Politics & Government
9:02 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Lessenberry talks child well-being, renewable energy in Michigan and looks ahead to 2014 politics

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the state of child well-being in Michigan, and look ahead to Governor Rick Snyder's energy plan he'll announce Thursday. They also take a look at legislation likely to be taken up in early 2014.

The state of child well-being in Michigan

Yesterday, the Michigan League for Public Policy released its annual Kids Count report.

The report looks at the well-being of kids in Michigan.

The report shows more kids are living in poverty now compared to 2005, and more kids are living in homes where there's abuse or neglect.

Some positive findings show fewer children are in foster care, fewer Michigan teens are giving birth, and fewer babies are dying in this state, too.

Lessenberry says lawmakers need to decide if children in poverty are a priority, especially considering recent cuts to food and cash assistance.

“We really need to do something about our future because these kids are our future,” Lessenberry says.

Snyder to address energy plan

Governor Rick Snyder is likely to deliver an outline for an energy plan for Michigan tomorrow.

Lessenberry says Snyder is likely to talk about renewable energy. Michigan is on track to meet a goal of getting 10% of the state’s electricity from renewable resources by 2015.

Governor Snyder could call for higher goals for renewable energy in the state, but Lessenberry says that’s not likely.

Lessenberry adds that the big thing that could get in the way to meeting Michigan’s renewable energy goals is money.

“The big energy companies want to have these goals in theory, but they don’t want to give up their coal-fired plants and they don’t want angry consumers who have to pay a lot more for some sources of energy,” he says.

Legislature likely to discuss EAA and roads in 2014

The state Legislature is on its winter recess and will return January 8.

Lessenberry says one of the big issues lawmakers will most likely discuss in the New Year is a possible expansion of the Education Achievement Authority. That is the state-run school district that was created to help struggling schools. The legislature is also likely to discuss road funding.