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.”

1.16.15:  Lansing museum displaying historic artifact from Civil War 


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An artifact made by Native American soldiers who served in the Civil War is among items featured at a special exhibit in a Lansing museum.

The beaded headband is on display at “Conceived in Liberty” at the Michigan Historical Museum. The headband was created by American Indian members of Company K of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters and given as a gift to their commanding officer.

The museum says many Native Americans who had been rejected from the U.S. military they were allowed to join in 1863 joined Company K when that changed. According to the museum, the company’s members came from tribal communities in Michigan.

The men of Company K helped hoist the Union flag at the Petersburg Courthouse in Virginia when it fell to northern forces in July 1864.

1.15.15:  Michigan base jumper dies after jumping from TV news tower


RIVES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State Police say a BASE jumper has died after his parachute failed to deploy after launching from a TV news tower in Rives Township.

Police say the man jumped from the 1,000 foot tower Wednesday evening. An employee of WLAJ-TV called police to report the incident.

Police say the base jumper made it past a gate to get to the news tower. They say the man is about 30 years old.

Police have ruled the man’s death an accident.

BASE stands for building, antenna, span and earth.

1.15.15:  Snyder signs bills to aid homeowners facing tax foreclosure


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Governor Rick Snyder has signed bills that he says aim to protect homeowners from foreclosure over delinquent taxes and make sure people bidding on foreclosed property are financially responsible.

Snyder signed the bills Wednesday.

The governor’s office says that two House bills aim to reduce the foreclosure rate in Wayne County, where about 76,000 residential, commercial, and industrial properties are in foreclosure. The office says that 62,000 of the properties are in Detroit.

The bills allow homeowners facing financial hardship to use a payment plan to meet tax responsibilities and avoid foreclosure.

A Senate bill requires that people bidding on foreclosed properties to register two weeks before the sale. It blocks sale to people who are delinquent on taxes or have a history of financial negligence.

1.13.15:  Snyder signs bill targeting cyberbullying of schoolchildren


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill requiring Michigan school districts to include cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policies and report bullying data to the state.

The Legislature approved the measure during its lame duck session after the election and before its new members took office.

Supporters say the measure addresses gaps in a 2011 law that requires K-12 districts and charter schools to have anti-bullying policies.

They say bullying done through social media, texting and instant messaging is probably more prevalent now than physical bullying. Opponents say they question how schools and the state are supposed to stop cyberbullying often done outside school grounds.

The bill was one of 21 that Snyder signed Tuesday.

12.31.14:  Gov. Snyder signed 44 bills Tuesday


Lansing (AP) — Governor Synder signed 44 bills into day on Tuesday.

Some of those new laws include:

- a law prohibiting college athletes at public universities from unionizing. The measure blocks collective bargaining for university athletes by saying they aren’t public employees. It’s a pre-emptive move after Northwestern University football players in April held a secret vote on whether to unionize at the private school in Evanston, Illinois.


— Make candidates put down a deposit of $25 per precinct instead of $10 and require a $125-a-precinct deposit if the number of votes separating the winner from the loser is more than 50 or 0.5 percent, whichever is greater.


— Allow the state Department of Natural Resources to issue shooting permits with guidelines in areas where bears are damaging crops.


— Let municipal utilities create programs so residential customers can pay installments on their monthly bills to finance improvements that make their homes more energy efficient.


— Let the state permanently revoke licenses for health workers as a disciplinary action.


— Remove a requirement that people gathering signatures for political petitions be a registered Michigan voter.


— Remove licensing requirements for people in the mortgage industry whose primary responsibility is helping delinquent home loan borrowers renegotiate loans, aligning state law with federal rules.


— Require the state to pay a 3 percent bonus interest on Michigan Business Tax refunds not paid within a specified amount of time.


— Allow wild game meat from more than one hunter to be used in sausage making.


— Name various highways and roads in honor of troopers, police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. Another law names a portion of Interstate 75 in honor of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.


— Designate roads previously known as “Michigan Heritage Routes” as “Pure Michigan Byways.”

12.24.14:  Court: Schools must show size of unfunded mandate


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled against school districts that sued over the cost of reporting data to the state of Michigan.

The court ruled 6-1 that more than 450 districts had to prove the specific amount of the purported unfunded mandate. The districts had argued that they didn’t need to quantify the underfunding and instead only had to show that an underfunding occurred.

The high court released the decision Tuesday.

The case stems from a lawsuit saying that the state didn’t provide enough funding for districts to collect and report information to the Center for Educational Performance and Information in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. The Michigan Constitution prohibits the state from requiring new or expanded activities by local governments and school districts without full state financing.

Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. says the Legislature gave money to school districts for reporting requirements, distinguishing the case from past cases in which no money was appropriated. He says districts as a result must show exactly how much funding is short.

Justice Michael Cavanagh was the lone dissenter, saying it’s not unreasonable to put the burden on the state to show that it appropriated enough money to the districts.

The court dismissed the suit, uphold a special master’s earlier order and overturning the Michigan Court of Appeals.