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.
It’s now been a year since Michigan’s controversial right-to-work measure was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. The law, which formally took effect last March, made it illegal to require that employees join a union as a condition of employment.
Right-to-work triggered a stormy, sometimes violent, debate. Supporters called it an issue of worker freedom and a job creator. Opponents complained it was a flagrant attempt to undercut the power of unions and the working people who belong to them.
On Saturday, state lawmakers from around the country will meet at Mount Vernon to discuss how they can push for a new constitutional convention. Their primary goal is to pass and ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget.
Earlier this year, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow introduced a bill proponents say would better serve Americans with mental disorders. Her "Excellence in Mental Health" measure would expand access to community mental health centers, in part by making more of them eligible for payments under Medicaid.
On Monday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer called for Michigan to adopt the highest minimum wage in the country. Currently standing at $7.40 an hour, Schauer's recommended $9.25 an hour would surpass the top existing state rate in Washington by 6 cents.
Flint is a city that has lost half its population over the last 50 years. Its poverty rate far exceeds the state average. And across the nation, Flint bears the harsh moniker of the “murder capital of America.”
Two years after it first suggested reforms to streamline and improve front line services to Michigan citizens, the Coalition of State Employee Unions says the state has failed to improve its human capital strategy.
Michigan government services are inefficient and expensive because important reforms are not taking place.That’s the conclusion of a new report from a coalition of state employee labor unions entitled “Pure Michigan Waste.”
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Bill Collette is critical of legislation that would move the Michigan Court of Claims from Ingham County to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Current State spoke with Ingham County Controller Tim Dolehanty about the impact such a move might have on the county.
Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriages remains in place. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman chose to hold a trial in February in the case in which a lesbian couple from Hazel Park is seeking to overturn the state’s laws that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying and entering into joint adoptions.
As we enter the second day of a partial government shutdown, it’s still uncertain just how much impact this will have across the state and locally. One thing is certain, however. The longer this continues, the greater the effects will be. More than 40% of the state’s budget comes from the federal government. In the Tri-County area, there are many non-profits and government programs that rely on federal funding.
On the last weekday of each month, Current State looks back on the biggest news stories around Michigan with a panel of journalists. Tim Skubick of WKAR-TV and Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network join Current State to discuss the Michigan GOP establishment pushback against the Tea Party, common core education standards, the possible federal government shutdown, and more.
Gov. Rick Snyder said the city of Detroit needs a “radically restructure” and bankruptcy is the "only feasible option" to fix the city's finances. But many worry about the potential impact to municipalities’ bonding credit and state employees’ pension plan.
A much-feared -- but widely anticipated -- day arrived yesterday in Michigan’s largest city. Officials filed a 16-page bankruptcy petition on behalf of the city of Detroit in U.S. Court, making the city the largest municipal bankruptcy in the U.S. history.
Gov. Rick Snyder authorized the filing yesterday after efforts by state-appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr failed to satisfy numerous creditors. According to reports, the city owes as many as 100,000 creditors and accrued obligation is as much as $20 billion.
As NSA leaker Edward Snowden makes his way from Moscow to, what sounds like, Cuba or Venezuela today, the debate across the country continues over government transparency and what sorts of things the public has a right to know about its government’s actions.
A minor turf war over public records is taking shape in Ingham County.
While the dispute is being downplayed by its two participants---Clerk Barb Byrum and Chief Circuit Court Judge Janelle Lawless---some observers suggest it’s symptomatic of a larger, ongoing problem: poor public access to documents.
Current State host Mark Bashore visited with both Barb Byrum and Judge Janelle Lawless to learn more.