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.

Pages

Law
7:23 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Business equipment tax repeal bills sail through state House

Jake Neher MPRN

A widely unpopular tax on business equipment in Michigan is one step closer to being permanently repealed.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say the industrial portion of Michigan’s Personal Property Tax (PPT) is a job killer and keeps companies from investing in new equipment.

Read more
Law
9:55 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

PTSD patients now able to get medical marijuana cards in Michigan

bobdoran Flickr

Michiganders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can now get a card to use medical marijuana.

The state’s director of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Steve Arwood, gave final approval to add PTSD to the state’s medical marijuana program about a week after it was recommended by a state review panel.

Read more
Law
4:13 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Lawmakers revive talks about scrap metal theft

mikethefifth Flickr

There’s a new push in Lansing to pass legislation meant to fight scrap metal theft in Michigan. Votes in the House and Senate could come as soon as this week.

Supporters of House Bills 4593 and 4595 say the state must require a paper trail whenever someone sells commonly stolen items to a scrap yard.

State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, says there has been disagreement over how best to do that. But she says she is confident lawmakers will reach a deal soon.

Read more
Law
6:03 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Michiganders buying insurance on their own cannot get abortion coverage

user cedarbenddrive Flickr

A controversial law banning elective abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans is now in effect. It requires people who want abortion coverage to buy it as a separate, optional insurance policy.

The initiated law was championed by Right to Life of Michigan and passed by the state Legislature late last year.

Since then, seven insurance companies have decided to offer separate, optional abortion policies, or “riders,” for employers to offer their workers. Those plans cost between a penny and 32 cents extra every month for each employee.

Read more
Law
5:19 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

State could soon pop the cap off microbreweries – or at least lift it

alvimann morguefile

Michigan craft breweries are cheering the state Legislature for passing bills to ease some state regulations.

The state House sent the bill package to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk Thursday.

One bill would double the amount of beer Michigan microbreweries could produce every year.  

Read more
Politics & Government
12:05 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Bill to pull the plug on telephone landlines clears Michigan Legislature

Critics of the bill worry it could leave people in some areas of the state without affordable and reliable phone service.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

It could soon be easier for phone companies to end traditional landline service in Michigan.

The state Senate gave final legislative approval to the measure Thursday. Senate Bill 636, which was championed by AT&T, now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Read more
Politics & Government
5:52 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Governor meets with legislative leaders to hammer out road fix, Medicaid deal

Jake Neher/ MPRN

State lawmakers are about to dive into the process of crafting a budget for next fiscal year. But they have to fix some problems with the current year’s budget first.

One of the biggest concerns is a hole in the state’s Medicaid budget of more than $100 million. Everyone agrees that shortfall needs to be addressed. But the state House and Senate have not been able to agree on how to fix it or where that money should come from.

Read more
Law
8:00 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Support for marijuana dispensaries, “edibles” bills seems to grow in state Senate

Supporters of the legislation say reviving and regulating dispensaries will ensure patients have safe and consistent access to treatment.
User Eljoja Flickr

The debate over reviving medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan starts up again in Lansing this week.

Read more
Law
5:25 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

State board says PTSD patients should be able to use medical marijuana

A state board says OK to medical marijuana for PTSD, but rejects it for bipolar disorder and insomnia.
User Eljoja Flickr

Dakota Serna served in the Marines during the Iraq War. He says memories of seeing friends and children killed left him suicidal after he came home. Serna says the only thing that has helped him get his life back on track is using marijuana.  

But that puts him on the wrong side of the law as it is currently written.

“Somebody on paper can say that I’m a criminal,” said Serna. “Somebody can come to my house and try to put me in handcuffs. But I’m not a criminal.”

Read more
Law
5:21 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

State Senate votes to ban e-cigarette sales to minors

Credit Lauri Rantala / Wikimedia Commons

It could soon be illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to children in Michigan. The state Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday meant to keep the smokeless devices out of the hands of minors.

So-called “e-cigarettes” deliver a nicotine-laced vapor, but don’t contain tobacco. That means the state cannot currently regulate them along with regular cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Read more
Education
6:10 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Year-round schooling incentives get House OK

The Highland Park school district is almost out of cash. The state is working on a solution to keep kids in school.
user alkruse24 Flickr

Lawmakers in the state House have approved a $2 million pilot program to encourage schools to go year-round.

Schools in mostly low-income areas could get money from the state to add air-conditioning and other things allowing them to operate in the summer. The measure was introduced by Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, and Gov. Rick Snyder called on lawmaker to pass it in his budget address last month.

Supporters say students lose too much of what they learn after long summer breaks.

Read more
Law
6:06 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Detroit mayor steps up pressure on scrap metal bills

There are competing bills to regulate scrap metal yards in Michigan.
loopkid Flickr

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan hopes to renew state lawmakers’ interest in curbing scrap metal theft across the state. Duggan met with Democrats and Republicans in the state House on Wednesday.  

He wants to make sure the House does not approve a Senate version of legislation that he says does not go far enough to crack down on illegal scrap metal sales.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:02 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Lawmakers look to iron out budget differences

user cedarbenddrive Flickr

The state House and Senate have not been able to agree on a mid-year budget bill.

The legislation could address emergency money for Michigan roads being torn apart by severe winter weather. But the House and Senate disagree about how much is needed to address the problem. They also don’t agree about whether to patch a $100 million-plus hole in the state’s Medicaid budget.

Lawmakers formed a conference committee Wednesday to iron out those differences.

Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Kahn says addressing the Medicaid shortfall should be a no-brainer.

Read more
Politics & Government
9:01 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Bills to save local governments from big cuts sail through state Senate

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

Legislation to repeal and replace a tax on business equipment has cleared the state Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bills seek to make sure local governments are not hit hard by a repeal of Michigan's Personal Property Tax (PPT).

The tax is widely unpopular. But cities, towns, and counties rely on it to provide basic services to residents such as police, fire, and snow plowing.

Read more
Politics & Government
5:31 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Snyder seeks overhaul of foster care and how the state pays for it

Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan helps announce the proposal Thursday in Royal Oak.
Jake Neher MPRN

Gov. Rick Snyder says the state could do a better job protecting foster children if it changed the way it paid for the service.

The governor unveiled a report Thursday that says the state should pay foster care agencies based on their performance. Right now, those agencies all get paid the same regardless of their track records or the needs of individual foster children.

Read more
Law
5:42 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Year-round schooling bill moves forward in Lansing

Legislation would help schools pay for year-round school.
User Motown31 Creative Commons

Legislation that would encourage schools in Michigan to go year-round has cleared a state House panel.

The bill would create a $2 million pilot program to help schools add air conditioning and other things that would allow them to operate in the summer. It would affect schools in mostly low-income areas of the state.

Read more
Politics & Government
5:40 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Potholes spur debate over road funding

Terrible roads have lawmakers asking for emergency money, and the governor renewing his call for long-term funding.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in the state House want to more than double the amount of emergency money for Michigan roads being ripped apart by nasty winter weather.

Last week, the state Senate approved $100 million to help fix potholes and plow roads. On Wednesday, a state House panel added another $115 million dollars for roads to the bill.  

“I think people are going to look at that and say that’s the way we’re giving back to the public – better roads as quickly as possible, a lot of it going to locals,” said Rep. Joe Haveman, R-Holland, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

Read more
Law
4:46 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Bills would make sure local government budgets don’t get slashed with tax repeal

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is championing the legislation as a ‘win-win’ for communities.
Jake Neher MPRN

Michigan lawmakers want to make sure local governments do not take a hit if voters decide to repeal an unpopular tax on business equipment.

State officials are urging voters to repeal the tax. They say it is outdated and kills jobs. But local governments depend on that tax to provide basic services to residents.

On Tuesday, lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation that would fully compensate cities, towns, and counties if the tax is phased out.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:38 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

State lawmakers look to patch Medicaid shortfall, say long-term solution critical

Michigan’s Medicaid program faces a budget shortfall this year of more than $100 million. That’s because a new tax on health insurance claims is not producing as much revenue as state officials expected.

This week, the state Senate passed a mid-year budget bill that would patch that hole in the Medicaid budget. That’s the same bill that includes $100 million dollars to help fix and maintain roads being torn apart by nasty winter weather.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:38 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Senate OKs $100 million for emergency road repairs and plowing

More money is likely coming from Lansing. But it's not clear how much, or how much it will help.
LisaW123 Flickr

The state Senate has approved a plan to fix and maintain roads being ripped apart by brutal winter weather. The Senate passed a mid-year budget bill Thursday that includes $100 million of emergency money for roads.

The state Department of Transportation and local governments have been constantly running snow plows, spreading salt, and patching potholes. That means they’re looking at huge winter budget overages.

Read more

Pages