Cheyna Roth

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.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Leaders of the state Legislature and Governor Gretchen Whitmer will hold their first “quadrants meeting” Wednesday. 

Whitmer announced when she won the November election she would like to hold regular meetings of the Speaker of the House, House Democratic Leader, Senate Majority Leader and Senate Democratic Leader. All members agreed.

The idea is to talk about issues and find ways to come to an agreement before bills hit Whitmer’s desk.

Senator Jim Ananich is the leader of the Senate Democrats.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   There’s a new attorney in charge of the criminal cases surrounding the Flint water crisis. 

Fadwa Hammoud was just appointed as Michigan’s new Solicitor General. Within hours of that announcement, the Attorney General’s office said Hammoud would also be taking on the role of lead attorney in the Flint water crisis criminal cases.

The investigation into the administration of former Governor Rick Snyder was started by former Attorney General Bill Schuette. He had appointed Todd Flood as a “special prosecutor.” He’ll stay on and report to Hammoud.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Republican lawmakers in the state House and Senate say lowering the cost of auto insurance across the state is a top priority for the 100th Legislature. 

How to change Michigan’s auto no fault insurance law is an issue lawmakers have been trying to crack for years.

In the House, Republican Representative Jason Wentworth will chair a special committee devoted to the issue. He said this will give lawmakers a broad, collaborative way of tackling the problem.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan can expect to see some economic growth over the next few years, but for the most part the state’s economy is expected to stay flat. 

The Michigan Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference was held Friday. State money experts gathered with economists to figure out how much money will be in Michigan’s purse for the next budget.

The amount of money in the state’s general fund budget is expected to grow, but not by a lot.