Michigan News

The state House voted Thursday night to get rid of Michigan’s Driver Responsibility Fee, but the bills could hit a roadblock in the state Senate.

The House and Senate both want to get rid of the fees. They were originally enacted to fill a hole in the state budget. Bill sponsor, Representative Joseph Bellino (R-Monroe) called the fees a failed experiment.

“Driver Responsibility Fees do nothing to improve driving habits but do keep families in debt,” he said.

A plan to overhaul the state’s auto insurance system failed late Thursday night.

The bill would have gotten rid of the requirement that everyone have unlimited personal injury coverage. Instead, drivers would have been able to choose from three levels of coverage.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) blamed Democrats for the failure. Leonard said he was always clear that he would need 10 to 15 Democrats for the bill to pass.

A law that takes effect today creates the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps. The team will be called up if the governor declares an emergency if there is a cyber-attack or some other internet threat looms. The group will be made up entirely of volunteers who are experts in cyber-security. They will have to pass criminal background checks.             

A state lawmaker could be in trouble for failing to explain thousands of dollars in expenditures by his campaign committee.

The Detroit Free Press reports that state Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, used his campaign fund to pay $114,000 on his personal credit card. Filings by his campaign committee often did not provide details on what the cards were used for.

If you do the work, you should get all the pay. That’s the message of Democratic lawmakers in Lansing. They announced a package of bills Monday aimed at preventing what they call wage theft by employers.

Wage theft is what happens when an employer finds way to keep money you earned on the job. Like not giving you all your tips or making you work off the clock.


We’ve heard about rising sea levels, but rising Lake Levels?

Concerns regarding lake water levels and coastal erosion in Lake Michigan is rising. Experts at “Coastal Resiliency” workshops in St. Joseph, Michigan are sharing their concerns with a series of “Coastal Resiliency” workshops. These workshops aim to help community members and elected officials in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties learn how to address issues that may arise from rising lake levels.

Kids in Michigan might get a new way to keep their criminal records clean. A bill in the state Legislature would let juveniles who meet certain requirements have their criminal record expunged – if they complete a rigorous school program.

“We want to give these guys and girls a fresh start in life when their initial rollout has been a little bit rocky,” said bill sponsor Representative John Bizon, R-Battle Creek.

The ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Oversight Committee wants to subpoena Governor Rick Snyder. Rep. Elijah Cummins, D-Maryland, says the governor has not been forthcoming about when he first knew about a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Genesee County.

From Cummins’ letter to committee chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC):

A former tribal official plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court after lower courts ruled he’s not eligible to run for a local city council.

At issue is a provision in the state constitution. It says public officials convicted of fraud and other crimes cannot seek another office.

The Michigan Constitution says public officials who violate the “public trust” are barred from holding an elected or appointed government office for 20 years.

Local governments in Michigan have won a major victory in a property tax fight with big box stores.

Millions of dollars in revenue for local governments – or tax savings for big box stores – are at stake.

In this case, now three years old, the retailer Menards wanted a property it had vacated in Escanaba to be taxed as closed and empty. But Menard’s property deed says it cannot be sold for a similar use, making it nearly impossible to redevelop.

The city said that’s not fair, and wants to tax it for its most-valuable use, including retail.

Gov. Rick Snyder has suspended Michigan State Police’s Colonel Kriste Etue’s pay for five days. But activists continue to call for her removal.

Members of the liberal group Progress Michigan delivered a petition to Governor Rick Snyder’s office. It was signed by almost 85,000 people across the United States.

This comes after Etue shared a meme on Facebook that called NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem “degenerates.” Etue apologized.

State Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, says the Colonel should still be removed from her position.

State lawmakers have hit a roadblock when it comes to forgiving unpaid Driver Responsibility Fees.

The House and Senate have legislation to get rid of the controversial fee, and forgive those who haven’t paid it.

The governor’s administration hasn’t been on board with outright forgiveness for everyone. That’s because even though many people don’t pay their Driver Responsibility Fees, the ones that do added 80 million dollars to the state revenue last year alone.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has come up with plans to overhaul the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency in hopes of stopping future efforts like one that led to thousands of people being wrongly accused of fraud.

A workgroup developed the plan in response to a scandal at the agency -- an agency computer system erroneously said 37 thousand people collected benefits they weren’t entitled to. The state then sanctioned them quadruple damages.

Michigan State Police Colonel Kriste Etue will work five days without pay after Governor Rick Snyder decided that will be the penalty for a controversial Facebook post.

Colonel Etue shared a Facebook meme that called NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem “anti-American degenerates” and “millionaire ingrates.” She quickly took it down, and apologized, but still came under a storm of criticism.

The governor continues to resist calls for her to step down. From a statement released by his office:  

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s concerned that President Trump’s decision to end subsidies that help low-income families pay for health insurance could make rates unaffordable.

Snyder says more study is needed to determine the state’s next move, but he hopes Congress will act quickly to settle things.

“I think there are reforms needed to the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “Some parts have worked well, others need more work, and the part that needs more work has been in the insurance markets. This makes it more challenging, but hopefully it gets to the point where Congress could hopefully do some bipartisan actions to improve things.”

About 156,300 Michigan consumers have subsidized health plans. It’s estimated the loss of the subsidies would cause their rates to spike by 28 percent.

The subsidies are already the subject of lawsuits. And there could be more legal action to challenge the presidential order to immediately end the subsidies.