Items of potential interest to government documents librarians or government information managers in Michigan. For more information contact Jon Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You're going 70 miles per hour on a two-lane highway. You move to the left to pass a big truck and -- brakes! -- you're stuck behind somebody going 65 miles per hour in the left lane.
Left Lane Example In this video taken on 1-75, a faster-moving driver must slow down for a slower-moving driver in the left lane. There's a similarly-paced vehicle in the right lane too, so the black SUV cannot pass.
That situation should sound familiar to Michigan drivers. With the vehicles in the right and left lane moving around 65 miles per hour you slow down and wait for one vehicle to inch its way past the other and go on your way. As Vox explains, the people traveling in the left lane at lower speeds than other traffic create a ripple effect and slow everybody down.
And it's not just annoying; it's the law. We're all supposed to be driving "upon the right half of the roadway," in legal terms. There are a few exceptions when drivers can move into the left lane:
Since 2012, the Michigan State Police have issued 6,090 tickets for improper lane use, according to MSP spokeswoman Tiffany Brown. The number of citations has been climbing: 1,322 were issued in 2012, 1,935 in 2013 and 2,070 in 2014. So far in 2015, 763 have been issued.
It's a civil infraction. As of 2014 the recommended fine was $110 to $128 for first-time offenders.
But Michiganders are notorious for flaunting that particular law, and have been for more than half a century.
For the full article, see Emily Lawler, "Michigan's left lane hogs have been at this for decades, despite signage and enforcement", MLive, May 29, 2015.
Big-box retailers, such as Home Depot, Target and Meijer advertise their low prices to consumers all across our state, but what they probably don't want you to know is how they are manipulating the state's property tax system and imposing huge costs on our communities.
This gaming of the system, known in tax circles as the "dark stores" technique, must come to a halt before counties and communities across Michigan are stripped of the resources to operate basic public services.
Here's how it works: Lawyers for the retailers convinced the Michigan Tax Tribunal, an unelected panel with jurisdiction over property tax appeals, to drop the traditional method of valuing such property based on the cost to construct a store, and instead, they convinced the tribunal to set values based on "comparable sales." These comparable sales, however, are few and far between in the world of big box retailing, which means comparisons are often to vacant structures or buildings that have been converted to unusual or non-retailing uses.
Retailers may also use deed restrictions to ensure that when they upgrade to a new or larger facility, their old facility can't be purchased and utilized by a competing retailer, resulting in more boarded-up buildings in our communities.
For the full article, see Jon Campbell, "Don't let big-box stores manipulate property tax rules", Detroit Free Press, May 29, 2015.
The Kellogg Foundation report, "the Business Case for Racial Equity," was released a few years ago on a national level, but a Michigan update is being revealed today with some eye-popping numbers about the gaps that exist: Unemployment rates that are double for African Americans compared to white people. Home ownership numbers that show less than half of black people participating, but more than three-quarters of white people realizing that part of the American dream. Incredible discrepancies in health, educational attainment, literacy and other measures of economic opportunity.
But as bleak as the picture is here in Michigan, the Kellogg report also highlights the opportunities that could be realized by attacking disparities, and celebrates real victories being realized by private-sector interests that are already tuned in to the value of pursuing more equality, and are acting.
For instance, what if the 70% of minority children deemed "at-risk" in the early education years were given access to pre-K programs? The report estimates it might save as much as $4.5 billion in lower special-education costs, assistance and child welfare costs, and savings from reduced crime and substance abuse.
If the average minority worker earned as much as his or her white counterparts, and it were achieved through increased productivity, it would result in a $31.2-billion increase in state GDP.
Disparities in access to quality health care cost Michigan citizens, businesses and governments $2 billion in excess medical costs and $1.4 billion in lost productive in 2009.
The report points to promising preschool investments around the state — the Perry Preschool Program in Ypsilanti is an example — that target poor minority children as yielding among the best returns on investment. So, too, to internship programs run by businesses in urban areas, and public-private partnership programs like the Nurse Family Program in Detroit, which sends nurses to low-income homes to increase early intervention in critical health problems.
Cited Report : The Business Case for Racial Equity in Michigan
For the full article, see Stephen Henderson, "In Mackinac: Making a business case for racial equity", Detroit Free Press, May 29, 2015.
Chad Selweski, M-1 Rail Finances Still Uncertain : Taxpayers may foot the bill.
Jack Lessenberry, Get Along : Dearborn is laughing.
Chuck Moss, Treat Voters As Adults : Scare tactics didn't work with Proposal 1.
Eric Freedman, Getting By In Less Time : Is that Rocky Mountain too-high thinking?
Ken Winter, New Ideas & New People : Lon Johnson aims to rebuild the Michigan Democratic Party.
Tom Watkins, WWOLD : Are all the "Leaders" on Mackinac Island?
On this day, Lewis Cass won the Democratic Party's endorsement for President, but he would eventually lose the election due to a split vote among the Democrats. Martin Van Buren (who ran under the banner of the Free Soil Party) siphoned off enough anti-slavery Democratic votes to allow Zachary Taylor, the Whig Candidate, to win.
For more information about Lewis Cass, see Bill Loomis, "Lewis Cass, the titan of Michigan's early years", Detroit Free Press, June 28, 2014.
Source : Michigan Every Day.
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