After close to 10 years in office, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero enjoyed a first last night: The chance to submit a city budget plan with a surplus. Despite being slightly in the black for fiscal year 2015, Bernero describes his $18 million spending plan as conservative and cautious.
The legal status of same-sex marriage here in Michigan was taken for quite the ride over the weekend. Late Friday afternoon, Federal District Judge Bernard Friedman declared Michigan’s 2004 ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. By Saturday afternoon, the clerks in four Michigan counties – Washtenaw, Muskegon, Oakland and Ingham – issued hundreds of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request to put the ruling on hold was granted by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That temporary hold lasts until Wednesday.
General Motors officials continue efforts to navigate the fallout from its delayed recall of 1.6-million vehicles with faulty ignition switches. The flaw, which has been linked to 31 crashes and 12 deaths, has been traced to vehicles made as long ago as 2001.
It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature two services from the Capital Area United Way: the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and their 2-1-1 support line.
The controversy over wolf hunting continues in Michigan with new developments this week.
Last November and December, hunters killed 23 wolves in three parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. That was a little more than half the number allowed under the state's new wolf hunting rules. The wolf debate didn't end with the hunt, though.
Drunk driving has been a public safety problem for years across the United States. A similar and growing threat is that of drugged driving. Some new law enforcement programs are targeting people who get behind the wheel under the influence of various drugs, sometimes in combination with alcohol.
On February 21, a campus-wide email was sent out by Paulette Granberry Russell, MSU’s Title IX Coordinator and director of its Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. In it, she stated that the university was “collaborating” with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. It was later revealed by local news outlets that MSU was in fact under a federal investigation for its policies and response to sexual assault claims.
A deal to renew federal benefits for the country’s long-term unemployed continues to elude the U.S. Congress. However, supporters of the effort, which include Democrats and a growing number of Republicans, are hopeful of a breakthrough in the Senate this week. There, Senators are looking at two proposals, one from each party.
Another Democrat has announced her candidacy to represent Lansing and East Lansing in Congress.
Susan Grettenberger is the director of Central Michigan University's Social Work Program and an associate professor in the department. In a news release about her candidacy last week, the Lansing resident discussed "a theme of economic populism and giving voice to everyday Americans."
The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments today on what should be done with more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life with no chance of parole as juveniles. The Michigan case follows a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring life without parole sentences for minors violates the U.S. constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Since 2006, East Lansing's Prima Civitas has been a catalyst for economic and community development --initially in mid-Michigan and eventually across the state. The non-profit brings together business owners, entrepreneurs and Michigan State University resources to spark economic growth.
The Michigan Political Leadership Program, or MPLP, is designed to promote diversity and dialogue in how our communities, our state, and our nation are run. It started in 1992 and is administered by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University.
Every year, 24 people from across the state and across the political spectrum are chosen for the 10-month program. They develop skills to help them win elections, address the media and serve their constituents. The latest group has just started the program.
Fourteen months ago, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation eliminating the state personal property tax levied on business equipment. The move was heralded as welcome change by business owners who said the tax put them at a competitive disadvantage and inhibited job growth. However, local governments are worried about how they will replace the revenue that kept their vital services running. Now, a series of bills introduced this week in the Michigan Senate seeks to preserve that funding.
A federal judge in Detroit will hear opening arguments today on a case that could potentially overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. In 2012, two lesbian nurses sued Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette. The couple is raising three special needs children, but they cannot legally adopt them unless they are married.
Last week, an Ingham County judge ordered Kosgar Lado, a 21-year old Lansing resident, to be held in the state psychiatric hospital in Kalamazoo for up to 15 months or until he can be deemed competent to stand trial for a felony charge of lying to police.
Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. George Zimmerman shot the unarmed teenager while on a neighborhood watch patrol. Claiming self defense under Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, Zimmerman was ultimately acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Attorney Benjamin Crump has represented the interests of Martin’s family. He has a speaking engagement tonight in Lansing.
During his State of the State address last month, Governor Rick Snyder pledged to create the Michigan Office for New Americans. He did so on January 31, and named Bing Goei, of Grand Rapids, to run the office. The idea is to attract and retain highly skilled immigrants in Michigan.
In 2011, the state created a school reform district called the Education Achievement Authority, or EAA, to turn around the state’s lowest ranking schools. In its first year in operation during the 2012-13 school year, the EAA took control of 15 priority schools in Detroit. The results have been mixed at best, as the EAA has been plagued with declining enrollment, insufficient funding, and accusations of ineffectiveness and unsafe conditions.
A Clinton County school teacher has announced her candidacy for the Michigan Senate’s 24th district. Democrat Dawn Levey says she would make education one of her top priorities. She says Michigan school kids are “suffering because of partisan politics."
President Obama shared his priorities for the new year last night in his sixth State of the Union address. Among those goals: narrowing the country’s income gap, in part by raising the minimum wage for federal contract employees; immigration reform; and an expansion of employee retirement savings plans.
Host Mark Bashore spoke with U.S. Senator Carl Levin about a variety of topics today on Current State. They began with a look at yesterday’s failure to hammer out an extension of benefits for over a million long-term unemployed Americans.