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.

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Politics & Government
10:29 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Michigan leaders still weighing expansion of Medicaid

Governor Snyder signed a law aimed at protecting doctor's if they say "I'm sorry" after a failed medical procedure.
user the consumerist Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder says he hasn’t decided yet whether he wants the state to expand Medicaid eligibility.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, the state has to decide whether to let more people qualify for Medicaid. If it does, the federal government will pay the costs of an expansion for the first three years.

Gov. Snyder says he still needs to get a clear idea of what that would mean for the state.

“I want to make sure we have access and high quality care if we’re to look into something like that, and say, ‘What’s the net cost to all of us?’”

Snyder also says he wants to make sure health care providers can accommodate adding hundreds of thousands of people to the program.

“The key issue on the Medicaid expansion that I want to do some research on, among others, is do we have enough capacity to put essentially 400,000 more people into a medical home model with a primary care environment, as opposed to having them simply go to an ER?”

Snyder also says he wants to make sure health care providers can accommodate adding hundreds of thousands of people to the program.

A possible expansion of Medicaid in Michigan will be a key part of Governor Rick Snyder’s budget address to state lawmakers next week.

A bill in the Senate would *prohibit* the state from expanding Medicaid. Supporters of the bill say it doesn’t make financial sense. They say there are better options for expanding coverage.

Politics & Government
4:25 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Gov. Snyder says low water levels in Great Lakes require emergency action

NOAA

Governor Rick Snyder says emergency actions are necessary to address low water levels in the Great Lakes.

The lakes are at their lowest levels in decades.

Snyder says that could be a big threat to Michigan’s harbors.

“There’s going to be a need to do some, what I would describe as emergency dredging, to make sure we keep it open for commerce, for tourism, for many other issues. And that’s something we need to be discussing,” Snyder said.

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Politics & Government
4:32 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Advocates urge state panel to allow medical pot for PTSD

Neeta Lind Flickr

Dozens of people showed up in Lansing Friday to urge the state to allow medical marijuana use for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The state Bureau of Health Care Services held a meeting to collect public comment on adding PTSD to a list of allowable conditions.        

Marte Hughson is a former emergency room nurse. She said she’s been using marijuana medicinally since she was forced to leave her job and move from her home in Flint.

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Politics & Government
3:58 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

State Senate passes firearms dealer bill

user Joshuashearn wikimedia commons

The first bill passed this year by the Michigan Senate would change the state’s definition of a “federally-licensed firearms dealer”.

Supporters of the measure say it’s just a technical fix to make state law consistent with federal regulations.

The bill passed easily Thursday with bi-partisan support. But a handful of Democrats voted against it.

State Senator Rebekah Warren said it’s a way to exempt more gun dealers from state regulations.

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Politics & Government
2:14 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

State Senate panel sends three gun bills to full chamber

Gun rights supporters gathered at the Capitol last weekend.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A state Senate panel has sent three gun-related bills to the Senate floor.

One bill would exempt guns made, sold, and kept in Michigan from federal regulations. It’s a reaction to recent gun control proposals from the Obama Administration.

Democratic state Senator Steve Bieda voted against the bill. He said it worries him that even some supporters of the measure admit it might not be constitutional.

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Politics & Government
12:26 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Body that manages state’s catastrophic claims fund fighting against court ruling

Lawmakers are getting ready to consider changes to the state’s no-fault auto insurance law.

At the same time a court battle over a fund that reimburses auto insurance companies for large claims continues.

When you file a personal injury claim in Michigan of more than a half-million dollars, your auto insurance company gets reimbursed by a state-created fund. It’s basically an insurance policy for insurers.

The fund that pays those reimbursements is facing a lawsuit that says it should provide more information about how it comes up with an annual fee that ultimately gets passed on to drivers. It’s appealing a circuit court decision saying that information is subject to public information requests.

Pete Kuhnmuench is with the Insurance Institute of Michigan, which supports the appeal.

“Literally 90 percent of what was required to be disclosed under the judge’s recent ruling is already out there for public consumption,” Kuhnmuench said.

Plaintiffs in the case say lawmakers need a complete picture as they weigh proposals to change the state’s no-fault law.

Politics & Government
7:49 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

New gun legislation in Lansing would exempt information from FOIA requests

JMR Photography Flickr

A bill in Lansing would exempt some information about gun owners and their firearms from Freedom of Information Act requests.

Among other things, the measure would exempt information from pistol license applications and from a database that tracks pistol histories.         

The legislation is a reaction to a New York state newspaper that recently published information about registered gun owners in the area. Many gun owners were outraged by the move, saying it opened them to harassment.         

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Politics & Government
6:38 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Bill seeks to make state Legislature part-time

Michigan Municipal League flickr

Michigan’s legislature would only serve part-time under a measure in the state Senate.

Starting in 2015, lawmakers would only meet in regular session up to 90 days a year. They could have special sessions to address emergencies.

Republican state Senator John Proos is sponsoring the legislation. He said it would force state lawmakers to work more efficiently.

“Ultimately it saves taxpayers money and decreases the overall size of government. I think that those are good, laudable efforts as we try to reform state government,” Proos said.

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Politics & Government
4:29 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Group gets green light to seek repeal of wolf hunt law from state board

www.isleroyalewolf.org

An animal welfare group has the green light to start collecting signatures in its attempt to stop a new law opening Michigan to a wolf hunt.

On Thursday, a state board approved petitions drafted by the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

Michael Hodge is their attorney. He said there is no evidence that wolves are a problem in the Upper Peninsula.

“So it’s a hunting season for trophy hunters who want to kill an animal that just basically reappeared in the state of Michigan in recent years,” said Hodge.

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Politics & Government
3:45 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Michigan Democrats give “Real State of the State” speech

State House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (Auburn Hills) gives what Michigan Democrats call the "Real State of the State."
michigandems.com

A day before Governor Rick Snyder gives his third State of the State address, state Democrats voiced a laundry list of criticisms of Snyder and Republican lawmakers.

State House Minority Leader Tim Greimel talked on Tuesday about what he calls the “Real State of the State”.

He said Michigan Republicans have given corporations too many breaks at the expense of middle-class families.

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Politics & Government
12:09 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Stabenow urges Michigan agri-business leaders to push Congress on new farm bill

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Senator Debbie Stabenow is asking Michigan leaders in agriculture to push Congress to pass a new farm bill.

Stabenow spoke to the Michigan Agri-Business Association at its annual conference in Lansing Tuesday.

Stabenow chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. She vowed not to compromise on policies important to Michigan farmers as lawmakers write a new bill.

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Politics & Government
5:10 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Governor Snyder questions ad tying Pure Michigan brand to right-to-work

www.michigan.org

Governor Rick Snyder says he would not have tied the Pure Michigan brand so closely with the state’s controversial right-to-work law in a recent ad.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has been taking criticism for the ad, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

It promotes right-to-work alongside a logo for the state’s popular tourism campaign.

Governor Snyder said he thinks the message was too specific, and possibly divisive.

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Politics & Government
12:23 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Attention in Lansing turns to road funding as State of the State approaches

Peter Ito flickr

Governor Rick Snyder says he’ll outline a new plan to fund road improvements during his State of the State address on Wednesday.

The plan could include higher vehicle registration fees to pay for road projects and maintenance.        

Advocates for more state road funding say spending has not kept up with costs. State lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said Michigan’s road system needs more help. But they have not been able to agree on ways to pay for maintenance and improvements.         

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Politics & Government
5:23 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

First state bills of 2013 aim to end “lame duck” sessions and cut FOIA filing costs

Ifmuth Flickr

One day into their new session, state lawmakers already have an influx of bills to consider.

One resolution in the state Senate seeks to effectively end so-called “lame duck” sessions. On even-numbered years, Lawmakers would be barred from holding regular sessions between November elections and the end of the year.  

Democratic state Senator Glenn Anderson said lawmakers would only be able to act if there’s an emergency.

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Politics & Government
5:05 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Rep. Jase Bolger re-elected House speaker on first day of legislative session

Republican Jase Bolger was re-elected to his post as speaker of the House.
gophouse.com

State legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle say they hope to put partisan wrangling aside in 2013.

State lawmakers began their new session Wednesday.     

All but two Democrats voted to re-elect Republican state Representative Jase Bolger speaker of the House. Traditionally, the speaker receives bi-partisan, unanimous votes during opening ceremonies.

Democratic House leader Tim Greimel followed another tradition by seconding Bolger’s nomination for the position.

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Politics & Government
3:36 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Union members protest in Lansing on first day of new legislative session

Union members demonstrate outside the state Capitol on the first day of the 2013-14 legislative session Wednesday.
Jake Neher MPRN

More than 200 people showed up at the state Capitol Wednesday to protest on the first day of the new legislative session.

The union-backed group criticized state lawmakers for making Michigan a “right-to-work” state, and quickly passing a number of other contentious bills during their “lame duck” session.     

Kim Dennison is a unionized nurse in Lansing.

“It’s important that legislators know that we did recognize what they did in December as a wrong move, and that we haven’t gone away, and that we expect better from them in the coming year,” Dennison said.

Calling their protest a “walk of shame,” demonstrators lined walkways leading to entrances to the Capitol. They booed Republicans and cheered Democrats as they entered the building.

The protests were organized by the same group behind the “right to work” protests last month that drew thousands of people.

Education
5:30 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

National advocacy group ranks Michigan 6th in nation for education policy

Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

A national education advocacy group ranks Michigan sixth in the country for education policy.

The group Students First says the state gets high marks for bills passed in recent years by the Republican-led state Legislature.     

They include measures making it tougher for teachers to be tenured, and teacher evaluations that depend more on student achievement.     

But Andy Solon with Students First said the state can do better in some areas.

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Politics & Government
1:26 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Bear cub petting zoo bill will come up again in 2013

beingmyself flickr

Bills to ease restrictions on owning and breeding large carnivores in Michigan are likely to come up again in 2013.

Governor Rick Snyder recently vetoed the legislation because of language he said would compromise public safety.       

Republican state Senator Joe Hune said the measure has attracted unfair criticism. He said many opponents cite an incident in Ohio a year ago, when a man deliberately freed a number of dangerous exotic animals he owned.

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Politics & Government
5:22 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Lt. Governor signs dozens of bills: Dead bodies, conservation corps, medical pot

Brian Calley Facebook.com

It will soon be illegal in Michigan to discover a dead body and not report it.

It’s one of more than 50 bills signed this week by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

Failing to report a corpse will be a misdemeanor, which can come with up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. It will be a felony to fail to report the body if the intention is to hide the death or its cause.

Republican state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker sponsored the bill.

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Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

State’s top budget official praises Congress for averting fiscal cliff

State Budget Director John Nixon

Michigan’s top budget official is praising Congress for averting the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

Budget Director John Nixon said sweeping tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts could have seriously hurt the state’s finances.

“The good news is that I think as far as the whole economy is concerned, what they did yesterday was big for the state of Michigan,” said Nixon.

Nixon said he was most worried going over “the cliff” would have led to another recession.

That could have affected the state’s ability to pay for many basic programs and projects.

State officials say they’re keeping close watch on upcoming negotiations in Washington. They could include proposed cuts to state-administered programs like Medicaid and food stamps.

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