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Lawmakers step in on school mascot issue

Nov 13, 2017

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Democrats in Lansing want to make schools get rid of mascots that may be considered racially insensitive. 

The legislation would prevent all kinds of potentially racially insensitive monikers – from the Escanaba Eskymos to the Athens Indians.

Some schools say they aren’t racist and the communities have a proud history with these mascots.

Democratic Senator Ian Conyers is a bill sponsor. He says, “I think the control of those appropriations, especially on high school levels, should be up to the people whose heritage is being defined.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state is taking a synchronized approach to fighting the hepatitis A outbreak.

It’s activated two emergency centers. Through the centers, the state will organize a plan to prevent

hepatitis A. It will then guide local public health officials in prevention and investigation of cases.

“This is about public health,” said Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley. “This is about our individuals who are out there just living their lives and we need to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to prevent the spread of hepatitis A.”

Kaytie Boomer /

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state department that regulates medical marijuana will allow dispensaries to stay open while details get worked out about how licenses will be issued.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) originally considered giving marijuana shops until mid-December to close their doors – or risk not getting a license. Numerous patients and dispensary owners spoke out against the decision. They said it would hurt a patient’s ability to get their medication.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan schools aren’t quite on board with legislation to teach more skilled trades and technical education in schools. But with a few changes, they might get there soon.

Bills in a state House committee would, among other things, require schools to adopt a model program for career exploration and job readiness. The Department of Education would have to come up with a model as well. That model program would help teachers with career development to get kids thinking about what they want their career to be from a young age.

Bridge Magazine

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some Michigan lawmakers want to make sure the state’s growing senior population will be taken care of.

A bill would create a study looking at the costs of long-term elderly care for families and the state.

Sarah Slocum specializes in elder care for a nonprofit health group. She says the state needs to know what all that long-term care will cost.

Promise-Zone bills headed to the governor’s desk

Oct 19, 2017

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Legislature may create five new “Promise Zones.” Those are special cities and communities that provide free college tuition for high school graduates.

The bill was originally intended to make Flint a Promise Zone, but a committee decided to bring the state’s total of Promise Zones up from 10 to 15.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich is from Flint, which will likely apply for Promise Zone status. He said this would give the people of his city hope and a reason to stay after the water crisis.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some lawmakers in Lansing think the state Board of Education isn’t effective.

They want to amend the state constitution to get rid of it – along with the board-appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Board for Public Community and Junior Colleges.

Instead, the governor would appoint a Director of the Michigan Department of Education.

Republican Representative Tim Kelly introduced the Amendment. He said the current system doesn’t work.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A Republican candidate for governor has been kicked off of his Senate committees. 

Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) is known for being outspoken on conservative issues – even against his own party. He’s spoken out against Republican handling of the Medicaid expansion and the gas tax. Colbeck was already one of the few Republican Senators without a committee chairmanship.

Colbeck said he’ll continue to represent his district – it just might be a little harder now.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Legislation to nix Driver Responsibility Fees is moving through the state Legislature.

The fees require drivers to pay to get their driver’s license back after getting too many points on their license or committing certain driving offenses.

There’s already a law to phase out the fees completely in 2019. But lawmakers say that’s not soon enough. They want the fee to be gone by October of next year. And they want people that haven’t paid their fees to be forgiven.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan may start tracking its sexual assault evidence kits. An amendment to the state’s budget would pay for the required software and training. 

The kits contain swabs and other evidence gathered from a victim of sexual assault. Software would track the kit as it moves from hospital to police department to laboratory. It also sends out alerts if a kit has been in one location too long.