Cheyna Roth

stewart-media.com

State lawmakers have formed a task force to look for ways to improve mental health treatment in Michigan.

It’s called the House CARES task force. CARES stands for Community, Access, Resources, Education and Safety.

   The goal is to help Michiganders with mental health challenges become more independent.

   Republican Representative Klint Kesto is on the committee. He says the task force will look for cutting edge initiatives for Michigan.

 

“We continue to do modest changes that are good, yes, but we should be better than that. We should do great.”

wikipedia

Democrats in the state Legislature have unveiled bills they say would keep jobs and tax dollars in Michigan.

One bill would do things like give preference to Michigan-based businesses that bid on state contracts. Another would let Michigan companies get a second chance if they are underbid by an out-of-state firm.

   Democratic Senator Curtis Hertel is a bill sponsor. He says other states have similar preference laws.

Michigan has a budget. The governor signed the 20-18 spending plan today in Grand Rapids.

The governor and lawmakers had more trouble than usual getting the budget done.

Typically the governor wants the budget signed by July 1st of every year. But things got a little bumpy this time.

The governor was even kicked out of negotiations for a little while. But State Senate Appropriations Chair Dave Hildenbrand, a Republican, says eventually differences got settled.

wikipedia

Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law controversial changes to the state’s public school employee retirement system.

Starting in February of 20-18 new teachers will get a new choice about their retirement savings. They’ll automatically be put into a straight 401-K plan. But they can enroll in a hybrid plan if they want. That hybrid plan includes a pension – but it’s more expensive for the teacher. 

Republican Senator Phil Pavlov is a bill sponsor. He says an attractive, portable plan – like the 401-K – is the way of the future.

michigan.gov

Michigan is closer to offering tax incentives for large businesses. The House and Senate OK’d bills today to give allow some big employers to keep the income taxes paid by their workers.

The bills stalled three weeks ago. House Speaker Tom Leonard stopped the vote. He said the governor was making unacceptable deals with Democrats and unions.

After talks with the governor he put them back up.

The bills would let approved companies keep all or part of the state income taxes their employees would pay.

michigan.gov

The state House meets tomorrow and Governor Rick Snyder hopes lawmakers will vote on a controversial set of business tax breaks.

A meeting took place today  between the governor and House Speaker Tom Leonard about the bills.

A few weeks ago, the so-called “Good Jobs” bill package collapsed.

It was supposed to get a vote in the House. But House Speaker Tom Leonard abruptly cancelled it. He said the governor was cutting deals with Democrats and unions that go against many Republican interests.

executivegov.com

The 20-18 election is still a ways away. But that hasn’t stopped plenty of hopeful candidates from throwing their hats in the ring.

   A Democrat with eyes on Michigan’s 8th Congressional District announced her candidacy today.

Elissa Slotkin chose a downtown Lansing Brew pub to announce her candidacy.

Slotkin hopes to unseat Republican Mike Bishop. Bishop is expected to run for a third term.

Slotkin isn’t intimidated by the district’s history of voting Republican.

She says she’ll focus on solutions and a clear plan.

 

lenconnect.com

The Michigan Supreme Court increased the punishment for a judge who committed sexual harassment.

The Judicial Tenure Commission gave Judge Gregg Iddings a 60-day suspension without pay for sexually harassing his judicial secretary. The Supreme Court says that’s not enough. It boosted Iddings’ suspension to 6 months. Iddings will also have to see a counselor for a year.

In the order, the court says – quote –

 

  

Michigan’s Attorney General has weighed in on the school mascot issue.

Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state can’t withhold money from schools that use Native American mascots or logos.

Last February, the State Superintendent asked Schuette to weigh in on the issue.

Native American groups have spoken out against mascots like the Redskins and the Chippewas. They say the mascots are offensive and make Native American students uncomfortable.

wikipedia

You might have missed a controversial part of the state education budget. It would penalize public schools for spending tax dollars on lawsuits against the state.

The proposed budget item comes after several lawsuits by school districts against the state.

Schools would have to forfeit state money if they spend tax dollars on a lawsuit against Michigan. The penalty would be equal to what the school spends on the lawsuit.

Critics say it could have a chilling effect on schools.

Peter Spadafore is with the Michigan Association of School Administrators.

 

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