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Vicki Barnett

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

The State of Michigan received some good news and some bad news this week. Projections show income tax revenue over the next couple of years will likely be less than expected: around $300 million less for the state’s general fund.

But the sales tax-based School Aid Fund is projected to bring in more than expected – about $340 million more.

The Michigan state capitol building
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two sticking points in Lansing lately are prisons and infrastructure.

STEVE CARMODY / Michigan Radio

A House committee has approved a package of bills to expand the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to cover the governor and the legislature, with a few exemptions.

That has happened before, but Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof buried it. It looks like he might do that again this year.

Two of the biggest topics of the week when it comes to Michigan politics involved the proposal to mandate employers to let workers earn paid sick time and the effort to put gerrymandering on the ballot in 2018.
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When it comes to Michigan politics, two of this week's biggest topics were a proposal to mandate that employers let workers earn paid sick time and an effort to put gerrymandering on the ballot in 2018.

Two of the biggest topics of the week when it comes to Michigan politics involved the proposal to mandate employers to let workers earn paid sick time and the effort to put gerrymandering on the ballot in 2018.
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder released his budget proposal this week, and there's a lot of discussion about how the state's money will be spent, or not spent, in the upcoming year. 

MATTHILEO / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

This week, Republicans and Democrats in Lansing seem to agree that it’s time to expand the state’s open record laws to cover the governor and the Legislature. Michigan is one of only a couple states that don’t already require all lawmakers to be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside and said it might not be smooth sailing to the governor's desk. 

Dr. Abdalmajid Katranji and Dana Mosa-Basha supported President Trump's ordered bombing of a Syrian Airbase
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It's been a busy week in the world of politics. For instance: Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette was accused of posturing, and President Donald Trump continues to stir things up in Washington.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside to break it all down. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

After a long, grueling campaign season, Election Day is only 20 days away. This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at ballot battles in southeast Michigan, including an unusual situation in Macomb County, where a Clinton Township Trustee who's running for supervisor is facing bribery charges.

They also discuss L. Brooks Patterson's bid for a seventh term as Oakland County Executive and a mass transit millage proposal in metro Detroit.

If this election follows the familiar pattern, Donald Trump will lose Oakland County, Michigan’s second-largest and easily most affluent county, and lose it badly.

Oakland was once reliably Republican. But the party’s move to the right on social issues hasn’t played well with largely highly educated Oakland voters, especially professional women.


House Democrats / Michigan.gov

Many Michigan students would pay little to no money for in-state college tuition under a proposal in Lansing. State Representative Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) wants to raise the state’s sales tax by one percent to pay for the plan.

Barnett talked about the proposal on the Michigan Public Television program “Off the Record.”

“People are recognizing that we need to find a way to make sure that all of our kids who graduate high school who want to go on and get a higher educational degree have the opportunity to do so without having the weight and burden of student loans carrying them down,” Barnett said.

Besides helping students gain access to higher education, she says it would also help attract employers.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state House has approved an overhaul of Michigan’s worker-compensation system. That system is supposed to pay benefits to people injured on the job.

Business groups and Republicans say an overhaul of the system is needed to reduce insurance rates paid by employers, and get people back to work more quickly – even if it’s a job that pays less.

They say a leaner and less-expensive system is still needed to make the state more employer-friendly.

Representative Bradford Jacobsen (R-Oxford) sponsored the bill.

“We’re not talking about someone driving 50 miles looking for a lawn-mowing job. But we do ask, if you’re on work comp that if you’re able to go back even in a marginal job to get back on some earning capacity to go ahead and do it,” said Jacobsen.

State Representative Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) opposed the overhaul.

She says it will reduce benefits for injured workers and force some of them to take lower-paying jobs before they are fully healed:

“What we do here matters to people and to families every day. This particular bill will be hurting families, workers, and the very people we came here to protect,” said Barnett.

Democrats also say the changes are not needed because Michigan’s unemployment coverage rates have gone down in 12 of the past 16 years.

They say the changes could become harder for employees to file claims or receive benefits they deserve.