LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan residents in the Healthy Michigan insurance program are a signature away from mandated work requirements.

The bill has been put on the fast track recently. It passed out of the House Wednesday during a contentious session. Thursday the Senate gave it a final procedural vote.

Previous versions of the bill were more sweeping and would have applied to everyone on Medicare. As the bill made its way through the Legislature, exemptions were added and the amount of required work was reduced. But critics say that still isn’t enough.

State Legislature gets rid of prevailing wage

Jun 7, 2018

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Prevailing wage is now a thing of Michigan’s past. The House and Senate passed an initiative Wednesday to get rid of the law that requires workers be paid union-level wages on public contracts. 

Union members and skilled trade workers gathered at the Capitol to oppose the vote. They interrupted House session multiple times during the vote to cheer speeches against repealing the law and boo those in favor of repeal. The bill passed in a 56-53 vote. The chamber erupted with yells and jeers after the vote was tallied.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state Legislature is getting closer to requiring that people in the Healthy Michigan insurance program work to get those benefits.

The bill is now one vote away from the governor’s desk.

Those in favor say it’s a good way to get more people working and help them be self-sufficient, but opponents of the measure say it flies in the face of the spirit of Healthy Michigan – they say healthcare is a right and people shouldn’t be required to work for it.

Democratic Representative David LeGrand voted against the bill.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MPRN)--   Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon was in Washington Tuesday to answer questions before a US Senate subcommittee. 

Simon was subpoenaed as part of an inquiry into the Larry Nassar scandal. She and former officials from USA Gymnastics were called in to explain how Nassar was allowed to prey upon young athletes for 20 years before he was caught.

Simon says she was unaware until two years ago that Nassar – an acclaimed sports doctor -- might also be a predator, and she apologized.

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Rick Snyder wants an oil and gas pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac to eventually be de-commissioned. He said so speaking to reporters on Mackinac Island.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State lawmakers can now vote to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law. It requires the state pay union-scale wages on its contracts. 

The Board of State Canvassers certified a ballot initiative Friday giving the Legislature a chance to pass the measure instead of letting the voters decide.

Supporters of prevailing wage say it helps people who work in the skilled trades, but opponents of the law have been trying to get rid of it for years. They say it inflates the price of government projects. 

Prevailing wage repeal to move forward

May 31, 2018

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Supreme Court won’t review issues against a ballot initiative to end prevailing wage, so the measure must move forward.

Lawmakers could vote on the measure as soon as next week.

Prevailing wage requires union-level wages be paid on state funded construction projects.

The Board of State Canvassers originally deadlocked on whether to approve the petition. There was a question about whether some signatures were valid. Now the board will meet on Friday to reconsider. Once it’s certified, the measure goes to the Legislature.

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI--   Michigan is committing millions of dollars toward upgrading the Soo Locks.

Governor Rick Snyder says state leadership identified roughly $50 million in infrastructure funding to commit to the project.

The locks are managed by the federal government. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates an upgrade would cost nearly a billion dollars.

In urging support for the project last month, President Trump said large-scale infrastructure projects that leverage non-federal investments will move to the top of the priority list.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (AP)--   Traverse City leaders have unanimously approved needle exchanges for intravenous drug users. 

The Traverse City Record Eagle reports that Commissioner Michele Howard suggested the needle exchange to reduce the effects of an opioid crisis affecting the Grand Traverse County area.

Pam Lynch, co-director of Harm Reduction Michigan, says the opioid epidemic has led to more use of injected drugs and higher rates of hepatitis C infection.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Medical experts in Michigan say reducing the stigma of HIV is key to stopping the spread of the disease.

A package of bills in the state Legislature would update the state’s laws. That would include changing the criminal penalty for someone who doesn’t disclose they have HIV to a sexual partner. Right now it’s a felony to not disclose – even if the partner doesn’t get HIV. The bill would make it a misdemeanor and require the partner actually get HIV.