Rick Pluta

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.

michigan.gov

State Representative Jim Runestad’s bill would make equal custody the default position in divorces. He says, right now, judges have too much discretion and the proof of that is wide disparities between counties in how custody is granted.

Runestad says the current system invites conflict between parents vying to win custody.

“It’s a horrible, horrible system for kids and it’s got to change.”

But critics, including judges and advocates for domestic violence victims, say judges need discretion to make the best arrangements for children.

660news.com

The state of Michigan has scrapped a risk study on Enbridge’s Line 5 and fired the contractor just a week before a first draft of the report was to be released.

michigan.gov

New teachers will get different retirement options than current school employees under a bill sent to Governor Rick Snyder today.

This months-long argument threatened to derail budget negotiations between GOP leaders and Governor Snyder, who is anxious to get the spending plan wrapped up this week.

   Republicans like state Representative Tom Albert say the current pension system is unaffordable and burns up money that could be used in classrooms and to boost teacher pay.       

wikipedia

Enbridge Energy says a pressure test on Line 5 shows it does not pose a threat to the Great Lakes.

Enbridge says a test over the weekend of the line that runs under the west bay of the Straits of Mackinac showed no signs of leaks or breaks. Enbridge ran a successful test of the east line earlier this month.

   John Gauderman is with Enbridge.

   “Our job continues to be ensuring the safety and reliability of Line 5 through the straits, as well as our entire system in every community through which it traverses.”

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