Michigan Public Radio Network

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LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Discussions to expand gambling options in the state to include sports betting and online gaming have been put on hold until Michigan has a budget. 

A package of bills would expand gambling options in the state – and allow for things like online gaming and sports betting. All the bills are now waiting in the House Ways and Means committee for further action once the contentious budget process is over.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Plans to make Michigan a sports betting state are moving through the state Legislature. A package of bills is scheduled to be voted out of a House committee Tuesday.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is concerned that expanding gambling in Michigan – including through legalized sports betting – will take away from the School Aid Fund. She says people could end up playing the lottery less. A portion of the lottery revenue goes to schools.

Bill sponsor, Representative Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township) said that’s not the case.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state of Michigan has officially notified 48,000 public employees they could be soon be laid off. 

That’s if there’s no budget deal between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature within two weeks.

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta reports Whitmer and GOP leaders are at an impasse over road funding, and that’s holding up adoption of the new state budget. The Michigan Constitution says the state cannot legally spend money unless the Legislature adopts a budget.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A democratic state lawmaker wants the state Capitol to reverse its ban on signs.

The Capitol currently prohibits protestors and other people from bringing signs into the building.

“I just think that is an absolute limit, and unnecessary limit on somebody’s free right to express themselves in this building,” said bill sponsor, Democratic Senator Jeremy Moss.

Moss said the state’s priorities are backwards. That’s because people can openly carry firearms into the state Capitol on a daily basis, but not signs.

parents.com

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some Michigan lawmakers think women need to be warned of the potential dangers of using marijuana while pregnant.

Bills passed out of the state House Tuesday that would require marijuana products to contain a health warning label for women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding, similar to what is currently on alcohol.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature’s Republican leaders say they’re confident they can reach a budget deal without risking a shutdown. 

Whitmer, a Democrat, backed down on a demand for a fuel tax increase to raise new revenue for roads. That’s after she accused Republicans of steering the state toward a government shutdown without a budget deal. 

Senator Jim Stamas is the Republican budget chair. He says that threat stalled negotiations, but the Legislature’s GOP majorities were ready to send budget bills to Whitmer with or without a deal.

nbc.com

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered a temporary ban on flavored e-cigarettes in Michigan.  

Michigan appears to be the only state to have this sort of rule. The order forbids retail and online sales of e-cigarettes with candy flavors in Michigan, and marketing vaping devices as a safe alternative to smoking.

Doctor Joneigh Khaldun is Michigan’s Public Health Executive. She says the availability of flavored vaping products is a public health emergency.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The school year is about to begin in Michigan without contracts between many districts and teachers. 

That’s because the state Legislature has not adopted a K-12 schools budget to let school boards and teachers unions know how much money they’ll have to work with.

David Crim with the Michigan Education Assocation says more than 130 districts represented by the teachers’ union don’t have contracts.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson are asking a federal judge to toss a challenge the state’s new redistricting law. 

The amendment to create a new redistricting commission was adopted last year by voters. The amendment says former elected officials, party activists, and their relatives are not eligible to serve.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The embattled director of the Michigan Civil Rights Department has taken a leave of absence. 

That’s after Agustin Arbulu resisted calls for him to resign amid findings of misconduct and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission refused to fire him.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is among those who’ve said it’s time for Arbulu to step down. But Whitmer can’t fire the civil rights chief. Under the state constitution, only the Michigan Civil Rights Commission can hire or fire the director.

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