Michigan’s Medicaid program faces a budget shortfall this year of more than $100 million dollars. That’s because a new tax on health insurance claims is not producing as much revenue as state officials expected. Read more→
Teachers unions say they liked at least one thing Governor Rick Snyder said during his State of the State address Thursday night. The governor called for state incentives to encourage school districts to go year-round. Read more→
Governor Rick Snyder says it’s time for state lawmakers to set new energy goals for Michigan. He says those goals should include burning less coal and increasing renewable energy production over the next decade. Read more→
Legislation that would give medical marijuana patients more ways to obtain and use cannabis is one step closer to becoming law. A state House panel unanimously approved House Bills 4271 and 5104 Tuesday.
They would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate again in Michigan and let patients use edible forms of marijuana, respectively. The legislation would give communities the ability to decide whether to allow dispensaries under new regulations. Read more→
Medical marijuana advocates are confident a state House panel will approve a pair of bills Tuesday that would significantly change the way patients can obtain and use cannabis.
Recent court rulings have made it illegal to operate medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan and for patients to use edible forms of cannabis. House Bill 4271 would revive dispensaries with new regulations, and House Bill 5104 would allow patients to use so-called “medibles”. Read more→
A proposal that would put new restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions is headed to the state Legislature.
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Monday moved forward a proposal that would ban abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Women would only be able to purchase abortion coverage as a separate rider.
Right to Life of Michigan, which circulated the petitions, is confident lawmakers will approve it in the coming weeks, “because similar legislation was brought up last year – it was voted on, a majority of the House and the Senate did pass it – and because we received a majority of the House and the Senate signatures on the petitions themselves,” said spokesperson Genevieve Marnon.
Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a similar measure last year, saying it would be an intrusion on the private healthcare market. But the voter-initiated law would not be subject to a veto.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan is lobbying against the initiative. Officials with the organization hope legislative leaders won’t make the proposal a priority as they finish their work for the year.
“If they really want to be focusing on bringing jobs to Michigan, fixing the economy, doing things that help Michigan, or if they really want to be focused on divisive issues that actually take health insurance coverage away from women and families in Michigan,” said Meghan Groen, director of government relations for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
State lawmakers have 40 days to approve the measure. If they don’t pass it, it will go to Michigan voters on the 2014 ballot.
A panel looking to end an impasse between the state and public employee unions is recommending a 2% pay increase for state workers. Under the proposal, many employees would likely have to pay more out-of-pocket for health insurance.
The panel released its recommendation after unions and the state failed to reach an agreement on a two-year contract.
“We did bargain together on this, we did work together, we just couldn’t get to a voluntary agreement,” said Kurt Weiss, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. “And so the governor continues to support this process where the Civil Service Commission will make a ruling.”
Unions had asked for a 3% pay increase starting in October of both 2014 and 2015. The state offered a 2% increase in 2014 and a 1% increase in 2015. The current proposal includes a 2% increase in both years, plus a 0.5% lump sum payment in the first year.
“I think the impasse panel did good work, and I think that we’re close to where we need to be,” said Weiss, who called the panel’s recommendation “reasonable.”
The state Civil Service Commission is expected to make a final decision on the proposal on December 18th. State and union officials can ask the commission to make changes to the proposal before then.
Public employee unions did not respond to requests for comment.