Cheyna Roth

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Lawmakers in Lansing are gearing up for a showdown over Michigan’s auto no-fault law. A group of Republicans and Democrats in the state House announced changes they plan to introduce.

They said their plan would make car insurance more affordable without limiting coverage.

The bipartisan group plans to introduce legislation that would, among other things, bar insurers from using factors like gender and zip code to set rates.

Medical marijuana users who buy from dispensaries will need to find a new source by December 15th.

   Dispensaries have been open for awhile in Michigan. But the state is just now gearing up to license them. And it says any shop that wants to operate legally needs to close by mid-December – or risk being denied a license.

Andrew Brisbo is with the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. He says that’s only fair.

“Set a level playing field at the initiation of this program to implement so that we are evaluating all applicants against the same criteria.

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The future of medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan could be decided tomorrow The state Medical Marijuana Licensing Board meets again to discuss whether current dispensaries should be able to get a license.

At the last meeting, one member said dispensaries should have to close their doors until the application process opens – or risk not getting a license at all.

   The state’s licensing department will make a recommendation on the issue at the meeting.

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A change to the state’s minimum wage might be on the 20-18 ballot.

Restaurant owners are already speaking out against the proposal. 

   One Fair Wage wants to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to 12-dollars an hour within four years. It also wants to increase the minimum wage for tipped workers.

   Restaurateurs aren’t happy about the proposal. Some are concerned the increase won’t be possible with already tight budgets.

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The state Legislature was back in session for its first day of voting today.

Lawmakers were met with protestors at the Capitol.

A crowd gathered to – quote – “reject the Trump agenda.” Their issues ranged from immigration to equality to standing up to hate speech.

Jocelyn Domgjoni  was at the protest. Her husband immigrated to America from Kosovo  four years ago. She wants lawmakers to do more for immigrants and people of color.

 

“Because it just seems like our lawmakers aren’t doing enough for us right now. They aren’t doing enough for any of us.”

  

Governor Rick Snyder plans to announce a new recycling initiative this fall.

A group made up of the governor’s administration and various stakeholders wants Michigan to recycle more, and landfill less.

The group wants to make recycling easier and more accessible to people across the state. Legislation language is currently being drafted.

Kerrin O’Brien is with the Michigan Recycling Coalition.

“So we’re really talking about a whole system of managing materials differently.”

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Members of the new task force toured the state. They spoke to mental health experts, providers and patients.

The goal is to provide consistent mental health services across the state. The lawmakers also hope to improve the quality and accessibility of services.

Republican Representative Klint Kesto is a co-chair of the task force. He says the facility tours and meetings gave the task force ideas for new legislation.

“We continue to learn more as we have these meetings and we continue to find problems that we can have an immediate fix.”

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The state released new test scores for grade school students today.

   The results brought good news and bad news.

The M-STEP tests third through eighth and eleventh grade students in various subjects. While scores for math and social studies were up – English literacy was down.

   But the improvements weren’t felt by all.  

Brian Gutman is with the advocacy group The Education Trust-Midwest. He says the scores highlight the achievement gap between whites and minorities. And between low income and high income students.

 

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A free market think-tank says the use of private contractors in public schools has grown over the last decade-and-a-half.

70 percent of public school districts in Michigan forgo the search for janitors, bus drivers and cafeteria staff. Instead, those schools rely on private contractors for at least one of those services.

James Hohman is with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy – which conducted the study. He says no school can provide public education by itself.

missouribusinessalert.com

Many states across the country cut funding for public higher education during the Great Recession.

And a new report shows the money hasn’t been replaced in most states – including in Michigan.

The study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows Michigan is about average when it comes to state funding levels for public universities. But experts say it’s actually worse than that. 

   That’s because in the early 2000s Michigan went through its own mini-recession.

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