Cheyna Roth

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State lawmakers want to give librarians immunity from any issues that could arise if they administer opioid overdose medication. 

Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth says a state House committee passed the bills Tuesday.

The quiet, secluded nature of libraries makes them an attractive place for some drug users to get their fix.

Librarians can administer overdose medication like NARCAN. But some don’t carry it because they could be sued if something goes wrong.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Law enforcement in Michigan wants to make it illegal for minors to possess vaping products and for retailers to sell e-cigarettes to minors. 

But an ongoing debate in the state Legislature has police and prosecutors frustrated.

Former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed legislation to ban the sale and possession of e-cigarettes for minors. He said e-cigarettes should be classified and regulated like tobacco instead. But now, lawmakers in Lansing are trying to – once again – focus on the sale, not the classification.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   It could be a challenge to end the practice of shifting money meant for K-12 education to higher education.  

Michigan has been using money budgeted for the School Aid Fund toward higher education for almost a decade – and Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it’s time to stop. But that means money for higher education would have to come from the general fund.

Representative Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) chairs the House Appropriations committee. He said he’s willing to consider the move – but it would take time and likely have to be phased in.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan’s cash bail system needs an overhaul. That’s the message of bipartisan legislation introduced in the state House and Senate.

Representative Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming) wants to get rid of the requirement that parents who owe back child support pay bail to get out jail before they see a judge.

“Being in jail they cannot pay the child support,” Brann said. “So it’s just a vicious circle for them so I just want to give them a chance to get out fast, get back to work so they can still pay their child support, try to get caught up on this.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Hourly workers at schools are concerned about a bill in the state House that saves schools from having to make up some snow days. 

Some labor groups are against the bills. That’s because they don’t get paid unless they work – and the bill doesn’t have any requirement that school districts reimburse those workers for the lost days.

Whitmer’s top appointees officially official

Mar 12, 2019

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s appointees for top level offices are in the clear.

The state Senate has 60 days to object to Whitmer’s appointments. It has not objected to her picks to lead departments like health and human services, natural resources, and agriculture… and the clock has run out for the Senate to stop those and other appointments.

Senator Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) chairs the committee that has held hearings on the appointments. He said having the appointees testify and answer questions in a public setting is useful.

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.”