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Michigan Legislature

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Victims would have more rights under bills passed by the state House Thursday.

One bill would require defendants be physically present in the courtroom when a victim or victim’s family gives an impact statement at sentencing. The other is aimed at making sure students don’t have to go to school with someone who sexually assaulted them.

money
Mathieu Turle / unsplash

Some lawmakers in Lansing want people to work to get Medicaid. The Senate introduced a bill Thursday. It would add work requirements to the Medical Assistance Program, or Medicaid.

Medicaid is a federal program that gives low-income people – along with children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities - health insurance.

If passed, able-bodied adults would be required to work or continue school for 30 hours per week as a condition of receiving medical assistance.

Michigan Legislature
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state House has sent a bill to Governor Rick Snyder that forbids local governments from adopting ordinances dealing with questions employers may ask in job interviews.

The bill would expand an existing ban on local regulations that limit the information employers can ask for. It’s an effort to preempt local rules that bar asking about salary histories and criminal backgrounds. There are no such local regulations in Michigan, but they have been adopted in other states.

Gun laws across the country are under the microscope at state capitols. And Michigan is no exception. But the reality is, we’re not seeing a re-thinking of gun policy. Instead, everyone’s just returned to their corners.

There’s increasing pressure for Lansing to do something following the school shootings in Parkland, Florida.

artist rendering of proposed bridge
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

One of the ways that the state of Michigan takes action is by passing legislation. The state House and Senate pass bills, send them on to the governor and if he signs them, they become law. However, the governor has an end-around option that doesn't involve the Legislature and doesn't get much attention.

Larry Nassar in court with his attorneys, Shannon Smith and Matthew Newburg.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Six Republicans and 12 Democratic lawmakers have signed onto legislation to establish a special committee to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics handling of sexual abuse allegations against former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., says she's hopeful Senate leaders will back the effort once the chamber has dealt with an array of critical issues, namely keeping the federal government running. But she has not yet received a commitment.

wetlands
Flickr/barbaragaillewis / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Legislature is considering three bills that would change how the state determines environmental rules.

person writing on paper
LucasTheExperience / Flickr

Organizers of a ballot drive want voters to decide if Michigan should have a part-time legislature.

And they're making a push for signatures to get it on the 2018 ballot.

HTTP://WWW.SENATORJIMMARLEAU.COM/

It is against the law in Michigan for anyone who holds political office to use campaign funds to pay personal expenses.

That said, it can be challenging to figure out if this is happening when elected officials use campaign money to pay off credit card balances, and then skimp on the details.

Such is the case with Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, as outlined in a front-page story by Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan's schoolkids made their way back to classrooms Tuesday for the start of a new school year.

Today, it’s our state lawmakers’ turn. They’re back in Lansing for the first day of the fall session.

inside the chambers of the Michigan lesilature
Michigan Municipal League

Governor Rick Snyder signed a large bill package last week that makes female genital mutilation a felony in Michigan, but he could see more bills on this issue headed to his desk. The additional bills deal with police training and parental rights.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder's administration agreed that he would publicly oppose many future labor-relations bills in a bid to secure Democratic votes in the Michigan House for economic development tax incentives.

A Republican legislative official and a Snyder administration official who told The Associated Press about the agreement spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the private meetings.

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A $56.7 billion state budget is headed toward Gov. Rick Snyder's desk after the Republican-led state Senate gave it final approval on mostly party-line votes.

The bills approved Thursday include more money for K-12 schools, universities and community colleges. There is less funding for prison spending and environmental cleanup.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan House passed a series of bills that increase the punishment for doctors and parents involved in female genital mutilation.

The bills, which were introduced and passed in the Senate in May, would make it a 15-year felony to remove or reconstruct a female minor’s genitalia for non-medical purposes.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A pair of identical bills were introduced to the Michigan House and Senate Wednesday that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries and businesses from advertising on billboards.

Henk Sijgers / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A bill approved by the Michigan Legislature would let residents legally leave a vehicle running unattended on private property.

The bill cleared the Senate on a 30-6 vote Tuesday and goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. It was proposed after a Detroit-area man was ticketed $128 for leaving a car running in his driveway as the vehicle warmed up.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A tentative deal to steer more newly hired teachers into 401(k)-only retirement plans has stopped a surprising budget showdown between Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Snyder.

  But key details remain to be finalized in a matter of weeks before the Legislature's summer recess.

  The decisions will affect not only future school employees but also a $55 billion state spending plan that is poised to receive Snyder's imprint after he was excluded from earlier talks.

Spartan stadium
Flickr/Ken Lund / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Three Michigan State University football players have been charged with sexual assault stemming from an incident in January in which they allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on campus. 

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the this case and others, including former Olympic gymnastics and MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.

bottles of pills
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tuesday, state lawmakers will consider a package of bills  aimed at reducing Michigan’s growing problems with prescription painkillers.

Opioids, like hydrocodone and oxycodone, are commonly prescribed for pain management.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
Michigan House Republicans

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley said he would make a big announcement at the Mackinac Policy Conference. It was widely expected that he would announce his candidacy for Governor. That’s not what he did.

Instead he released a ten point plan he calls “Clean Michigan’s Government.”

Power plant
Courtesy of Duke Energy

The state House has passed a bill (HB 4205) that would restrict the ability of state agencies to write regulations that are tougher than federal rules. Environmental groups are lining up against the bill.

Under the measure, agencies would not be able to create rules that are more stringent than federal ones - unless directed to by state law, or if the director of a state agency proves a "clear and convincing need" to exceed the federal standard.

exterior of the Michigan state capital
Pkay Chelle / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On May 9, State Representative John Kivela was found dead in a Lansing home from an apparent suicide. The Marquette democrat's death marks the third time in the past year a House member has died. Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss reactions from the Michigan State House. 

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Voters still love the idea of term limits. The idea of “throw the rascals out” after a few terms is supposed to end career politicians and instead give us citizen legislators who are more connected to the people back home.

A new book explains 13 years of research into how term limits have worked in Michigan. Its title is Implementing Term Limits: The Case of the Michigan Legislature. It was written by the husband and wife team of Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson and Lyke Thompson.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Last night (May 2) voters in Ann Arbor and Kent County approved funding for schools. Two proposals that would have allowed the construction of wind farms spanning several townships in Huron County were defeated.

By all appearances, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof likes wielding power. He’s been in the Michigan Legislature for a decade, and he has been a strong, if controversial, leader of the Senate for more than two years now.

But in little more than a year and a half, his political career will be over—probably forever. Term limits mean he won’t be able to run for re-election to the state Senate.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This is a big week for the future of mental health care in Michigan.

All the complexities aside, which have been covered at length on Stateside over the last year, essentially it comes down to one question: Should the mental health services remain in the control of public entities like Community Mental Health centers, or should private insurance companies take the lead?

church exterior
Flickr user: richevenhouse

In the U.S., the separation of church and state sounds like a clear division. But sometimes that line is blurrier than you might think. There’s a law on the books in Michigan that makes it a misdemeanor to encourage people to vote a certain way by offering them inducements or by threatening them with punishments. For example, your employer can’t fire you because of your vote. The law was enacted in the 1950s and one section specifically prohibits religious leaders from threatening parishioners with excommunication over politics.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Municipalities that are collecting substantially lower property taxes than they used to from big-box stores must overcome opposition from business interests and their allies in the Legislature to tilt the tax assessing system back in favor of local governments.

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

How much do you trust state government and its ability to do its job?

Angela Setters / Flickr

In 2016 alone, lobbyists provided Michigan lawmakers with $690,681 in food and drinks, according to a report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

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