Michigan's poorly ranked public defender system may get an overhaul in 2012. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, some lawmakers at the state Capitol say they are ready to revamp indigent defense in the state.
The Legislature could enact new restrictions soon on what types of household waste can be disposed of in burn barrels. We have more from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.
Household waste now includes a lot more toxic materials - such as computer parts, rubber, plastic, and treated wood. A rule proposed last year would have banned outdoor burning in communities that don't have a local trash-burning ordinance.
A family friend of a Michigan high school graduate accused by Iran of working for the CIA says efforts continue to free him.
Flint-area lawyer Muna Jondy told The Flint Journal for a story Wednesday that 28-year-old Amir Mirzaei Hekmati's family in Michigan was "frantic" following a report Tuesday from the semiofficial Fars news agency that he could face the death penalty.
Some lawmakers at the state Capitol hope to resolve a long-standing controversy that pits lakefront property owners against backlot property owners. A bill could spell out what people are allowed to do to at road ends that offer public access to inland lakes.
As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, they hope to have a law ready before warm weather draws more people to the water.
Lawmakers at the state Capitol say they are ready to begin talks next year on a long-term solution to the state's broken home-heating-assistance fund. The Legislature approved a short-term fix to keep low-income families' homes heated through this winter.
Democratic state Representative Jeff Irwin says a long-term solution needs to consider the profile of most low-income homes.
There may soon be more online K-12 schools allowed to operate in Michigan. Republican leaders in the state Legislature say they want to approve a measure that would allow more so-called cyber schools when lawmakers return to the Capitol in January.
State Representative Tom McMillin chairs the House Education Committee. He says many lawmakers are impressed with the ability of cyber schools to help kids who struggle in or drop out of traditional public schools.
A fight over money to train doctors in residency programs at Michigan hospitals will carry over to 2012. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, supporters say the money is a critical part of addressing a doctor shortage.
Laswmakers say money for training doctors was simply not a top priority to be addressed before the Legislature adjourned until next year.
The owner of Lansing's Frandor shopping center property says he's optimistic the location's Sears store will not be among those closed by the company. Pat Gillespie of East Lansing's Gillespie Group says he was reassured by Sears officials earlier this year when the retailer announced similar plans.
LANSING, MI – As 2011 concludes, health issues are high on the agenda at the state capitol. Governor Rick Snyder's administration is shaping new policy recommendations in two areas considered critical: obesity and infant mortality. And the future of medical marijuana remains unclear.
LANSING, MI – A political battle at the state Capitol may put taxpayers on the hook to pay down the debt of Detroit Public Schools. Two bills that would assure the school district's bond insurers that it would not go bankrupt, and would allow the district more time to pay off its debt were prepared for a final vote in the state House on the last day of session for the year.
LANSING, MI – Some lawmakers at the state Capitol say they would like to work in 2012 to provide some legal protections to K-12 students from cyber-bullying.
Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer says the Legislature should approve a measure that would require all school districts to prohibit bullying via home computers and personal cell phones. She says bullying on the internet is a fast-growing problem.
LANSING, MI – Governor Rick Snyder has signed several new pieces of legislation, including a package of bills on compensation for Michigan crime victims.
The governor's office says Snyder signed three bills that clarify definitions and strengthens compensation requirements and programs for crime victims. The bills were sponsored by fellow Republican state Senator Tonya Schuitmaker of Lawton.
LANSING, MI – Governor Rick Snyder says he expects state intervention will be necessary in the coming year to help fix the finances of struggling local governments and school districts. The governor says he hopes to avoid in most cases the extreme step of naming an emergency manager.
State tax credits for charitable giving expire in about a week and a half. Governor Rick Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature got rid of the credits as part of a tax overhaul during budget negotiations earlier this year. Among the groups included in the expiring tax credit are food banks.
Eileen Spring is president of Food Gatherers - a food bank in Ann Arbor. She says she hopes the expiring tax credit will draw attention to the need for charitable giving in the coming year.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and other religious and civil rights leaders are promising protests and possible civil disobedience against Michigan's new emergency manager law that could lead to a takeover of Detroit government.
Jackson and others announced their plans Thursday at a news conference at Detroit's Bethany Baptist Church.
LANSING, MI – LANSING, MI (AP) - A charitable organization in Lansing that was hit by a weekend fire at its thrift store and office has found temporary space.
The Lansing State Journal reports Thursday that St. Vincent de Paul will occupy two storefronts. Sunday's fire destroyed more than six months' worth of donated clothing and possibly two months of donated furniture.
Governor Rick Snyder has signed a measure that bans health benefits that cover the live-in partners of people who work for school districts and local governments. But, as we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, the governor says the ban will not apply to the unmarried partners of employees of state or public universities.