Rick Pluta

A state agency has asked courts in three counties to dismiss 186 bench warrants against people accused of unemployment The state could next ask for the charges to be dismissed altogether.

ucsb,edu

Michigan’s monthly jobless rate has dropped to its lowest rate in 17 years. That has more to do with fewer people looking for work than new hiring.

The pool of people who are employed hunting for jobs fell by 29 thousand last month. That helped drive the jobless rate down to three-point-eight percent.

   But Bruce Weaver with the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information says hiring is up over the past 12 months, especially in business services, temp work, and construction.  

  

wikipedia

The Michigan Court of Appeals has dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed against the state by people who were wrongly accused of ripping off the unemployment system.

The appeals court said three plaintiffs representing all the people who were wrongly accused waited too long to file the legal action.

   Jennifer Lord is an attorney for the plaintiffs. She says the state is abusing a legal technicality to evade responsibility. She says the next stop is the Michigan Supreme Court.

wikipedia

The operators of the Mackinac Bridge are warning there could be big traffic backups the morning of Labor Day.

   The bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic for about five and a half hours during the annual Labor Day bridge walk. That’s because of security concerns. The decision was made after terrorists drove cars and trucks into crowds in London, Stockholm, and Paris.

   Bill Gnodtke chairs the Mackinac Bridge Authority. He says it’s become harder to guarantee safety where large crowds gather.

   “So, we’re all working as hard and diligently as we can.”

freep.com

Michigan’s education chief forecasts some contentious negotiations with federal officials on the state’s plans for identifying and helping struggling schools.

   This is part of an overhaul of state and federal education policies.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act replaced No Child Left Behind. It includes rules on grading schools so parents can get a sense of how schools are performing, and for intervening in struggling schools.

wikipedia

Health care providers and patient advocates in Michigan are watching to see what’s in a re-vamped Republican health care overhaul. The rollout is expected later this week in Washington.

Providers and patient advocates were not impressed with earlier Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

   RoAnne Chaney is with the Michigan Disability Resource Center. Chaney says she’s very concerned about potential cuts to Medicaid.

Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed a bill to create a “choose life” license plate.

The plate would have raised money for an anti-abortion group.

Part of the fees for the “choose life” plate would have gone to the group Right to Life of Michigan. In his veto letter, the governor said the plate delivers a blatantly political message that would bitterly divide people.

Anna Heaton is the governor’s press secretary.

“The governor didn’t think it was appropriate to have something like this being issued     by state government.”

  

A report released today outlines alternatives to running an energy pipeline beneath the Great Lakes. It also says Enbridge’s Line 5 is safe to operate for the foreseeable future.

More than 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas travel through Line 5 daily, including a five-mile stretch that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge says the report shows its maintenance and improvements are working to keep the 65-year-old pipeline reliable and safe.

Budget bills on their way to Governor Rick Snyder use a surplus in an unemployment fund to keep the spending plan in balance. But critics say that money should be set aside to pay back people wrongly accused of unemployment fraud.

About 50 thousand people were wrongly accused of filing false claims by a computerized system, and were forced to reimburse the state and pay a 400 percent penalty. They filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

michigan.gov

The ballot campaign to adopt a part-time Legislature amendment in Michigan decided to skip getting its petition approved by a state elections board. The leader of the campaign says he’s comfortable fighting any challenges in court.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is leading the drive to limit legislative sessions to 90 consecutive days. That would have to be approved by voters. Getting a petition form pre-approved is a voluntary step that’s supposed to avoid legal hassles later on. But Calley says he doesn’t think a court battle can be avoided.

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