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Michigan Legislature

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, 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 building
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://tinyurl.com/oall5zn

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 file photo

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 building
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 file photo

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.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The League of Conservation Voters has released its annual National Environmental Scorecard. It shows how members of Congress voted on environmental issues. This year, the group found a deep partisan divide.

Charlotte Jameson is the government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. The group just published its own scorecard for the state Legislature.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

An income tax rollback, a more transparent government and reducing auto insurance rates - those are some of the main priorities for House Republicans during this session. 

They rolled out the plan Thursday.

Passing a high priority piece of legislation is already underway. The income tax phase-out is moving forward quickly – over Governor Snyder’s objections.

Michigan state Capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan legislature is back in session yesterday. The House of Representatives formally welcomed 42 new state representatives, chose their seats, and formally elected new Speaker of the House Tom Leonard. 

Bipartisanism was Leonard’s main message, and the session started in that spirit with Leonard’s nomination. Democratic Leader Sam Singh seconded Leonard’s nomination also urging bipartisanism during the term.

The new House Speaker, Tom Leonard from DeWitt, wants to bring civility back to the political process in Lansing.
GOPHouse.org

It's a new year and a fresh start for the Michigan Legislature with a new session kicking off today.

In the State House, there are 43 new members and a brand-new speaker: DeWitt Republican Representative Tom Leonard.

Leonard joined Stateside to talk about his path to House Speaker. Starting out as a college kid wanting to be the next Jerry Maguire to law school and later a prosecutor and a politician.

He talked about his new role as House speaker, and what his priorities are for the Legislature in 2017. He would like to see the teacher pension system fixed and he plans to be a champion for mental health reform (especially among prisoners).

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - It was an expensive year for Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to address Flint's water emergency and to rescue Detroit's school district from massive debt.

  Legislators also authorized higher speed limits and allowed the testing of self-driving cars on public roads without a driver or steering wheel. Other top laws include new medical marijuana regulations and the authorization of higher speed limits on rural highways.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has signed into law legislation compensating people who’ve been wrongfully imprisoned.

Under the “Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act,” the compensation would amount to $50,000 for every year the individual was incarcerated, in addition to reasonable attorney fees and expenses.

“Michigan’s criminal justice system does a tremendous job, however there is always more we can do to make it better, particularly for those who have been wrongfully imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit,” Snyder said in a written statement.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The lame duck session for the Michigan Legislature has come to a close. Some people have called the end-of-year session "strange," but you can't say it was boring. There were a number of bills pushed through before lawmakers headed home for the holidays.

Now that the dust has settled, Susan Demas publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Stateside for their weekly political roundup to break it all down.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - With just days left in the two-year term, the Michigan Legislature may be inching toward votes on what's billed as a comprehensive rewrite of state energy laws.

It's legislation that Gov. Rick Snyder has made clear is his highest priority.

The bills have divided majority House Republicans. They would update policies that govern the regulation of utility giants and their competitors, require minimum amounts of renewable sources of electricity and set efficiency benchmarks.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A push to curtail health care benefits for municipal retirees in Michigan is setting off a fight between those who say billions in debt can no longer be ignored and critics who contend it would cheat people out of coverage.

  The new Republican-sponsored plan could be enacted yet this year. It aims to address $11 billion in unfunded liabilities.

  Starting in May, newly hired municipal workers would no longer qualify for health insurance in retirement. Local governments could instead contribute to a tax-deferred account such as a health savings plan.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

 

It’s the Michigan Legislature’s lame duck session, and a lot is going on.

Susan Demas and Ken Sikkema joined us today to take a look at what our legislators have on their plate.

Michigan state Capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today is the official start of the lame-duck period for Michigan’s 98th Legislature.

Some of us remember the frenetic pace of the lame-duck in 2012, when state lawmakers passed something like 300 bills. That included "right to work" and a new emergency manager law to replace the one voters had just repealed.

Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, joined Stateside to discuss what’s on the to-do list this year during lame duck.

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