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In the frantic bill passing of lame duck, the state Legislature pushed through an A-F grading system for Michigan schools. It requires the state to grade K-12 schools in five areas, and then make the grades available for parents to view.

Gov. Rick Snyder
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Governor Snyder's wrist may hurt this evening. He signed or vetoed hundreds of bills today.

Snyder received hundreds of bills to review just before the Christmas holiday. These bills come from a busy lame duck session – and the clock is running out on Snyder’s time in office.

Gov. Rick Snyder
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State and local leaders are urging Governor Rick Snyder to veto two bills on how the state deals with some kinds of radioactive waste.

One bill would require landfill owners to pay five dollars per ton of radioactive waste. The money from this fee would go into a pollution prevention fund.

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Local gamblers and national gaming companies are waiting to see if Michigan will take a step toward joining the growing number of states that allow sports betting.

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Michigan environmentalists are urging Governor Rick Snyder to veto a bill that would give the Legislature the ability to intervene in state lawsuits.

House Bill 6553 passed during the final week of the Lame Duck session.

Peggy Case is the president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation. She doesn’t think the state government has done enough to protect the environment while Republicans have held top offices in Lansing.

Governor Rick Snyder
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Lawmakers sent more than 400 bills to Governor Rick Snyder during the lame-duck session. But Snyder's office will no longer be taking comments on those bills from constituents by phone or through its website.

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A bill that modifies the funding structure for the School Aid Fund is headed for the governor’s desk

The bill would lower the amount of money schools get from the state income tax. That money would go toward environmental and transportation initiatives championed by Governor Rick Snyder.

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State lawmakers are harnessing some money from online gambling to help Michigan’s struggling horse racing industry.

Legislation to allow Detroit and tribal casinos to apply for online gaming licenses passed in the waning hours of the Lame Duck session.

picture of Michigan legislative chambers
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Governor Rick Snyder will decide whether to set the statute of limitations for campaign finance crimes at five years. That would mean that prosecutors must file charges against someone who violates the Campaign Finance Act within five years of the crime.

Opponents say that’s not long enough – and lawmakers shouldn’t put a time frame on a crime specific to their profession.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Legislature’s lame duck session ends Thursday.   And maybe not a moment too soon for many state lawmakers struggling to make it to the final gavel.

The hectic pace and late hours appear to be catching up with state lawmakers.

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The Legislature’s lame duck session ends Thursday night – and a controversial bill likely won’t make it through.

Legislation passed by the Senate would take away campaign finance oversight from the secretary of state – and instead give it to a bipartisan commission.

classroom
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Gov. Rick Snyder will consider whether to add another performance rating system for Michigan schools. A bill with an A through F grading system is a final procedural action away from Snyder’s desk.

Schools would not receive an overall grade. Instead, they would be graded in different areas like student growth in math and graduation rates.

State Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) is a bill sponsor. He’s been working on this for six years.

Michigan State Capitol
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The state Legislature is in its final week of the lame duck session before the holiday break, and the bills are not slowing down.

Bills covering everything from shielding donor identities in campaigns to legislation on cleanup of toxic sites advanced in the Legislature Tuesday.

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A controversial bill setting new standards for cleaning up contamination is on its way to the governor.

The state House approved the legislation Tuesday by a narrow 56 to 53 vote margin. The bill has already passed the state Senate.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
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Today on Stateside, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan gives an update on the approximately 100 Iraqi immigrants who were detained in police custody for nearly a year and a half before a U.S. District Judge ordered their release last month. Plus, the lawyer representing residents in the Rockford area whose water was contaminated with PFAS weighs in on Senate Bill 1244, which would overhaul Michigan's standards for cleaning up toxic chemicals. 

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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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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.

Russell Kirk
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Today, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti joined Stateside to react to a lame-duck bill that would create a statewide A-F grading system for Michigan schools. Plus, what would Michigan native Russell Kirk, a founder of American conservatism, think of the ideology today? 

“This is colonialism”: Detroit schools chief blasts lame-duck A-F grading plan  

 

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
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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.  

Protesters hold court in rotunda of state Capitol

Dec 12, 2018
Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
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Protesters flooded the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol Wednesday to oppose actions taken by the Legislature during this year’s lame duck session. Protesters gathered for a second week after lawmakers passed legislation modifying measures such as minimum wage and earned sick time.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A portion of a package of school safety bills is expected to see a vote in Lansing this week.

The bills would create an Office of School Safety within the Department of State Police. They would also require school districts to consult with law enforcement about security and emergency plans for situations like active shooters. And they would allow school boards to discuss safety plans in closed sessions.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Scientists and public health advocates are voicing concern over a bill currently making its way through Michigan’s lame-duck Legislature. They say that SB 1244,  sponsored by state Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland), could prevent the state from using the most up-to-date science when determining what levels of toxic contamination should trigger a cleanup. 

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bill that would prevent state agencies from adopting standards stricter than federal standards is on its way to the governor’s desk. This applies to areas like environmental and workplace cleanup regulations.

Representative Donna Lasinski (D-Ann Arbor) voted against the bill. She says environmental regulations are not one size fits all.

Court intervention legislation passes Senate committee

Dec 11, 2018
scales of justice
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A state House bill that would allow the Legislature to intervene in court cases was passed by a Senate committee Tuesday.

Critics say the goal of the bills is to strip power from the newly elected Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
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Republicans in the state Legislature are trying to increase their power and limit the powers of statewide offices that – come January – will flip to Democrats. 

It's a strategy that's angered Democratic voters, and protestors have been flooding the state Capitol with chants like “We voted for blue, not for you.”

A woman wearing warm clothing holds a sign that says "Shut Down Line 5, No Tunnel".
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Demonstrators gathered in Petoskey on Saturday, opposing the state's plan to build a tunnel under the Straits of Mackinac, which would house twin oil pipelines owned by Canadian company Enbridge Energy.

The state Capitol Building
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The lame duck Legislature keeps moving forward.

Lawmakers continued to advance a high volume of bills through the House, Senate, and committees Thursday.

Marijuana plants
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As of today, Michigan is the first state in the midwest to allow recreational use of marijuana. What changes can we expect? Plus, we hear music that prisoners at Auschwitz concentration camp arranged and performed for their Nazi captors. 

Michigan History Center

 

Today, big changes in the lame duck session could be coming over who controls oversight of Michigan schools. Bills sponsored by term-limited Representative Tim Kelly would create a new 13-member education commission. Plus, voters approved Proposal 3, also called "Promote the Vote," on Nov. 6, but now Senator Mike Kowall has introduced a series of bills during the lame duck session that would alter what voters have approved.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

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