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Here's what the state House passed while you slept

Members of the Michigan House were busy quickly passing bills in its lame-duck session until 3:30 am Thursday morning. Here's a round up of what they passed.  

Ballot initiative restrictions

Republican lawmakers in Lansing are quickly trying to increase regulations on the signature gathering process for ballot initiatives.

After a morning committee hearing, the state House passed the bill Wednesday night. It now goes on to the state Senate.

A controversial part of the bill would require that no more than 15% of petition signatures come from a single Congressional district.

It would also make it a crime for a person to lie about their status as a paid signature gatherer. The House also passed a bill that would make it a crime to purposefully make a false statement to a signer when gathering signatures.

A-F grades for Michigan schools

Michigan could start grading its schools – with an A through F letter grade. The State House narrowly passed a bill early Thursday morning.

It would create a five-member, temporary panel to evaluate if the A through F system is working, but the Michigan Department of Education would create the system and assign grades.

Schools would not receive an overall grade. Instead, they’d be graded in different areas like student growth in math and English language, and graduation rates. The bill will now go to the state Senate.

Fee increase on state water bills

Governor Rick Snyder’s efforts to increase a fee on water bills to help pay for the state’s infrastructure can continue.

The state House had until today to pass either an actual plan or a so-called vehicle bill. That’s a shell bill that can later be amended as the substance of the bill is worked out.

Snyder recently said he would not, “horse trade,” on bills during this lame duck session. He says he won’t trade votes on this issue in exchange for signin bills he doesn’t agree with.

Telemedicine for abortion drugs banned

Women seeking abortion medication would have to see a doctor in person if Governor Rick Snyder signs a bill headed to his desk.

Legislation that would permanently prevent the use of telemedicine – things like video conferencing – to obtain abortion medication passed the state House early Thursday morning. It’s just a procedural vote away from Snyder’s desk.

Supporters say the abortion medication can be dangerous and women should have a doctor present and readily available if they take it.

Deer sterilization

A bill to ban sterilizing deer in Michigan until April 2022 is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

The City of Ann Arbor would be allowed to continue sterilizing its deer since it has a permit.

The Department of Natural Resources would be required to submit two reports about research on the effects of sterilization permits. The department also would not be allowed to issue permits until April 2022. That's when they would review the reports and recommend legislation.

The bill would also allow for special deer management zones. Those are areas where the DNR could permit more deer to be killed.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
Lauren Talley is Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition producer. She produces and edits studio interviews and feature stories, and helps manage the “Mornings in Michigan” series. Lauren also serves as the lead substitute host for Morning Edition.
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