Michigan Legislature

Politics & Government
10:15 am
Sun May 18, 2014

Michigan Senate eyes bigger gasoline tax increase

The talk of pumping more money into transportation infrastructure comes on the heels of a House vote to gradually allow Michigan's 19-cents-a-gallon gas tax to go as high as 32 1/2 cents over time.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan senators are considering whether to significantly increase gasoline taxes over five years to mend roads and bridges.

The talk of pumping more money into transportation infrastructure comes on the heels of a House vote to gradually allow Michigan's 19-cents-a-gallon gas tax to go as high as 32 1/2 cents over time.

It would initially generate $450 million a year, mostly by diverting money from elsewhere in the budget.

Read more
Politics & Government
3:19 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Law would make "revenge porn" a crime in Michigan

A half-dozen states already have laws on the books to punish people who post nude or sexually explicit photos to the Web without the person’s consent. The photo appearing on the computer screen in this picture is actually of a painting.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It may soon be a misdemeanor in Michigan to post “revenge porn” on the Internet.

A half-dozen states already have laws on the books to punish people who post nude or sexually explicit photos to the Web without the person’s consent.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:00 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Tax cut plans dim as focus at the state capitol shifts to potholes

Legislative leaders aren't ready to give up on tax cut discussions but acknowledge that road funding could ultimately be a higher priority. New revenue estimates for the next budget in mid-May could prove crucial.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - An income tax cut seemed inevitable just two months ago, as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican lawmakers offered up and even began passing rival plans to use some of a budget surplus for tax relief before the 2014 elections.

Now plans for a tax reduction are waning and shifting instead to addressing pothole-ridden roads.

   Snyder says he's open to dropping his tax plan to set aside more money for transportation. He attributes the shrinking interest in tax relief among legislators to drivers who voiced frustration with crummy roads.

Read more
Education
9:52 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Flanagan: "The MEAP’s not an option" for next year

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the MEAP test is not an option at this point. He says changing now would cost the state.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is warning Michigan lawmakers against trying to take a step back on school testing.

An amendment to next year’s school aid budget would require schools to give the MEAP exam next year. Some lawmakers are upset the state has contracted with a new company using a test tied to Common Core standards.

Flanagan says the MEAP test is not an option at this point. He says changing now would cost the state.

Read more
Stateside
5:34 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

State legislators debate expanding state's controversial Education Achievement Authority

Credit David Schott / Flickr

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he hopes there will be a final vote this week on a bill to expand the state’s controversial Education Achievement Authority.

That’s the state-run authority meant to turn around some of Michigan’s lowest-performing schools. Right now, the EAA runs 15 schools in Detroit. The bill would pave the way for it to expand up to 50 schools statewide.

Michigan Public Radio Network’s Lansing reporter Jake Neher joined us to talk about the EAA.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
1:19 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Student demand change to Michigan school 'zero tolerance' policies

Dozens of high school students have completed a trek from Detroit to Lansing to highlight their concern about ‘zero tolerance’ policies in Michigan schools.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Dozens of high school students have completed a trek from Detroit to Lansing to highlight their concern about ‘zero tolerance’ policies in Michigan schools.

The students say violating even minor ‘zero tolerance’ policies may land them on suspension.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:12 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Metal theft bill hung up despite push by legislative leaders

Leaders in Lansing remain hopeful a compromise is within reach this month.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Five years after Michigan targeted copper thefts plaguing cities like Detroit and disrupting railroads and utilities, plans to better restrict sales of stolen scrap metal are caught in a legislative fight.

Lawmakers are generally in agreement over giving law enforcement more tools to crack down on the problem.

But a provision to make people wait three days for payment for copper wire, air conditioners and catalytic converters is angering scrap buyers and dividing legislators.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:19 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Compromise on emergency road funding to be announced this afternoon

The supplement funding bill is expected to include $200 million for local road agencies. Brutal winter weather has drained county and city road budgets.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will roll out a deal this afternoon on a spending package to fix Michigan’s pothole-filled roads.

The supplement funding bill is expected to include $200 million for local road agencies. Brutal winter weather has drained county and city road budgets.

State House Speaker Jase Bolger declined to give specifics about the compromise road bill this morning, except to say it will address the state’s immediate road problems.

Read more
Transportation
3:34 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Drivers navigate pothole-strewn roads as Michigan lawmakers debate emergency funding

Brutal winter weather has turned many roads into a moonscape of potholes, more suited to an ATV than the family car.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Many county road budgets in Michigan are idling on empty after our brutal winter.

They hope state lawmakers will agree soon on an emergency road funding bill.

Drivers in Michigan could be forgiven if they think their morning commute feels more like an off-road adventure.

Brutal winter weather has turned many roads into a moonscape of potholes, more suited to an ATV than the family car.

Denise Donohue is the director of the County Road Association of Michigan. She says some county road agencies have blown through a year’s budget in just two months.

Read more
Politics & Government
5:14 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Michigan should 'bite the bullet' on road funding, suggests a PA state transportation official

A Governor’s office spokesman expects a road funding plan will not be addressed until after the legislature finishes work on next year’s budget.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

County road commissioners meeting in Lansing today heard from a Pennsylvania transportation official on how Michigan can spend more money on its crumbling roads.

Bradley Mallory is the executive deputy secretary of Pennsylvania’s transportation department.

His state recently passed a $2.3 billion road spending plan. The plan includes a higher gas tax and other fees.

Mallory says like Michigan, Pennsylvania lawmakers know they have to do something to fix their roads.

Read more
Politics & Government
2:07 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Bill to legalize scalping splits Michigan venues, brokers

Supporters say letting people buy and resell tickets freely would help consumers. Opponents say the legislation would lead to higher prices in the resale market.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Repealing Michigan's rarely enforced ban against scalping tickets is, on its face, an effort to help out the average customer looking to sell a few unused tickets to a game or concert.

But it's also a high-stakes financial tussle - one between venue owners like pro sports teams and brokers who resell their tickets on the Internet. So far, the brokers are winning in Lansing.

The Republican-led House voted this week to legalize ticket scalping. Entertainment venues are hoping to block the bill in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:44 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Deal assures Michigan cities won't be hurt by business tax cut

An agreement reached among Snyder's administration, business interests and local officials would make sure municipalities opposing a loss in revenue are mostly kept whole.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING – Michigan lawmakers this week will propose a deal to guarantee that local governments lose little to no revenue from a planned phase-out of taxes on industrial machinery and small businesses' equipment.

The business tax cuts were enacted by Gov. Rick Snyder and legislators at the end of 2012. But they will be halted if a statewide vote fails in August.

An agreement reached among Snyder's administration, business interests and local officials would make sure municipalities opposing a loss in revenue are mostly kept whole.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:07 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Gov. Snyder wants boost in local revenue sharing

Cuts in revenue sharing can lead to fewer police and firefighters and other cutbacks in local services.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Local governments bore steep cuts in state revenue-sharing payments in the 2000s as sales tax collections lagged and lawmakers siphoned off money to deal with budget deficits.

Now as the economy recovers and the budget stabilizes, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is proposing a 15 percent increase in the next budget.

He once cut statutory shared revenue to cities and townships by a third.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:56 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Bernero: The state of the city of Lansing is strong. The state of the city's roads not so good.

“Right now, the state of Michigan has a $1 billion surplus. I have an idea. Let’s put people back to work by investing some of that money in our crumbling roads," says Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero used his State of the City speech Thursday to make a pitch for state funding to repair local roads.

Mayor Virg Bernero says the city of Lansing plans to spend three million dollars this year to repair pot hole covered roads in the capitol city. 

But the mayor says the city would have to spend five times that much each year for a decade to fix all of Lansing’s road problems.

In his speech, Bernero called on state lawmakers to use part of the state’s billion dollar budget surplus to help repair local roads across Michigan.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:36 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Governing Michigan – a part-time job?

The Michigan State House (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan voters could see a question on the November ballot this year asking them to make the state Legislature part-time.

The Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature has turned in petition language to the state Bureau of Elections.

“This is about actually taking a Legislature that’s been pretty much dominated by lobbyists and getting them back into a citizen-driven ideology,” said the group’s chair, Norman Kammeraad, on the Michigan Public Television program “Off the Record.”

Read more
Politics & Government
3:19 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

'Human trafficking' bills moving through Michigan legislature

Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, (at podium) announces a new package of bills aimed at curbing human trafficking in Michigan.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There are dozens of bills before the Michigan Legislature dealing with human trafficking.  

Another 23 bills were unveiled today as part of a package dealing with forced labor and prostitution.

Kurt Heise is the chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee. He says the bills introduced this week not only go after the pimps and johns but also acknowledges the needs of the victims.

“We look at the young people and the vulnerable adults who are trafficked as victims and that they get the love and support that we can provide,” says Heise.

Read more
Politics & Government
2:43 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Snyder: Michigan pension tax will stand despite surplus

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says he won't reconsider a controversial tax on income of certain Michigan retirees.

Michigan has a large budget surplus, but Snyder tells The Detroit News that revisiting the 2012 tax is not on his radar. He calls it an issue of fairness, saying pensions shouldn't be treated differently for tax purposes than other retirement income.

Read more
Politics & Government
5:18 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Michigan lawmakers considering dumping the state's ticket scalping law

Tickets? Tickets? Who needs tickets?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state House Criminal Justice committee will consider a bill tomorrow morning that would effectively make ticket scalping legal in Michigan.

Currently, state law requires tickets to sporting events and other entertainment be resold at the face value of the ticket. The law has been on the books since 1931.  

Read more
Politics & Government
11:10 am
Sun January 12, 2014

5 things to know about Michigan Legislature in 2014

What's going on under the dome?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Legislature formally kicked off 2014 with no heavy lifting. But voting could occur this week, when lawmakers also gather to hear Governor Rick Snyder's annual State of the State speech.

Budget work will dominate the first half of the year. Legislators have nearly $1 billion more to work with than expected, and one priority is spending more on road upkeep without raising taxes.

Lawmakers also are talking up an election-year tax cut, perhaps in the state income tax.

Read more
Law
4:52 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Who's that knocking on your door?

A new state law exempts process servers from trespassing laws.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

In Michigan, you can no longer invoke trespassing laws to avoid being served court papers at your door.

At the end of 2013, a new law took effect to exempt process servers from trespassing laws.

Michigan Sen. Rick Jones sponsored the legislation.    He says the goal is to increase safety for process servers who sometimes are confronted with threats of violence.

Read more

Pages