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In Michigan
6:19 pm
Thu December 17, 2009

Granholm to sign smoking ban, legal challenge possible

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.

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In Michigan
6:13 pm
Thu December 17, 2009

House approves sales tax for Pure Michigan ad buys

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.

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Top Stories
6:09 pm
Thu December 17, 2009

Talks on MI school reforms stall over charter expansion

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.

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In Michigan
5:12 pm
Thu December 17, 2009

MI Senate expected to vote on texting bills

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.

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In Michigan
4:43 pm
Thu December 17, 2009

MSEA President says enough is enough

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.

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In Michigan
2:22 pm
Thu December 17, 2009

Rural businesses say access to capital is key to growth

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.

AUDIO:

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In Michigan
1:47 pm
Thu December 17, 2009

DHS workers plan demonstration, ask state for relief

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.

AUDIO:

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In Michigan
11:27 am
Thu December 17, 2009

Some state workers to have five furlough days

Lansing (MI) –

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.

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In Michigan
6:22 pm
Wed December 16, 2009

MI House approves auto insurance reforms

LANSING, MI –
Lawmakers in the state House approved a package of bills Wednesday that Democrats say would hold auto insurers more accountable for unfair business practices.

AUDIO:
Democrats in the House spent the week discussing consumer-protection measures. Democratic state Representative Barb Byrum chairs the committee that handled the auto insurance bills.

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In Michigan
6:17 pm
Wed December 16, 2009

Granholm concedes new revenue won't happen in '09

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.

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In Michigan
6:16 pm
Wed December 16, 2009

Ford negotiator nominated for UAW president

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.

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In Michigan
5:45 pm
Wed December 16, 2009

Levin confident Senate will pass health bill by Christmas

DETROIT, MI –
Michigan Senator Carl Levin is optimistic the US Senate will pass a Health Care
Overhaul bill by Christmas.

Though he says a final bill may not be ready for the President's signature until
next Spring.

Levin admits the bill has been stripped of many of the provisions he had wanted
but he insists it will improve the nation's health care system.

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In Michigan
3:47 pm
Wed December 16, 2009

Jobless rate again posts slight drop to 14.7%

LANSING, MI –
Michigan's unemployment dropped very slightly in November to 14.7%. That's the second month in a row that the nation's highest jobless rate has posted a slight decline.

AUDIO:
There were 20,000 fewer unemployed jobseekers in Michigan last month.

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In Michigan
2:26 pm
Wed December 16, 2009

Gov joins Lansing crew to promote weatherization assistance

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."

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In Michigan
9:18 am
Wed December 16, 2009

Cox: Kipatrick campaign funds can't pay for assault defense

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.

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Sports
6:01 am
Wed December 16, 2009

Michigan St. LB Jones named to All-America team

EAST LANSING, MI – Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones was the only player from the Big Ten named to the first team of The Associated Press All-America squad.

Jones, a junior, was on the roster released Tuesday. He ranks third in the nation with 11.8 tackles per game.

It marks the second straight year a Michigan State player has made the AP first team. Running back Javon Ringer was named last year.

Michigan State faces Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2.

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Sports
6:00 am
Wed December 16, 2009

Pistons fall to Rockets

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.

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In Michigan
4:45 pm
Tue December 15, 2009

CEO: GM to repay government loans by end of June

DETROIT, MI –
General Motors chairman and CEO says GM plans to repay all of its $6.7 billion in government loans by the end of June.

Ed Whitacre Jr. says the company plans to make quarterly installments starting this month with a $1.2 billion payment. He says it could repay sooner but that hasn't been decided.

In addition to the loans, GM has received $45.3 billion in aid from the government which was converted into an equity stake.

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In Michigan
2:35 pm
Tue December 15, 2009

Granholm still hopes to get inmates from feds, other states for Michigan prisons

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.

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Sports
6:32 am
Tue December 15, 2009

Red Wings hold off Coyotes 3-2

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.

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In Michigan
6:30 am
Tue December 15, 2009

AP sources: Ill prison to get some Gitmo detainees, not Standish

WASHINGTON – The White House plans to announce that a rural Illinois prison will be acquired by the federal government to become the new home for a limited number of Guantanamo Bay
detainees.

Administration officials as well as Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn will make the official announcement Tuesday at the White House.

Officials at both the White House and in Durbin's office confirmed the news Tuesday night.

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In Michigan
5:52 am
Tue December 15, 2009

MI lawmakers say health insurance pool needs more data

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.

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In Michigan
6:18 pm
Mon December 14, 2009

Feds to spend $13 million to fight carp invasion

TRAVERSE CITY, MI –
Federal officials say they'll use $13 million in Great Lakes restoration funds to step up the fight against invasive Asian carp.

Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Monday the money will be used for engineering projects to prevent the carp from slipping into Lake Michigan near Chicago.

They include closing conduits and shoring up low-lying lands between the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and other waterways.

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In Michigan
6:14 pm
Mon December 14, 2009

CEOs: Immediate changes are needed to fix Michigan

DETROIT, MI –
The CEOs of three prominent Michigan-based companies say immediate, sweeping changes are needed to turn around the state's struggling economy.

John Rakolta of Walbridge Aldinger, Anthony Earley of DTE Energy and David Brandon of Domino's Pizza spoke Monday at a meeting of the Detroit Economic Club.

The trio urged their audience to support the Michigan Turnaround Plan. The plan calls for creating a more efficient state government and atmosphere for entrepreneurship.

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In Michigan
6:08 pm
Mon December 14, 2009

East Lansing School Board to consider cuts

East Lansing, MI – As schools across the state prepare to make mid-year budget cuts, the exact amount of state funding they will get remains a moving target.

Governor Granholm last week delayed a planned cut of $127 per student, but schools still have to deal with earlier cuts of $165 per student and more in some wealthy districts.

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In Michigan
6:05 pm
Mon December 14, 2009

East Lansing school board averts severe budget cuts

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.

AUDIO:

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.

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State
5:13 pm
Mon December 14, 2009

Gov Granholm signs bills restricting utility shutoffs

LANSING, MI –
The freezing death of a World War II veteran has prompted new Michigan laws to protect municipal utility customers from having their electricity and natural gas shut off.

The five bills Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed into law Monday especially protect low-income customers and seniors from losing their power and heat.

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In Michigan
4:40 pm
Mon December 14, 2009

MI Democrats call for Consumer Protection legislation

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.

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In Michigan
4:12 pm
Mon December 14, 2009

Cherry calls for 10 cent water tax

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.

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In Michigan
3:46 pm
Mon December 14, 2009

Granholm: Obama helped Michigan's manufacturers

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."

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