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Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

A U.S. Supreme Court decision this week may pave the way for casino gambling in Michigan’s capitol city.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero says a $245 million casino project has been “cleared for takeoff” by the high court’s decision in a different casino case.

State officials sued to close an off-reservation casino opened by the Bay Mills tribe. But the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday ruled against the state of Michigan, saying the tribe has sovereign immunity.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the future, parents who fail to pay their child support might be risking more at Michigan casinos than they realize.

A state House committee recently approved a package of bills to streamline and improve child support collection. One of the bills would require casinos in

Michigan to check to see if big winners owe back child support. Casinos already check to see if big winners owe back taxes.

Ken Kurtz is a state representative from Coldwater. He says this would not be a major inconvenience for casino operators.

Tomorrow will be a historic day in Detroit. That's when a federal judge will decide whether the city is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. On today's show, we took a look at the different ways Judge Steven Rhodes could rule.

Then, we took a look at the future of newspapers. As newsrooms get smaller, and more people hop online for information, will the industry be able to reinvent itself and keep up with the times? 

And, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this morning in a case that pits Michigan against an Upper Peninsula Indian tribe. We discussed the case with Rick Pluta, who is reporting from Washington D.C..

Also, we spoke to a new Michigan music duo, The Accidentals. 

But, first on the show, the Board of State Canvassers today certified a voter-initiated petition that would put new restrictions on abortion insurance coverage in Michigan. The proposal would ban abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Women would only be able to purchase abortion coverage as a separate rider. The measure now goes to the state Legislature, which has 40 days to pass it. If not, it will go to voters on the 2014 ballot.

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

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  The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this morning in a case that pits Michigan against an Upper Peninsula Indian tribe.

The case revolves around the tribe's plan to open an off-reservation casino.

Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today from D.C.

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.

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Casinos operated by six Native American tribes in Michigan will continue to operate even though the gaming compacts that allow them expire this weekend.    That will gives the state and the tribes more time to negotiate new compacts.

The agreements were originally made 20 years ago.

John Wernet is the legal counsel for the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.   He says casinos are a critical source of revenue for the tribes.

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Governor Snyder supports campaign finance law changes

"Governor Snyder says he tentatively supports some major changes to Michigan’s campaign finance laws. The State Senate acted earlier this month to double the amount individuals can donate to state lawmakers’ campaigns. It would require some additional financial disclosure from those campaigns," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Officials to discuss a development in last years fungal meningitis outbreak

"Victims of last year's fungal meningitis outbreak aren't holding out much hope they'll receive compensation for the deaths and illnesses caused by tainted steroids traced to a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. Officials will hold a news conference today to discuss a development in the investigation. Twenty two people from Michigan died in the outbreak," the Associated Press reports.

Gaming compact expires Saturday

"At the end of this week the 1993 gaming compact between the state of Michigan and six native American tribes officially expires. Some say theoretically, if the gaming compact is allowed to expire, the tribes should not be able to legally operate their casinos. However it’s doubtful the state would attempt to force the casinos to close," Steve Carmody reports.

The MGM Grand Casino in Detroit
Mike Russell

As revenue shrank and budget holes grew, the City of Detroit has turned to its three casinos for badly needed tax revenue, as well as jobs.

And at a time when an emergency manager is running the show, and bankruptcy is looming, it is not great news to hear that all three Detroit casinos posted a decline in revenue from May 2012 to May 2013.

Jake Miklojcik is the President of Michigan Consultants. He's an economic analyst, and he joined us today to talk about what’s causing the revenue drop and what can be done about it.

Listen to the full interview above.

Canada is dumping its garbage in Michigan. We took a look at why it's so cheap to haul trash over the border and the political reasons making it hard to stop.

And, the rise of the pop-up: Why temporary businesses are springing up and finding success.

And, we spoke with Jacob Hirsch, the boy from Bloomfield Hills who won a trip to the White House to have lunch with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Also, Jake Miklojcik joined us to talk about why Detroit casinos are seeing a drop in revenue.

But first we talked about Friday's decision by the Michigan Supreme Court. The court said it would not make an early ruling on the constitutionality of the state's new right-to-work law. Governor Snyder had asked the high court to decide the issue before the case made its way through lower courts.

The law was passed last December during a very controversial lame-duck legislative session. Under the law, workers cannot be forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

Chris Gautz, the capitol correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business, joined us today to help break it down.

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Michigan Democrats propose legislation to legalize same-sex marriage

While they wait for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage this week, Michigan House Democrats are proposing legislation that would let voters reconsider the ban on same-sex marriage in the state.

“Legislation would let voters replace the gay marriage ban with an amendment that specifically allows same-sex marriages…The Republican state House speaker says any effort to reverse the same-sex marriage ban should start with a citizen-initiated petition drive,” Rick Pluta reports.

Governor Snyder still pushing Senate on Medicaid expansion

“Governor Rick Snyder says he’s considering vetoing every bill that hits his desk until state lawmakers vote to expand Medicaid in Michigan…Snyder blasted the state Senate last week for leaving on summer recess without voting on the bill. He says he’s looking at a variety of options to get lawmakers back in Lansing,” Jack Neher reports.

Bay Mills casino case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide if the state can challenge a tribe’s right to open a casino in the northern Michigan town of Vanderbilt.

“The case now goes on the docket for the Supreme Court’s upcoming term. The issue is whether state Attorney General Bill Schuette has the legal standing to challenge the casino. The Bay Mills Indian tribe says he does not – that the Vanderbilt property is part of the tribe’s independent territory," according to Rick Pluta.

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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) - The Soaring Eagle Casino is planning a new website that won't take bets for money unless Congress changes restrictions on online gambling.

The casino's marketing director Raul Venegas tells the Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant that the website will be for marketing and fun.

Venegas says the casino has "no intentions to offer real money gaming online, but people can play for free."

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A federal judge in Grand Rapids will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that may determine if Lansing will get a downtown casino.

A year ago, the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced plans to build a casino that would wrap around Lansing’s downtown convention center.   The plan included the construction of a temporary casino along Michigan Ave.  

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A gaming company run by Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert has announced plans to move into the city’s casino business.

Quicken Loans founder Gilbert owns Rock Gaming, which already owns
several gambling sites in Ohio.

Now, one of the group’s subsidiaries has announced it will buy a
majority stake of the company that runs Detroit’s Greektown
Casino-Hotel.

Gilbert says in a statement they envision a “significant investment”
in the Greektown casino, “as well as the enhancement and growth of the
existing entertainment district.”

The Michigan Gaming Board will need to sign off on the deal.

They hope to grow that area as well, building on what Gilbert calls
“the positive momentum” now going in downtown Detroit.

Gilbert himself is partly responsible for that momentum.

He’s been buying up much of the major commercial real estate in
downtown Detroit in pursuit of a vision he’s dubbed “Detroit 2.0.”

The vision is a vibrant downtown district to “live, work, and play,”
centered around tech start-ups along Woodward Avenue, which Gilbert
calls “Webward” Avenue.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The U.S. Supreme Court could be sending a signal that it may review a case involving a Native American tribe that wants to build an off-reservation casino in Michigan.

The court Monday asked the U.S. solicitor general to weigh in on whether federal courts have the authority to hear lawsuits connected to federal Indian gaming law and whether tribes have immunity from such litigation.

Michigan’s casino industry could face some problems if the nation falls off the ‘fiscal cliff’ at the end of the year.

The president and Congressional leaders have not reached a compromise to avoid the combination of spending cuts and tax increases, commonly known as the ‘fiscal cliff’.

It’s estimated the average household’s disposable income could lose a thousand dollars next year, if the ‘fiscal cliff’ is not avoided. 

Moody’s, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies, predicts casinos will be among those hardest hit.

Five million Michigan voters will go to the polls two months from today. When they are handed their ballots and walk into the voting booth, they will face six ticking time bombs.

I’m talking about the ballot proposals. Yesterday, the State Supreme Court ended a legal battle by ordering three more proposed constitutional amendments on to the ballot. They’ve already put two others there, plus a referendum on the emergency manager law.

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The campaign to allow eight new non-tribal casinos in Michigan will have to go back to court to get a spot on the November ballot.

A state elections board deadlocked along party lines on whether to put the question on the ballot, with Democrats supporting the measure.

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This morning, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled a ballot initiative that would approve eight more private casinos in the state will not appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. The court ruled the ballot proposal is unconstitutional.

MLive reports that Michigan Solicitor General John Bursch broke the news on his Twitter account this morning.

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The owners of Detroit and tribal casinos were in court today to try to keep a proposal off the November ballot. The proposal would amend the state constitution to allow eight rival casinos to open in Michigan.

The opponents of the proposed amendment say it would also have the practical effect of re-writing state gaming regulations – and that’s not allowed.

Peter Ellsworth is their attorney. He says voters have a right to know what they’re being asked to decide.

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Casino hearing

The Michigan Court of Appeals will hear arguments Monday morning on whether a proposal to allow eight new casinos should go on the November ballot. "The campaign turned in more than half a million petition signatures to get the question on the ballot. The opponents include casinos in Detroit and Indian tribes that operate casinos. They would compete with the eight new casinos. The opponents say the ballot proposal tries to do too many things – including changing state gaming laws and amending the Michigan Constitution. They say ballot questions must be simple with a single purpose. The ballot campaign says the amendment was carefully drafted by experts in the state constitution. The three-judge court of appeals panel is not likely to rule today, but it does have to act quickly if state elections officials are going to meet their deadlines to have the November ballot ready in time," Rick Pluta reports.

Flint boxer makes Olympic debut

"Flint's own Claressa Shields makes her Olympic debut Monday morning. The 17-year-old fighter is the youngest competitor in the brand-new women's boxing event. Shields faces Anna Laurell from Sweden in the middleweight quarterfinals," Sarah Hulett reports.

Disease hits deer population

"State wildlife officials say as many of 250 deer have died in the past few weeks from a seasonal disease that usually doesn’t develop until late August or September. The disease is spread by small biting flies that infect the deer. The deer often die close to or in ponds or streams which they seek out as the disease worsen The current outbreak is in Branch, Ionia and Clinton counties," Steve Carmody reports.

The MGM Grand Casino in Detroit
Mike Russell

Opponents of a proposal to allow eight new casinos across Michigan say they will ask the state Court of Appeals to order the question off the November ballot.

The Protect MI Vote coalition is made up of business groups, as well as the three Detroit casinos and three tribal casinos.

Attorneys for the group say the proposal was poorly drafted because it combines an amendment to the state constitution with a re-write of Michigan’s law that regulates casino gaming.

John Truscott of Protect MI Vote says that makes the ballot question confusing and misleading.

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The group behind a push to allow eight new private casinos in Michigan handed in more than a half million signatures today to put the issue on the November ballot. 

Last summer I went to Traverse City to speak to the state association of property law lawyers. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, they will probably little note nor long remember what I said there.

But I’ll never forget something I saw there. The night before my speech, they took us to the Turtle Creek Casino for dinner. The food was excellent. But we walked through the gamblers sitting at the slot machines, and that was haunting. They looked like zombies, most of them, mechanically feeding money into the one-armed bandits. Few of them looked like they could afford to gamble.

A petition drive is underway that may end with asking Michigan voters if they want more casinos.

The state Board of Canvassers approved the form of the petition today.

If enough signatures are collected, voters this fall will be asked to approve expanding the number of private casinos in Michigan by eight. The expansion is opposed by Michigan’s existing casino owners.

Emily Palsrok is with the Citizens for More Michigan Jobs, the group behind the petition drive.    

“Well we think there’s more room for competition.  We don’t think anyone should be afraid of that," says Palsrok, "The gaming industry in Michigan is doing very well.  If we look at the numbers that just the three Detroit casinos posted…they’re doing very well…there’s room for more competition.” 

There are several other proposals that could eventually double the number of casinos in Michigan.

Supporters of the campaign would have to collect more than 300,000 voter signatures to make a statewide ballot.

Among the locations that would get new casinos through the proposal are Detroit, Pontiac, Grand Rapids and Romulus. Others would be in Birch Run, Macomb County's Clinton Township, Wexford County's Clam Lake Township and DeWitt Township in the Lansing area.

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Mar 6, 2012

Yesterday I talked to a student who has a right to be proud of herself. Now in her early 30s, she was born in poverty to Mexican migrant workers in Arizona, and had two babies before she was out of her teens. Yet she got it together through sheer determination and hard work, and is now finishing her second college degree and working in public relations. She clearly has a bright future.

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Fights are getting under way between groups that are proposing at least 22 new casinos in Michigan and opponents seeking to protect the business of existing gambling halls or simply opposed to more of them.

The Detroit Free Press (http://on.freep.com/AArZwC ) says it has reviewed confidential documents on proposals for opening new casinos besides the three now operating in Detroit and others charted by Indian groups around Michigan.

Four tribes are working to expand off-reservation gambling, while two investor groups are seeking to amend the Michigan Constitution to allow more casinos.

There are four proposals for casinos in Romulus and two each in Detroit and Port Huron.

Michigan State University tribal law expert Matthew Fletcher calls it a "fantasy" and questions if people want that many casinos in lower Michigan.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

Plans call for a $245 million American Indian casino in downtown Lansing that backers say could create about 2,200 jobs.

The Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News report that the Kewadin casino would be built near the Lansing Center and owned by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Mayor Virg Bernero says it would improve the viability of the convention center and fund scholarships for Lansing public school students. The 125,000-square-foot facility would offer up to 3,000 slot machines and 48 gambling tables.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Officials in Lansing are expected to announce plans tomorrow to build an Indian casino in the capitol city. Opposition to the plan is already gathering.   

The press release from the mayor’s office only describes it as a ‘Major Economic Development Project’. But everyone is expecting the announcement will confirm months of rumor and speculation that one of Michigan’s Indian tribes wants to build a casino in Lansing.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is expected to be the group behind the casino project. The plan is expected to place the casino next to Lansing’s downtown convention center.   

Even before the formal announcement, opposition is lining up to the idea of building a casino in Michigan’s capitol city.

There are two existing Indian casinos within easy driving distance of Lansing. Also, Michigan’s Attorney General is leery of expanding the number of casinos in the state. There are nearly two dozen casinos operating in Michigan today, most of owned by Native American tribes.

Media reports claim the city of Lansing is talking with a native American tribe about opening a casino in the capital city.  

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Parts of Detroit without power this morning

Power outages are affecting many of Detroit's main buildings today. Workers at Detroit's city hall were told not to report to work this morning. From the Detroit News:

Numerous municipal buildings throughout the city's downtown area remained without power this morning after the city's antiquated public power system failed because of high demand for air-conditioning following a stretch of 90-degree weather earlier this week.

One of the city's five power lines at the Misterky Power Plant failed Wednesday and two others went down on Thursday, leaving the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building, the Detroit Public Library, Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Arts, several federal buildings and Detroit Public Schools without electrical service, officials said.

The city hoped to have the problem fixed this afternoon.

Group wants American Indian casino in Lansing  After failing to get enough signatures to put the issue on the August ballot, the Associated Press reports that a group is still moving ahead with a plan to bring an American Indian casino to Lansing: 

 Ted O'Dell, chairman of Lansing Jobs Coalition, tells the Lansing State Journal for a story Friday that he'll ask City Council members to approve his request before trying a ballot issue. He wants to gather enough signatures to get it on the city's November ballot. O'Dell's group did not submit the number of signatures needed to put the issue on the August ballot. In April, a group aiming to build casinos in Lansing and six other Michigan cities launched a process that could put the measure before state voters this fall. "Michigan is Yours" needs more than 300,000 signatures from registered voters across the state. The effort failed to make the 2010 state ballot.

 Pit Bull ban tabled

A bill to ban pit bulls in the state won't see any action in the state legislature. From the Detroit Free Press:

A legislative attempt to eventually ban pit bull ownership in Michigan has been leashed.

State Rep. Tim Bledsoe, D-Grosse Pointe, introduced the legislation to make it illegal to own a pit bull after a 10-year phaseout.

But the chairman of the Regulatory Reform Committee in the state House, Rep. Hugh Crawford, R-Novi, said he's not planning to move on the bill, effectively shelving it.

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