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.
Michigan’s limit on competition in the electricity market would be gradually lifted under legislation proposed Tuesday by a Republican senator who thinks many legislators are too focused on keeping the status quo or returning to a monopoly system.
Lawmakers should “take our courage pills” and “get out of the messy middle,” Sen. Mike Shirkey told The Associated Press of the current hybrid approach, which guarantees two dominant utilities at least 90 percent of sales in their regions.
Shirkey’s bill would let 11,000 business customers on a waiting list immediately buy from competitors to Consumers Energy and DTE Energy. The “choice” market would double to more than 20 percent of the dominant utilities’ sales, after which the cap would rise another 18 percent over three years and possibly more in the future, depending on demand and what regulators decide.
For the full article, see David Eggert, "Bill proposes gradually lifting cap on electric competition", Lansing State Journal, March 24, 2015.
Local governments would get more oversight of mobile home parks within their boundaries under legislation that passed the state House today.
The bill, introduced by state Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, passed 106-3 with bipartisan support. It was reintroduced after Schor’s previous attempt died in the lame-duck session in December. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Schor’s bill was prompted by the condemnation last year of Life O’Riley Mobile Home Park & Campground in Lansing due to unsanitary conditions. More than 200 people were forced to move out.
If approved, it would require municipalities to be notified of mobile home park inspections and any problems discovered, and it would force park operators to set aside money to pay for any future repairs. The maximum civil fine for problem park owners would be raised from $10,000 to $50,000.
For the full article, see Lindsay VanHulle, "Schor’s mobile home park bill passes House", Lansing State Journal, March 24, 2015.
A Michigan Senate panel on Tuesday signed off on a plan to accelerate a planned sales tax break for motorists who buy a new car and trade in and old one.
A 2013 law signed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was designed to allow motorists to exempt the value of a trade-in from the taxable purchase price of a new vehicle, but the plan included a 23-year phase-in period.
Senate Bills 10 and 11, sponsored by Sens. Dave Hildenbrand and Joe Hune, would essentially halve that phase-in period for passenger cars and recreational vehicles, fully phasing in the tax break by 2025.
For the full article, see Jonathan Oosting, "Michigan may speed up sales tax break for new car purchase with trade-in", MLive, March 24, 2015.
A House Appropriations subcommittee today eliminated all funding next year for adult education and for Gov. Snyder’s proposed third grade reading initiative, bucking recommendations of two new reports proving the dire need to boost both areas.
"Promoting Early Literacy in Michigan, released today by the Michigan League for Public Policy, asserts that the ability to read by the end of third grade is central to a child’s success in school, life-long earning potential, and ability to contribute to the nation’s economy. But in 2013 almost two of every five Michigan third-graders did not demonstrate reading proficiency on the MEAP, according to the Michigan Department of Education. About 10,000 of those 40,000 students scored at the most elementary level. Most students who fail to achieve this critical milestone fall further behind and often drop out before earning a high school diploma.
"Willing to Work and Ready to Learn: More Adult Education Would Strengthen Michigan’s Economy," released by the League earlier this month, shows that too few adults are getting the basic skills education they need to succeed in occupational training and find a way out of low-paying, dead-end jobs and into careers that can support their families.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2015-16 fiscal year budget recommendation included $25 million for a third grade reading initiative and $22 million for adult education programs.
The House K-12 School Aid Subcommittee removed those items during its meeting this morning. Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Twp. and chair of the committee, said he suspected the reading funds would be restored before the final budget.
“For the subcommittee to remove this funding is extremely shortsighted,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Michigan is not reaching anywhere near enough of the working age adults who lack basic skills to be part of the state’s workforce development push and too many of Michigan’s children can’t read by the end of third grade. We need to boost these programs, not cut the little funding available now.
“Rep. Kelly and some of his colleagues may have witnessed this problem as they visited local schools during National Reading Month and read to the students over the past few weeks,” Jacobs continued. “We applaud every legislator’s attempt to connect with their local school children by reading them a book, but what kids really need is for these policymakers to invest in their families and help more kids become better readers so they can succeed in life.”
The Senate Appropriations K-12, Education and School Aid Subcommittee is scheduled to take up its own funding bill Wednesday morning.
Today’s early literacy report details how policymakers could make huge gains in third-grade reading proficiency by addressing poverty and strengthening existing early intervention programs.
Research shows that family income is the most reliable predictor of academic success, and that efforts to help children must begin long before they reach third grade or even kindergarten. In Michigan, school districts with larger percentages of low-income students also had larger percentages of students performing below proficiency. Students from low-income families are more likely to face barriers such as illness, transportation problems, no access to quality child care or enrichment activities, unhealthy housing, mobility, homelessness, and unsafe neighborhoods.
National tests show that four of every five Michigan fourth-graders from families with income below or marginally above the poverty level ($24,000 for a family of four in 2013) did not demonstrate proficiency in reading in 2013 compared with roughly one of every two higher income students.
Well-established research also shows that learning starts in infancy, long before formal learning begins, with the most rapid and critical development occurring in the first three years of life. As such, programs that foster maternal and infant mental and physical health are key strategies to improve optimum physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. States that have seen the most dramatic improvements in early literacy have made substantial investments in early interventions.
“Schools alone cannot solve this problem,” said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, the League’s Kids Count in Michigan Project Director and author of the report. “Michigan has a variety of programs that provide the foundation to literacy and academic achievement, but policymakers have not directed funding to address the level of need nor have they supported policies to improve economic security. These issues are well-known to have a negative impact on child health and academic achievement.”
The report includes a series of recommendations to improve literacy among early elementary children in Michigan, including providing adequate funding to existing systems for young children and their families such as prenatal care, childhood lead poisoning prevention, Early On, the child care subsidy, and Healthy Kids Dental. The League also recommends addressing the role and causes of poverty by increasing the state Earned Income Tax Credit (included in Proposal 1), reforming the criminal justice system that disproportionately affects communities of color, and enacting policies that support successful re-entry after prison.
“Without addressing these critical issues and investing in programs that are proven to work, our children will continue to struggle with reading and no number of visiting readers can fix that,” Jacobs said.
# # #
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.
Stacey Range Messina
Interim Communications Director
Michigan League for Public Policy
Cursing in front of women and children. Dyeing chicks, bunnies and ducklings. Participating in a walkathon. Chastising someone in print for not accepting the offer to duel.
These things seem to have no correlation whatsoever. But, they're connected in two ways: All of them are currently illegal in the state of Michigan and legislators are looking to repeal those laws.
The House Criminal Justice Committee held a testimony-only hearing Tuesday on five bills aimed at repealing outdated and rarely-enforced criminal laws still on the books in Michigan. The above listed offenses are all misdemeanors in the state that are currently on the books.
For the full article, see Kyle Feldscher, "Michigan laws against cursing in front of women, dyeing animals and walkathons may be repealed", MLive, March 24, 2015.
|<< <||> >>|