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Gongwer News Highlights, September 12, 2017

Jon Harrison
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Schuette, Calling For Tax Cut, Is Off And Running

Attorney General Bill Schuette began his long-expected 2018 campaign for governor Tuesday with a vow to cut the income tax and a message designed to show he as a Republican can be a candidate of change even after eight years of a Republican governor.

LARA Looking At December For Dispensary Closure

As the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board considered compelling dispensaries to close sometime this month to be viewed favorably for a license later this year, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said Tuesday it solely holds the ability to promulgate rules affecting the dispensaries.

Decision From PSC On Local Clearing Requirement Coming Friday

The House Energy Policy Committee heard from advocates for the state's energy choice market on Tuesday about its opposition to a potential move from the Public Service Commission to implement a requirement for suppliers to general some or all of its energy in the state.

USVI GOP Official Blasts Yob In Letter For Criticizing Interior Secretary

Political consultant John Yob, who was at the center of a major political controversy in 2016 in the U.S. Virgin Islands, has been blasted in a letter from the island's Republican national committeeman for criticizing U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke for his response to helping the islands after they suffered severe damage from Hurricane Irma.

Education Board Pushes DACA Resolution, Lead Testing

The State Board of Education approved statements Tuesday that urge Congress to develop a resolution for the children covered under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals as well as urge the Department of Education to provide leadership in getting schools to test for lead.

Dashboard Higher Education Graph Draws Concerns

State Board of Education members raised some concerns Tuesday about plans to display higher education enrollment and completion levels as the Department of Education prepared to take its new transparency dashboard to focus groups later this month.  Under the current draft of the dashboard, which is part of the state's plan to comply with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act, the state would gather, for every high school, eight years of information on students who enrolled in higher education. The plan would provide data on students who enrolled in higher education and completed, enrolled and did not complete and did not enroll.  Board members were concerned the graph would put too much emphasis on higher education.

House Panel Considers Bill Softening Late CPL Renewal Penalty

Those who do not renew their concealed pistol licenses within six months of the license expiring would no longer be subject to a felony charge for carrying a concealed pistol under a bill discussed Tuesday in the House Judiciary Committee.
Instead, those persons would be subject to a civil infraction and a fine, which would be waived if they renewed their license within 60 days of getting the ticket.

Whiston: SRO Back, Gone

The School Reform/Redesign Office officially moved back into the Department of Education late last month, and now it is gone, Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whiston told the State Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday.  Governor Rick Snyder moved the SRO back from the Department of Technology, Management and Budget after its proposal to close a number of low-performing schools was superseded by Mr. Whiston's partnership model that gives the schools time, and more resources, to improve.  Mr. Whiston told the board that the SRO itself has now been superseded by the partnership model.

Senate Panel Weighs Education Savings Account Bills

Bills that would establish and set parameters for a program using education savings accounts for K-12 students were introduced in the Senate Tuesday and later heard in the Education Committee.

State Board Endorses Local Board Governance Standards

Local school board members would have guidance for how to conduct their business and how to get training for their positions under governance standards developed by the Michigan Association of School Boards and endorsed Tuesday by the State Board of Education.

Senate Judiciary OKs Background Checks For Police Academy Applicants

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee reported legislation to the full Senate that would allow the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards to receive federal background check information on applicants for police academy training.

Concurrent Resolutions On Sanctuary Cities, Kate's Law Introduced

Concurrent resolutions were introduced by members of the Senate Tuesday urging Congress to cut funding for sanctuary cities and pass a law stiffening penalties for illegal aliens convicted for illegally re-entering the country.

Opioid Bills Near Senate Committee Action

Another piece of the effort against opioid abuse and addiction appeared ready for action after an initial hearing in the Senate Health Policy Committee.

House Passes .08 Drunk Driving Extension

Two bills extending the current .08 blood alcohol level for drunken driving for another five years passed the House Tuesday.

State Opens Comments On Continuum Of Care, Eligibility Changes

A technical but significant set of changes to how Medicaid recipients are registered and whether they are eligible will begin in January, the Department of Health and Human Services said in emails sent to health care providers Tuesday. The department also said it was opening the proposed changes up for comments.

College Savings

The Michigan Education Trust announced Tuesday it was conducting a study on how residents save for college.  Officials said the goal of the study is to determine need and identify any roadblocks to savings.  "We're aiming to gather up-to-date insights and a deeper understanding into how families save for college, what they look for in a college savings vehicle and whatever obstacles they might face in building a college savings account," Robin Lott, MET executive director, said in a statement announcing the study.  The online study will open near the end of the month.

MGM Fined

The MGM Grand Detroit Casino was fined $29,500 after the Gaming Control Board found Tuesday that it had allowed minors on the gaming floor and had allowed a disassociated person to gamble. Disassociated people have requested that they be banned from the three casinos, generally because they are compulsive gamblers.

Casino Revenues

Only MotorCity Casino saw revenue increase in August compared to 2016, and then by only 1.5 percent to $38.4 million, the Gaming Control Board announced Tuesday.

Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #56, Report 177, September 12, 2017.

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