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Thu April 5, 2012
In this morning's Michigan news headlines...
Detroit approves consent agreement with the state
As Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported, the 5-4 vote in favor of a consent agreement with the state "came after an emotionally-charged debate that sometimes erupted into hostility."
The agreement, which the Governor is expected to sign sometime today, sets up a nine-member financial advisory board that would have oversight over the city's financial matters. It also establishes a chief financial officer position, and a program management position, both would report to the mayor.
Cwiek reports the city's restructuring "will be painful and sweeping" with some city departments disappearing, some services cut and others privatized. And the recently negotiated contracts with a coalition of city unions will be tossed aside. New contracts must be worked out.
To help the city avoid insolvency, the state of Michigan will complete a refinancing of some outstanding debt by selling bonds.
Michigan school unions file federal lawsuit against state
The state passed a law last year barring school districts from collecting union dues through payroll deduction. Schools unions filed a lawsuit against that law in federal court yesterday.
Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reported "the federal lawsuit alleges the law violates the 1st and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, by discriminating against school employees’s free speech rights and treating them differently than other public employees…who can still have their union dues deducted from their paycheck."
The governor’s office issued a statement backing the law, “We believe the bill does adhere to the constitution. ”
It's Opening Day for the Tigers!
The first Major League baseball game of the season took place last night in Miami, but for the rest of the League - today is the day.
In Detroit, the Detroit Tigers will slug it out with the Boston Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. Fans and sportswriters have high expectations for the Tigers this year with many expecting the team to take the AL Central pennant.
In today's Detroit Free Press, Tiger's owner Mike Ilitch told Mitch Albom he spent big money to field a competitive team this year:
Wait 'til next year. It's the sports fan's mantra. But for Mike Ilitch, next years are precious. At 82, he admits he gave Prince Fielder the largest contract in Tigers history at least partly due to urgency in winning a World Series title. "Time is running out," he says. "No use kidding myself."