tim kelly

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers are acting quickly on legislation to legalize riding-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.

The app-based taxi-like service links people who need a ride with willing motorists.

The services appear to be in violation of state law. Some cities, like Ann Arbor, have tried to prevent them from operating. Others, like Lansing, have been more welcoming.

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Lawmakers in the state Senate hope to move forward this week on a plan to fund the implementation of new school standards.

Republican leaders in the Senate had hoped to introduce a resolution last week to fund the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. But Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) says it was a good idea to wait because there were so many concerns that had to be addressed.

“I want people to have a good look at it and hear from some other experts before we do anything,” said Richardville. “It’s always on our radar screen because it’s an important issue. We’re not going to let that one drag out forever.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state House has voted to reinstate funding for the Common Core state school standards.

More than 40 other states have chosen to adopt the standards, which set yearly expectations for what students should learn at every grade level in math and language arts.

But earlier this year, Michigan lawmakers temporarily barred the state from spending money to implement Common Core. A legislative panel was formed to study the issue over the summer, and its chair, Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp.) crafted a resolution based on more than 17 hours of public testimony.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State lawmakers have been debating the Common Core State Standards for months. The nationwide school standards lay out specific things that students should know after each grade level. The goal is to set expectations for students no matter where they live in the United States.

But opponents say Common Core would strip local control of school curriculum and could compromise the security of students’ personal information through data collection.

Now, the state House Education Committee is set to take up House Concurrent Resolution 11 Thursday morning.

America always has had strange outliers on the margins of our politics, from half-secret movements like the Know-Nothings to the left-wing crazies of the late 1960s. My eighth grade teacher referred to those on the farther shores of our politics as the “lunatic fringe.”

In more recent times, most of the nuts have been right-wing nuts. When I was young they opposed putting fluoride in the water, seeing that as a Communist plot. Indeed, they saw Communist plots everywhere. The head of the John Birch Society wrote a book claiming that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was an active agent of the Communist conspiracy. Asked about this once in Hillsdale, William F. Buckley Jr., said Eisenhower wasn’t a commie, but a golfer.

Well, classic communism is gone. Nobody talks about fluoride any more. But we still have a conspiracy-haunted fringe, and in Michigan today their latest cause is fighting what are called the Common Core Curriculum learning standards.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Common Core hearings

A state House panel began a series of hearings about the Common Core State Standards yesterday. Republican Representative Tom McMillin says the standards take away local control and were developed and adopted without public input. Committee Chair Tim Kelly says the panel should make its recommendation on Common Core in September, Michigan Public Radio's Jake Neher reports.

Legislation to limit public employee benefits

There’s legislation in Lansing that would allow local ballot drives to cap public employee benefits. Leon Drolet, head of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, says the ballot campaigns would act as a safeguard against cozy relationships between public employee unions and local elected officials who bargain with them. Unions say the bill is not necessary because local officials are already accountable to voters, Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta reports.

Reviving Battle Creek's Heritage Tower

Battle Creek city commissioners voted last night to create a special tax district in hopes of reviving an iconic downtown building. The Heritage Tower is an 82-year-old art deco building and the upper floors of the former bank building have been condemned. Ken Tsuchiyama, Battle Creek’s city manager, fears the building may have to be demolished unless the new owner can revitalize it.