The Michian governor’s office and the legislature could soon be covered by open records rules similar to those that must be followed by state agencies and local governments.

    Republicans and Democrats agree these changes are long overdue. But the challenge has been doing it in a way that ensures constituents’ privacy is protected when they seek help with a problem.

Lawmakers in Lansing want to add $10-million to a fund to compensate those wrongfully imprisoned.

  A 2016 law says people who are wrongfully convicted and who meet certain criteria can be awarded $50,000 per year of imprisonment. But there soon might not be enough money to pay people who are awarded judgments down the road.

Republican Representative Steve Johnson is a bill sponsor. He says these people were denied a right and they deserve to be compensated. 

(LANSING) - Some Michigan prison inmates who are serving sentences of life without parole could be released to nursing homes under bills approved by a Michigan House committee.

Lawmakers were told that care for elderly and very sick inmates is expensive for taxpayers, yet these are prisoners who no longer pose a risk. 

Chris Gowtz is with the Michigan Department of Corrections and he says there are currently 20 to 40 inmates who are old or sick enough to potentially qualify for medical parole. 


(LANSING) - Snow day forgiveness legislation has passed out of a Michigan House committee. A bill would still count snow days taken during a state of emergency declared by the governor toward the minimum number of instruction days. 

Tim Greimel is with an organization that represents many hourly employees in school systems, like maintenance workers and bus drivers. He says those employees only get paid if they work. The group wants the bill to make sure that hourly employees will be paid if snow days are forgiven.

Michigan broadens use of medical marijuana

Mar 12, 2019



     (DETROIT) - UAW officials want guarantees of job security during an unsettled period for the still highly-profitable auto industry.

   Both General Motors and Ford are trying to save money as car sales dwindle, with GM having already announced it will cease production at four assembly plants. Two of them in Metro Detroit.

   But the union may still want a bigger piece of the profit pie, especially when it comes to Fiat Chrysler, which is investing in facilities and finalizing plans to build a new assembly plant in Detroit.

MI lawmakers introduce 20-week abortion ban

Mar 11, 2019


(LANSING) - Some Republican lawmakers in Lansing want to shorten the time period when a pregnant woman can get an abortion. A bill in the Senate would make it a felony to perform abortions after 20 weeks of the probable conception.

Ludovic Bertron / Wikimedia Commons


City Commissioners in St. Joseph, Michigan will hear a second reading on a ordinance that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity tonight.

The non-discrimination ordinance would protect residents and workers within the city of St. Joseph from discrimination based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s something that Michigan’s Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act does not do.


LANSING, Mich. (AP) - New Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is urging lawmakers to let absentee ballots be counted before Election Day and to make other changes following the passage of a ballot initiative that expanded voting options in Michigan. The Democrat says the number of absentee ballots is expected to increase significantly now that people can vote absentee for any reason. Benson also is calling for a number of other changes to "modernize" elections.     

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

The road funding debate is in full swing at the state Capitol. As part of the weekly series MichMash, Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about one aspect of the negotiations that isn’t getting as much attention. And it’s all about where your tax dollars go after you fill up at the pump.


Some rural lawmakers in Lansing aren’t on board with how Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to reshape the state’s road funding methods.

Right now, money brought in for roads is divided among the state, cities, and counties. Whitmer wants to increase the fuel tax by 45-cents. And she wants that money to be distributed based primarily on road use.

But some people in more rural areas say that’s not fair.

Two bills in the Michigan State House would allow Michigan teachers to carry pepper spray and tasers on school grounds.


State legislators introduced a bill last year to allow teachers to carry a gun on school grounds. That bill did not pass. Critics worried that having guns on school grounds might endanger students.


Tuesday Michigan state lawmakers plan to consider legislation to help school districts that have to make up snow days. 


Severe weather and bitter cold forced many Michigan schools to exceed the number of allowable snow days this year.  A bill going before the Michigan House Education Committee would give school districts a break if the governor declares an emergency because of the weather.


Cracking down on thousands of mail thefts in Michigan

Feb 28, 2019

     LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Legislation advancing in Michigan would combat mail theft that law enforcers say is an increasing problem across the state.
     The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to send two bills to the House.
     They would make the theft of mail and packages a state crime. Law enforcement says U.S. postal inspectors are currently overwhelmed with investigating what is a federal crime.

MSP expanding effort to catch "drugged drivers"

Feb 28, 2019

(MICHIGAN) - The Michigan State Police plan to expand a program that field tests impaired drivers for drug usage. The pilot program started in late 2017 in five counties including Berrien County.

Brian Charles Watson / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is picking up where former Attorney General Bill Schuette left off on three major investigations. They include probes into the Flint Water Crisis… the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal… and Catholic priest abuse in Michigan.

As part of the weekly series MichMash… Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about how those investigations are rising above partisan politics.


Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019 at 7 PM

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is scheduled to deliver her first State of the State address. You can livestream the speech here or listen live on 88.1 WVPE.


Brian Charles Watson / Wikimedia Commons

Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 at 9 PM

Michigan Public Radio's Cheyna Roth and WDET's Jake Neher co-host a preview of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's first State of the State speech to be delivered Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7 PM (88.1 WVPE will carry that address live).

MichMash-February 8: DEQ

Feb 8, 2019
Brian Charles Watson / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s effort to overhaul the state’s environmental protection agency is facing resistance. Republican lawmakers in the House have voted to undo an executive order she signed to reorganize the department.

As part of the weekly series MichMash… hosts Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about how this might affect her relationship with the Republican-controlled Legislature going forward.

MichMash-January 25: Supreme Court

Jan 25, 2019
Brian Charles Watson / Wikimedia Commons

A new session is underway for the Michigan Supreme Court. Justices have selected a Democrat to serve as chief justice. That’s despite Republicans holding a majority on the court.

As part of the weekly series MichMash… Jake Neher and Cheyna Roth talk about the court’s new unofficial motto -- aggressive nonpartisanship.

MichMash-January 18: No Fault

Jan 18, 2019
Brian Charles Watson / Wikimedia Commons

As the public gets a glimpse of new car models at the auto show in Detroit, lawmakers in Lansing are grappling with the cost of insuring those cars. As part of the weekly series MichMash Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about the likelihood of a no-fault overhaul in 2019.

Recreational Cannabis Legal In Michigan Starting Thursday

Dec 5, 2018


Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Michigan tomorrow. But that does come with restrictions.

You have to be 21 to legally consume recreational pot in Michigan. You can’t have more than 2.5 ounces on you and you can’t  consume it in public.

You can have up to 10 ounces of cannabis but more than 2.5 ounces has to be stored in a locked container.

You can grow up to 12 marijuana plants.

Your landlord or college can prohibit the use of marijuana on their property.

Michigan Gubernatorial Candidate Interviews - Wednesday, Oct. 31, 7 PM

MichMash Election Special - Friday, Nov. 2, 7 PM

Michigan Public Radio Network's Cheyna Roth and WDET's Jake Neher discuss the three issues on the November ballot addressing marijuana, Gerrymandering, and voter access.

Newly Closed Loophole Means More Money For Michigan Schools

Aug 23, 2018
Stock Photo


When Michigan kids head back to school in a few weeks, some districts may have more money to spend on them thanks to a newly closed property tax loophole.


Local school districts in Michigan are funded in part by non-homestead property taxes. That’s a tax collected on businesses, second homes, and rental properties.

Blueberry Crop Expected To Be Good This Year

Jul 16, 2018


It’s blueberry season in Michiana. This year’s crop is shaping up to be a good one, in volume and flavor.

Michigan accounts for about one-fifth of the American blueberry market. Nearly 20,000 acres of plants is expected to produce about 90 million pounds of blueberries this year.

There were some problems early in the season with heavy rainfall keeping some growers from getting fungicides out. And also with sunscald when the weather got really hot.

St. Joseph event features living 'mannequins'

Dec 1, 2017


The mannequins in some St. Joseph, Michigan store windows will be real people for an event Friday evening.

The Living Mannequins displays have been part of St. Joe’s light up the bluff holiday event for six years now.

Displays follow a theme and must incorporate the goods or services of the business in whose window they appear. They compete for judged awards and people’s choice awards.

This year the theme is literature, and will include Peter Pan, Sherlock Holmes and Where’s Waldo, among others.

Benton Harbor Implements Income Based Tax-Exemption

Nov 7, 2017


Benton Harbor will implement a policy that allows property owners who live at or below the federal poverty level to apply for property tax relief.


The policy allows  a single homeowner making no more than $1,260 dollars a year  or families of up to 8 making $41,320 dollars annually to apply for a yearly property tax exemption.  

To apply, a single homeowner couldn’t have more than $35,000 in assets , while for a family of 8 the total would be $7,000.


We’ve heard about rising sea levels, but rising Lake Levels?

Concerns regarding lake water levels and coastal erosion in Lake Michigan is rising. Experts at “Coastal Resiliency” workshops in St. Joseph, Michigan are sharing their concerns with a series of “Coastal Resiliency” workshops. These workshops aim to help community members and elected officials in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties learn how to address issues that may arise from rising lake levels.