News Roundup
8:12 am
Thu May 19, 2011

In this morning's news...

State Senate: Public Employees Should Pay More Health Costs

The Republican-led state Senate approved a bill yesterday that would require most public employees to pay at least 20 percent of their health benefit costs. Laura Weber reports:

The measure was approved along a mostly party line vote. The Senate also approved a constitutional amendment that would give the Legislature control over the benefit plans of university employees and state civil service employees. That plan is unlikely to clear the state House, where Republicans don’t have the two-thirds majority needed to put the measure on the ballot.

Michigan Jobless Rate Continues to Decline

The state’s unemployment rate was down to 10.2 percent in April. That’s a drop of one-tenth of one percent from March and, is a full three percentage points down from where it was at the same time last year. Job growth in the state, however, remains weak. The state added only three thousand jobs from March to April.

Report: Michigan’s Public Defender System “Abysmal”

Michigan’s system of providing lawyers for indigent defendants is so bad it amounts to a, “constitutional crisis” according to the Michigan ACLU and the Michigan Campaign for Justice. Sarah Cwiek reports:

The Michigan ACLU and the Michigan Campaign for Justice produced a report called “Faces of Failing Public Defense Systems."The report says Michigan has abdicated its “constitutional responsibilities” by failing to ensure its counties supply, train and supervise public defenders… Michigan’s public defender system was listed near the bottom another recent national report. The state ranks 44th in terms of per capita spending on public defense.