michigan legislature

The state Legislature is moving forward with changes to a citizen initiative on paid sick leave. The measure to require employers to offer earned, paid sick time got enough signatures to make the November ballot. But the Senate pre-empted that – in an effort to scale it back before it becomes law.

Aaron Selbig

The candidates for the 101st state house district met at the annual Cherry Pie Debates in Glen Arbor Thursday night. Democrat Kathy Wiejaczka and Republican Jack O’Malley are running for the seat.

The candidates disagreed on Proposal 1, a ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan. O’Malley said he’s against Prop 1 because the ballot language is flawed, and the law would be difficult to change in the future.

Joe Shlabotni

Two years ago, President Donald Trump won election despite losing the popular vote to Hilary Clinton by nearly three million votes.

That’s because of the Electoral College, a system set up in the Constitution gives votes – or electors – to each state based on population.

If certain health providers and legislators get their way, Michigan's mental health system could soon be privatized.

Pretty much everyone agrees that closer coordination of mental and physical health care would be a good thing for patients.

After all, the mind is connected to the body, but just how to get there has been up for fierce debate going on two years now.

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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.

Legislation to restrict the authority of state departments has passed the Michigan House and is making its way through the Senate.

House Bill 4205 would not let agency rules be any stricter than federal rules without proof that it’s necessary. 

Environmental groups are concerned. As the Great Lakes state, past legislatures have embraced a role of being a guardian of the lakes. Stricter agency rules were seen as part of the state being a good steward and an example for other states.

Some Democrats in the Legislature are calling for a law that would allow authorities to seize the firearms of people who threaten to commit suicide or hurt others.

State Representative Robert Wittenberg (D- Oak Park) sponsored a bill that would allow a judge to issue an “extreme risk protection order.” The order would have to requested by a family member or a law enforcement official. And it could last no more than a year.

Gun rights are up for debate in the state legislature again.

A set of bills to get rid of a permit requirement to carry a concealed pistol was up in front of a House committee Tuesday.

Advocates say the legislation is long overdue and the legislation wouldn’t take away the regulations on who can carry a firearm.

But opponents say it erodes gun safety.

This is a big week for the future of mental health care in Michigan.

All the complexities aside, which have been covered at length on Stateside over the last year, essentially it comes down to one question: Should the mental health services remain in the control of public entities like Community Mental Health centers, or should private insurance companies take the lead?

A new bill would allow gun owners to carry a concealed pistol without a permit from the state.  Right now, gun owners have to get a concealed pistol license, which requires taking a gun safety class among other things.

The "constitutional carry" bill is already law in 13 states.

Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) is one of the bill’s sponsors. He calls it a “freedom issue,” saying law-abiding gun owners shouldn’t need a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

How much do you trust state government and its ability to do its job?

It's a new year and a fresh start for the Michigan Legislature with a new session kicking off today.

In the State House, there are 43 new members and a brand-new speaker: DeWitt Republican Representative Tom Leonard.

Leonard joined Stateside to talk about his path to House Speaker. Starting out as a college kid wanting to be the next Jerry Maguire to law school and later a prosecutor and a politician.

He talked about his new role as House speaker, and what his priorities are for the Legislature in 2017. He would like to see the teacher pension system fixed and he plans to be a champion for mental health reform (especially among prisoners).

Today is the official start of the lame-duck period for Michigan’s 98th Legislature.

Some of us remember the frenetic pace of the lame-duck in 2012, when state lawmakers passed something like 300 bills. That included "right to work" and a new emergency manager law to replace the one voters had just repealed.

Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, joined Stateside to discuss what’s on the to-do list this year during lame duck.

The primary election in West Michigan's 72nd District to replace term-limited Republican State Representative Ken Yonker was a crowded race, and perhaps most surprised by the outcome was the winner himself.

Steven Johnson of Wayland came out on top, solidly beating the four other candidates, including one backed by the powerful DeVos family. 

The Michigan Legislature meets today, but don't hold your breath expecting a whole lot to happen.

Our It's Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta joined us today to take a look at the attendance card for the state Legislature. 

Clark told us that the House is scheduled to meet 80 days while the Senate scheduled 83, for a total of 163 days this session. That's more than 40 days short of the average 205 days per session. 

The Michigan Legislature has itself a showdown — over plastic bags.

Washtenaw and Muskegon counties were planning to ban stores from providing plastic bags to customers in order to tackle problems like litter and waste.

There is only one state in the entire country where, under the law, the governor is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

You guessed it: it's Michigan.

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Officials in Traverse City are concerned that if Costco comes to town, it will take advantage of so-called “dark store” tax assessments. That’s when businesses argue for lower tax rates based on what their stores would be worth empty – or “dark.”

Retailers like Target, Meijer and Costco have appealed their assessments in Michigan, hoping to pay less money in taxes. They say if they turned around and tried to sell their stores, not many companies would want to buy them. The Michigan Tax Tribunal, which decides tax appeals, has been ruling in favor of retailers.

A couple of state senators stopped by Stateside to give their reaction to the State of the State address given by Gov. Rick Snyder Tuesday evening.

The governor dedicated a large portion of the speech to the Flint water crisis. 

Flint's Democratic State Senator, Jim Ananich, says he's relieved the water crisis is finally getting the attention it deserves.

However, Ananich tells Stateside host Cynthia Canty that he had hoped Snyder would have had more details in his speech.

Legislation that would eliminate the straight-ticket voting option on Michigan ballots is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Rick Pluta, co-host of It’s Just Politics and the Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, tells us that if signed, this legislation would have three effects:

It's no secret that voters here in Michigan and across the country are angry and cynical about the notorious gridlock in Washington that has brought the country to its knees with budget showdowns.

It doesn't help that Michigan lawmakers have returned to their summer vacations without a deal to repair our decaying roads.

But as Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes points out, the state House found time to devote to a sex scandal.

It’s hard to argue against the fact that informed citizens are the cornerstone of democracy.

That’s the idea behind the Open Meetings Act: keeping the business of public entities open, transparent, and accessible to the public.

There are some 37,000 names listed in the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Michigan has the fourth-highest per-capita number of people on its list.

But there are questions about Michigan's registry – whether it's really keeping us as safe as we like to think.

People with misdemeanor offenses are listed alongside rapists, pedophiles, and hard-core offenders.

A federal judge recently declared parts of Michigan's registry law to be too vague, even unconstitutional.

J.J. Prescott is a law professor at the University of Michigan. And he's a widely recognized authority on sex offender laws.

Prescott says the state's attempt to monitor these sex offenders may actually contribute to recidivism, as those on the public list are ostracized from society. 

"It's public shaming to the point where somebody might actually say, what's the difference? I'm living as a pariah, miserably, outside of prison," says Prescott.

All through this current session of the state Legislature, Detroit Free Press Lansing reporter Kathy Gray has been tracking the bills that cleared the House and Senate and then were signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

This legislative session 700 bills and 125 resolutions have already been introduced, according to Gray. So far Snyder has signed 16 of those.

Gray says last legislative session close to 1,500 bills were introduced and 40% ended up becoming law.

Jeff Salisbury asked us this question as part of our MI Curious news experiment. It's where you ask a question, questions are put to a vote, and we investigate the question with the most votes. 

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