Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A question to boost Michigan’s minimum wage to 12 dollars an hour could be headed to the November ballot. 

The campaign to raise Michigan’s minimum wage says it’s gathered enough petition signatures to force the Legislature to vote on the question, or it goes to voters in November. The initiative would also eliminate the lower minimum wage for restaurant servers and others who work for tips.

Tracy Pease is a server who says women who work for tips are more likely to face sexual harassment on the job.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A group opposed to legalizing marijuana in Michigan is now asking the Legislature to adopt an initiative to do just that, saying it’s pretty much a sure thing at this point. 

Opponents actually want lawmakers to approve the measure because if they do, changes can be made to the law with simple majorities. But if voters adopt it, amendments will require super-majorities.

Mark Fisk with the opposition campaign says changes are needed.              

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Marijuana-infused beer, wine, and spirits would be outlawed under a bill adopted Thursday by the state Senate.

It’s looking increasingly likely voters will decide whether recreational marijuana will be legal in Michigan as the time for the Legislature to act grows short.

State Senator Rick Jones he expects the question will be on the ballot, and it will be approved.  

“When the November ballot passes, Jennie, bar the door, it’s going to be the wild, wild west,” he says.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Rick Snyder and state lawmakers just got a windfall of $315 million to spend in the new state budget. 

It’s the result of better-than-expected economic growth that yielded more tax revenue.

State Senator David Hildenbrand chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. He says Republicans will look into paying down debt, and putting money into the state’s “rainy day” savings.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Supreme Court has called a halt to a petition campaign to repeal wage protections for workers on government-funded construction projects.  

The court order came less than an hour before a state board was supposed to send the question to the Legislature. The stay allows time for a legal drama to play out at the state Supreme Court. Construction worker unions say petition circulators broke the rules, and that should disqualify the initiative.

Steve Claywell is with the Michigan Construction and Building Trades Council.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Construction worker unions have asked the Michigan Supreme Court to put the brakes on sending a petition-initiated question to the Legislature. 

The unions say the petition campaign broke the rules. Union officials say they’re trying to preserve state and local laws that require construction companies to pay union-scale wages on taxpayer-funded projects, but they say the issue is the integrity of petition circulators. 

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The four Republicans and three Democrats running for governor appeared together Thursday for the first time, and arguments about ethics and racism broke out at the forum.

The biggest flashpoint came when Republican state Senator Patrick Colbeck said one of the Democrats has connections to Muslim terrorist groups. Abdul El-Sayed fired back that other Republicans running should join him in condemning the allegation.

Michael Buck / WOODTV.com

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (MPRN)--   The four Republicans running for governor all met for the first time Wednesday night on a debate stage, and sparred on Flint, marijuana, and President Trump. 

The candidates jockeyed to show who is the biggest supporter of President Trump, who has endorsed state Attorney General Bill Schuette. Schuette also defended his prosecution of state officials over the Flint water crisis as not political.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state board is starting to move faster to finalize business licenses to grow, transport, test, and sell medical marijuana. 

The marijuana board has added three meetings to its schedule between now and the end of the year. It has dealt with the just a handful of the hundreds of applications that have been submitted, and has yet to issue a finalized business license.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A study commissioned by an independent research group says term limits in Michigan have not met many of the expectations set when voters adopted them 25 years ago. 

The study relies in part on interviews since 1992 with 460 legislators. The interviews were conducted by two researchers from Wayne State University.

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