Cheyna Roth

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State lawmakers want to go to the Michigan Supreme Court to find out if something they did in their last session is legal.

Attorney General Dana Nessel is considering a request for a formal opinion. Some Democratic lawmakers want to know whether the Republican-led Legislature’s adopt and amend tactic used last year is okay. Lawmakers adopted two ballot proposals – then made major changes to them – instead of letting voters decide.

Representative Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) introduced a measure to ask the state Supreme Court for its opinion.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Attorney General Dana Nessel is scheduled to give her first public briefing on three major state cases this week. 

Nessel said she’ll be joined by Michigan State Police Colonel Joe Gasper and Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud.

These are all cases that Nessel inherited from former Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Nessel has been tightlipped about her plans for them.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   People in Michigan on food assistance will get their March and April benefits early.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced it is trying to go back to its regular schedule of benefits distribution after the federal shutdown.

Bob Wheaton is a spokesperson for the department.  

“What we wanted to do is take action to reduce the gap in-between when people receive their February payments and their March payments so we’re kind of trying to cushion the blow,” he said.

Whitmer gives first State of the State address

Feb 13, 2019
Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Since Governor Gretchen Whitmer took office, it’s been a lingering question 

whether the Republican-led Legislature can work with a Democratic governor to solve the state’s problems.

During her first State of the State address, Whitmer made bipartisanship a central theme.

“The enemy is not the person across the aisle,” she said. “The enemy is apathy. The enemy is extreme partisanship.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer is restructuring the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.

Whitmer signed several measures Monday that create new offices in what will become the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The restructuring creates offices of public advocates for environmental justice and clean water, and it creates an interagency environmental justice response team.

Environmental groups called this a great first step.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   U.S. lawmakers announced the creation of a bipartisan task force Wednesday to fight PFAS chemicals. 

A majority of the members on the task force are from Michigan.

PFAS are a family of chemicals that have been found in things like certain types of fire-fighting foam and stain and water repellants. They have been linked to serious health concerns.

Congressman Dan Kildee is on the task force. He says Michigan – as the Great Lakes State - needs to take charge of this issue.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Lawmakers in Lansing are contemplating ways to help furloughed federal employees get by until the government reopens.

There are thousands of federal employees in Michigan that haven’t been paid since December.

No specific proposals have been brought up, yet. But the Speaker of the House is collecting ideas and wants to see what options are available.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the federal government needs to let Michigan help federal employees who are still working but aren’t being paid.

Thousands of Michigan residents are currently furloughed without pay because of the partial government shutdown. Those that aren’t working can apply for state benefits. But there’s some confusion about whether the state can help people that are still working but not getting paid.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some health advocates want to raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases.

The American Cancer Society also wants changes to make pricing for cancer treatments fairer in Michigan.

Right now, insurance companies in Michigan can make cancer patients pay more out of pocket for oral chemotherapy drugs than they do for intravenous drugs.

Andrew Schepers is with the American Cancer Society.

“We want to level the playing field in all pharmaceutical treatment types in cancer patients,” he says.

Legislative leaders and Whitmer hold first meeting

Jan 17, 2019

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Leaders from both sides of the aisle in the state Legislature and governor Gretchen Whitmer met Wednesday. 

It was the first of what could be regular so-called “quadrant meetings” among the lawmakers.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he hopes the meetings continue. But he’s not saying what they talked about.

“But I can tell you that we discussed everybody’s kind of top priorities and explored where we might get some early wins for Michigan,” he says.