Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has asked the Legislature to hit the “pause” button on the requirement that adults on Medicaid must be working, looking for work, or in school to qualify for benefits. 

Lawmakers quickly said “no.”

The governor, who is a Democrat, sent a letter to lawmakers. It says Michigan should wait for federal courts to decide legal challenges filed in other states to work requirements before making them part of the Healthy Michigan program.

Whitmer says Republican-led states have already done this.

LANSING, MI--   Michigan has a new state elections chief.

Elections bureau director Jonathan Brater says his top job is ensuring the integrity of, and public confidence in, elections.

Brater says efforts to undermine elections might include fake social media announcements or telephone messages that encourage voters to stay home or show up at the wrong polling sites. He says fighting to keep elections honest is difficult and complicated in the internet age.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A group of former state legislators is asking a federal judge to overturn Michigan’s term limits law. 

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta says the eight ex-lawmakers include Republicans and Democrats.

The lawmakers claim term limits violate their First and 14th Amendment rights in the US Constitution.

But former state senator Roger Kahn says Michigan’s strictest-in-the nation term limits are also a bad deal for voters.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s signature on a bill would alter how the state pays for a critical anti-pollution program. 

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta says the bill is supposed to make sure polluters continue to pay the costs of running the program.

Right now, Michigan businesses are charged based on how many tons are discharged into the atmosphere, but the program is a victim of its own success. As emissions are reduced, so is the money for inspections and enforcement. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer says a deal was close to restore many millions of dollars in budget cuts when state Senate Republicans walked away from the negotiations. 

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta reports the sticking point appears to be adopting limits on the governor’s ability to move money around within the budget without legislative approval.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer is asking the Michigan Supreme Court to reinstate her emergency ban on the sale of flavored vaping products in Michigan.  

A motion asks the state Supreme Court to bypass lower courts and immediately consider the case. The Whitmer administration’s filing says the matter is urgent because of the risk to public health – it says candy- and popcorn-flavored vaping products are attractive to young consumers who could easily become hooked on nicotine.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state Senate Republican leader is in discussions with the ballot campaign that succeeded in passing an amendment that changed how legislative and congressional districts are drawn in Michigan. 

His target is the state’s term limits for legislators.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says term limits have created more problems than they  solved. For one thing, he says lawmakers quickly start eyeing post-political careers as lobbyists. He’s hoping the Voters Not Politicians campaign will get on board to help fix that.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MPRN)--   Michigan voters will cast ballots in their current legislative and congressional districts next year. 

That’s due to a decision Monday by the US Supreme Court.

The decision was no surprise since it’s in line with earlier rulings by the court on district maps in two other states. But it only delays the redrawing of district maps under a voter-approved amendment that creates an independent commission. It will draw new lines in time for the 2022 election.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state lawmaker says Michigan’s hate crime law is overdue for an update. 

State Senator Adam Hollier says it’s time to add violence or threats based on sexual orientation or gender identification as a deterrent to hate crimes.

Michigan’s hate crime law currently covers violence or threats based on race, color, religion, or gender. Hollier says the threats against LGBT people are real, and range from threats and assault to murder.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Licensed mental health counselors in the state will be allowed to continue diagnosing and treating patients under a bill adopted Thursday by the state Senate. The bill is now in its way to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her to sign or veto.

Lawmakers have been flooded with messages on social media and voicemail as well as visits to their offices. Licensed counselors say new rules being enacted by the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs would put them out of business.

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