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Possible fixes for Michigan's roads, another ruling for same-sex laws, and so long to the MEAP

Nov 15, 2014

A pothole. This week, the Michigan Senate passed a bill aimed at fixing the state's roads.
Credit User _chrisUK / flickr.com

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss a move to fix the state’s roads, the most recent ruling involving same-sex laws, and a new standardized test for Michigan’s public schools.


Roads

In a move to fix the state’s crumbling roads, the Michigan Senate Thursday approved a bill that will double gas taxes over the next four years. The increase is expected to raise $1 billion annually for road and bridge repairs.

The vote is a victory for newly re-elected Gov. Rick Snyder, who says roads are his top priority during this term’s lame-duck session.

Lessenberry said he wouldn’t cancel any appointments for tire and rim replacements just yet.

“It’s something, and the governor is happy, [but] the House hasn’t passed it yet, and there may be a conference committee. It’s going to take some time,” Lessenberry said.

Same-sex marriage

In Detroit this week U.S. District Judge David Lawson declared Michigan’s ban on domestic partner benefits unconstitutional.

The ruling comes just one week after a federal appeals court in Cincinnati reinstated gay marriage bans in four states, including Michigan.

Lessenberry said the recent slew of rulings on the nation’s same-sex laws probably won’t end anytime soon.

“This is going to have to be settled by the Supreme Court which may or may not [actually] settle it,” he said. “It may issue a blanket ruling on same-sex marriage, or it may say it’s up to the states.”

This is a test

On Thursday, the Michigan Department of Education revealed a new online exam which will replace the 44-year-old Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) starting next spring.

The Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or MSTEP, addresses new mandates developed by state lawmakers last summer.

Lessenberry said the new test is an improvement to education, but there are more concerns to address when it comes to the state’s students.

“Teachers and schools can only do so much,” he said. “If the child doesn’t have a home atmosphere conducive for learning, studying and doing homework, [the new test] may all be for naught.”  

– Rebecca Kruth, Michigan Radio Newsroom