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.