Author Archives: Jake Neher

State board says people with autism should be able to use medical marijuana

potA state board has approved adding autism to the list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Review Panel voted 4-2 on Friday to make the recommendation.

The final decision will be made by Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Mike Zimmer. Continue reading

Michigan schools continue to struggle under emergency management

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It’s been almost two-and-a-half years since Michigan’s revamped emergency manager law took effect. Thirteen Michigan cities and five school districts are currently under some form of state oversight.

Regardless of your thoughts about the idea of the state appointing unelected officials to take control over cities and schools – it’s fair to say there have been some successes on the municipal front. Seven cities are now transitioning back to full local control. Only one municipal emergency manager remains on the job. Continue reading

Protesters rally against pipeline under Mackinac Strait

Protesters rallied at the state Capitol on Thursday, demanding that an oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac be shut down.

Protesters rallied at the state Capitol on Thursday, demanding that an oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac be shut down.

Environmental activists rallied at the state Capitol today to protest an oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. The pipeline is operated by Enbridge Energy – the company responsible for a massive oil spill in the Kalamazoo River in 2010. Continue reading

MI Supreme Court upholds murder conviction despite jury taking wrong oath

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The state Supreme Court will allow a murder conviction to stand despite the fact that the jury took the wrong oath before trial.

The court clerk mistakenly swore in the jury using the oath given to prospective jurors that they answer questions about their juror qualifications truthfully. Continue reading

New proposals seek to increase access to birth control in Michigan

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The state would have to take measures meant to increase access to birth control under new proposals in the state Legislature.

Democrats unveiled the forthcoming bills on Wednesday. They would require businesses to inform workers and job applicants of reproductive health care coverage and require the state to distribute information about emergency contraception. Continue reading

Without a deal this week, road funding talks may have to wait until the fall

The state House is scheduled to meet one day this week to try and reach a compromise on road funding.

If a deal doesn’t get done on Tuesday, talks may have to wait until the fall. The House is scheduled to begin a month-long break on Wednesday.

State officials say the longer the talks drag on, the more expensive it gets to fix the state’s crumbling roads.

Portrait, Director Kirk Steudle

Portrait, Director Kirk Steudle

“The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost us,” said Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director Kirk Steudle.

“We could pay now or pay more later. And, frankly, we’re getting to the point where it’s about to be pay more later.”

For almost four years, Steudle and Gov. Rick Snyder have said lawmakers must boost road funding by at least $1.2 billion a year to keep the roads from getting worse. Groups representing construction workers say the number is closer to $2 billion.

Steudle points out lawmakers have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in one-time money into the roads this year.

“But on a larger scale, the whole system is still continuing to decline,” he said.

State House Republicans appear to be divided on raising taxes to boost road funding. The state Senate approved a plan that would raise the state’s gas tax by 15 cents a gallon over three years. That proposal would eventually boost road funding by about $1.5 billion a year.

Democratic state rep to introduce pot legalization bill similar to ballot initiative

Jeff Irwin

Jeff Irwin

A Democrat in the state House plans to introduce a bill that would decriminalize and regulate marijuana in Michigan.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) says public support for legalization has reached critical mass. Continue reading

State House leaders try to cobble together Republican votes for road funding plan

bad-yellow-line-roadjpg-55a2be0a87eeea1d_largeGOP leaders in the state House are working to assemble enough Republican votes to pass a road funding plan that’s likely to raise taxes.

House Republicans met on Tuesday to review a Senate-approved plan that raises the state’s gas tax by 15 cents over three years. Continue reading

Group seeks to put mandatory paid sick leave on the 2016 ballot

voteAn effort is underway put mandatory paid sick leave for all Michigan workers on the November 2016 ballot.

The proposal would require businesses to offer paid leave if a worker or someone in their immediate family is sick. The initiative from the Time to Care Coalition would allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Continue reading

State House returns from summer break to take up road funding debate

Capital_Building_LansingThe state House briefly returns from its summer break this week to take up the debate over road funding. It will consider a state Senate plan that differs widely from the plan the House approved last month.

A key difference is that the Senate plan raises the gas tax by 15 cents over three years. The House plan relies mostly on existing revenues. Continue reading

As state House gets set to take up roads, Dem leader criticizes Senate plan

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Democrats in the state Legislature are criticizing Republican plans to boost road funding. That’s as the House gets set to take up the debate next week.

The state Senate approved a plan last week that would boost the gas tax by 15 cents a gallon over three years and shift $700 million from other areas of the budget. It also includes a possible rollback in the state income tax rate. Continue reading

Republican lawmakers blast OU, EMU tuition hikes, hint at added penalties in future

Oakland University

Oakland University

State lawmakers could consider adding new penalties for universities that hike tuition above the state’s cap on tuition increases.

This year, lawmakers set that cap at 3.2 percent. Continue reading

Snyder signs law meant to prevent more cash-strapped schools from closing

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Gov. Rick Snyder has signed bills into law meant to prevent financial emergencies in schools.

The state and intermediate schools districts now have more power to step in sooner when schools show signs of financial trouble. Continue reading