Archives for September 2019

Government Shutdown Avoided

A shutdown avoided…

State employees should expect to go to work this week after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state government will not shut down. This past Friday, she emailed all 48,000 state employees telling them to prepare for a normal work week this week. The Governor says she’ll use her power to sign off on the budget to avoid a partial government shutdown. That could include line-item veto power.

More Money For Michigan Airports

More money for Michigan airports…

Michigan airports are getting nearly $40 million for improvements, including some in Northern Michigan.
The grants are part of a nationwide airport improvement program from the Federal Aviation Administration. Delta County’s airport will use more than $860,000 for a new fire and rescue vehicle, taxiway lighting and other improvements.

Federal Judge Blocks Adoption Settlement

The Michigan Catholic Conference is cheering a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker regarding adoptions by same-sex couples.

In his order, Jonker blocked a settlement by Attorney General Dana Nessel that banned faith-based agencies receiving state funding from turning away gay and lesbian couples. The judge said Nessel reinterpreted a 2015 law to reach the deal, calling it a “targeted attack on a sincerely held religious belief.”

Shutdown Could Still Happen

Despite lawmakers sending Governor Whitmer the Fiscal Year 2020 budget this week, it appears a partial government shutdown could still happen.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has issued a statement saying branch offices would be closed if a shutdown happens, and other impacts would be stalled road projects and lottery sales. Whitmer complained on Twitter that she had only received five of the 16 budget bills as of last night. Lawmakers will not be in session until after the deadline to enact the new state budget.

Lawsuit Filed Over Vape Ban

A Lawsuit Has Been Filed Over The State’s Flavored Vape Ban…

The state’s ban on flavored vaping products is getting a legal challenge. Marc Slis owns 906 Vapor in Houghton in the Upper Peninsula and filed a lawsuit challenging the ban enacted by Governor Whitmer in Houghton County Circuit Court. No hearing dates have been set.

Michigan Residents Making More Money

Michigan residents are making more money…

That said, new data from the U.S. Census shows pay levels are still below where they were before the recession. When adjusted for inflation, the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey estimates the median household income in Michigan is about 14-hundred dollars less than it was in 2007. The current median income of 56-thousand-697 dollars a year for 2018 is a one-percent increase over 2017.

Enbridge Energy Gets Green Light

Enbridge Energy given the green light…

The company is moving ahead on installing 54 new steel supports on the bed of the Straits of Mackinac to support its Line 5 oil and natural gas pipeline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued the permits the Canadian company needed for the work. MI Attorney General Dana Nessel has been trying to find ways to get the pipelines permanently shut down. The pipelines take natural gas and crude oil from western Canada to refineries in Detroit and Ontario.

Whitmer: Line Item Vetos Possible

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not happy with Fiscal Year 2020 department budgets, she’s seen so far…

The Governor is likely to use line-item vetoes on several portions of the budget, as the Republican majority in both chambers had no direct input from the governor after she ended their negotiations. Lawmakers note there are several priority items sought by Democrats that made it into the final bills, including having 30-million dollars in the School Aid Budget dedicated to special education.The deadline to have a new budget in place and avoid a state government shutdown is Monday.

Passing On Lake Road Could Be A Thing Of The Past

Passing on Lake Road south of Sunset Road may become a thing of the past…

On Monday, the Ironwood Township Board of Trustees decided to send a letter to the Gogebic County Road Commission seeking to remove the passing zones between Margaret Street and Sunset Road and requests a traffic study to determine whether the speed limit can be reduced as well. The board based its decision on the fact the section of road is both heavily populated and highly traveled, a combination that could lead to traffic accidents.

Whitmer Signs Bill To Protect Health Care Coverage

Governor Whitmer is urging lawmakers to pass legislation protecting health coverage for thousands on the state’s Healthy Michigan plan…

As she signed a bill aimed at reducing the number of people subject to work requirements to qualify for the coverage, she said more needs to be done. Whitmer wants legislation to suspend the work requirements if there is data showing significant numbers of Michiganders are on track to lose the coverage due to new compliance requirements.