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.
A state panel was to review wording Tuesday for two petition drives that could result in significant questions for voters in the November 2016 election.
The Board of State Canvassers is to consider the language for two proposed citizen-initiated laws — one to legalize marijuana, and the other to repeal the state's prevailing wage law.
In each case, proponents would have to collect about 252,000 valid signatures before sending the bills to the GOP-controlled Legislature for up-or-down votes. Again, in each case, if lawmakers take no action or vote down the bill, the question would go to voters in the November 2016 election.
For the full article, see Paul Egan, "Marijuana, union wage measures could hit ballot in '16", Detroit Free Press, May 26, 2015.
Chronically truant students could cause a family to lose cash assistance benefits from the state under a bill that passed the state Senate on Tuesday.
The bill, HB 4041, which passed on a 26-12 vote, would remove cash assistance — about $386 per month — from families where a child is considered chronically truant as determined by school district rules. The family would not lose food stamps or housing benefits.
The bill puts into law what the state Department of Health and Human Services has already been doing. In 2013-14, 189 families were sanctioned; last year, 68 families lost their benefits, according to a fiscal analysis of the bill.
For the full article, see Kathleen Gray, "Bill that cuts cash assistance for truant students advances", Detroit Free Press, May 26, 2015.
David Behen, DTMB director and the state's chief information officer, said he has between 25 and 50 open IT positions at any given time.
Behen's department battles 730,000 attacks a day on servers that contain information on all 10 million Michiganders, from birth and other health records to tax information to school performance data. A few months ago, hackers were able to shut down the Michigan.gov website for about 25 minutes.
The state employs about 1,800 IT workers, most of them in DTMB, who keep more than 58,000 state computers running.
But Michigan is among the 86% of state tech departments struggling to recruit IT employees, especially in cybersecurity positions, according to a report out last month from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.
And 92% of states blamed their inability to offer competitive salaries.
For the full article, see Justin A. Hinkley, "State can't compete on tech employee pay", Lansing State Journal, May 26, 2015.
Studies show that LGBT couples are four times more likely to adopt and six times more likely to foster children. Discriminatory bills like the ones being considered in Michigan are harmful to youth in care. As of 2013, there were 3,337 foster youth waiting for families. We need to open more doors to qualified parents, not close them.
These bills deny youth in foster care permanency simply because of a provider's personal moral or religious beliefs. Service providers should never put their own personal beliefs above the best interests of the children they've committed to serve.
For the full editorial, see Tamya McGee, "Faith-based adoption rules hurt kids", Detroit Free Press, May 26, 2015.
Michigan first lady Sue Snyder is calling leaders from colleges and universities across the state to a statewide summit June 8 to develop ways to end campus sexual assaults by encouraging more victims to report the crime, changing the culture that leads authorities to dismiss allegations and developing uniform programs, policies and punishments, she told the Free Press.
"We need to make Michigan a leader in ending these sexual assaults because it's been going on too long," said Snyder, who has met with at least 20 public university leaders as well as the heads of the state's private and independent colleges. She said they've all pledged to attend the Let's End Campus Sexual Assault Summit.
For the full article, see Rochelle Riley, "Michigan's first lady Sue Snyder: Stop rape on campuses", Detroit Free Press, May 26, 2015.
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