Proposal seeks return to part-time legislature

Feb 5, 2014
Courtesy WKAR/Off the Record


Norman Kammeraad is a West Michigan business owner who chairs the Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature. The group is calling for a two-month legislative session with salaries of $35,000.

SIDEBAR: A look at Georgia's part-time legislature

Feb 5, 2014
Flickr - wallyg

If governing nearly 10-million people with a legislature that meets for just two months sounds impossible, take a trip down Interstate 75 and spend some time in the Peach State.

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.

Flickr - DanMacMan

The Michigan legislature has begun its election year session. The body will reconsider unfinished business from 2013 including an expansion of the Education Achievement Authority and road funding.

Right to Work, one year later

Dec 12, 2013
WKAR/Joe Linstroth

  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.

House Dem leader Greimel on year-end legislative push

Dec 11, 2013

The last day of the Michigan legislature’s 2013 session is scheduled to be tomorrow.  That’s ramped up efforts by majority Republicans to pass several proposals generating a lot of debate.

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.

Stabenow bill would strengthen mental health coverage

Nov 25, 2013

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.

New state agency nullifies more than 1,500 rules

Nov 22, 2013
Flickr - GreatOaksLandscapeMI

Michigan’s catalog of administrative rules, thousands of which help regulate safety and professional standards in industries across the state, has gotten thinner lately.

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.

Among the many federal government agencies and programs affected by the across the board spends cuts known as the sequestration, which took effect last March, is the National Institutes of Health.

State senate bill protects 'dark money,' stirs debate

Nov 18, 2013
Flickr - lakelandlocal

Last Thursday, Senate Republicans rushed through a bill that would alter campaign finance rules in Michigan. The changes include doubling the limits nearly across the board on campaign contributions.

Flint formalizes plan for future

Nov 15, 2013

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.”

Wikimedia Commons

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.”