Red Tape Blog hosted by Michigan State University
Governor John Engler signed a bill on this day making the Historical Society of Michigan the state's official historical society.
The Historical Society of Michigan (HSM) is the state’s oldest cultural organization, founded in 1828 by territorial governor Lewis Cass and explorer Henry Schoolcraft. The Society helps to connect Michigan’s past to students, educators, historical organizations and the public through educational programs, conferences, publications, awards, workshops, referral services, networking opportunities, and support for local history organizations.
HSM is an educational non-profit organization. It is not collection based and receives no funding from state government.
Source : Michigan History, May/June 2012
Indigent Defense Bills Clear House Committee
Legislation aimed at improving Michigan's system of providing lawyers for indigent criminal defendants was unanimously reported from the House Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday.
Canvassers Approve Abortion Coverage Petition, Certify Wolf Hunt Referendum
Right to Life of Michigan will begin collecting signatures soon for an initiated law that would prohibit insurance companies from including abortion coverage, voters will get a now moot chance to vote on the state's first wolf hunt law and those submitting recall petitions will have a clearer process to follow under actions Wednesday of the Board of State Canvassers.
Rutledge Elected New Minority Floor Leader
House Democrats elected Rep. David Rutledge as their new House minority floor leader on Wednesday in response to current House Minority Floor Leader Rudy Hobbs leaving his post to run for Congress.
Lawsuit Accuses Banks Of Sexual Harassment, Cheating Mileage Reimbursement
Rep. Brian Banks' troubles continue to grow with the filing this week of a lawsuit from a former aide accusing him of sexual harassment and a news report in which the ex-aide says Mr. Banks had him do no work and manipulate the House's mileage reimbursement system.
Teacher Pay Bill Clears House Education
Legislation requiring school districts to base pay increases for teachers hired after the implementation of a new statewide performance evaluation system on those evaluations, not longevity, cleared the House Education Committee on Wednesday.
Appropriations Votes To Excuse Absent Olumba Despite Dissent
After House Speaker Jase Bolger told committee chairs they could no longer simply excuse absent members from committee without prior knowledge the member would be absent, a House Appropriations member had to request the excuse for Rep. John Olumba on Wednesday.
House Approves Extending Health Claims Tax
The House passed a bill Wednesday that would extend the sunset for the Health Insurance Claims Assessment after the Appropriations Committee reported the bill earlier in the day.
Senate Approves Wetlands Protection Program Overhaul, Amber Alert Funding
The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill aimed at trying to maintain state control over the federal Wetlands Protection Program by making numerous changes to its governing law after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned the state was not in compliance with federal regulations.
House Panel OKs Father Registry Bills
The House Families, Children and Seniors Committee reported bills Wednesday to set up an online registry for fathers to help speed up the process of terminating parental rights and completing adoptions.
Groundwater Dispute Bill Debated In House Committee
A bill intended to improve groundwater dispute resolutions was discussed in the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday. HB 4678 is designed to address the issues surrounding high-capacity agricultural wells depleting the groundwater supply that nearby household wells also use.
Report: Retirement Costs Cutting Into Education Spending
Growing contributions to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System are reducing what school districts can spend on other educational services and that effect is likely to continue for the near term, the Citizens Research Council said in a report released Wednesday.
Federal Court Rejects Argument In Child Care Union Case
An attempt by opponents of the controversial state child care worker union action lost their argument to create a special class in a case before the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday.
Strategic Fund OKs 5 Business Expansions, 4 Community Improvement Projects
The Michigan Strategic Fund on Wednesday granted state incentives to five business expansions and four community improvement projects across the state expected to generate $173 million in new investments and add 1,119 new jobs.
State Jumps In Venture Capital Ranking
Michigan bucked the national trend in access to venture capital in 2012, helping to move it to 15th in the nation, the Michigan Venture Capital Association said in a report released this week.
Guardianship for Developmentally Disabled
The committee reported SB 176, which allows the process of finding a guardian for developmentally disabled persons to start when the individual is 17 years and 6 months old, on a 3-0 vote with Sen. Vincent Gregory (D-Southfield) absent from the meeting. The Michigan Probate Judges Association voiced support for the bill, but Michigan Protection and Advocacy opposed it.
Special Election Bill
A bill that would eliminate a requirement for a special election when a vacancy occurs for county commissioners during an odd-numbered year unless the vacancy is not filled by appointment saw party-line support in the committee on Wednesday. Sen. Coleman Young II (D-Detroit) voted in opposition of HB 4307.
62 People Convicted and Senenced for Unemployment Compensation Fraud
Former employees of Pinnacle Foods in Imlay Township were convicted for unemployment fraud Wednesday, as they were found to be collecting unemployment benefits while still working.
Poll Shows Little Support for Value-Added Charter Schools
The concept of a so-called value charter school that would operate for about $2,000 less per pupil than most other schools with the goal of using technology to lower the cost of education is not flying with voters, according to a new poll from Lansing-based EPIC/MRA. The concept was developed by the now dismantled "skunk works" group affiliated with the Snyder administration.
Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #52, Report 101, May 22, 2013. Full access requires a subscription or a visit to a subscribing library such as the Michigan State University Main Library.
A group backed by Right to Life of Michigan has been approved to circulate petitions seeking a new state law prohibiting health insurance companies from covering elective abortion procedures.
The ballot committee No Taxes for Abortion Insurance wants to require women to purchase optional riders to cover abortion, even in cases of rape or in cest.
For the full article, see Chad Livengood, "Group seeks to block insurance coverage of abortion in Michigan", Detroit News, May 22, 2013.
Today, it has become virtually impossible for any normal person who is not super-rich to run for almost any office — not just for governor.
For the full editorial, see Jack Lessenberry, "Politics & Prejudices : Is the system hopeless?", Detroit Metro Times, May 22, 2013.
May 22, 1964 : President Lyndon Johnson Unveils Great Society at University of Michigan Commencement
Lyndon B. Johnson: Unveiled his Great Society in a U-M commencement address on May 22, 1964.
On May 22, after a 30 minute struggle, Rodney Akey of Niles landed a 49.8 pound and 45.7 inch flathead catfish — the largest ever caught in Michigan.
For the full article, see Jim Lynch, "Niles man reels in record-breaking 'monster' catfish", Detroit News, June 4, 2012.
Targets Complete; Medicaid, Roads Talks To Continue
The budget framework Governor Rick Snyder and majority Republican legislators inked Tuesday for the 2013-14 fiscal year puts the unexpected surge in revenues toward roads, schools and savings, but leaves undone the major questions of Medicaid expansion and a long-term plan to better fund roads.
House Panel OKs Additional Firework Regulations
A bill designed to resolve problems municipalities have with the consumer-grade firework legislation enacted last term was reported from a House committee Tuesday.
Peters Leads Rogers, Schauer/Snyder In Dead Heat
In public opinion polls released Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers led the potential GOP field for the U.S. Senate nomination, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters led Mr. Rogers in terms of a head-to-head matchup for the November 2014 election, and Democrat Mark Schauer and Governor Rick Snyder were effectively tied in the governor's race.
Commission Recommends 3% Increase For Judges
The state's trial judges would see a 3 percent pay increase, but not for more than a year, under the recommendation of the State Officers Compensation Commission.
McMillin: No Rush On FOIA Changes
Rep. Tom McMillin, chair of the House Oversight Committee, said he is committed to changes to the Freedom of Information Act that would make government documents more accessible, but not to rushing the bills through his committee. The primary bill (HB 4001) would put limits on charges for providing documents under FOIA, would require more details on those charges (such as time searching for the documents versus time redacting them) and would make it easier for indigent residents to receive documents without charge. The package also includes a bill (HB 4314) that would create a new commission to hear initial appeals of rejections or charges.
Court: Medical Marijuana Users Can Drive Unless Proven Impaired
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that registered medical marijuana users cannot be charged with driving under the influence if they drive after consuming the drug unless the prosecution can prove they were impaired.
Senate Committee Moves Wetlands Protection Program Legislation
The Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee on Tuesday moved legislation that would overhaul the federal, state-run Wetlands Protection Program, but some think its provisions are doomed to fail against federal Environmental Protection Agency scrutiny, which could mean the program is handed back to federal oversight.
Santana, Robertson Battle Over MMA Fighter Safety Legislation
Sen. Dave Robertson responded to criticism of his legislation that he says promotes fighter safety for mixed martial arts fighters despite critics charging it will skew the MMA market in the favor of big-time promoters, and one House member said he maintains some pieces of this puzzle don't quite fit if the legislation is really about the fighter.
Committee Hears Medicaid Reform Testimony, Takes Break Until Next Week
The House Michigan Competitiveness Committee heard its third day of Medicaid reform testimony on Tuesday, and the committee chair said it would not be meeting again this week on the issue.
Poll Shows Unsettled Support On Transportation Proposals
Governor Rick Snyder's transportation funding proposal, which has gone nowhere in the Legislature, doesn't get a kick-start from the public, which overwhelmingly opposes his idea of increasing registration fees and creating wholesale taxes on fuel. But a poll also shows the public undecided as to what they would favor to boost revenues for the state's roads and bridges.
House Panel OKs Bill To Replace Funding Lost From Lifting Sales Tax On Aviation Fuel
If legislation passes to remove the 6 percent sales tax on aviation fuel, then companion legislation will ensure that school districts and local governments, which depend heavily on sales tax revenues, do not suffer as a result under a bill approved Tuesday by the House Transportation Committee.
Utility Costs Seem Primary Issue As Sides Square Off
How much Michigan customers pay for electricity became a primary issue in the squaring off of supporters and opponents before the House Energy and Technology Committee on Tuesday. Opponents of the state's current utility regulation said going to open competition for customers would cut those costs and make Michigan more competitive, while supporters of the 2008 law said ending regulation would in fact make the state's electrical system less reliable.
Workgroups On Mental Health Issues Announced
Five workgroups looking into various issues on how the state handles mental health were unveiled Tuesday by Lt. Governor Brian Calley in the next stage of a fuller examination of overall mental health and wellness services in Michigan.
Officials Announce New School Safety Tip System
The state will upgrade its current and lightly used school violence tip line to also enable people to contact law enforcement confidentially about potential threats to school safety through text message, electronic message, a mobile phone app and other means under a plan announced Tuesday.
Bills For Nonpartisan Officials Discussed In Committee
Two bills that would allow county sheriffs and prosecuting attorneys to run for office without party affiliation were discussed at the House Elections and Ethics Committee on Tuesday.
Snyder Signs Bill To Close Child Safety Seat Loophole
Those caught driving a vehicle with a child who is supposed to be in a child restraint system will no longer be able to waive court penalties if he or she acquires such a system before his or her appearance date under a bill Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Tuesday.
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Court On Diminished Capacity
A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Michigan Supreme Court when the state court ruled more than a decade ago defendants could not use a defense of diminished capacity.
Advocates For Prison Reform Meet At Capitol
The Citizens for Prison Reform group held a luncheon at the Capitol to raise awareness for their cause Tuesday.
Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #52, Report 100, May 21, 2013. Full access requires a subscription or a visit to a subscribing library such as the Michigan State University Main Library.
Former House Speaker Craig DeROCHE returned to the Capitol today as the president of the Virginia-based Justice Fellowship to push for a revamped criminal justice system focused on restoring offenders into self-sufficient, responsible individuals.
Too often, DeRoche told MIRS, a person who commits a crime is tagged a "criminal for life" for the smallest offense and then complained about for all of the public entitlements he or she draws and the public decay that surround them.
In reality, one in four adults have been convicted of a crime nationwide, meaning offenders are not strangers.
For the full article, see "DeRoche Advocates For Prison Reform", Inside MIRS Today, May 21, 2013.
Other topics covered include:
• Targets Reached On FY '14 Budget
• Registration Tax Reform Eyed In Road Plans
• Schauer Gubernatorial Bid 'Imminent'
• SOCC Recommends Judges Get 3% Pay Raise
• Multiple Ballots Expected In Floor Leader Race
• EPIC/MRA Shows Schauer, Snyder Tied
• GovDelivery System Improves On State Listservs
• Chamber, SBAM Argue For Medicaid Expansion
• Murray Poll: Rogers, Land Top GOP U.S. Senate Field
• RTA Opt-Out Meets Resistance In Committee
• DeRoche Advocates For Prison Reform
• Murray Ends Flirtation With U.S. Senate Race
• Officials Want 'OK' On Youth Violence 1-800 Number
• Fireworks Re-Regulation Bill Moves To House Floor
• Nolan Pleased To Get Grand Jury Figures
• Mental Health Workgroups Formed
Full access to MIRSNews.com is available via the MSU Library electronic resources page. Access is restricted to the MSU community and other subscribers.
A new law limiting when fireworks can be used may not be enacted by Memorial Day, but state legislators said they are hoping to complete the bill by the Fourth of July.
The bill would limit fireworks to three-day periods surrounding 10 national holidays and allow towns to enact ordinances that would prohibit the lighting of fireworks from midnight to 8 a.m.
For the full article, see Kathleen Gray, "New law limiting fireworks use may be in effect by July 4th", Detroit Free Press, May 21, 2013.
Attorney General Bill Schuette and other state officials announced plans Tuesday to develop a new statewide hotline for students, parents and members of the public to leave confidential tips about potential school violence.
The system would allow tipsters to alert authorities about potential violence or violent students through a hotline service operated around the clock that could receive phone calls, text messages and messages via social media or a mobile phone application, Schuette said.
For the full article, see Chad Livengood, "Michigan to launch school violence hotline", Detroit News, May 21, 2013.
Ron French, "Stockton, Vallejo warn Detroit: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet" : Life in a bankrupt city isn't easily summarized on a postcard. The water still runs in showers. The trash is still picked up. Residents already on the bottom rung have nowhere to drop. Yet there's a sense of surrender here, too, a whiff of weariness from a brutal, humiliating process that has yet to improve their community, or their lives.
Ron French, "In Vallejo, residents rally to protect themselves" : Vallejo, Calif., is broke, but Vallejo residents aren't broken. A municipal bankruptcy and slashing of police patrols have spurred a huge surge in neighborhood watch units and citizen participation in local affairs.
Ted Roelofs, "Kalamazoo, Muskegon make tough calls, rise in fiscal ratings" : Muskegon and Kalamazoo are two local governments that have made difficult cutbacks to stabilize their financial outlooks - results reflected in better rankings in a new assessment of local government finances.
Ted Roelofs, "Stressed cities hear little sympathy from State Capitol" : Michigan cities expecting a helping hand from Lansing as they dig out of years of fiscal turmoil might want to look elsewhere. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder stated as much last month at a Michigan Municipal League conference, when he said: "We all have this problem." Will last week's announcement of big revenue boost for the state change the discussion?
Bridge Staff, "Best, worst of Michigan communities’ fiscal ratings" : Bridge rounds up, in graphic form, the best and worst from Munetrix's analysis of local government finances.
Doug Rothwell/Business Leaders for Michigan, "Guest commentary: Keep world-class standards for Michigan learners" : Business Leaders for Michigan joins with education leaders, research and advocacy groups like the Business Round Table, Detroit Regional Chamber, Education Trust-Midwest, and many others to support full and continuing implementation of the Common Core, writes BLM head Doug Rothwell in a Bridge guest.
Phil Power, "State leaders navigating a route to new dollars for roads" : After numerous dead ends, state lawmakers think they have a way to navigate the political potholes and raise new dollars for Michigan's crumbling roads, writes CFM founder Phil Power in his weekly column.
Stephen Henderson/Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor, "Bridge and Detroit Free Press partner for ‘A Better Michigan’" : Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson announces a collaboration with Bridge for the newspaper's "A Better Michigan" section.
On May 21, 1941, after years of bitter and sometimes violent resistance by Henry Ford, workers of the Ford Motor Company voted to have the United Auto Workers represent them. Ford was the last of the Big Three automakers to be organized.
Source: Historical Society of Michigan
Detroit native Charles Lindbergh became the first person to successfully complete a nonstop solo transatlantic flight when he landed the Spirit of St. Louis in Paris on May 21, 1927.
He left the Roosevelt Field airstrip on New York’s Long Island, 33.5 hours before. By the time he landed about 3,600 miles later (1,000 of it through snow and sleet), Lucky Lindy was a worldwide celebrity.
Tens of thousands of people greeted the 25-year-old when he touched down at the Le Bourget air field at 10:22 p.m.
Source : Zlati Meyer, "Lindbergh soars to aviation mark", Today In Michigan History, Detroit Free Press, May 19, 2013.
In 1887, Ransom Olds developed an experimental steam-powered car. An updated version of the car was featured in the May 21, 1892 issue of Scientific American. A company in London saw the article and bought the car, making it the first American-car sold for export! The two-passenger vehicle was good for 15-miles per hour. Olds would go on to form the Olds Motor Works and sell 4000 Oldsmobiles by 1903.
Source : Michigan Every Day.
Budget Targets Imminent
Depending on who is doing the talking, top Republican legislators and Governor Rick Snyder have either finalized a target agreement or have nearly finalized a target agreement to set the stage for completing the 2013-14 fiscal year budget.
School Aid Rewrite Project Ends Without Final Report
The group Governor Rick Snyder tasked with rewriting public school funding has concluded its work without issuing a final report on the project.
Weaver Book: Making Her Case About What She Calls Corrupt System
Former Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver said her newly published memoir/history of her years on the Supreme Court is not a tell-all, but it does tell an awful lot about the court during the period of 1995 to 2010, and what it tells, she insists is of a court operating system that has become corrupt though political influence and money.
Hathaway's Lawyer Urges No Jail Time
With former Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway facing sentencing in federal court in a week for pleading guilty to bank fraud, her defense counsel on Monday issued a memo to the court urging that she not be sentenced to any time in prison.
April Revenues Jump 18%
Net revenues from Michigan's major taxes jumped by 18 percent in April compared to April 2012, figures from the Senate Fiscal Agency showed, driven largely by a sharp increase in income tax collections.
Detroit Dems Announce Auto Insurance Bills
Various House Democrats announced on Monday bills to provide more transparency and fight fraud within the state's auto insurance system.
Schor Exits Minority Floor Leader Race, 5 Remain
With the election of a new House minority floor leader scheduled for Wednesday, Rep. Andy Schor dropped out Monday, saying the other candidates have more time to devote to the position than he does.
Moody's: Withholding School Aid Puts Districts At More Risk
Withholding state aid from school districts that do not have an approved deficit elimination plan helps the state ensure those plans are created, but also puts those districts at risk of default, Moody's said in its weekly credit outlook.
Former DHS Employee Pleads Guilty After Role In Welfare Fraud
A former Department of Human Services employee has pleaded guilty to two felonies after she fraudulently obtained welfare benefits while working for the department, the departments of Attorney General and Human Services announced on Monday.
Bumstead Sends Medicaid Expansion Survey
Rep. Jon Bumstead has released an online survey to various individuals on his office's email list about Medicaid expansion and reform.
Snyder Moves Land Bank To MSHDA
The Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority is moving from the Michigan Strategic Fund to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority through an executive order Governor Rick Snyder issued Monday.
Six Divers Join State Police Underwater Recovery Unit
The first new diver school the Department of State Police has held in eight years has produced six new members of the Underwater Recovery Unit, the department announced Monday. The divers, who participated in the four-week school, assist with body recovery, evidence collection, underwater inspections, recovery of stolen property and maritime security details. The unit now has 26 members.
The Legislature's Republican majority has redoubled its efforts to squeeze welfare spending by imposing new conditions on aid recipients.
Lawmakers want to field-test a drug screening program next year for welfare recipients, cut off cash aid to families whose children miss too much school and require recipients who won more than $600 in the Michigan Lottery during the past decade to reimburse the state up to half of their winnings.
A new Senate bill would deny public payments to cover child care for families whose assets are worth more than a yet-unspecified amount. A 2012 law prevents aid once known as food stamps for families with assets exceeding $5,000. One vehicle is excluded from the asset test; a second, if it's worth less than $15,000.
The initiatives have stirred debate about whether the current and proposed requirements are a war on poverty or a war on the impoverished.
For the full article, see Gary Heinlein, "Michigan Republicans seek new limits on welfare aid; Rules could tighten on drug screening, children's school attendance, lottery prizes", Detroit News, May 20, 2013.
Michigan To Participate In Pilot Program To Provide Soon-To-Be-Parolees With Postsecondary Education
After years without funding for prisoners to access higher education, the Michigan Department of Corrections is immersed in several efforts to teach community college courses and vocational training in-house to a small number of inmates who are near parole.
The grant comes nearly two decades after the federal government cut Pell grant funding to inmates and essentially ended postsecondary education in prisons.
Michigan will join a pilot project that hopes to gather enough evidence to possibly resurrect publicly supported postsecondary education in prisons nationally.
For the full article, see Kim Kozlowski, "Michigan aims to expand education for inmates; Goal is to boost employability, earnings of those to be released soon", Detroit News, May 20, 2013.
How critical is it for the Michigan Republican Party to get a U.S. Senate candidate campaign off the ground? MIRS debates the subject before discussing the subject with AT&T President Jim Murray, who is considering a bid. What does he feel a winning Republican candidate needs to avoid?
Democratic state lawmakers from the Motor City announced their own auto insurance reform package Monday that seeks to drive down the rates that Detroiters pay as well as force transparency into a $14 billion fund for victims with catastrophic accident claims.
The package of bills, which remain in draft form, would restructure the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association to force it to hold open meetings, be subject to state sunshine laws, collect the MCCA assessment through the Secretary of State's Office instead of through insurance companies, and create a commission to track fraud, waste and abuse.
The bills also call for requiring insurance companies to justify rate increases; prohibit firms from considering the credit history, education levels and occupations of drivers in determining premiums and surcharges; and disallow steering damaged vehicles to collision shops owned by the insurance company.
For the full article, see Jennifer Chambers, "Detroit lawmakers present no-fault auto insurance reform plan", Detroit News, May 20, 2013.
Nearly one in five black workers in Michigan is unemployed -- more than twice the rate for white workers.
The unemployment rate for black workers in Michigan is 18.7 percent, compared to 7.5 percent for white workers in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a recent report from Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning think tank.
Nationally, the black unemployment rate was 14 percent and the white rate was 6.3 percent at that time, according to the report.
For the full article, see Melissa Anders, "Michigan's black unemployment rate much higher than white rate, but why?", MLive, May 20, 2013.