill 103 say it will make sure bad teachers are held accountable. But they say it will also protect good teachers.

Jake Neher / MPRN

State lawmakers say they can now focus on some major policy proposals now that they’ve sent a road funding plan to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

The Legislature is already diving into an overhaul of Michigan’s energy policies.

Michigan roads
user nirbhao / Flickr

After years of gridlock, state lawmakers have sent Governor Rick Snyder legislation to boost road funding.

 The legislation would increase the state’s gas tax by seven cents a gallon and boost vehicle registration fees by twenty percent starting in 2017. It raises taxes by 600 million dollars starting in 2017. It also eventually shifts 600 million dollars from other areas of the state budget. 

Repair trucks on a Michigan road.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

A $1.2 billion road funding plan has cleared the state Senate.

The new "compromise" plan takes $600 million from existing revenues to the state's General Fund, $400 million from a seven-cent-per-gallon increase in the state's gas tax, and $200 million from an increase in vehicle registration fees.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Top lawmakers hope to reach a compromise this week on road funding bills.

The state House recently approved a $1.2 billion plan that in equal parts raises taxes and shifts money from other areas of the budget.

Lawmakers are not happy about the time it took for state education officials to release the latest round of standardized test results.

Students struggled in all grades and subjects on the new M-STEP test which replaced the MEAP.

That was expected. But lawmakers didn’t expect it to take six months to get that data.

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

A new State Police crime lab policy allows prosecutors to charge cannabis users with felonies they didn’t commit. That’s according to medical marijuana activists, who uncovered the policy through a public information request and provided the documents to the Michigan Public Radio Network.

KellyP42 / morgueFile

The stalemate over road funding continues in the Michigan Legislature.

The state Senate was expected to pass a road funding plan on Tuesday that had already been approved by the state House. But it adjourned after about eight hours of talks without a vote.

Alberto G. / Creative Commons

Michigan students struggled with the state’s new standardized test.

The Michigan Department of Education on Tuesday released the first results from Michigan’s new M-STEP test which replaced the MEAP.

Graham Holliday / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Gov. Rick Snyder says the state government faces 2.5 million cyber-attacks every day.

Snyder spoke at the opening of an international cyber security summit in Detroit on Monday.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Senate could vote Tuesday on a proposal to boost road funding.

Ahead of that vote, Gov. Rick Snyder appears to be warming to the plan which would make big cuts to the state budget.

Thetoad / Flickr

  Republican leaders in the state Senate say they’re willing to consider a road funding plan approved late Wednesday night by the state House.

That $1 billion plan eventually raises taxes and fees by $600 million. It also makes $600 million in unspecified cuts to other parts of the budget. And the legislation includes a possible rollback in Michigan’s income tax rate.

Civil asset forfeiture grants state and federal agents the ability to seize any property they think could be connected to criminal activity.
user GPDII / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Legislature has given its OK to create an alert system for people suspected of killing or injuring on-duty police officers.

The “blue alert” system would be similar to amber alert systems for missing children. It would use media broadcasts and highway signs to send out information on suspects who are at-large and considered a public threat.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Gov. Rick Snyder wants the Legislature to adopt an expensive, controversial plan to overhaul Detroit’s schools by the end of the year.

Snyder outlined his plan in Detroit on Monday. The goal is to rescue Detroit Public Schools from crushing debt and dismal academic results.

Supporters of overhauling Michigan’s parole system are pushing back against Attorney General Bill Schuette’s claims about the bill.

Schuette says House Bill 4138 would compromise public safety by allowing violent criminals to be released from prison early.

School student in Japan reading a book outside
Mehan / Creative Commons

The state House has approved a controversial bill meant to improve young students’ reading skills.

The goal is to increase early intervention for kids who struggle with reading before fourth grade. But the bill would also eventually require schools to hold back some third graders who aren’t proficient – even if those students are making significant progress.

Researchers at Virginia Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to quickly sign a bill containing almost $10 million to help Flint resolve its water crisis.

The bill moved swiftly through the state Legislature – winning unanimous support in both the state House and Senate.

State Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, is the top Democrat in the state Senate and has championed efforts to have the state contribute financially toward the problem. He says it was critical for lawmakers to act quickly on the funding.

In the classroom.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Michigan education officials are moving ahead with plans to improve teacher evaluations statewide.

That’s as the state House nears a possible vote this week to overhaul the way districts assess teachers and administrators.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston says his department can’t wait around while lawmakers debate the bill.

photo by Vincent Duffy

A progressive group is crying foul over the price tag a state agency requested for processing a public information request it submitted.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Treasury sent an email to officials in his department and the governor’s office that said the department considered denying the request because it was too broad. But he said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette advised it to use “the fee approach.”