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State Senate passes more overnight legislation during marathon lame-duck session

Members of the Michigan Senate were busy Thursday passing more bills during the legislature's lame-duck session. Here’s what you need to know.

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Daniel Howes / Detroit News

It must be good to be Dr. Eden Wells. She’s Michigan’s chief medical executive.

Just days before a judge ordered her to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the Flint water crisis, she got a new government gig. The job is newly created and posted for all of six days, and get this, she was the only applicant.

MSU Board of Trustees takes heat over cutting healing assistance fund

Dec 14, 2018
Plaque on the door of the MSU Board of Trustees
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

The MSU Board of Trustees held its first meeting on Friday after the school’s controversial decision to cut the Healing Assistance Fund for survivors of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar.

Most commenters were angry about the decision to cut the Healing Assistance Fund, which had earmarked $10 million for mental health services for survivors.

The school announced last week that it would move the remaining $8 million into a settlement fund.

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Fourteen Michigan water treatment plants from Port Huron to Monroe now have a coordinated early warning system.

Kelley Karll, an engineer with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, says there's a lot of heavy industry and freighter traffic on both the Canadian and U.S. side of the shared waterway, which includes the St. Clair River.

She says it's a risk for the three million people who depend on the treatment plants for drinking water.  Now, an upstream water treatment plant can immediately warn a downstream plant of a threat.

"It's just a poke," a nurse told a toddler at a special lead clinic at Brownell Elementary School in Flint. The little girl disagreed, loudly.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan updated its blood lead levels for workers earlier this week, making it the first state to replace standards that were drawn up in the 1980s.  

Workers will now have to be removed from lead exposure when their blood lead levels reach 30 ug/dL – a substantial decrease from the previous level of 50 to 60 ug/dL. Under the new standards, employees cannot return to work until their blood lead level is below 15 ug/dL.

Anders Adermark / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

The Detroit Archdiocese has responded to criticism of its move to transfer property into a holding company. The church is being accused of trying to shield assets from potential lawsuits by victims of sexual abuse.

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Today, where do bills still passing through the Michigan Legislature stand as we head into the final week of the lame-duck session? Plus, we speak to two siblings who were separated in the foster care system. Now, they're fighting for a Sibling Bill of Rights. 

Legislator explains why school grading system is needed

 

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A bill introduced by Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) passed yesterday with some amendments in the state House. If the education bill is passed in the state Senate, it will create an A-through-F grading system for Michigan schools.

Rep. Kelly joined us to discuss SB 5526 and respond to criticizers of the bill, such as Nikolai Vitti, the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District who called the bill anti-democratic. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Mike Cameron and Michael Konas are the co-founders and creative forces behind Dog Might Games. 

If you visit their woodshop, you’ll first be greeted by a dog. He’s a rescue.

Dog Might Games says it doesn’t have customers; it has fans. The fans named the dog “Sawdust.”

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Governor Rick Snyder signed two bills into law that weaken voter initiatives to raise the minimum wage and require paid sick leave for workers. Republican legislators passed the initiatives into law in September to prevent them from going on the ballot. That allowed them to extensively amend the measures.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The copper mug was on the mixing table, but I knew Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings was probably not going to be mixing a Moscow mule. She was about to throw me a curve.

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A 9-part podcast about a team of women who won justice in one of the largest serial sexual abuse cases in U.S. history.