Michigan Legislature

Quiet settles over environmental debate at Capitol

Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature have gone big on many issues so far this year — taxes, public employee benefits and education, to name a few — but one area that has drawn less attention has been their work on bills […]

Read Zach Gorchow's article

Guest column: Snyder charts right course on roads

By James A. Jacob/Ajax Paving Cars swerving to miss potholes, bumper-to-bumper congestion, concrete falling from dangerous bridges and a lack of enhanced safety features such as broad shoulders along roadways create hazards for Michigan drivers. Michigan roads are notoriously known as some […]

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Guest column: Right to vote is under attack

By Melanie McElroy/Common Cause Michigan As Americans, we believe it is fundamental that each citizen must have a say in how he or she is governed. It is a right for which many have fought — and for which many continue to […]

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Legislator: Taxpayers get bad deal from universities

State Rep. Bob Genetski doesn’t have many fans at Michigan’s public universities. As chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, Genetski, R-Saugatuck, has been an outspoken critic of how universities spend money — and a leader in the movement to […]

Read Ron French's article

Budget numbers improve; does it matter?

On Friday, the financial experts in the legislative fiscal agencies and the Department of  Treasury will meet to agree on a new snapshot of Michigan’s economic and fiscal situation — and the trend lines for the near future. Based on these early […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Snyder will dance with social conservatives in 2012

Gov. Rick Snyder’s quest to reinvent Michigan apparently won’t be extended to his own Republican Party. Given the chance to confirm the suspicions of cultural conservatives that he’s a different kind of Republican far more concerned with rebuilding the economy than deploying […]

Read Peter Luke's article

Deja vu: Biz tax cuts head agenda in Lansing

“At the end of the day, we’ll be a stronger, more vibrant state,” Gov. Rick Snyder asserted a year ago in his first State of the State speech that offered the first outlines of his 2011 legislative agenda. But he didn’t say […]

Read Peter Luke's article

Michigan college cost dilemma bankrupts all

I’ve been observing Michigan public policy discussions for nearly 50 years. It’s amazing that, so often, it’s as though people with differing views live in two different universes. Take Michigan universities. Analysis presented last week in Bridge showed costs at Michigan public […]

Read Phil Power's column

Guest column: Lawmakers lose way on higher education

By Thomas Haas/Grand Valley State University Bridge Magazine has performed an important public service by pointing out the state of Michigan’s near-wholesale abandonment of support for public higher education. For most of the 20th century, Michigan was a Top 10 state in […]

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School virtual; learning real

When high school senior Makenzi Leinhert had a schedule conflict last year, she didn’t have to make the choice between core classes or electives. Instead, her counselor suggested she take an online algebra course to fulfill a requirement and open up her […]

Read Natasha Robinson's article

Shifting prison politics: How GOP is getting smarter on crime

Prison reform — once considered a ticket out of office for politicians — is spreading around the country, and in some unlikely places. In many states, the efforts to reduce prison populations are being led by “law-and-order” Republicans. In 2011, half of […]

Read Ron French's article

Loose rules allow lobbyists to fatten lawmakers

When it comes to ethics guidelines, or ordering off the menu, the Michigan Legislature has long set a low bar for itself. Other states bar lobbyists from buying meals and drinks for lawmakers. Others set limits on how much food and beverage […]

Read Peter Luke's article

Michigan ‘weak’ in lobbying oversight

Two relatively narrow economic interests come to Michigan’s Legislature seeking movement on issues that have tied the place up in knots for years. The primary argument of both lobbying efforts to a House and Senate dominated by Republicans is that consumers deserve […]

Read Peter Luke's article

Legislature + lobbyists is a match made with money

Willie Sutton reputedly said he robbed banks because that’s where the money was. Freshmen lawmakers new to the ways and means of Lansing find the same principle applies when replenishing their campaign accounts mere weeks after taking the oath. Where the money […]

Read Peter Luke's article

Five decisions for a more ethical state government

By Phil Power and Derek Melot/Bridge Magazine  Time and again – not least in the recent Republican presidential primary election – we hear of the countless ways money has infested and debased our political system.  And in countless community conversations held by […]

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Legislators want to run, not pay for, Mich. universities

Spring budget treks to the State Capitol by the presidents of Michigan’s public universities weren’t always this pointless. When lawmakers appropriated half the money or more that universities spent for operations, it paid for presidents to express gratitude to the veteran legislators […]

Read Peter Luke's article

See where personal property tax hits

Bills that would lead to the elimination of the personal property tax for almost all Michigan businesses are now before the Michigan Legislature. Business groups have expressed strong support for PPT repeal, arguing the levy on business equipment makes Michigan less competitive. A coalition of local government and school groups says the plan by the Snyder administration could strip hundreds of millions of dollars from local governments. The administration says most of those dollars will be replaced by state funds appropriated by the Legislature each year.

Read Bridge Magazine's article

Schools fear property tax cut will be permanent

Like many other Michigan public schools, the River Rouge School District is struggling to stay afloat. In recent years, it has laid off teachers and eliminated music, art, gym, libraries and athletics — but it’s still running a deficit. In February, voters […]

Read Pat Shellenbarger's article

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