Around Michigan & State Government

A high school freshman came to the state Capitol Tuesday to advocate on behalf of sexual assault legislation.

Gianna Duva goes to Brighton High School. She was sexually assaulted by a fellow student off school grounds. Duva and her mother unsuccessfully petitioned the school board when they found out her assailant would be allowed to return to school with her after he finished his sentence. So they went to the Legislature.

Grand Traverse County

To an outsider, Grand Traverse County is a picture of success. New homes and businesses are popping up all over Michigan’s third-fastest growing county, and property values are on the rise.

But insiders describe a county government in chaos.

  

One of northern Michigan’s most competitive state House districts will have an open seat this fall.  

Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) has announced he will not seek re-election in the 101st District, which spans from Northport to Ludington. 

VanderWall is instead running for the open 35th District state Senate seat. Twelve counties make up that large Senate district, including Leelanau, Wexford, Crawford and Ogemaw Counties.  

Cheyna Roth

A group of state lawmakers is proposing to end public elections for university boards in Michigan and to give that power entirely to the governor. 

The people who govern Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University are elected by the public. The state’s 12 other public universities have board members that are appointed by the governor. 

 


Dan O'Neil announced his candidacy for Michigan's 104th District on February 15, 2018.
David Cassleman

A trial attorney from Traverse City is running as a Democrat for Grand Traverse County’s seat in the state House. Dan O’Neil made the announcement at Horizon Books in Traverse City on Thursday morning.

Michigan State University’s Faculty Senate will hold a no confidence vote in the school’s Board of Trustees Tuesday. The vote is, in part, the result of the Board’s appointment of former governor John Engler.

“Although it’s mostly a symbolic vote, I think it very accurately represents our community at this point,” said MSU senior Alondra Alvizo.

Chuck Grimmett

Michigan State University’s board of trustees will pick former Michigan Gov. John Engler to be MSU’s interim president on Wednesday. 

The Michigan Public Radio Network confirmed the choice today. 

 


Michigan House Republicans

Governor Rick Snyder delivers his eighth State of the State address Tuesday. The State of the State is a yearly event where the governor lays out his priorities for the upcoming year.

Grand Traverse County

The administrator for Grand Traverse County abruptly resigned Wednesday.

Vicki Uppal served as Grand Traverse County administrator for only four months. She took over for Tom Menzel in September, and quickly began shaking things up in the county leadership. 

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration is looking at making changes to state tax laws early in 2018. That’s after it discovered the new federal tax law could have an impact on Michigan resident’s wallets.

One consequence is the loss of some exemptions. That would raise what people owe in state taxes. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley has been looking into the issue. He said the administration wants to change the state tax code so residents can still use all the state tax exemptions. Calley said they’re waiting for a bit more data before making any final decisions.

Stock photo

Starting this year, minors found in possession of alcohol will get a little more leniency under the law. The consequences defined by Michigan’s minor is possession or MIP law changed January 1st.

 


 

President Trump and Congressional Republicans are celebrating today after the House and Senate delivered an epic overhaul of our tax laws.

 

The GOP is hailing the package as a gift to the middle class, although the biggest tax cuts go to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

 

Dave Camp is a former Michigan Congressman. He served in the House from 1991 to 2015.

 

Tax reform was one of his main priorities. In fact, he served four years as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the House's tax writing body. He is now a Senior Policy Advisor for PwC.

 

Nine cities and counties from across Michigan are taking drug companies to court. From the Upper Peninsula to Detroit, they are trying to recover many millions of dollars in costs related to the opioid crisis.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court Monday night. It claims manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy chains misled doctors and the public about the dangers of opioids. And the legal actions also say the drug companies failed to follow safeguards that would have reduced the number of people addicted to opioids.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Thousands of miles of forest roads will soon open to off road vehicles in northern Lower Michigan.

Governor Rick Snyder signed a law last year permitting ORVs on all Lower Peninsula forest roads, except those closed by the state. Around 6,300 miles of roads will open on January 1. 

A bill to make English the official language in Michigan has passed a House committee. HB 4053 would require all public government documents be written in English, although they could be printed in another language as well.

Northern Michigan Representatives Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Tristan Cole (R-Mancelona) are co-sponsors of the bill.

Nora Boydell

Farmers might have more time to come up with cage-free housing for their egg-laying hens.

In 2009, the state passed a bill saying farmers could not confine their lay hens throughout the day. The hens must be able to stand, lie down or turn 360 degrees during most of the day. But a new bill before the Michigan Senate would delay the start date of those rules by five years, from 2020 to 2025. 

Democratic lawmakers are trying once again to repeal the state’s “Right to Work” law.
 
Five years ago, a Republican-led Legislature made Right to Work the law of the state. It prohibits contracts that make union membership a condition of employment.
 
Democrats say letting people opt out of unions gives them a free ride to the benefits of the union.
 
Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor) is a bill sponsor. He said strong unions are important to Michigan, but Right to Work diminishes the power of unions and reduces the number of members.

A fired employee from Grand Traverse County has been offered the position of Emmet County administrator. Jennifer DeHaan served as deputy administrator for Grand Traverse County until the county's new administrator, Vicki Uppal, asked her to resign or be fired for “poor performance.”

DeHaan refused to resign, saying the county's issues with her were political and not about performance. She was fired last month.

Commissioners voted 5–2 to offer DeHaan the administrator position last Thursday.

The oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac will be shut down during bad storms. That’s just one of the agreements reached in a deal announced last week by the state of Michigan and the Canadian oil transport company Enbridge.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN STUDY VIDEO

The state of Michigan is imposing some new conditions on the operation of a controversial oil and gas pipeline. The actions include replacing a portion of Enbridge’s Line 5 that runs beneath the St. Clair River. 

The new line will be in a tunnel beneath the riverbed. The state will also look at doing the same thing with the portion of the line that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac. 

TheraCann

Kingsley is the latest northern Michigan community to pass new medical marijuana rules.

The State Board of Education can’t agree on what to do about recent gun legislation.

There are four Democrats and four Republicans on the board, and there must be five “yes” votes in order for any measure to pass. With the partisan gridlock, the board currently can’t come to an agreement on a public position on bills that loosen restrictions on guns in schools.

Bills that recently passed in the state Senate would, among other things, require schools to allow people with a special permit to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.

Grand Traverse County

The family of an inmate who committed suicide in the Grand Traverse County jail claims county officials knew the jail posed a suicide risk for inmates but did little to fix it.

Morgan Springer

More problems plague the food in Michigan’s prisons. This time it’s maggots. 

An investigation by the Detroit Free Press found three separate incidents over the summer of maggots in the food at a Jackson-area prison. 

Every once in a while, you hear a news report about a newborn infant left in a dumpster or trashcan. Those stories can trigger feelings of sadness, loss, and bewilderment.

Before 2001, desperate parents in Michigan didn't have many options if they couldn't care for their newborn. Abandoning a child is a ten-year felony.

But in 2001, Michigan's Safe Delivery of Newborns law was passed. It allows parents to surrender their newborns inside a safe place, no questions asked. It's anonymous, safe, and legal.

Over 200 babies have been delivered to safety through the program.

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