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abortion

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Dark money bills go to Gov. Snyder's desk

"People who pay for so-called “issue ads” would be able to stay anonymous under a bill that has cleared the state Legislature. It would also double the amount of money people can give to campaigns and political action committees – or “PACS”. The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk," Jake Neher reports.

Three medical marijuana bills move forward

"Medical marijuana patients in Michigan would have more ways to legally obtain and consume cannabis under three bills that cleared the state House Thursday. A bill to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate again in Michigan and another to let patients use edible or topical forms of medical marijuana will now go to the state Senate. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate approved legislation that could clear the way for pharmacies to sell medical marijuana in Michigan. That now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk," Jake Neher reports.

New petition drive planned against anti-abortion coverage law

"A campaign is organizing to block the new law that will require people to buy a separate insurance policy for abortion coverage. The Legislature approved the law this week. Because it’s a petition initiative, it will take effect next year without the governor’s signature. Abortion rights advocates are putting together a coalition to launch a petition drive." Rick Pluta reports.

The Michigan state capitol building
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The Michigan House and Senate have approved a controversial law that will require consumers to buy separate policies for abortion coverage.

The question was put to the Legislature by a petition drive pushed by Right To Life, which was launched after Governor Snyder vetoed a similar measure last year. He vetoed that measure because there were no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

But, because this 2013 version is a voter-initiated law, the Governor does not have veto-power this time around.

We caught up with Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network , to talk about this bill.

State legislature adopts abortion insurance ban

Dec 12, 2013
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It’s Thursday, the day we talk about Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

The state legislature is wrapping up the session this week. On Wednesday, a controversial voter-initiated bill put forward by Right to Life was passed by the Republican majority House and Senate. The bill bans abortion coverage in standard insurance plans, which means Michiganders will have to purchase a separate additional rider if they want abortion covered as part of their insurance plan. This bill does not provide exceptions for rape or incest. It also does not provide an exception when the life of the mother is at risk. A similar bill was vetoed by Governor Snyder last year, but as a voter initiated bill, he doesn’t have that power this time around.

Listen to the full interview above.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio

Wednesday's vote by the Legislature to enact a law to require people to buy separate health policies to cover abortions may not be the final word on the question.

There are meetings underway to organize a referendum challenge. Abortion rights advocates are putting together a coalition to launch a petition drive. They want to challenge the new law with a referendum on the ballot next November.

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Anti-abortion coverage bill approved

"The Michigan Legislature has approved a petition initiative that will require people to buy a separate health insurance policy for abortion coverage. The measure cannot be vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder. But it could be challenged via another petition drive," Rick Pluta reports.

What bills could move through on the last day of session

"Big legislation that could win final approval today would expand a state reform school district to failing schools beyond Detroit and ease the potential discontinuation of traditional land line service. Legislators also plan to update campaign laws heading into an election year by doubling donation limits and keeping intact rules for political ads over objections from the secretary of state," the Associated Press reports.

DIA now involved in bankruptcy talks

"The Detroit Institute of Arts has been allowed into talks on how to protect pieces in its collection during Detroit's bankruptcy. Museum officials say they're mobilizing public support to help implement a fundraising strategy that will meet the city's needs and ensure the well-being of the museum," the Associated Press reports.

Let’s suppose for a minute that liberal activists win solid control of Michigan government in next year’s elections. Once they take over, they introduce a bill that says: No insurance policy can protect anybody who has an accident on the way to or while attending a Tea Party or Republican Party meeting.

If those people want to be covered, they need to pay extra and buy a special rider, and they can only do that before they attend such a meeting.

Well, if anyone were to propose that, I would hope you, me and everyone else we know would be screaming bloody murder at this outrageous violation of democracy and human rights.

Yet the Michigan Legislature seems to be about to do something just as bad, if not worse. The State Senate has already voted to make it illegal for health insurance plans to cover abortion -- even in the case of rape, incest, or to protect the mother’s health. Anybody who wanted that kind of protection would have to buy an extra supplemental rider.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - When lawmakers vote to restrict insurance coverage of abortions in Michigan, it will affect a small number of abortions because the vast majority already are paid for out of pocket.

Health insurance covered fewer than 750, or 3 percent, of 23,000 abortions reported to the state last year.

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Judge to announce Detroit bankruptcy eligibility today

A judge is expected to announce today whether Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy. If so, Detroit will be the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history. It has $18 billion in debt.

Anti-abortion coverage proposal moves forward

"State lawmakers will consider a proposal to put new restrictions on abortion insurance coverage in Michigan. A state board yesterday certified that Right to Life of Michigan has collected enough signatures to send its petition to the Legislature. Under the measure, women would only be able to purchase abortion coverage as a separate policy. It could not be part of standard health plans," Jake Neher reports.

State workers might get pay hike, but pay more for health care

"The state Civil Service Commission is considering giving state workers a two-percent pay increase, while requiring many of them to pay more out-of-pocket for health insurance. The proposal is meant to end a contract impasse between the state and public employee unions," Jake Neher reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This week could bring a vote in the State Legislature that will be closely watched by those on either side of the abortion debate.

The vote would be on a citizen-initiated bill that could end abortion coverage as a standard feature in health insurance policies.

Right-To-Life of Michigan turned in more than 315,000 signatures to get this bill before the Legislature. 

And today, the Board of State Canvassers certified this voter-initiated petition, which sends it on to the state Legislature.

MLive reporter Jonathan Oosting joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Anti abortion coverage proposal could move forward today

"A proposal to require insurance companies to stop offering abortion coverage as part of basic health insurance plans takes a critical step today. Right to Life advocates want insurance companies to offer abortion coverage only as a separate rider to women. The Board of State Canvassers is expected to certify that the group collected enough signatures to put the proposal before the legislature," Steve Carmody reports.

U.P. tribe and the state in U.S. Supreme Court over off-reservation casino

"An Upper Peninsula Indian tribe will defend itself today before the United States Supreme Court against a lawsuit filed by the state of Michigan. The state is trying to stop the tribe from opening an off-reservation casino in the town of Vanderbilt in northern lower Michigan," Rick Pluta reports.

Group to gather signatures to have wolf hunt next year

"A pro-hunting coalition is launching a campaign to collect petition signatures seeking a possible third statewide vote next November on hunting wolves in Michigan. Their measure would let the Natural Resources Commission name game species, protecting Michigan's new wolf hunt. The state says that hunters had killed 17 wolves in the Upper Peninsula through Sunday morning," the Associated Press reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A proposal to prohibit basic health insurance plans from covering abortions goes before the Board of State Canvassers tomorrow.   Women would be able to buy separate abortion riders for their health insurance policies.

The Board is expected to certify that a petition drive has enough signatures to put the matter before the legislature.

Genevieve Marnon is with Right to Life of Michigan.   She says women should pay for abortion coverage themselves.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It could be a busy December for state lawmakers after they return from their Thanksgiving break.

Here are some of the issues that could come up for debate before the end of the year.

Paying for the Medicaid expansion delay – In a procedural vote earlier this year, state lawmakers delayed by about two months the implementation of Michigan’s Medicaid expansion law. In doing so, they created a hole in the budget of more than $70 million.

Legislative leaders say passing a bill to fill that hole is one of their top priorities in the coming weeks.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

In this Week in Michigan Politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss a proposal to block abortions from being covered in basic health plans, how Warren Buffett is backing millions of dollars in an initiative to help small businesses in Detroit, and look to next week when Judge Steven Rhodes will decide if Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy.

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Federal judge will announce if Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy next week

"A judge says he'll announce Dec. 3 whether Detroit is eligible to get rid of its debts in bankruptcy court," the Associated Press reports

Michigan and federal government investigate fungal meningitis outbreak

"Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is joining forces with federal authorities to investigate last year’s fungal meningitis outbreak. Michigan was hardest-hit by the nationwide outbreak that’s linked to tainted steroids from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Enough signatures collected to propose a ban on abortion coverage

"Michigan abortion foes have collected enough signatures to put a proposal before lawmakers to ban abortion coverage from health plans unless a separate policy is bought," the Associated Press reports.

Infrastructure and corrections funding are two of the hottest topics in Lansing these days.
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

24 boxes crammed with 315,477 petition signatures.

That's what it might take to effect a major change in the way insurance covers abortion in Michigan.

Pro-life activists have turned in those signatures in their effort to force insurance companies and health plans to offer abortion coverage only if a customer buys a separate rider, and a woman would have to buy that rider before knowing whether she needs an abortion.

She would not be allowed to buy that coverage after getting pregnant, even in the case of rape or incest.

Kathleen Gray from the Detroit Free Press joined us to talk about this “legislative initiative.”

IaIvanova / Creative Commons

A federal appeals court ruled against a southeastern Michigan natural foods company that claims it should be exempt from the contraception provision in the federal health care law. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion today.

The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide workers with insurance that covers contraception.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Abortion opponents have turned in more than 315,000 petition signatures calling on the Legislature to place new restrictions on health coverage.

The new law would require consumers to buy separate coverage for abortions.

Abortion opponents say they want to make sure that abortion coverage is not automatic when people buy insurance under the new federal healthcare law. The petition-initiated law would require consumers to buy a separate rider for abortion coverage.

The Huffington Post

Michigan Right to Life is circulating a petition to prohibit health insurance companies from covering abortions. Individuals who want abortion coverage would have to buy an optional rider in addition to their insurance policy.

If the petition receives enough signatures and the Legislature approves the measure, it would become law without the governor's approval. If the Legislature doesn't act on the measure, it would be voted on by the public.

Pam Sherstad with Michigan Right to Life says only those who want abortion coverage should pay for it.

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Petition to ban abortion coverage allowed to move forward

A state elections board has given the go-ahead to a petition drive by anti-abortion groups to prohibit insurance companies from covering abortion in basic health policies.  

“To get this measure before the Legislature, Right to Life needs to gather more than a quarter-million signatures. If it’s approved by the Legislature, the law could not be vetoed. If lawmakers don’t approve the initiative, it would go to the ballot for voter approval,” Rick Pluta reports.  

Michigan communities face population loss in 2012

The Detroit Free Press reports that roughly two out of three Michigan communities lost residents during 2011-2012, according to the US Census. But the state’s overall population grew slightly and most declines were modest in size. Michigan’s total population increased by more than 6,500 people between 2011-2012.

Wolf hunt referendum will be on ballot

A referendum on a state law allowing a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula will be on the ballot in November 2014.

“Petitions to let voters decide whether a law allowing a wolf hunt should remain on the books were certified yesterday by a state elections panel...But the Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder also approved a second law. It circumvents the referendum and still allows the state to establish wolf seasons.” Rick Pluta reports.

endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com

The Board of State Canvassers met today in Lansing. They took up two controversial issues: one involving abortion coverage and another about wolf hunting in Michigan.

The Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Rick Pluta, was at the meeting earlier today. He joined us in the studio to talk about these two issues.

Listen to the full interview above.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio

A state elections board has given the go-ahead to a petition drive that would enact a restriction on abortions.

The initiative would ban abortion coverage as a part of basic insurance policies.

Instead, customers and businesses that offer employee coverage would have to buy a separate rider for insurance coverage.

The effort seeks to enact a requirement that was vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder.

If the drive succeeds, the Legislature could adopt the law without the threat of a veto.

American Freedom Law Center

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A man who uses his car to spread an anti-abortion message is suing the city of Ann Arbor and its police chief over what he says is the violation of his free-speech rights.

Paul Dobrowolski displays signs with phrases such as "Abortion hurts women" in the window of a vehicle he parks outside a Planned Parenthood facility.

The federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday.

The suit says Dobrowolski was ticketed twice last year for violating a portion of the city code that prohibits parking a vehicle on a street for the purpose of displaying advertising.

One of Dobrowolski's signs gives the name, phone number and address of a facility that provides free ultrasounds.

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje says he doesn't comment on pending litigation, but "the city enforces the law."

Neeta Lind / Flickr

Two laws took effect this week in Michigan, one concerning abortion and the other concerning marijuana. The state Legislature passed the controversial bills in a frenzy of activity last December.

Let's start with the new bill concerning abortion. 

Chad Livingood is the Lansing reporter for the Detroit News and Chris Gautz is  the Capitol correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business. 

They outlined the new law for us, which regulates abortion clinics that provide surgical abortions. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan abortion clinics will need a state license and must check to make sure women aren't being pressured into getting an abortion under a new law.

Other regulations taking effect Sunday make clearer the proper disposal of fetal remains.

The state estimates 16 more abortion providers will need to be licensed as freestanding outpatient surgical facilities because they perform at least 120 abortions a year.

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Blue Cross changes approved without abortion provision

"It looks unlikely state House Republicans will try to add controversial abortion language to a proposed overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Lawmakers passed the bill out of committee yesterday without a provision that would limit insurers’ ability to cover elective abortions," Jake Neher reports.

Bill would end some Michigan alcohol regulations

"Legislation in the Michigan Senate would overhaul regulation of the state's alcohol industry. The bill would eliminate outdated regulations and increase the size of the industry. One change would make it harder to prosecute those who sell alcohol to someone who is intoxicated," the Associated Press reports.

Governor Snyder says he won't decide on an EM for Detroit for at least another week

"Governor Snyder says he won’t decide whether to put an emergency manager in Detroit for 'at least another week.' But he warned Thursday that the city’s financial situation is 'dire.'", Sarah Cwiek reports.

The week in review

Feb 16, 2013
David Defoe / flickr

This week in review Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss Detroit’s State of the City address, lawmakers conversation about abortions and Viagra coverage in Senate health plans, and the removal of Pure Michigan right to work ads.

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Pure Michigan right to work ad cut

"The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has suspended use of the “Pure Michigan” brand to market the state’s new right-to-work status. Democrats and unions complained after the agency used the brand in a Wall Street Journal ad that mentioned the right-to-work law," Rick Pluta reports.

Whitmer asks to cut Viagra out of Senate medical plan

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer has challenged State Senator Rick Jones to drop Viagra from the Senate's medical plan. This comes after a vote this week to exclude abortion coverage from the Senate's medical plan. Jones says he'd be happy to do so.

Detroiters protest against cut to gang squad

Dozens of Detroiters came out Thursday night to protest Mayor Dave Bing's proposal to get rid of the city's gang squad. Mayor Bing wants to cut the program in order to put more officers on regular beat patrol.

Steve Rhodes / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

House Bill 4187 was introduced by state Rep. Joel Johnson (R-Clare).

It would require that a woman have a "diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion is performed."

Today, State House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) announced the House wouldn't take it up.

More from MPRN's Jake Neher:

Bolger says his chamber will not approve any bills requiring women to have a transvaginal ultrasound when seeking an abortion.

He says a bill in the state House goes too far. Ari Adler is a spokesperson for House Speaker Bolger.

"The speaker is very interested in making sure that women have the latest technology available to them for their support, but he is not in support of requiring a transvaginal ultrasound in order for a woman to have an abortion," said Adler.

House Democratic leader Tim Greimel applauded the move. He called the procedure invasive, unnecessary, and unwarranted.

sentate.michigan.gov/gop

State lawmakers have re-introduced legislation that would limit the ability of insurance companies to cover abortions.

The measure would only allow insurers to cover elective abortions through optional rider plans.

Republican state Senator Mark Jansen says many people do not want that kind of coverage automatically included in their plans.

“If I’m an employee, and this is the big issue nationally, why should I be paying for something that seems to be something that many of us morally disagree with?”

The measure was included in legislation last year that sought to overhaul Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Governor Rick Snyder vetoed that bill because he thought the abortion language went too far. He said it’s not the state’s job to decide what kinds of plans insurance companies can offer.

The Blue Cross legislation has also been reintroduced without the abortion language. It passed unanimously in the state Senate last week.

Blue Cross Blue Shield would undergo major changes under proposed legislation.
Wikipedia

The state Senate Thursday unanimously passed an overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The measure was unexpectedly vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder last month because it included some controversial abortion language. Lawmakers recently reintroduced the legislation without the abortion measure.    

State Senator Joe Hune said he expects it to take longer for the bills to get through the House.

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