Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Senate bill would lower minimum wage for young adults

Jun 18, 2015
Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bill is being considered by the Michigan Senate that would lower the minimum wage for young adults.

Senate Bill 250 would allow people under 20 to be paid 85% of the state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.

Current laws allow employers to pay workers under 18 a lower minimum wage.

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder this week signed the $54 billion state budget that pays for schools, universities, prisons, and more. That marks about six months of activity for the newest Michigan Legislature.

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Michigan Radio's Jenn White. They talk about where the state is investing money and where it's pulling back.

Film rolls.
Luca Nonato / Flickr

Michigan's film incentives would be completely phased out under a bill approved this morning by the state Senate.

The vote comes a day after Gov. Rick Snyder signed a new state budget that cut funding for the film credits in half compared to the budget passed last year.

The legislation now goes to the state House, which could send the bill to the governor's desk later today.

*We'll have more on this soon.

Wayne County executive Warren Evans has asked state officials to declare a financial emergency there.

In a letter to state treasurer Nick Khouri Wednesday, Evans lays out his reasons for requesting state intervention in Michigan’s largest county, and requests Khouri start the process that could lead to a financial emergency being declared.

Today on Stateside:

A recent survey suggests that Michigan voters don't like a lot of what they see in the upcoming political season.
National Ave

Presidential candidates keep hopping on the bandwagon. ‘Tis the season, after all.


The Detroit City Council has rejected efforts to impose a four-day youth curfew preceding the city’s fireworks festival.

The annual fireworks are coming up this Monday, and there’s usually a curfew. This year, Detroit Police had asked to expand it to the three Detroit Riverdays preceding the fireworks.

The proposal drew some heated criticism at a public hearing Tuesday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s four mayoral candidates swapped ideas, personal stories and a few jabs at a candidate forum last night.

Much of evening focused on Flint’s problem-plagued water system and the recently ended state oversight. 

Michigan voters may see marijuana on the ballot in 2016
user Coleen Whitfield / flickr

Two Michigan groups hoping to legalize marijuana in Michigan can begin collecting signatures to put the question on the 2016 ballot after a state elections board signed off on the groups' petition language.

Congressman Dan Kildee speaks at the announcement of the USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

It seems there isn't much Congress can agree on these days.

But there was an exception to that Monday night concerning the plight of Amir Hekmati, 31, of Flint.

The Michigan House of Representatives
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Democrats and Republicans in the state House want to end the state’s “zero tolerance” policies in schools.

Federal law requires schools to expel students for bringing guns to school. House Bill 4697 would end state policies forcing schools to expel or suspend students for things like bringing alcohol to school or fighting.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has hired a new chief financial officer with experience with troubled city finances.

Jody Lundquist comes to Flint from Benton Harbor, where she was the city’s finance director. Like Flint, Benton Harbor spent years being run by an emergency manager, appointed by the governor to fix the city’s money problems.

Benton Harbor exited direct oversight more than  a year ago. Flint did the same a few months back.

There are rumors that powerhouse Oakland County Executive and outspoken Republican L. Brooks Patterson may not run again in 2016, leaving Republicans in a bind.

State Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth.
Michigan Republicans

One state legislator says the process of creating a regional authority to manage southeast Michigan’s water needs to start from scratch.

The Great Lakes Water Authority was finalized last week. The Authority will lease and run what’s now the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s system outside Detroit city limits for $50 million a year.

Public Domain

A Michigan House bill would give judges more discretion when it comes to sentencing first-time felons who carried a gun during their crime.

Right now, first-time offenders face a mandatory two-year sentence for a felony firearm charge, on top of any other charges they're facing.

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

A bill that would end local wage and benefit laws has cleared the state Senate.

The legislation would stop communities from setting their own living wage and workplace rules – among other things.

Elizabeth / Creative Commons

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a new law tying welfare benefits to school attendance.

For more than two years, a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services policy has ended cash assistance for families with children who persistently miss school. This cements that policy in state law.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The United States Army has wrapped up its training exercises in Flint and other Michigan cities.

For the past week, low flying helicopters and explosions could be heard as special training exercises popped up, often unexpectedly in urban areas.

The intent of the exercises has been to give members of the military specialized training in urban environments.   

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The state House has approved a Republican plan to boost road funding by about $1 billion a year. It would shift most of the money from existing funds in the state budget.

Democrats criticized the plan. They say it relies too heavily on projected economic growth in coming years. And they strongly oppose provisions that would increase fees for alternative fuel vehicles and eliminate a tax credit for the working poor.

Potholes are a familiar obstacle on Michigan roads.
Flickr user Michael Gil / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Drivers can all agree: Potholes are a fact of life here in Michigan. But does it have to be that way?

Jack Lessenberry’s recent opinion piece for Dome Magazine, Why Budapest Has Better Roads, examines Central Europe’s approach to infrastructure.

The difference, he says, would be shocking to Michiganders. “I drove hundreds and hundreds of miles on roads in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, former East Germany, without seeing anything we in Michigan would call a pothole,” he says.

Kevyn Orr surrounded by the press
Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy on Flickr / Flickr

The state's Emergency Loan Board is not very transparent regarding how it makes decisions for state emergency management or consent agreements.

The board is made up of three members who are appointed by the Governor, and they have the ability to lend millions of taxpayer dollars to schools.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry explains the latest road funding proposal, an effort by the Snyder administration to prevent sexual assault on college campuses and the latest on efforts to help ease the foreclosure crisis in Wayne County.

This photo gives you a sense for why the pig was called "Giggles."
Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor / Facebook

There’s one less candidate running for mayor of Flint.

A post overnight on the “Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor” Facebook page announced the four-legged candidate was dropping out of the race for Flint mayor.

Giggles entered the race after a mistake in the city clerk’s office meant none of the two-legged candidates qualified for the August Primary.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that will allow a private corrections company to accept inmates who've been security risks at other prisons at a facility in northern Michigan.

The Baldwin private prison – closed since 2005 – is owned by the GEO Group. The new law allows GEO's currently dormant North Lake Correctional Facility to house “level five” inmates who've been convicted of fighting and attempting to escape. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will consider a resolution Tuesday that calls on the Iranian government to release a Flint man from prison.

There is also a similar resolution making its way through Congress.

Amir Hekmati was arrested on spying charges while visiting relatives in Tehran. The retired U.S. marine denies the charges

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has again extended the deadline for homeowners to avoid tax foreclosure.

Facing the prospect of an unprecedented foreclosure crisis, the county has expanded its outreach efforts to distressed homeowners, and had already moved back the original March payment deadline to Monday. 

Today on Stateside:

- Who will jump into the race for Michigan’s next governor? Believe it or not, the 2018 speculation game is heating up.

- Does Ty Cobb deserve a new biography? We check in with writer Charles Leerhsen. His new book explores Cobb's life, and comes away with a somewhat different look at the Tiger legend.

Jake Neher / MPRN

For the first time, Michigan will spend general fund dollars to prevent sexual assault on college campuses.

State lawmakers recently approved a budget with $500,000 dollars in grant money that programs can apply for.

matthew_hull / morgueFile

A strain of bird flu that has devastated poultry farms across the Midwest has reached Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed the first cases of highly pathogenic avian flu H5N2 in the state. They were found in wild geese in Macomb County.