Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Licensed mental health counselors in the state will be allowed to continue diagnosing and treating patients under a bill adopted Thursday by the state Senate. The bill is now in its way to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her to sign or veto.

Lawmakers have been flooded with messages on social media and voicemail as well as visits to their offices. Licensed counselors say new rules being enacted by the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs would put them out of business.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature’s Republican leaders return to bargaining this week. 

They’re looking for a compromise that would restore some line items the governor vetoed in the current budget.

Money for rural road patrols, bus stop safety, and labor and delivery care for mothers and infants are among the funds that could be lost unless the governor and GOP leaders can reach a deal. The line-item vetoes struck the funds from the budget that’s been in effect for two weeks. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to meet Thursday with the Legislature’s Republican and Democratic leaders. 

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta reports Republicans set the stage for a showdown over 147 line-item budget vetoes.

Republicans have drafted new budget bills to restore many of those vetoes.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state House has adopted a bill to settle a controversy on what licensed mental health counselors are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do. 

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta says cheers erupted from a packed gallery to celebrate the House action. The bill would circumvent proposed rule changes. Licensed counselors say the proposed changes would put thousands of them out of business. And they say it would rupture a mental health system that relies on them, in part because there’s a shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer continues to defend line item vetoes in budgets she otherwise approved last week. 

She also says it’s not too late to restore some of the spending.

Cuts to human services as well as the Pure Michigan tourism promotion program are unpopular with Republicans and Democrats alike. The governor says her calls were tough, but necessary. She also says she’d prefer a more bipartisan approach.

“I think this is an unprecedented time. It’s unfortunate. It’s not good for anyone, to be honest.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The slow roll toward a partial state government shutdown continues in Lansing.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican leaders aren’t talking.  And both sides say the other side is at fault.

Republicans say they won’t vote for the governor’s proposed gas tax increase. They say they will start sending her budget bills this week with or without a deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he’s ready to negotiate until the last moment, but it’s up to Governor Whitmer to call the meeting.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state of Michigan has officially notified 48,000 public employees they could be soon be laid off. 

That’s if there’s no budget deal between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature within two weeks.

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta reports Whitmer and GOP leaders are at an impasse over road funding, and that’s holding up adoption of the new state budget. The Michigan Constitution says the state cannot legally spend money unless the Legislature adopts a budget.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature’s Republican leaders say they’re confident they can reach a budget deal without risking a shutdown. 

Whitmer, a Democrat, backed down on a demand for a fuel tax increase to raise new revenue for roads. That’s after she accused Republicans of steering the state toward a government shutdown without a budget deal. 

Senator Jim Stamas is the Republican budget chair. He says that threat stalled negotiations, but the Legislature’s GOP majorities were ready to send budget bills to Whitmer with or without a deal.


LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered a temporary ban on flavored e-cigarettes in Michigan.  

Michigan appears to be the only state to have this sort of rule. The order forbids retail and online sales of e-cigarettes with candy flavors in Michigan, and marketing vaping devices as a safe alternative to smoking.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun is Michigan’s Public Health Executive. She says the availability of flavored vaping products is a public health emergency.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The school year is about to begin in Michigan without contracts between many districts and teachers. 

That’s because the state Legislature has not adopted a K-12 schools budget to let school boards and teachers unions know how much money they’ll have to work with.

David Crim with the Michigan Education Assocation says more than 130 districts represented by the teachers’ union don’t have contracts.