Cheyna Roth

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Legislation to make changes to the criminal justice system is headed to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

The legislation is meant to curb the number of incarcerated and supervised people in the state. It’s received support from the Attorney General, law enforcement departments, and the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Chris Gautz  is with the MDOC.

“There’s still more to do and so we would encourage the legislature to continue down this path but we think that this is a good start and we’re appreciative of the efforts that have been made so far.”

senatorjohnproos.com

Michigan is on its way toward sweeping changes in its criminal justice system. The State House passed a large package of legislation today.

The overhaul is meant to reduce recidivism and crime by providing more support programs and incentives. The bill package covers issues like reporting on recidivism rates, prisoner reentry services and probation reduction.

Senator John Proo is a bill sponsor. He says this legislation is good for taxpayers.

freep.com

State Treasury officals say fewer schools in Michigan are in financial trouble.

   Forty-one schools faced a deficit last year. This year the number is down to 27. It could go as low as 18 by the end of June.

   State Superintendent Brian Whiston says part of this is the growing economy. But it’s also part of the Early Warning legislation that flags schools that could be headed for financial trouble before they get to the point of a deficit.

   “I think it’s all good news right now where districts are able to reduce their deficits.”

Michigan House Republicans

Lawmakers in Lansing are trying to put new restrictions on who can run in special elections.

Lawmakers say they are trying to learn from past mistakes. After the forced resignation and expulsion of Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat for a sex scandal, they ran in the special election for their old seats. 

A bill headed for the House floor would prevent a lawmaker who resigns from their seat or is expelled from running in the special election for the seat they vacated.

Critics of the legislation say it takes away voter choice.

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Some democrats in the state House want to make literacy a constitutional right. But not everyone is onboard.

Democrats say the state is not doing enough to defend the rights of children to read – so it should be in the state constitution.

    Representative Darrin Camilleri is a bill sponsor. He says literacy is the key to success in life. 

wiki commons

After decades of being “tough on crime,” Michigan is starting to take a hard look at criminal justice reform.

A major, bipartisan package that was in the works last year, made its way out of a House committee. That’s after it received almost unanimous support in the Senate.

   The package is aimed at things like reducing recidivism costs to the state and reducing crime overall in Michigan.

wiki commons

Lawmakers will continue to tackle reshaping Michigan’s schools this week.

It started with a plan to repeal the so-called failing schools law that could result in up to 38 schools closing in Michigan. Last week a bill was introduced to repeal the current accreditation system for schools in the state.

   Lawmakers hope to have replacement plans in place for both before moving them through the Legislature.

Senator Phil Pavlov is the chair of the Senate Education committee. He says they plan to form outlines of an education plan over the next few weeks.

wikipedia

A group of activists and concerned citizens marched against school closings in Lansing today.

They marched to the office of Technology, Management and Budget– which currently oversees the office in charge of school closings.

   The goal was to offer testimony about what school closures would do to their communities

   David Alexander Bullock is an organizer with the Change Agent Consortium. It’s a social justice agency in Detroit. 

gophouse.gov

There’s a lot of turmoil among Republicans in the state House right now. That’s after the GOP leadership took a get-tough approach on Republicans who refused to support an income tax rollback.

After a little over 12 hours of trying to wrestle enough “yes” votes, House Republicans still came up short. About a dozen Republicans voted against the legislation.

   But it wasn’t just the long hours that left members frustrated. State House Speaker Tom Leonard accused one of his colleagues of lying and stripped him of his committee chairmanship.

wikipedia

A girl and her dog are one step closer to victory in their lawsuit against her former school. The U-S Supreme Court said today that they can move forward with their lawsuit.

   After Ehlena  Fry was told she couldn’t bring her service dog Wonder to school with her, she took her case to court.

Attorneys for Fry’s school near Jackson said she shouldn’t be able to sue. They said she should have to go through an administrative process first.

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