Around Michigan & State Government

Coverage from across Michigan and  the state Capitol with the Michigan Public Radio Network and Interlochen Public Radio.

Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy will defend its wind farm before a Mason County appeals board Wednesday night. The utility is resisting an order by the county to tone down the noise from several of its turbines.

Last summer, a consultant found that noise from four of the eight turbines it tested exceeded what’s allowed by Mason County’s wind ordinance. In September, the planning commission ordered Consumers Energy to submit a plan to reduce the noise.

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Group Petitions In Favor Of Wolf Hunting

Dec 3, 2013

Petitions will start circulating Wednesday that would again give state officials the legal right to hold wolf hunts in Michigan. Monday the Board of State Canvassers approved wording for the petition, which is backed by Michigan hunting groups.

Drew YoungeDyke, with Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, says they want to collect enough signatures to put proposal in the hands of state lawmakers by late Spring.

This week could bring a vote in the State Legislature that will be closely watched by those on either side of the abortion debate.

The vote would be on a citizen-initiated bill that could end abortion coverage as a standard feature in health insurance policies.

Right-To-Life of Michigan turned in more than 315,000 signatures to get this bill before the Legislature. 

And today, the Board of State Canvassers certified this voter-initiated petition, which sends it on to the state Legislature.

MLive reporter Jonathan Oosting joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

A proposal that would put new restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions is headed to the state Legislature.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Monday moved forward a proposal that would ban abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Women would only be able to purchase abortion coverage as a separate rider.

The largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history took a major step forward Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

Matthew Fletcher / Indigenous Law & Policy Center at MSU College of Law

A faceoff between the state of Michigan and an Upper Peninsula Indian tribe over a proposed casino reached the U.S. Supreme Court Monday. The arguments were about whether tribes are immune from lawsuits for enterprises that take place off of reservation land. 

"Crazy-generous" tips, as Gawker says, have been showing up on checks across the nation as some anonymous good Samaritans known only as "TipsForJesus" add hundreds or thousands of dollars to their restaurant and bar bills.

The American Civil Liberties Union has decided to go directly to the source of its unhappiness with the way women are treated in Catholic hospitals. It's suing the nation's Catholic bishops.

Tomorrow will be one for the history books, not just here in Michigan but across the nation.

Tuesday morning is when Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will rule whether or not Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood has covered the bankruptcy trial, and he joined us today to talk about what might happen tomorrow morning.

Listen to the full interview above.

Many small towns across the country are using special events to attract visitors and commerce. The strategy has been a big hit in places like Aspen, Colo., and Park City, Utah, whose names have become synonymous with major festivals.

But it can take a toll. Some residents in the northern Michigan town of Traverse City complain that they're suffering from festival fatigue and would like a little less excitement.

Congress has passed new legislation to try to prevent another deadly fungal meningitis outbreak... But, will it be enough?

*Listen to the audio above.

A federal judge in Detroit says the state must give more than 350 inmates sentenced as juveniles to life without parole a chance at freedom. US District Court  Judge John O’Meara says a US Supreme Court ruling that struck down Michigan’s juvenile lifer law and others like it applies retroactively, as well as in the future.

The order also says the state has to offer a “real and meaningful” chance at parole.

Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

Warren Buffett was in Michigan Tuesday to help launch a program that will invest $20 million in small businesses in and around Detroit.

Buffett is an advisor to Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, which is committing $15 million of capital to support small businesses in and around the city. Another $5 million will go to business training for Detroit entrepreneurs.

Despite Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing, Buffett says the city has a “huge potential” for economic growth.

Some new data from the Census Bureau shows some intriguing migration patterns. Can you guess who's moving to Michigan, and where Michiganders are heading when they pack up and leave?

We’ll talk with demographer Kurt Metzger about what these trends mean for Michigan. Then, should we be mixing our private and professional lives? An intriguing study suggests you might want to think twice before putting up those cute family photos at work.

And, it’s official, Uncle Sam is pulling out of General Motors, and with the exit of the federal government by the end of the year, it's the end of “Government Motors.”

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes has plenty of thoughts about the pros and cons of the auto bailout, which stands as an unprecedented government intervention in a cornerstone industry.

Michigan Joins With Federal Probe Over Last Year's Meningitis Outbreak

Nov 25, 2013

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is joining forces with federal authorities to investigate last year’s fungal meningitis outbreak.

“We have two forces pulling one wagon to provide justice for victims,” says Schuette.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz Monday joined Schuette to announce they’ll coordinate their separate criminal investigations. Ortiz says this cooperation will give state and federal officials access to a bigger picture.

Eleven Wolves Taken So Far

Nov 25, 2013

The hunt is half way over and so far hunters have taken 11 of 43 wolves allowed by state law this year. This is the first hunting season in the Upper Peninsula since the animal was removed from the endangered species list.

Bus Changes Leave Some Riders Feeling Stranded

Nov 25, 2013
Tom Carr

The Bay Area Transportation Authority has taken recent steps to get a wider range of customers on board, but extending service to some areas has meant leaving others feeling stranded.

"The cilia in my middle ear are gone, so I cannot drive because I have no balance," says Sandee Brown. "So you don't want to see me on the road."


The state will not award a $5 million grant to a firm run by the brother of Michigan’s top budget official. 

It was revealed this week that the company iSchool Campus had lobbied lawmakers to add the school technology grant to the state budget. Michigan Budget Director John Nixon’s brother is the company’s CEO.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced Friday the grant will instead go to the Genesee Intermediate School District.

The department says the decision had nothing to do with concerns over a possible conflict of interest.

In the weeks after the Detroit’s mayoral election, a top aide to Gov. Rick Snyder recently quipped that “adults” are now running Detroit’s city hall.

Does that point to a better working relationship between the governor, Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, and the city’s Mayor-elect Mike Duggan?

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes is taking a look at the relations between Detroit’s leadership and the governor’s office.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Ever since Detroit’s became the biggest in American history to seek bankruptcy protection, the term “death spiral” has been in the spotlight.

The spiral often begins with promises made to municipal workers. Pensions and health coverage are becoming too much for many cities and states to bear. But the law tells mayors and governors that those pension plans need to remain intact.

As pension costs mount, they try raising taxes, or turning to the municipal bond market. And when those doors are slammed shut, what happens? Essential services get cut, pink slips start flying, and businesses and homeowners get out of town, leaving behind a smaller and poorer population even less able to cover a city’s soaring costs.

State of Michigan

  A firm led by the brother of Michigan’s budget director proposed a five million dollar project as part of the state budget. The money was approved, and now the company, i-School Campus, is bidding on the contract.

  The plan is to run pilot projects to test privately managing technology in the public schools. Budget Director John Nixon says, because of his brother’s involvement, he told the governor’s office, the Legislature, and his staff that he would not and could not play a role in deciding which company gets the contract.

New Oversight For Pharmacies After Meningitis Outbreak

Nov 19, 2013

More than a year after the fungal meningitis outbreak first hit, 22 Michiganders are dead and lawmakers in Washington have now passed a bill that's supposed to prevent a similar outbreak from happening again. 

The bill gives the FDA a way to oversee pharmacies that are making and shipping huge amounts of drugs. The Massachusetts clinic that started this meningitis outbreak was making lots of drugs, with little oversight.

Michigan Lawyer Alyson Oliver recalled her visit to the pharmacy early this year:

It was 40 years ago today that the Supreme Court accepted what became a landmark case about school desegregation. The case was controversial because it involved busing student between a largely African-American city — Detroit — and its white suburban areas. The ruling helped cement differences between urban schools and suburban neighborhoods.

State Democratic Chair Charges "Court Rigging"

Nov 18, 2013

The chair of the Michigan Democratic Party maintains a recent overhaul of the state’s Court of Claims amounts to “court rigging” by the GOP. That’s despite the fact that an equal number of Republican and Democratic judicial appointments were recently made to the court.

MDP Chair Lon Johnson appeared this weekend on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record.

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