Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has called for a dramatic expansion of the Great Start Readiness preschool program.

She rolled out a proposal Tuesday to use $405 million in state and federal funds to make the program available to every eligible four-year-old in Michigan.

time.com

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A bipartisan effort to create standards for law enforcement training and conduct – particularly on the use of force – continues Tuesday with the goal of having legislation sent to the Michigan Senate next week.

The bills under discussion include stricter limits on the use of “no-knock” search warrants, creating a duty for officers to report police misconduct, training in recognizing implicit bias, and requiring every law enforcement department to adopt use-of-force policies.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer laid out her plans last week on a COVID-19 economic recovery plan.

This week, she goes to work selling those ideas to skeptical Republicans who control the Legislature. The governor is expected to share more details on her plans as she bargains with legislators on their plans. Republicans have said they’re not interested in using one-time windfalls from Washington to pay for ongoing commitments.

One of the governor’s proposals is an incentive to boost employee pay to $15 an hour for six months.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer outlined economic recovery plans Thursday that include state support for wage hikes and child care.

The plan would use federal dollars to help businesses boost pay rates to $15 an hour for three months to help businesses attract workers. But they would have to promise to continue that pay rate for an additional three months.

She says that would make it easier for low-income people to seek and accept jobs.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state Senate committee held a hearing Tuesday on a measure that would require transgender high school athletes to only play on teams that match their birth sex.

The meeting of the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee was abruptly adjourned as angry exchanges and people talking over one another reflected the passionate differences surrounding the question.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Whitmer and Michigan lawmakers have $26 billion to work with to draw up the next state budget. That number is $2 billion dollars more than initially anticipated as the state dealt with the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

“I’m delighted to say we’re in a much better place today than we were a year ago,” said Michigan Treasurer Rachel Eubanks.

Eubanks said the economy is rebounding as more people get vaccinated, people are spending money, and the state budget’s getting a boost from federal COVID-19 recovery funds.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan Congressman Peter Meijer says he’s losing confidence in Congress’s ability to investigate the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol.

Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) is one of only 35 Republicans who broke with party leadership to vote for an independent bipartisan commission. Congressman Fred Upton (R-Saint Joseph) was the only other Michigan Republican who voted for the commission.

But it appears unlikely that will be adopted by the Senate, where Republicans are threatening a filibuster.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state House committee is expected to vote Tuesday on bills that would set tougher ethics standards for lawmakers.

A central element is a measure to create House and Senate ethics committees to hear complaints and impose sanctions, such as docking the pay of lawmakers who don’t show up for work.

The committees would be equally divided between Republicans and Democrats so their decisions would have to be bipartisan. A key lawmaker said the standards would help ensure better behavior by lawmakers between elections.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A commission has recommended salary increases of 2 percent a year for the governor, legislators and other state elected officials.

The State Officers Compensation Commission adopted the proposal Friday. The increases would take effect in 2023 and 2024, after next year’s elections.

But it’s not a done deal. An amendment to the Michigan Constitution requires the Legislature to ratify the recommendation. And that hasn’t happened in a while.

npr.org

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   COVID-19 conspiracy theories and misinformation were prominent in the Michigan House Oversight Committee’s first hearing Thursday on a bill that would preemptively outlaw government-sponsored “vaccine passports.” 

The bill’s supporters expressed concern about privacy and government overreach if people are required to prove they’re vaccinated.

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