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Detroit’s bankruptcy exodus, religious freedom bill confusion, and a fragrant renewable energy bill

Dec 10, 2014

A bill pending in the Senate would count the burning of tires, used oil and other waste toward Michigan's renewable energy goals.
Credit Courtesy photo / Holland BPW

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss Detroit’s pending bankruptcy exit, confusion over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and a Senate bill that would count the burning of tires, used oil and other waste products as renewable energy.


Detroit bankruptcy exit

Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr yesterday submitted his letter of resignation, saying his job was done and the city’s financial crisis is over.

Gov. Rick Snyder agreed. A hearing scheduled for Monday will determine the city’s official bankruptcy exit date.

Lessenberry said even though Detroit’s financial crisis is coming to an end, another is on its way.

“Everybody knows Detroit doesn’t have enough jobs, doesn’t have enough money and needs revenue sources to stay solvent, let alone become prosperous,” he said.

Religious freedom restoration bill

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act cleared the state House last week, sparking controversy over the bill’s true intentions.

Though the bill is aimed at protecting religious beliefs, some say it’s actually a pass to discriminate against LGBT people.

Lessenberry said social media rumors about denying medical treatment to the LGBT community aren’t true, but the bill would make it okay for people to refuse some services to gays, unwed mothers or anyone else “they’re uncomfortable with.”  

“[The bill] will probably provide employment for a lot of lawyers,” Lessenberry said. “Because this will be dragged into the courts immediately.”

Renewable energy

Another pending bill would allow the burning of tires, used oil and industrial waste to count as renewable energy.

This would go towards the state’s goal of producing 10% of Michigan’s electricity from renewable energy by the end of 2015.

Lessenberry said the bill, which has already cleared the House, falls under the category of “stuff you can’t make up.”

“To a lot of folks, the idea of counting burning tires as renewable energy is like the days when they were talking about counting ketchup as a vegetable in school nutrition programs,” he said.

– Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom