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
5:21 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Anti-abortion proposal will go to state lawmakers

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

A proposal that would put new restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions is headed to the state Legislature.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Monday moved forward a proposal that would ban abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Women would only be able to purchase abortion coverage as a separate rider.

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Politics & Government
6:30 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Abortion, issue ads, Medicaid expansion could see legislative action in December

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It could be a busy December for state lawmakers after they return from their Thanksgiving break.

Here are some of the issues that could come up for debate before the end of the year.

Paying for the Medicaid expansion delay – In a procedural vote earlier this year, state lawmakers delayed by about two months the implementation of Michigan’s Medicaid expansion law. In doing so, they created a hole in the budget of more than $70 million.

Legislative leaders say passing a bill to fill that hole is one of their top priorities in the coming weeks.

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Economy
10:24 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Warren Buffett in Michigan: Praises Detroit, announces investment in local businesses

Warren Buffett says Detroit has a “huge potential” for economic growth.
Jake Neher/ MPRN

Warren Buffett was in Michigan Tuesday to help launch a program that will invest $20 million in small businesses in and around Detroit.

Buffett is an advisor to Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, which is committing $15 million of capital to support small businesses in and around the city. Another $5 million will go to business training for Detroit entrepreneurs.

Despite Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing, Buffett says the city has a “huge potential” for economic growth.

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Politics & Government
6:25 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Medical marijuana is top priority for House panel in December

Voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2008.
USFWS

Medical marijuana could be a hot topic in the state Legislature before the end of the year.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant) says his top priority next month is to take up three medical marijuana-related bills.

The first, House Bill 4271, would revive medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan after recent court rulings effectively stopped the facilities from operating in the state.

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Politics & Government
8:55 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Company run by budget director’s brother outbid for $5 million state grant

Michigan Dept. of Management and Budget Director John Nixon

The state will not award a $5 million grant to a firm run by the brother of Michigan’s top budget official. 

It was revealed this week that the company iSchool Campus had lobbied lawmakers to add the school technology grant to the state budget. Michigan Budget Director John Nixon’s brother is the company’s CEO.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced Friday the grant will instead go to the Genesee Intermediate School District.

The department says the decision had nothing to do with concerns over a possible conflict of interest.

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Law
5:47 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Muslims in Michigan prisons will get halal meals under settlement with state

Sandy Austin Flickr

Thousands of Muslim inmates in Michigan will have access to meals that comply with their religious beliefs. That’s under a court-approved settlement announced Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

The settlement also requires the state to let prisoners celebrate religious holidays with group meals, and stop punishing them for attending religious services instead of scheduled work duties.

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Politics & Government
8:12 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Will Gov. Snyder call for more renewable energy?

Morgue File

A year after calling for more research into the state’s energy policies, Governor Rick Snyder is expected to give an address next month on his new energy priorities.

Snyder’s administration recently released a report that said the state is well positioned to increase renewable energy production. It says Michigan is capable of producing up to 30% of its energy using renewables by 2035.

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Politics & Government
10:18 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Schauer: Raising minimum wage would be a top priority if elected governor

www.markschauer.com

The likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2014 says raising Michigan’s minimum wage would be one of his top priorities in office, if elected.

Former Congressman Mark Schauer wants to increase the minimum wage to $9.25/hour. Right now, it’s $7.40/hour.

Schauer’s plan would be phased in over three years, and would also allow the minimum wage to increase automatically with inflation.

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Politics & Government
8:26 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

MDP chair talks Court of Claims, governor's race, and 'issue ad' transparancy

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

The chair of the Michigan Democratic Party maintains a recent overhaul of the state’s Court of Claims amounts to “court rigging” by the GOP. That’s despite the fact that an equal number of Republican and Democratic judicial appointments were recently made to the court.

MDP Chair Lon Johnson appeared this weekend on the Michigan Public Television program "Off the Record."

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Business
8:49 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Plan to expand craft brewing in Michigan clears state House

Idandersen Morgue File

Michigan microbreweries would be able to produce twice as much beer every year under legislation that cleared the state House Thursday. The bills would also allow more brew pubs and tasting rooms.

State Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant) sponsored one of the bills. He says current limits on brewers are “arbitrary” and out-of-date.

“I think we can all really be proud of the microbrewery industry we have in Michigan,” said Cotter. “And this will allow them to continue to grow, get the government out of the way.”

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Law
8:44 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

State lawmakers look to crack down on urban blight

AcrylicArtist Morgue File

Many property owners who break anti-blight laws would face tougher penalties under bills approved Thursday in the state House. Under the legislation, the worst offenders could spend up to a year behind bars.

State Rep. Amanda Price (R-Park Township) says a number of Michigan cities have good anti-blight laws on the books. But she says the consequences for breaking those laws aren’t tough enough to deter people.         

“So it puts the teeth into what those cities are trying to do in eliminating blight,” said Price.

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Law
7:00 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Lawmakers begin review of alleged right to work violations

Lawmakers in Lansing may have to cut revenue sharing with local governments to fill the $1.8 billion budget hole.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Republican state lawmakers say they want to get to the bottom of alleged violations of Michigan’s new right to work law.

A newly-formed state Senate committee Wednesday heard testimony from three teachers who are part of a lawsuit against the Michigan Education Association (MEA). They say the union bullied and threatened them when they tried to leave.

Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) chairs the Senate Compliance and Accountability Committee. He says the MEA also failed to alert teachers about how and when they could leave the union.

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Law
5:48 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Plan to sell medical marijuana at pharmacies clears state Senate

Credit USFWS

Pharmacies would be able to sell medical marijuana in Michigan under a measure approved by the state Senate today. But there’s no guarantee that will happen – even if it’s signed into law.

The legislation would only be implemented if the federal government decides to regulate marijuana as a prescription drug. And there’s no clear indication that’s in the cards.

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Politics & Government
10:52 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

State House panel OKs bill making public info requests easier, cheaper

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

State lawmakers are moving forward with a bill they hope would make public information requests easier and cheaper.

A state House panel unanimously approved House Bill 4001 Tuesday. It would put limits on how much government offices could charge for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The measure would also increase penalties for public agencies that don’t respond to requests in a timely manner.

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Sports
10:47 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Hoping to kill a wolf during the upcoming hunt? Your chances are not good

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People planning to take part in Michigan’s historic wolf hunt this year are likely to come home empty-handed.

State wildlife officials say they designed the hunt expecting only around 4% of hunters to kill a wolf.

“If we had any other game species, or deer hunting, or rabbit hunting, or squirrel hunting where you’d have 4% success rates, the hunters would be quite upset with us,” said Brian Roell, a wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“So I think some folks are probably overestimating their ability to harvest a wolf.”

Environment & Science
9:39 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Michigan DNR officials counter claims that bad info led to wolf hunt

A Gray Wolf
metassus / Flickr

Michigan wildlife officials are dismissing claims that bad information led to the state’s upcoming wolf hunt.

Opponents of the hunt are asking Governor Rick Snyder to suspend it based on a recent MLive report.   It raised questions about a number of alleged wolf encounters with humans, pets, and livestock in the U.P.

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Law
5:51 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Bridge card ban at liquor store, casino, strip club ATMs moves ahead

Indiana Public Media Flickr

Michigan is one step closer to banning bridge card holders from using ATMs inside liquor stores, casinos, and strip clubs.

The state House passed the legislation Thursday with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“The use of the bridge card should be used as it is for the intent originally, making sure that families and children can have food on their table and providing for the necessities of life,” said bill sponsor Rep. Dale Zorn (R-Ida).

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Politics & Government
3:06 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

New law means tax break for people who trade in vehicles

Thomas Hawk Flickr

Starting next month, Michiganders who trade in old cars, boats, and RVs for new ones will get a tax cut. Gov. Rick Snyder signed bills today that would deduct the trade-in value of old vehicles from the taxable value of the new ones. Right now, people have to pay sales tax on the full price of the vehicle they’re buying. That’s regardless of whether they’re trading in an old one.

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Politics & Government
6:38 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Early childhood advocates say recent state investment in preschool not enough

Capital Area Community Services, Inc. has added over 275 children to its preschool program this year because of the state’s $65 million expansion of Great Start.
Jake Neher MPRN

Advocates for early childhood education say recent policy changes in Lansing are undermining the state’s attempts to help Michigan kids.

This year’s state budget increases spending on preschool for low-income families by $65 million a year. But advocates say that alone does not guarantee better results for children.

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Education
9:00 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Should state flunk 3rd graders who can't read?

The Real Estreya Flickr

A state House panel could vote this week on a bill that would require schools to hold back 3rd graders who do not pass a state reading test.

Supporters of House Bill 5111 cite what’s known as “social promotion” – or allowing students to move to the next grade regardless of whether they have learned all the necessary material. They say students learn to read from grades one-through-three. After that, they’re reading to learn.  

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