Cheyna Roth

Teacher retirement changes are moving through the legislature again. This time with the governor on board and a committee hearing scheduled for early tomorrow.

The governor has been brought back into budget and teacher retirement negotiations.

While some changes may be made to budgets that have already passed through conference committees, the spotlight will be on the new teacher retirement bills.

Speaker of the House, Tom Leonard says the current retirement plan has put the state into debt.

 

Republicans in Lansing are trying to roll back the state’s Medicaid expansion – but their legislation may be dead on arrival. 

Governor Rick Snyder has been an advocate for the Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion at home and in Washington, D.C.

But some Republicans in the state House want to close the expansion to all new hires beginning October 1st. A bill is currently waiting for a committee hearing.

Snyder says they should pay attention to what’s going on in DC with the Affordable Care Act and manage the program accordingly. 

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While female genital mutilation is a federal crime, Michigan lawmakers are working fast to also make it a state crime. The state House approved bills to do just that today.

The bills were approved almost unanimously. Some lawmakers had concerns that the bills could lead to unintended consequences.

Republican Representative Martin Howrylak voted no on some of the bills. One of his concerns is young people who are intersex or want a sex change.

theplatinuum401K.com

Top lawmakers in the state legislature have reached a tentative agreement with the governor about the state’s teacher retirement system. But some lawmakers are being left out of negotiations. 

Republicans leaders of the House and Senate have been focused on a plan to transform the teacher retirement system from the current 401k-pension hybrid plan, to a straight 401k plan. 

   But Democrats say they’ve been left out of the negotiations. House Minority Leader Sam Singh says he has not been invited to any meetings.

 

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State officials and health care providers called on Washington lawmakers to keep the state’s Medicaid expansion today.

From doctors to the state budget director, the message is clear. Let the state keep its Healthy Michigan Medicaid expansion. In order to do that, the federal government needs to keep paying for it.

But right now lawmakers in Washington are churning out plans that don’t seem to coincide with this goal.

michigan.gov

Earlier this week, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley made a rallying cry for a part-time legislature. But few lawmakers are on board with the idea.

Lawmakers in Lansing are speaking out against a proposed part-time legislature – including those with nothing to lose.

   Several term limited Senators on both sides of the aisle have come out against the proposal.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof is concerned it would increase the governor’s power and weaken the legislature.

    

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Democrats in Lansing are trying once again to expand Michigan’s civil rights protections.

Lawmakers have tried for several years to expand the state’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include legal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Last year the attempt couldn’t get out of a committee in a Republican controlled legislature.

Stephanie White is with Equality Michigan. She says their organization responds to dozens of requests for help a month from people -  

  

Governor Snyder made some powerful appointments today. The governor filled the five seats of the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board.

The board includes a recently retired sergeant for Michigan State Police, a licensed pharmacist and healthcare supervisor for Walgreens, and a former Speaker of the House.

They will use recommendations from the state Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department to distribute licenses to grow, transport, test and sell medical marijuana.

wmufm.org

Right to Life of Michigan is one step closer to getting a new donation program – courtesy of the state legislature. Legislation for the Secretary of State to create and sell “Choose Life” fundraising license plates is on its way to the governor’s desk.

   There have been many attempts to pass similar legislation in the past – but none has gotten to the governor’s desk.

The money from sales of the special license plates would go to the Choose Life Michigan Fund, which was created by Right to Life of Michigan – an anti-abortion group.

  

Dogs may soon be allowed to eat outside with their human on restaurant patios. The State senate passed a bill today to allow restaurants to have dogs on their outdoor patios.

The legislation gives specific requirements restaurants have to meet in order to let Fido on the patio. Local governments can impose stricter requirements or ban the practice all together.

Matt Blakely is with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. He says restaurants can already get a waiver to allow dogs on their patios.

 

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