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The Next Idea

Parents of children on the autism spectrum face significant challenges in getting the right education, support and other life tools for their kids. But the difficulties don’t go away when these kids grow up. Can they live alone, support themselves, be a part of society? And what happens when their adult caregivers age out of watching over them?

The Next Idea

We think of borrowing from a library and what comes to mind? Books. DVDs. CDs.

Now, through the Capital Area District Libraries in Lansing, you can check out a badminton set, a GoPro camera,  a thermal leak detector or even a sewing machine. Those are just some of the items that they have available in the CADL's Library of Things.

A showdown is brewing in Lansing over the fate of teacher retirements. 

Teachers can currently choose between a full 401(k) type plan or a hybrid 401(k) and pension plan.

Many Democrats, like Senator David Knezek oppose the legislation.

Morgan Springer

A battle is heating up in Lansing over the state’s corrections budget.

Republican Senator John Proos’ subcommittee on corrections passed a budget that cuts the Department of Correction’s budget by about 40 million dollars. Proos said because the prison population is down, continuing to spend about the same amount each year means they are spending too much per prisoner.

Lansing's City Council did an about-face last night. 

The Council reversed its earlier unanimous decision to declare Lansing a "sanctuary city". The 5-2 vote means the city is not a sanctuary for immigrants, particularly undocumented immigrants.

The Trump Administration has threatened to punish sanctuary cities by withholding federal funds.

The Michigan and Lansing Chambers of Commerce had been urging Lansing's City Council to rescind that earlier resolution.

Rich Studley, the president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, joined Stateside to explain why they rejected the resolution.

2016 may well go down as the Year of the Lobbyist in Michigan.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) dug into the numbers and discovered spending on lobbying was higher in 2016 than any other year: lobbyists spent $39.99 million last year, which broke 2015's record  of $38.7 million.  

It is now a new year. With the State House and Senate adjourned until Jan. 11, it's time to get our bearings on what’s likely to be bubbling away on Lansing’s front burner this year.

Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta joined Stateside to discuss.

Last week, amid the frenzy that followed the presidential election, the Michigan Senate passed a pair of bills that would mean a dramatic overhaul of Michigan’s energy policy. The bills, which still have to make it through the Michigan House of Representatives, would be the first new energy policy in Michigan since 2008.

We spoke with Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief, about the new legislation. He told us that, although the two bills both had bipartisan support and passed by wide margins, they also have detractors.

The Michigan Women's Hall of Fame welcomed its latest group of honorees late last year.

Among the five contemporary honorees was Olivia Letts. She was the first African-American teacher hired by the Lansing School District. She started that job in 1951 and from there, Letts spent her life as an advocate for education, community service and civil rights.

 

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has taken an unusual step – he’s declared a housing emergency in the Capitol city.

The declaration comes after a south side Lansing hotel informed dozens and dozens of residents they’ll be evicted in just the next few weeks.

There’s something brewing around Lansing’s City Hall.

On March 4, Lansing’s city attorney Janene McIntyre resigned voluntarily, but the Lansing State Journal reports that McIntyre was still paid $160,000 in salary and accrued benefits. McIntyre and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero have repeatedly declined to discuss the details about why she left and why she was given such a substantial payment by the city.

If someone told you that a man completed seven marathons in seven days, you would probably be impressed. Likely amazed.

If somehow that wasn’t enough to drop your jaw, how about if those seven marathons were run on seven different continents?

That’s what Marine Capt. Calum Ramm, a Lansing native, did as one of the 15 runners who took part in the World Marathon Challenge.

Before you break out the calculator, here are the numbers:

Lindsey Smith, Michigan Radio

A campaign to add LGBT and gender protections to the Michigan Constitution plans to start gathering signatures in January if a state elections board gives it the go-ahead.

The Board of State Canvassers is being asked to approve the petition form to be circulated by the Fair Michigan ballot campaign. It would add protections against LGBT and gender discrimination to the equal protection clause of the Michigan Constitution. It currently offers anti-discrimination protections based on religion, race, color, or national origin.

Our state’s Capitol has seen quite a bit of change over the past couple decades, and virtually no one has seen more of it than Chris Benson.

Benson is getting ready to retire after serving almost 20 years as a tour guide at the Capitol. During that time, Chris has seen the building restored, he’s educated thousands of guests about the Capitol’s history and even heard a ghost story or two.

Listen to Chris Benson talk about his time as a tour guide in our interview above.

Nearly 20 years ago, in the midst of a deep budget crunch, the state decided to close the Capitol to visitors on the weekends.

But now, as of June 6, you’ll be able to again visit the state Capitol on Saturdays.

Michigan Radio’s political junkie Zoe Clark and Michigan Public Radio Network’s Bureau Chief Rick Pluta – who together host “It’s Just Politics” – say Democrats are asking that state government be a bit more transparent. They’re talking Freedom of Information Act reforms.

It's been a busy month in Lansing.

Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau reporter Kathy Gray has compiled a list of the bills and resolutions introduced so far in March.

“There were 113 bills introduced, and if history repeats itself, about 40 of those will become law,” Gray said. “And, you know, there’s some pretty controversial bills that have been introduced and some pretty mundane ones too."

Take House Bill 4279, for example.

More money for roads. It’s being debated again in Lansing. Right now there’s talk about more than $1 billion a year to improve the state’s roads and bridges.

But Chris Kolb of the Michigan Environmental Council wants to make sure there’s money for mass transit: reliable buses and rail lines. As of now, there hasn’t been a lot of talk about improving mass transit. Listen to our interview with Chris Kolb below:


The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle gave a sneak preview to a new arts venue in Lansing.

Dylan Rogers is the director and front man of the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle. It's a 15-piece band made up of 11 musicians including banjo and accordion players, as well as actors, shadow puppeteers, dancers and chorus girls in flapper dresses .

The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle held their CD release show this weekend in what will eventually be the Robin Theater in REO Town.