LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm is planning to sign the statewide ban on workplace smoking on Friday at a downtown Lansing brewpub.
AUDIO: The Legislature sent the smoking ban to Governor Granholm last week following nearly 10 years of wrangling on the question. The state seemed close to approving a smoking ban a year ago, but the legislation stalled as lawmakers argued over to include cigar bars and casinos on the ban.
LANSING, MI – The state House has voted to use a portion of sales taxes paid by hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses to fund the Pure Michigan ad campaign. The state had to cancel a winter ad buy because it ran out of money. Tourism officials credit the program with keeping tourism afloat during its first full-year run.
The program has wide bipartisan support. Democratic state Representative Dan Scripps.
LANSING, MI – The Legislature is expected to meet into the night as negotiations continue on reforms that would help the state compete for federal education reform money.
AUDIO: The talks have been stop-and-go all day as Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on many details - including rules for allowing new charter schools to compete against public schools with high dropout rates and low test scores.
LANSING, MI – Lawmakers in the state Senate are expected to vote Thursday on legislation that would bar Michigan drivers from text messaging while driving. State Senator Buzz Thomas sponsored one of the bills.
"Who has not seen someone driving poorly on the road and when you get up by them by the window and you see them on the phone, looking down away from the road," he says. "And that type of distraction is reckless, it's irresponsible and we have to ban it.
Lansing, MI – The President of the Michigan State Employees Association says the union will take five unpaid days next year, rather make concessions that would affect new hires.
The Michigan State Employees Association represents about 4,300 state workers spread throughout all 19 state departments. The union has been told by state officials that members will have to take five unpaid days to help resolve a projected budget shortfall.
Lansing, MI – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is holding a series of community forums around the country to gather ideas on rural development. Thursday night, mid-Michigan residents had their say about the issue.
Lansing, MI – Michigan human services employees are planning a protest in suburban Detroit Friday. They're calling on state lawmakers to supply more temporary workers to ease their burgeoning caseloads.
About 4,300 state workers represented by the Michigan State Employees Association may have to take five furlough days in 2010 if an agreement can't be reached.
The Office of the State Employer and the union have discussed concessions, but haven't agreed on any. State officials said Thursday they were imposing five furlough days to help cut $50,000,000 from personnel costs.
LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm has acknowledged that she probably won't win her fight for new revenue before the Legislature breaks for the year. Lawmakers are expected to wrap up work this week on school reforms that are required to compete for federal Race to the Top funds. The Legislature will then be out until mid-January.
DEARBORN, MI – United Auto Workers union leaders have nominated top Ford Motor Co. negotiator Bob King to be the union's next president. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger says the 63-year-old King is "relentless and tenacious" and a great negotiator. UAW members will elect a new president in June.
LANSING, MI – Governor Jennifer Granholm joined a work crew in Lansing Wednesday to promote federal assistance for home weatherization. She said the program is aimed at low-income home owners:
"They can call the Capital Area Community Services and apply and have, hopefully, the folks come out and be able to weatherize their homes," she says. "They can save between 30 and 35-percent on their home heating bills."
LANSING, MI – Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox says former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick broke the law if he used campaign funds to pay attorneys defending him against assault charges. Cox says that's because the charges were unrelated to Kilpatrick's office.
HOUSTON – Tracy McGrady sank a 3-pointer in his season debut, Luis Scola and Aaron Brooks scored 23 points apiece and the Houston Rockets snapped the Detroit Pistons' five-game winning streak with a 107-96 win on Tuesday night.
Rookie Chase Budinger had 16 points and 12 rebounds in his first career start and reserve Carl Landry added 19 points for the Rockets.
Trevor Ariza served a one-game suspension, and that gave Coach Rick Adelman a chance to start Budinger and bring McGrady off the bench for his first action since Feb. 9.
LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm says she was not disappointed to hear that Guantamo detainees will be headed to Illinois instead of prison in northeast Michigan. She says her security concerns on housing suspected terrorists at the closed prison in Standish were never addressed.
DETROIT – Jimmy Howard made 30 saves and Kris Newbury, Patrick Eaves and Derek Meech scored to lift the Detroit Red Wings over the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 on Monday night.
Taylor Pyatt and Radim Vrbata scored for Phoenix and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 29 shots.
Vrbata's goal with 36 seconds left in the second period pulled the Coyotes to within a goal. His shot from along the right wing boards deflected off the stick of Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi for Vrbata's 10th goal.
LANSING, MI – A state House panel has approved legislation that would require all public employers to file details of their health insurance benefits plans with the Department of Management and Budget.
East Lansing, MI – The East Lansing school district has averted several dramatic funding cuts. The school board will delay some of those decisions until January.
School board members backed off some of their more controversial options. The board spared teacher layoffs and transportation cuts. Instead, members voted to reduce the budgets for administrative and technology expenses, athletics, conferences, supplies and contract custodial services.
LANSING, MI – State House Democrats say current regulations don't go far enough to protect consumers from bad business practices. The state House is expected to approve legislation this week that would make the Michigan Consumer Protection Act more stringent.
Democratic state Senator Gretchen Whitmer says the Republican-led state Senate should take the legislation up as well. She says all politicians run on campaigns of protecting people and attracting businesses.
Lansing, MI – Lieutenant Governor John Cherry wants to charge water bottlers 10 cents a bottle to pay for college scholarships and restoring Michigan's wetlands protection program. Both were cut from the budget earlier this year.
DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is praising President Barack Obama, saying his administration's efforts to boost the economy helped safeguard the manufacturers that are the backbone of Michigan's economy.
During a Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Granholm lavished praise on the administration for its role in helping the Detroit Three.
Granholm says the administration made it a priority to help the economy's manufacturing sector and that without that the recession "would have been so much worse."