2.26.15:  Bill would give Michigan police cellphone location data


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state House is expected to vote on a bill that would require wireless carriers to share cellphone location information with law enforcement during emergencies.

Action is expected Thursday.

Applicable emergencies would be limited to those where there is serious risk of death or physical harm, eliminating the need for a search warrant.

The proposed legislation is based on Kelsey’s Law, which was prompted by the killing of a woman in Kansas in 2007. It reportedly took several days for Kelsey Smith’s cellphone carrier to release location data from her phone to law enforcement after she was abducted.

Her body was located within an hour after the information was released.

Similar legislation has passed in 16 other states, including Kansas.

2.19.15:  Michigan House votes for March 8, 2016 presidential primary


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan House has voted to schedule a presidential primary for March 8th, 2016.

Legislation approved 72-38 Wednesday differs from a version approved unanimously last week by the Senate, which wants a March 15th primary.

The primary is scheduled for late February under current law but must be changed for Michigan Republicans to avoid breaking national GOP rules again as they did in 2012.

Democrats haven’t decided whether to participate in a primary or instead hold caucuses.

2.11.15:  Gov. Snyder to propose $54B budget, make cuts in current budget


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder is set to propose a new $54 billion state budget while also announcing roughly $300 million in spending cuts in the current spending plan.

The governor on Wednesday outlines his budget plans to the Legislature.

They include a big increase in spending on trades training and career technical education in the next fiscal year. Snyder is also expected to propose a nearly 2 percent increase in state aid to Michigan’s 15 public universities.

Cuts in the current budget aren’t expected to affect school districts’ per-pupil funding or revenue sharing to local governments.

The House and Senate want to finalize the budget in early June, four months before the next fiscal year begins. They’re expected to sign off on the mid-year cuts sooner.

2.10.15:  Governor plans to ask for more money for University operations


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder plans to ask the Legislature to approve a $28 million increase in state spending for university operations.

The 2 percent bump is part of a spending plan to be unveiled Wednesday. If approved, the higher education budget would reach $1.544 billion for the fiscal year starting in October, with $1.4 billion coming from the general fund.

Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel says it’s “one of the keys to the future.”

It’s the fourth consecutive year of increased higher education funding, following three years of decreases.

Much like in last year’s higher education budget, Michigan universities would be eligible for increases in operations funding if they meet certain prerequisites. A difference in those metrics is keeping tuition increases capped at 2.8 percent, down from 3.2 percent.


The governor is also expected to ask lawmakers to significantly boost spending on skilled trades training and career technical education.

The plan looks to spend 75% more than the current fiscal year called for.

The governor says he is working to position Michigan s a leader in addressing a skills gap.

2.6.15:  Police: 1 dead, 1 hurt in shooting near Michigan St. campus


EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Police say one man is dead and another is wounded following a shooting at a parking structure near the campus of Michigan State University.

Police say they are seeking two suspects following the shooting around midnight Thursday at the Grove Street parking ramp in East Lansing. According to police, a 22-year-old Lansing man was pronounced dead at a hospital and a 21-year-old Lansing man was expected to survive.

Circumstances of the shooting are under investigation. An alert was issued at Michigan State University about the shooting.

2.5.15:  Gov. Snyder: Michigan will recognize about 300 gay marriages


— Governor Rick Snyder says Michigan will recognize more than 300 same-sex marriage ceremonies that were  performed during a brief window when they were allowed last year.

The governor announced Wednesday that he won’t appeal a ruling that the state must recognize the gay marriages. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith had said the marriages are valid but put on hold his decision for 21 days pending any appeal.

A different federal judge struck down Michigan’s gay marriage ban last March. Same-sex couples in four counties married the next day, before an appeals court suspended the decision and blocked additional marriages.

The U.S. Supreme Court has since decided to consider the legality of Michigan’s 2004 voter-approved ban.

1.30.15:  Gov. Snyder issues directive to improve government purchasing


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to improve the state of Michigan’s purchasing after identifying “gaps” in how the state currently buys goods and services.

The Republican governor issued a directive Thursday formalizing procurement operations across state agencies. Each department’s procurement executive will now report to a chief procurement officer within the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Snyder says state agencies must work better together to effectively and efficiently manage taxpayer dollars.

The directive isn’t binding on the attorney general or secretary of state’s offices. But Snyder says he’s encouraging them to voluntarily abide by the terms laid out in the directive.

1.29.15:  Lansing mayor kicking off new public health initiative


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is kicking off a new public health initiative to help area residents set fitness and weight loss goals.

Thursday night he plans to step on a scale during his State of the City address. The effort, called Lansing Loses a Million, will help connect people with resources and track their progress.

Bernero says weight is “one of our biggest, most identifiable problems.” He wants to “underscore all of the opportunities to get healthy.”

Lansing Loses a Million is the brainchild of Kelly Zielinski and Ashley Logan, who founded the Lansing nonprofit Lettuce Live Well. They were working in nutritional counseling and started the organization to help more people achieve a healthier lifestyle.



1.20.15:  Snyder to discuss third-grade reading standards in speech


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder will make third-grade reading a focus in his annual State of the State address.

Tonight at 7 p.m., the governor  will call for lawmakers to create a commission similar to one in Tennessee. It would concentrate on third-graders’ reading proficiency and other prenatal-to-third grade issues to improve children’s outcomes.

Third grade is considered a key indicator of future success because it’s when students move from learning to read to reading to learn.

Snyder says the number of third-graders proficient in reading has risen to 70 percent, but “we need to get to 100 percent.”

He says legislation requiring third-graders who are behind in reading to be held back should be “looked at,” but says his initiative focuses on the problem earlier.

1.16.15:  Snyder preparing for budget cuts as revenue falls short 


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder expects to make mid-year cuts in the state budget because tax revenue is short of initial predictions.

His administration and legislative economists are meeting Friday to settle on revised budget numbers. The shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars is mostly being blamed on businesses cashing in tax credits at a higher rate than expected.

Snyder will use the new figures to decide how much to cut from the current budget and to finalize his budget plan for the next fiscal year. He will present his 2015-16 budget proposal to the Republican-led Legislature in February.

The Republican governor says the economy is doing well but past business tax credits are creating a “great deal of challenge and uncertainty.”