legislation

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A ballot committee proposing to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in Michigan is set to submit more than 360,000 voter signatures in a bid for a statewide vote in 2018. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will turn in the signatures to state election officials in Lansing on Monday. Michigan already allows for the use of marijuana for medical reasons. 

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation to repeal a requirement that beer kegs be sold with tags that can identify who bought them. Snyder's move Monday brings to an end a 2010 law aimed at curtailing "keggers" that attract underage drinkers. Critics say the law hasn't curbed underage or binge drinking and has led partygoers to turn to hard liquor or cases of beer. The repeal law takes effect in 90 days. 

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Concealed pistol permit holders would be able to carry guns in more places. That’s under legislation that cleared a Senate committee Tuesday. Right now guns are banned in places like schools and hospitals. This legislation would change that.

Opponents say there’s no need to open up the gun laws like this – that it makes those areas less safe. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof is a bill sponsor. He says a majority of mass shootings take place in gun free zones.

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The Michigan House has approved legislation to clarify the enforcement of prenuptial agreements due to concerns that an appellate court ruling could lead judges to invalidate prenups because assets aren't apportioned equally. The bill was approved 63-43 Thursday, with majority Republicans in support and Democrats opposed.

A bill advancing in Michigan's Legislature would require lower auto insurance premiums for all drivers while making it optional to buy unlimited medical benefits. The Republican-controlled House Insurance Committee approved the legislation 9-5 Thursday. It moves to the House floor, where many lawmakers have concerns with the measure. In an effort to gain more support, legislators amended the bill Thursday to provide guaranteed rate relief to all motorists, not just those who choose the lowest level of personal injury protection - $250,000. 

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Michigan's unemployment benefits agency would assess smaller penalties on jobless workers who are found to have committed fraud under newly introduced bipartisan legislation.

The change is included in an eight-bill package unveiled by lawmakers Thursday.

The measures were drafted in response to the Unemployment Insurance Agency falsely accusing tens of thousands of beneficiaries of fraud. A new state law prohibits fraud determinations based solely on computer-identified discrepancies.

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The Michigan Senate has voted to forgive hundreds of millions of dollars in extra "responsibility" fees that have been assessed to 317,000 motorists for certain traffic offenses.

The legislation approved unanimously Thursday would also speed up the elimination of newly assessed fees.

Supporters say the state fees are excessive and prevent people from legally driving. The fees are levied in addition to fines motorists pay for infractions. They range from $100 to $2,000 for driving without insurance, accumulating too many points and other offenses.

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Michigan would authorize and license midlevel "dental therapists" to do work now performed by dentists under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

The legislation won Senate approval 21-15 Wednesday. The House will consider it next.

Under the bill, dental therapists could practice if they reach an agreement with a supervising dentist. They could perform more common procedures than dental hygienists, such as filling cavities.

Supporters say the legislation would help ensure treatment for more patients in underserved populations, including in rural areas.

Michigan won’t limit how much money corporations and unions can spend to influence elections in the state – under legislation that’s cleared the state senate.

In 2010 the US Supreme Court said corporations and unions could spend as much money as they wanted on political campaigns. Seven years later, Michigan lawmakers are putting that standard into state law.

Arlan Meekhof is the Senate Majority Leader. He voted in favor of the bills, “Because everybody should have free speech and the Supreme Court has said that free speech equals money in what you give.”

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says Michigan is facing such a shortage of skilled tradespeople that Congress should provide federal matching funds to help community colleges and businesses provide training to more students. 

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