Cheyna Roth

Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Education advocates – from teachers to lunch staff – filled the state Capitol lawn Tuesday. 

The state school aid budget is still being worked out by lawmakers in the Legislature, but protesters at the Capitol want to make sure that the final product has enough money for K-12 schools.

Donna Jackson is the president of a Detroit union that represents paraprofessionals – or school staff. She says she wants the Legislature to adopt Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s spending plan. And the half billion dollars in additional money it calls for.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State Attorney General Dana Nessel says a state commission is not bound by a formal opinion that prevents investigations into LGBTQ discrimination. 

Last year then-Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion. It said that the Michigan Civil Rights Commission could not interpret the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   All remaining criminal charges of city and state officials stemming from the Flint Water Crisis have been dismissed. 

The investigation was started by former Attorney General, Bill Schuette in 2016 after lead contaminated Flint’s drinking water when the city switched its water sources. Earlier this year, new AG Dana Nessel created the Flint Water Crisis prosecution team to handle the multiple pending cases and investigation going forward.

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LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some Michigan lawmakers are trying – once again – to pass legislation that would require elected officials to file financial disclosures. It’s an issue that lawmakers have been trying to get past the finish line for decades. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A jury is expected to begin deliberations Tuesday in the trial of former Michigan State University Dean William Strampel, who is accused of two felonies and two misdemeanors. 

Strampel was the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU. Prosecutors say he used his position as dean to try to get sexual favors from female students. They also say Strampel did not properly oversee Larry Nassar after an internal investigation. Nassar is the former MSU sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for years.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state department in charge of Michigan’s prisons is not happy with a proposed spending plan in the state Legislature. 

A spending plan for the Michigan Department of Corrections passed out of a state House committee last week. It would redirect millions of dollars that previous budgets had allocated for certain projects – like prison maintenance – to other priorities.

Chris Gautz is a spokesman for the department. He says this could cause funding problems within the department.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order to, in part, create a new Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission. 

This comes after tens of thousands of Michigan residents were falsely accused of unemployment insurance fraud due to a computer error.

Whitmer says the old system was not efficient. It combined workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance appeals.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some Republicans in the state Senate have introduced bills that would drastically limit when a woman can get an abortion.

The bills would prevent an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That’s usually at around six to eight weeks of gestation. There would be an exception where the life of the mother is at stake.

Republican Senator Ed McBroom is a bill sponsor. He says he’s been thinking about tying heartbeats to abortion for a long time.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Republicans in the state Legislature are taking on Attorney General Dana Nessel over a law she says is unconstitutional. 

Lawmakers announced Wednesday that they’ve filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for not implementing a 2018 ballot petition law. The law adds additional requirements for collections of signatures to get a measure on the ballot.

Republican Representative Jim Lower sponsored the original bill that became law. He says there’s a lot of ambiguity over how much weight the AG’s opinion really has.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Soon minors in Michigan will no longer be able to use e-cigarettes. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bills Tuesday that effectively ban vaping for minors.

In a statement, Whitmer said she signed the bills with “significant reservations.”

That’s because the new laws would not put e-cigarettes under the umbrella of Michigan’s tobacco control laws. Instead the laws create new categories for e-cigarettes and products.

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