Cheyna Roth

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Lansing are trying to increase transparency in police hiring. A bill cleared the Senate today dealing with personnel records.

Right now human resource units in police departments are reluctant to tell other departments anything about a former officer besides their name and when they worked for them out of fear of litigation if the officer doesn’t get the job.

Senator Jones says the legislation is meant to prevent bad officers from hopping from department to department.

Hundreds of nurses rallied at the state Capitol today. They wanted to urge lawmakers to pass legislation they say would fix understaffing at hospitals.

The nurses are making their presence known before legislation is even introduced.

   Democrats Senator Rebekah Warren and Representative Jon Hoadley  are currently working on a Safe Patient Care Act – though a similar version failed to pass last session.

Alicia Flores has been a nurse for 9 years. She says this type of regulation increases patient care.


A controversial item in the current budget is the focus of a lawsuit filed today (Tues).

When the budget was approved last October, the state allocated 2.5 million dollars to reimburse private schools for state requirements like fire drills, background checks, and keeping inhalers in the buildings.

The lawsuit – filed by numerous public school advocates against the state and Governor Rick Snyder - says that is unconstitutional and asks for a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from giving out any funds until the court completes a full review of the case.


Doctors, parents and public health experts gathered in Lansing with one simple message – vaccinate your children.

Monday marked the launch of the “I Vaccinate” campaign. It’s a multi-media advertising and educational campaign aimed at raising the state’s immunization rate.

Michigan is currently ranked 43rd in the nation for immunization rates among children 19 to 35 months.


Transparency in state government was up for a vote Thursday in Lansing.

The state House approved a package of bills that would open up the governor’s office and the legislature to freedom of information requests.

Democratic Representative Jeremy Moss has been working on FOIA reform since last year. Moss says the vote shows their citizens want more transparency – and the Senate should approve them.

House and Senate Democrats introduced legislation they say will make Michigan a model for transparency and accountability – instead of at the bottom where it currently ranks in those areas. 

It’s Sunshine Week – a time of year when issues of transparency and open government are put front and center.

Legislation in Lansing would, among other things, require elected state officials to disclose their personal finances and require presidential candidates to release their most recent tax returns to get on the state ballot.

Representative David LaGrand is a bill sponsor.


   People flooded a state board meeting today to express their concern about an oil and gas pipeline in Lake Michigan.


Enbridge energy owns the “Line Five” pipeline beneath the Mackinac straits. A company official gave a presentation on the current condition of the pipeline and new tests they’re running to the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board.

The presentation was requested after an independent report raised questions about the integrity of the pipeline.

Ryan Duffy is with Enbridge. He says there’s nothing in the report that’s new.

Some Michigan lawmakers may be experiencing déjà vu over proposed changes to Michigan’s freedom of information laws. Legislation opening up the governor’s office and the state legislature to such requests died in the Senate last year.

After being voted out of committee, the bills have one more vote in the House before they are completely in the hands of an unsympathetic Senate leadership.

   Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says he will look at the bills – but he has criticized similar versions in the past and says he doesn’t think the legislation is necessary.

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.”

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.