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Michigan Legislature

picture of Lansing capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are finalizing their fall agenda.

There’s only nine session days scheduled between now and Election Day. Lawmakers will try to spend as much time as possible campaigning in their districts.

Democrats in the state House are hoping to hold hearings on the issues surrounding Michigan’s groundwater. Over in the Senate, Republicans are keeping the agenda open.

AcrylicArtist / MorgueFile

 


The Michigan Legislature will return from summer break next week, and Republicans are discussing the potential of adopting two proposals headed to the ballot this November. 

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 


Emails have emerged in a federal lawsuit which suggest Michigan Republicans gerrymandered congressional districts despite years of claims the lines were drawn without political bias.

Journalists Joel Kurth and Lindsay VanHulle broke the story for Bridge Magazine. 

One email from a GOP staffer, according to the article, bragged about cramming “Dem garbage” into four southeast Michigan Congressional districts. In another, a longtime Michigan Chamber of Commerce executive predicts the maps will keep Republicans in power for years.

park sign
Wikimedia Commons

Michigan officials want Congress to approve legislation that would boost funding for fish and wildlife conservation.

Pending bills would allocate $1.3 billion a year to a federal program similar to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

The trust fund uses royalties from mineral development on state land to improve outdoor recreation.

More than 300 wildlife species in Michigan need protection to prevent them from becoming endangered.

prosthetic leg
U.S. Army / Flickr

Rep. Beau LaFave was born with a congenital defect. When he was 18 months old, doctors amputated his left leg at the knee. He’s worn a prosthetic device for most of his life. 

For amputees, a prosthetic device can be life changing, but prosthetics are expensive -- LeFave (R-Iron Mountain) says his latest has a price tag of $70,000 -- and they’re not always covered by health insurance.

Paweł Czerwiński / Unsplash

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Yet, in January, Congress and the President extended warrantless surveillance of phone calls, emails, personal Facebook pages and messages, permitting the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on U.S. citizens for six more years.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

The Michigan Legislature approved a budget this week right before leaving for the summer recess. 

It would be impossible to go over everything in the budget, so Stateside sat down with two commentators to discuss some notable parts. 

Vicki Barnett is a former Mayor of Farmington Hills and Democratic legislator, and Ken Sikkema is a Senior Policy Fellow with Public Sector Consultants and the former Republican majority leader in the state Senate. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Marijuana advocates say they are watching “very closely” as a deadline looms for Michigan’s legislature to decide whether to act or not on a petition to legalize recreational pot.

Michigan Association of Environmental Professionals

Michigan lawmakers passed a trio of bills Tuesday evening would create a panel to oversee the actions of the state Department of Environmental Quality. The legislation is now on its way to Governor Snyder’s desk.

http://www.senatormikeshirkey.com/

After scathing criticism of a proposed Medicaid work requirement many saw as racist, the lawmaker behind the plan is backing off.

Under the plan, people who live in Michigan counties with more than 8.5 percent unemployment would've been exempt from the work rule.  Those are rural, mostly white counties. 

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If certain health providers and legislators get their way, Michigan's mental health system could soon be privatized.

Pretty much everyone agrees that closer coordination of mental and physical health care would be a good thing for patients.

After all, the mind is connected to the body, but just how to get there has been up for fierce debate going on two years now.

The Michigan Senate in Lansing.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

Legislation meant to prevent victims of sex crimes from attending school with their attackers is one step closer to the governor's desk.

I shouldn't be able to breed my own lions

Apr 25, 2018
lion cub
Alias 0591 / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1f2P1w6

You don’t have to be a geneticist to know species need genetic diversity. That’s the key practical reason why most societies forbid incest. European kings and queens often married first cousins, and that helped spread hemophilia throughout the royal families of Europe.

Well, that’s at least as true of zoo animals. There are genetic records -- stud books, they are sometimes called – and what are called Species Survival Plans. 

When identity politics get silly

Apr 23, 2018

After last week’s Democratic Party “endorsement convention,” there is a distinct probability that three of their candidates for the top four statewide offices will be white women.  Strong, accomplished, politically sophisticated women.

But much of the reaction to that has shown that misogyny is not dead, and that some people are fixated on quotas that have too often given us candidates who were symbolic tokens.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Victims would have more rights under bills passed by the state House Thursday.

One bill would require defendants be physically present in the courtroom when a victim or victim’s family gives an impact statement at sentencing. The other is aimed at making sure students don’t have to go to school with someone who sexually assaulted them.

money
Mathieu Turle / unsplash

Some lawmakers in Lansing want people to work to get Medicaid. The Senate introduced a bill Thursday. It would add work requirements to the Medical Assistance Program, or Medicaid.

Medicaid is a federal program that gives low-income people – along with children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities - health insurance.

If passed, able-bodied adults would be required to work or continue school for 30 hours per week as a condition of receiving medical assistance.

Michigan Legislature
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state House has sent a bill to Governor Rick Snyder that forbids local governments from adopting ordinances dealing with questions employers may ask in job interviews.

The bill would expand an existing ban on local regulations that limit the information employers can ask for. It’s an effort to preempt local rules that bar asking about salary histories and criminal backgrounds. There are no such local regulations in Michigan, but they have been adopted in other states.

Gun laws across the country are under the microscope at state capitols. And Michigan is no exception. But the reality is, we’re not seeing a re-thinking of gun policy. Instead, everyone’s just returned to their corners.

There’s increasing pressure for Lansing to do something following the school shootings in Parkland, Florida.

artist rendering of proposed bridge
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

One of the ways that the state of Michigan takes action is by passing legislation. The state House and Senate pass bills, send them on to the governor and if he signs them, they become law. However, the governor has an end-around option that doesn't involve the Legislature and doesn't get much attention.

Larry Nassar in court with his attorneys, Shannon Smith and Matthew Newburg.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Six Republicans and 12 Democratic lawmakers have signed onto legislation to establish a special committee to investigate the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics handling of sexual abuse allegations against former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., says she's hopeful Senate leaders will back the effort once the chamber has dealt with an array of critical issues, namely keeping the federal government running. But she has not yet received a commitment.

wetlands
Flickr/barbaragaillewis / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Legislature is considering three bills that would change how the state determines environmental rules.

person writing on paper
LucasTheExperience / Flickr

Organizers of a ballot drive want voters to decide if Michigan should have a part-time legislature.

And they're making a push for signatures to get it on the 2018 ballot.

HTTP://WWW.SENATORJIMMARLEAU.COM/

It is against the law in Michigan for anyone who holds political office to use campaign funds to pay personal expenses.

That said, it can be challenging to figure out if this is happening when elected officials use campaign money to pay off credit card balances, and then skimp on the details.

Such is the case with Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, as outlined in a front-page story by Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan's schoolkids made their way back to classrooms Tuesday for the start of a new school year.

Today, it’s our state lawmakers’ turn. They’re back in Lansing for the first day of the fall session.

inside the chambers of the Michigan lesilature
Michigan Municipal League

Governor Rick Snyder signed a large bill package last week that makes female genital mutilation a felony in Michigan, but he could see more bills on this issue headed to his desk. The additional bills deal with police training and parental rights.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder's administration agreed that he would publicly oppose many future labor-relations bills in a bid to secure Democratic votes in the Michigan House for economic development tax incentives.

A Republican legislative official and a Snyder administration official who told The Associated Press about the agreement spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the private meetings.

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A $56.7 billion state budget is headed toward Gov. Rick Snyder's desk after the Republican-led state Senate gave it final approval on mostly party-line votes.

The bills approved Thursday include more money for K-12 schools, universities and community colleges. There is less funding for prison spending and environmental cleanup.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan House passed a series of bills that increase the punishment for doctors and parents involved in female genital mutilation.

The bills, which were introduced and passed in the Senate in May, would make it a 15-year felony to remove or reconstruct a female minor’s genitalia for non-medical purposes.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A pair of identical bills were introduced to the Michigan House and Senate Wednesday that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries and businesses from advertising on billboards.

Henk Sijgers / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A bill approved by the Michigan Legislature would let residents legally leave a vehicle running unattended on private property.

The bill cleared the Senate on a 30-6 vote Tuesday and goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. It was proposed after a Detroit-area man was ticketed $128 for leaving a car running in his driveway as the vehicle warmed up.

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