Stateside Staff

 

Today on Stateside, we talk to Governor Gretchen Whitmer about how the challenges her plan to "fix the damn roads" faces in the Legislature. Plus, we learn about Aldo Leopold, a father of wildlife ecology, and his connection to Les Cheneaux Islands in Lake Huron.

 


This week marks the fifth annual Leopold Festival, an event that takes place on the Les Cheneaux Islands in honor of Aldo Leopold, one of the founders of wildlife ecology and a dedicated conservationist.

 

 


A recent study by the University of Michigan found auto insurance rates are unaffordable for residents in 97% of Michigan counties.

 

The high rates are especially tough on low-income residents in Detroit, where auto insurance rates average $5,414 a year. So, would recent changes to the state's auto insurance law, passed by state lawmakers last week, help those drivers most in need of relief? 

State officials say they need to spend $2.5 billion dollars more each year to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges. Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to raise the money by increasing the fuel tax by 45 cents a gallon.

High-quality early childhood education can have benefits that extend generations. That’s according to some of the latest research on the Perry Preschool Project. The study took place in Ypsilanti in the 1960s, and offered a high-quality preschool program to a group of "high-risk" three- and four-year-olds. 

Researchers have been following this group through the decades to see what long-term impacts that intervention had on participants. Now, decades later, researchers have found significant impacts on the health and well-being of not just the participants, but their children as well.

 

Today on Stateside, an update on the partnership agreements school districts signed with the state to avoid school closures in 2017. Plus, we talk to our Friday political commentators about the recent indictment of state Representative Larry Inman (R-Traverse City), and the effect of “dark money” on the public's trust in government.

 

In early 2017, more than three dozen schools across Michigan faced an uncertain future. After ranking in the bottom 5% of state test scores for three consecutive years, they risked being shut down by the state’s School Reform Office.

 


Today on Stateside, debate was heated as Republican state lawmakers passed bills banning an abortion procedure known as "dilation and evacuation." Plus, Michigan's next state superintendent talks about what he sees as the most pressing issues facing Michigan schools. 

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan, what happens to the around 50,0000 people who've previously been convicted of marijuana-related crimes? Some in Michigan say those records should be cleared — a process called expungement — to remove the barriers that come with having a criminal record.

 


Today on Stateside, as Detroit tries to land a big new Fiat Chrysler assembly plant by offering tax incentives, some in the city are skeptical after past development deals failed to deliver. Plus, now that recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan, we hear what California is doing to clear past marijuana-related convictions. 

Working as a corrections officer can be a high stress job. Earlier this year, we spoke with Cary Johnson, a corrections officer in Jackson, about the mental health challenges facing the state’s prison workforce.

Johnson has lost four colleagues to suicide within two years, and she told us both cultural and structural changes were needed to create a healthier work environment for the state’s corrections officers.

Now, the Michigan Department of Corrections is creating an employee wellness program to help correctional officers deal with the high stress environment of working in a prison.

Today on Stateside, the Michigan House and Senate both passed bills this week that would allow drivers to opt out of the unlimited medical benefits mandated by current law. But critics say that giving up those benefits would do more harm than good. Plus, we talk to the author of a murder mystery novel that takes place on a fictional Michigan university campus.

Today on Stateside, we talk to Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) after her meeting with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about proposed changes to Title IX rules on campus sexual assault. Plus, how the advent of camper trailers helped drive the establishment of Michigan’s state park system.

 

Today on Stateside, we hear about what's included in the auto insurance reform bill that got a fast-tracked approval from the state Senate on Tuesday. Plus, environmental justice leader Mustafa Santiago Ali talks about why he left the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after more than two decades, and why the voices of marginalized communities must be included in environmental policy.

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