Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants answers regarding a controversy at the state Department of Civil Rights.

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta says that’s after department director Agustin Arbulu was disciplined for misconduct.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan’s official monthly jobless rate was unchanged last month (June) at 4.2 percent.

The numbers come from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget. And those numbers show the number of unemployed people went up last month. But that was largely offset by how many people joined or rejoined the workforce with the hope of finding a job.

Employment in the manufacturing sector bumped up slightly as factory workers were recalled from layoffs. The leisure-and-hospitality sector showed the biggest jobs gains from this time last year.

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LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state lawmaker says people with misdemeanor marijuana convictions should have their records cleared automatically now that Michigan has legalized it. 

Voters last year legalized marijuana for recreational use in Michigan.

State Senator Jeff Irwin is a Democrat from Ann Arbor. He says 235,000 people in Michigan have been convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Supreme Court says prosecutors in criminal cases cannot rely on experts to testify on how often children typically lie or tell the truth about sex abuse. 

The court says juries were swayed by opinions, not the facts, in two individual cases. It ruled that sexual abuse trials are not credibility contests where juries determine who is most likely telling the truth.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan has encouraged students to seek four-year college degrees at the expense of encouraging careers in skilled trades. 

The Whitmer administration says that’s cost the state’s economy, employers, and workers.

The governor toured a Detroit community college to make her point. She says less than half of high school graduates in Michigan seek advanced schooling. And she says that means many lost opportunities, even during good economic times.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer is urging the Legislature to return to Lansing to vote on the state budget and revenue to fix the roads. GOP leaders say they won’t be pushed. 

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta was with the governor during a stop at a community college in Detroit.

Whitmer says the Legislature’s Republican leaders need to move faster to adopt a new state budget. She says local governments and school districts are already into their budget years, which are on a different calendar than the state’s fiscal year.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A request to expand a legal challenge against Michigan State University has the potential to reverse many findings against students accused of sexual assault. 

The motion was first reported by The Detroit Free Press. The initial lawsuit claims MSU’s disciplinary system denied due process to the man accused of assault. That’s because there was no chance for direct, in-person questioning of the woman who made the accusation.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether to take a case to determine whether it’s ever appropriate for state money to go to private and parochial schools.

Michigan public school groups and the ACLU are challenging budget bills that were approved by Republican legislatures and then-Governor Rick Snyder. They allow a small amount of money to reimburse private schools for some expenses.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A technology upgrade that’s supposed to help consumers threatens to shut down the system for keeping track of felons and sex offenders who’ve been released from prison.

Electronic tethers that keep track of offenders could go dark at the end of the year.

The state Corrections Department keeps track of 4,600 offenders using electronic tethers.

Chris Gautz is with the department. He says the tethers are attached to Verizon’s 3-G network that’s supposed to go dark at the end of the year, to be replaced by the 4-G network.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   An especially wet spring has spelled trouble for some Michigan farmers. Now the state Legislature has passed a measure that supporters say will help out. 

The House and Senate approved a spending bill Thursday that supporters say would help farmers. It would put 15 million dollars into a program that distributes low-interest loans. Those loans are for growers, processors and handlers who lost their crops.

Republican Representative Mark Huizenga is a bill sponsor. He says this will help a lot of struggling farmers.

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