Michigan News

Governor Snyder included tens of millions of dollars to help fix the Flint water crisis in his proposed budget.

Nearly $49 million of the governor’s $56 billion dollar budget blueprint would go toward funding programs aiding in Flint’s recovery. Money is earmarked for early childhood and other health related programs.

The governor says the funding will help continue many programs already in place. 

The Jackson City Council has voted 5-2 to expand its non-discrimination ordinance to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

The new ordinance bars discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

"There was consensus and agreement that no one should have to live in fear of losing their jobs,  being evicted from their house, or refused service at a restaurant or a store because they happen to be a member of the LBGT community," said Derek Dobies, Jackson's vice-mayor and a city council member. Dobies supports the new ordinance.

Despite efforts to reduce lead levels in Flint’s tap water, some homes continue to test with levels far above the federal action level.  

But a consultant may soon recommend a simple response.

Get your binoculars ready! A full moon, an eclipse, and a comet will all be passing through the night sky late Friday night and early Saturday morning. 

A "penumbral" eclipse isn't a full lunar eclipse, and is more subtle, but still visible to the human eye. It occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of the Earth's shadow. In North America, this will be most visible at moonrise, at 7:43 p.m.

Three emails containing racist and anti-Semitic content were sent to students in the computer science and engineering departments at the University of Michigan Tuesday night.

The emails, which were made to look as though they were sent by a university professor and graduate student, had the subject lines "African American Student Diversity" and "Jewish Student Diversity."

According to University of Michigan officials, the emails were the result of a spoof, or imitation, of two U-M faculty members.

Images of the e-mails have been shared on Twitter:

Michigan's own Betsy DeVos is now the most powerful education official in the nation. So what does that mean for Michigan? Let's start our story in Detroit, where DeVos played a big role in pushing for more school choice in the district.

There could soon be tighter restrictions on the public’s access to information in bids for state business. A state Senate committee has adopted a bill that would shield information on bidders’ trade secrets and finances.

State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) says the Freedom of Information Act discourages businesses from bidding on government work. Jones says his bill matches a standard used in 42 other states and by the federal government to protect confidential information.

Education, public safety, and paying down the long term debt will be Governor Rick Snyder’s top priorities when he unveils his 2018 budget Wednesday.

Some Republicans in Lansing are really hoping to make some aggressive tax cuts this year. Especially since Michigan has a $330 million surplus in the budget.

But as Governor Rick Snyder gets ready to roll out his budget plan, he’s shying away from major tax cuts.

State Budget Office spokesperson Kurt Weiss said tax cuts need to be balanced with replacement revenue, even though there is a hefty surplus.

State officials who announced the potential closure of 38 “priority” schools across the state are now visiting those schools. The schools on this list scored in the bottom 5% on state standardized tests for three consecutive years.

A federal judge in Detroit has struck down a portion of President Trump’s temporary ban on some immigrants, but it only applies to some of those affected by the ban.

Judge Victoria Roberts’ permanent injunction only applies to “lawful permanent residents”—greencard holders—from the seven countries named in Mr. Trump’s executive order.

(Read the injunction here.)

Some of the people most directly affected by President Trump’s immigration order spoke about their hopes and fears Thursday.

Trump’s executive order has caused “generalized panic” among refugees and some immigrant communities. That’s according to the head of the state’s largest refugee resettlement agency.

Sean De Four is vice president of that agency, Samaritas, until recently an arm of Lutheran Social Services. De Four says the group is proceeding as if Trump’s order halting refugee re-settlement is temporary, but some of their clients don’t share that hope.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency has settled a lawsuit over an automated claims processing system that falsely accused tens of thousands of people of fraud.

Between October 2013 and August 2015, the system kicked out more than 50,000 potential fraud cases. An initial state review of those cases found a 93% error rate. 

A lawsuit filed on behalf of the United Auto Workers union, Sugar Law Center and several individuals accused of fraud was dismissed Thursday under an agreement between the state and the plaintiffs.

Today, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit related to the Flint water crisis. 

The suit named Governor Rick Snyder, Flint’s former emergency managers, other state and local officials, as well as the state of Michigan and the city of Flint. Specific monetary damages were not included.

The lawsuit sought damages under federal civil rights law. However, U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara ruled that the Safe Drinking Water Act superseded that law in the case of Flint’s lead-tainted tap water.

The state Senate has adopted a criminal justice overhaul that aims to improve public safety by sending fewer people to prison. The 21 bills passed with almost unanimous support from Republicans and Democrats.

While crime and the number of prisoners is on its way down, state Senator John Proos (R-St. Joseph) says the state can do better. He says the key is making sure inmates succeed once they are released.

The city of Escanaba is taking on big box stores in the Michigan Supreme Court. The city says the home improvement store Menards is dodging taxes.

It’s called the “dark store” loophole, and it’s been used more often in recent years by the Michigan Tax Tribunal when assessing property taxes. It determines property taxes for fully-functioning retailers like Target and Wal-Mart based on nearby empty stores.

As the retirement-age population grows in Michigan, in-home care is increasingly in high demand. The state, however, is struggling to maintain a workforce that meets the need. 

Two researchers at the MSU College of Human Medicine are working to change that. They received grants from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The Fund was set up in 2013 under state law. (Read more about the it here.) 

Police would have to report anybody they arrest to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, if there’s “probable cause” to think they’re “not legally present in the United States.”

That’s under a new bill introduced in the state House of Representatives last month. It’s now heading to the Local Government committee.

The so-called “tampon tax” has got to go. That’s the message of lawmakers in both chambers of the state Legislature.

Democrats and a couple Republicans are teaming up to get rid of Michigan’s use tax and sales tax on feminine hygiene products.

Michigan exempts food, medication and other necessities from taxes, and lawmakers argue feminine hygiene products are just as essential. 

Michigan and Louisiana are the only two states that don’t apply their public records laws to the legislature and the governor’s office. A bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers have rolled out bills to change that.

Michigan is ranked among the worst states in the country when it comes to government ethics and access laws.

Two MSU students are working to bring notable landmarks from around the world into the classroom with virtual reality technology.

Tommy Truong and Eric Martin have developed 360-degree immersive environments of sites like the Colosseum in Rome and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to be used in tandem with traditional teaching methods.

Truong believes immersive VR experiences can be a valuable and inexpensive way for educators to engage their students.

Members of Michigan's congressional delegation have sent letters to the Trump administration and the Canadian government in hopes of stopping a planned nuclear waste site along Lake Huron.

Ontario Power Generation wants to store low and intermediate level radioactive waste less than a mile from Lake Huron.  The utility insists the plan is safe and other options are too expensive.

The Canadian government is taking public comment on the proposal.    

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s trying to learn more about President Trump’s executive order on immigration. But he says it’s the start of a national discussion on the subject. Snyder says he is reaching to other governors and the Trump administration to better understand the order and its effects.

  

The governor released a statement this morning while he is overseas on a trip to Israel.

  

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is in charge while the governor’s away. He says criticism of the order is overblown.

President Trump's executive order on immigration was signed last Friday.

Here's what it does:

Will grass carp spread in the Great Lakes?

Jan 31, 2017

There are grass carp in three of the Great Lakes, but it’s not too late to do something about it.

That’s one of the conclusions of a new risk assessment on this type of Asian carp by the United States and Canada.

A study from the University of Michigan suggests engaging at-risk youth is a key tactic for understanding and preventing terrorism. 

The study was led by U-M Research scientist Scott Atran and co-authored by professor of public policy Robert Axelrod.

According to the study, young adults often join extremist groups like ISIS because they are socially connected to others who have done the same. They say this is a response to being unable to organize in creative, nonviolent ways.

About a thousand people marched in Betsy DeVos’ hometown Saturday afternoon, to protest her nomination as U.S. Education Secretary.

“I was expecting maybe 500 people,” Cadence Morton of Caledonia says of Saturday’s march in Holland. She helped publicize the rally, which began as a private facebook event among friends.

For more than an hour protestors with handmade signs wrapped around the perimeter of Centennial Park; about the size of a football field in downtown Holland.

“That is just incredible," Morton says. "I’m floored by that."

Thousands of protesters gathered yesterday at Detroit Metro Airport and in Dearborn, Hamtramck, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor to demonstrate against President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries.

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There’s a split emerging between Governor Rick Snyder and Republican leaders in the Legislature over cutting taxes.

Governor Snyder will present a budget next week for the coming fiscal year. Some Republican leaders in the Legislature are pushing for tax cuts. That includes an income tax rollback and some lawmakers are taking aim at the tax on pensions.

Snyder is pushing back. The pension tax was one of his first budget reforms after he took office in 2011. Snyder says that was only fair to people who were paying taxes on 401 (k) and other retirement plans.

A U.S. Senate committee votes tomorrow on the nomination of west Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. Secretary of Education.

Michigan groups for and against the controversial nomination were busy over the weekend lobbying before the vote.

Gary Naeyaert is the executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project, which was founded by Betsy DeVos.

An Iraqi man planned to come join his wife and child in Michigan later this year. They’d been issued special visas because of his wife’s work as an interpreter for the U.S. military in Iraq. But when word started getting out last week about a looming crackdown on immigration, he changed his plans. By Wednesday, he was doing everything he could to get out of Iraq immediately.

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