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Wed January 18, 2012
In this morning's news...
Governor Snyder delivers his second State of the State address tonight and, as the Associated Press reports, “there’ been no shortage of proposals from groups about what needs attention. A coalition of workers' rights groups asks for less help for business, more money for schools and more weeks of unemployment benefits.” State House and Senate members, Lt. Governor Brian Calley as well as State Supreme Court justices will be in attendance. Michigan Radio will have special coverage of the address, as well as the Democratic response, beginning at 7 p.m.
Unions Unhappy with New Legislation
A package of Republican bills in the state Legislature would boost penalties for public workers who go on strike, Rick Pluta reports. “The legislation would also let employers sue striking workers who get in the way of their businesses, and make it more complicated for unions to get dues deducted from employee paychecks. The state House Oversight, Reform, and Ethics Committee opened hearings on the package yesterday. Union leaders say it’s been years since there’s been any kind of public employee strike in Michigan, and they say the measures are really just meant to harass unions. Hearings on the bills are expected to continue next week,” Pluta reports.
Flint Emergency Manager
Emergency Manager Mike Brown’s 10 page plan outlines Flint’s deteriorating financial condition: An $11 million budget deficit this year, long term declines in population, an eroding tax base. The plan also charts a course out of the ‘financial crisis’ the governor declared last year. It calls for restructuring collective bargaining agreements with city unions and merging or eliminating some city departments. Emergency Manager Mike Brown calls the plan, “a work in progress”. He says implementing it will be a “most difficult challenge.”