“Lansing hates us,…the People love us!!!”

3rd hour discussion today, Monday 2-19-18;

LAST DAY - ALL HANDS ON DECK!!! Call 616-534-5141 and leave your Name, Address and how many sheets you want mailed to your home.

Help us put Part-Time Legislature on our November general election ballot!!! Let's make history and take control of Lansing!!!
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 2-19-18;

A LITTLE GUN HISTORY

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

56 million defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control:

You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

Take note my fellow Americans, before it's too late!

The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.

With guns, we are "citizens". Without them, we are "subjects".

During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

If you value your freedom, please spread this antigun-control message to all of your friends.

SWITZERLAND ISSUES EVERY HOUSEHOLD A GUN!
SWITZERLAND'S GOVERNMENT TRAINS EVERY ADULT THEY ISSUE A RIFLE.
SWITZERLAND HAS THE LOWEST GUN RELATED CRIME RATE OF ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!
IT'S A NO BRAINER!
DON'T LET OUR GOVERNMENT WASTE MILLIONS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE ALL LAW ABIDING CITIZENS AN EASY TARGET.

Spread the word everywhere you can that you are a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment!

It's time to speak loud before they try to silence and disarm us.
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3rd hour discussion today, Friday 2-16-18;

Michigan State Rep. - Peter Lucido (36th House-R) joined "Trucker Randy" to talk about his House Bill (HB 4158 - Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform) and why it must be passed,....NOW!!!

Share this YouTube video; youtu.be/QL0iz5kTE5k
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 2-14-18; MIRS News Service

Snyder Winning Tax Rollback Struggle

Gov. Rick SNYDER continues his back and forth with his "legislative partners" over the size of the personal income tax exemption, but lost in the battle is the apparent progress he has made on killing a state income tax rate rollback.

There was a time scaling back to the 4.25 percent rate to 3.9 percent was the top priority of some Republicans, particularly House leadership. But based on the observations of two key players, that is no longer the case.

Former Rep. Peter LUND, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Americans for Prosperity anti-tax group, is not totally conceding defeat but he's darn close.

Commenting on the current tax exemption debate he told MIRS, "My preference would be to keep it revenue neutral, but decrease the rate itself, but since we can't get that, we would support the higher exemption. The higher the number, the better, as far as I'm concerned."

Asked if he was conceding defeat on that front, he suggests, "I'm never conceding defeat, but I understand you have to take what you can get and right now that looks like the best chance we can get to get some tax relief to the taxpayers, so we support it."

Senate Finance Committee Chair Jack [BRANDENBERG] (R-Harrison Twp.) was in the midst of his plan to rollback the rate and had a blueprint for getting there (See "Plans To Scrap Or Cut Income Tax Haven't Stopped," 10/18/17).

But late last year, just before he was ready to run this past Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive), he reportedly got some push back from the small business community. It feared it would end up paying more under the Brandenburg plan, so he pulled it back to work with National Federation of Independent Businesses Executive Director Charlie OWENS to resolve their concerns.

He told MIRS at the time that the rate rollback was "on hold," where it apparently remains.

"I don't think Rick Snyder, at his core, particularly favors tax cuts," Brandenburg said.
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3rd hour discussion today, Monday 2-12-18;

Dave Agema joined us to talk about the signature petition drive to put "Part-Time Legislature" on the ballot. Call today to get a petition sheet (or 2) mailed directly to your home or business;

Call; 616-560-2708 to get a sheet mailed to you,...TODAY!!!
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Dear University of Michigan - Board of Regents ...

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1st hour discussion today, Friday 2-9-18; MIRS News Service

Kelly Offers 'Middle Of The Road' A-F Grading System For K-12 Schools

The Michigan Department of Education's (MDE) Parent Dashboard for School Transparency website, launched in December, "I think has got lots of useful information but still masks poor performance more than it should," said Rep. Tim KELLY (R-Saginaw) today as his House Education Reform Committee began hearings on legislation to give schools A-F letter grades.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5526, sponsored by Kelly, would create an Education Accountability Policy Commission to develop a grading system that gives each public school in Michigan an A-F letter grade in six specific areas.

His proposal would not assign schools a final "summative grade" that some are calling for, Kelly said, so he called it a "middle of the road" proposal.

Doug GREER, School Improvement Consultant for Ottawa Area Intermediate School District who helped draft the bill, called it a school "report card." Because it is not a single summative grade and not a comprehensive dashboard. He called the plan "some middle ground."

"Michigan has made a unique slide nationally in academic achievement over the last decade or so, and I am trying to put a finger on what is unique to Michigan or why that is the case," Kelly told the committee in his opening remarks. "I have kind of come up with two different things that I think have contributed to Michigan's decline. Governance and accountability . . . The last time that Michigan was in the top 15 of student performance across the country, we had an A-F accountability system. Once we got away from the A-F in '03, '04, '05, I think that began a slide. When they are not accountable, performance wasn't there."

He contended most parents understand the A-F system, since their own kids are graded that way on their performance. He noted the Governor's Twenty First Century Education Commission recommended an A-F system.

Gov. Rick SNYDERjoined in the call for an A-F system in December. (See "Snyder: Now Is Time For A-F Grading System," 12/18/17).
Recently, House Speaker Tom LEONARD(R-DeWitt) however said he was satisfied with the MDE dashboard. (See "Leonard Shies Away From A-F After Seeing 'Good' MDE Parent Dashboard," 2/1/18).

"States that have an A-F system out-perform Michigan, another reason to mirror what works. So for those reasons I think Michigan needs to adopt an A-F system," said Kelly, who has long been a proponent of an A-F system. (See "Education Reform Chair Moving Ahead On A-F Scale for Schools," 3/16/18).

As chair of House Education Reform, Kelly said he plans to take more testimony on the bill next week and did not give a timeframe for calling a vote.

The six areas to be graded include proficiency in math and English, growth, percentage of English language learners who achieve growth, graduation rate, rate of students chronically absent and participation rate in assessments. Additionally, MDE would be required to rank schools in relation to comparable schools and student subgroup performance.

"It adds two things that the school index does not add," Greer told the committee. "It adds a comparison to similar schools because that is what we found in the Reading Now Network to have the greatest impact. And it highlights the student subgroups performance indicator as this is why a school might get a label of what we used to call focus schools."

Greer said he supports the MDE's dashboard, but the report card would be an addition to it.

"We don't think it replaces the dashboard," he said. "It comes alongside the dashboard."

Rep. William SOWERBY (D-Clinton Twp.) noted that socio-economic factors have a great impact on the performance of students at school. He asked if the report card would adjust for socio-economic factors.

Greer contended that by including the comparison to similar schools with similar demographics, it would adjust for those factors.

Sowerby said he feared that by grading the schools, colleges might discount good grades earned by students in those schools, a fear Kelly and Rep. Julie ALEXANDER (R-Hanover) dismissed, saying students get judged on their individual merits.

Moneak PARKER, executive director of Detroit Voice for School Choice, told the committee it is confusing for parents when the state's accountability systems change every two to three years. She said she supports the A-F system because it lessens confusion.

"I know when my kid comes home, if they got an F, they have done poorly," she said.
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 2-8-18;

Gov To Lawmakers: Adopt My Budget For Long-Term Fiscal Stability

Gov. Rick SNYDER pledged that his $56.8 billion budget proposal, the final of his tenure, would leave the state's budget structurally balanced for whomever succeeds him in 2019 . . . as long as it's passed as proposed.

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 spending plan presented to a joint session of the House and Senate appropriations committees called for a tiny .6 percent increase to the $10 billion General Fund. It cuts taxes while sinking more in roads, schools and Flint.

It also asks lawmakers to hike fees on landfill dumping and water usage to pay for toxic cleanups and underground water infrastructure, which he acknowledged would be a heavy lift for the conservative Republican-led legislature, but a fiscally wiser approach to cleaning up the environment than bonding.

The budget comes amid future pressures like more General Fund money for roads, more funds to cover Healthy Michigan and homestead exemption increases that will make life difficult for a future governor, according to economist Mitch BEAN (See "Bean: Budget Cuts, Tax Increases Needed Without Income Tax Changes," 2/17/18).

Snyder made it clear today that he feels like everything is on the right path.

"We're on the path to get a great legacy," told reporters later in the day. "Over the years, we have built something that is a role model of the rest of the country."

Snyder didn't wade into the outstanding debate over whether to speed up of the driver responsibility fee repeal as the House wants or the $5,000 personal exemption on income taxes the Senate wants. However, he did stress that under his budget, Michigan taxpayers would see $1.85 billion in relief between 2018 to Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.

This is on top of the $3 billion in tax cuts that state Treasurer Nick KHOURI said the state has passed along to taxpayers over the past five years. Still, additional tax cuts were on the minds of legislative leaders during today's budget presentation.

"My priority is that we get the tax relief and driver responsibility fee (repeal) before we dig deep into the spending," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Dave HILDENBRAND(R-Lowell). "Every opportunity we can give back to the hard-working taxpayers of Michigan, we should do that. We've been doing it the last few years and I'm interested in doing it a little more so we're going to be pursuing that."

House Appropriations Committee Chair Laura COX (R-Livonia) was pleased Snyder gave "the soft nod" to an income tax exemption that was higher than the $4,500 level he initially pitched with his plan to save the exemption in the shadow of President Donald TRUMP's tax cut plan.

"Not to be disrespectful, but lame duck governors tend to want to spend a lot of money and our job as the Legislature is to make sure he doesn't spend a lot of money," Cox said.

Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint) called the increases in roads and schools "seven years late and many dollars short."

"The governor is throwing pennies at our roads and schools and crossing his fingers that it makes up for his legacy of shortchanging Michiganders."

Also more money could have been set aside to take care of those residents falsely accused of fraud, said Rep. Fred DURHAL III (D-Detroit).

"We still haven't made those individuals whole. We still haven't made those families whole," he said.

Durhal said he believes there are more things that can be done to help the residents of Flint "repair their lives" after the Flint water crisis of 2015 and 2016.

Snyder gave most of his message over the muffled roar of protestors outside the House Appropriations Committee door, who chanted, "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Rick Snyder has got to go!" among other things. The protestors were made up of SEIU state employees, janitors and health care workers pushing for a $15-an-hour minimum wage for hospital, childcare and fast food workers.

"Contrary to what Governor Snyder is telling us about the economy and budget in Michigan, Michigan's working families are still struggling," said Pam Owens MOORE, a Detroit janitor. In the 30 years I've been working, I have seen Detroit go from a union town with good family sustaining wages to one where workers are doing three or four jobs just to get by.

"We need a Governor who will fix the economy for all Michiganders by raising wages and supporting unions."

The highlights of Snyder's spending priorities included:

- An extra $175 million on top of the already required $150 million in General Fund money for road improvements (See "Gov Wants $325M More Into Roads In FY' 19," 1/25/18).

- $112 million left over from last fiscal year to put some up-front payments on some capital outlay projects, including $70 million toward the ongoing Capitol infrastructure upgrades and $42 million toward new veterans homes in Grand Rapids and Detroit.

The $112 million used from the $280 million that lapsed from Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 would help save $48 million in interest costs through making Snyder's proposed "pre-payment."

- Per pupil funding increases of $120 to $240 per pupil for a total increase of $312 million for a minimum funding of $8,734 per student.

- Funding cyber schools at 75 percent of the per pupil foundation allowance given to traditional brick-and-mortar schools

- Up to a $50 investment per high school student enrolled in a career and technical training program

- $46 million more for the indigent defense commission

- $25.9 million ($18 million General Fund) to meet the requirements of the Concerned Pastors for Social Action settlement on service line replacement in Flint. There's $4.6 million for lead investigations, lead abatement and health care programs for Flint children.

- $20 million toward statewide broadband access (See “Price Tag On Snyder Initiatives This Week Run At Least $189M,” 2/2/18).

- $8 million PFAS containment response

- $7.5 million for rural hospital payments

- 2 percent increase for university funding as long as tuition increases are kept at twice the rate of inflation, which is currently 1.9 percent.

- A combined $1.26 million for Michigan State University AgBioResearch and MSU Extension operations

- A combined $6.8 million to hire 50 new Michigan State Police troopers and 80 troopers to replace those lost through attrition.

- $600,000 for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Initiative

- $2.5 million for a Michigan Israel Business Accelerator to further spur investment between the two nations

- $2 million for the "Rising Tide program" that helps smaller rural communities with talent development and economic development.

Besides that, the Governor also announced investments in road funding and K-12 spending that had previously been reported by MIRS (See "Governor Walking Back Private Vendors For Prison Food," 2/6/18).

The Governor had previously said he'd like to raise $79 million in increased landfill dumping fees to clean up contaminated sites, as well as a $5-per-customer water bill fee worth a combined $110 million to put toward water infrastructure improvement projects.

Snyder also wants to use 25 percent of the lapsed funds from Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 to go to the Rainy Day Fund, which is projected to put the $889 million fund at $922, close to the coveted $1 billion number.
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“The Big Lie” topic by Dinesh D’Souza at “Battle Cry Michigan” - 2018 ...

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3rd hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-31-18;

Get your ticket NOW,....this event is going to sell OUT!!!

Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

Corey R. Lewandowski​ - Author of "Let Trump be Trump" will be there too!!! Register at; battlecrymichigan.com
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Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 1-30-18; MIRS News Service

Gov Rejects Calls To Temporarily Close Line 5

Gov. Rick SNYDER today said he wouldn't be taking the advice offered by some members of his Pipeline Safety Advisory Board (PSAB), who called for the shutdown of Line 5 until its coating issues could be addressed.

Snyder today announced his official responses to the three resolutions that were said to have been approved by the PSAB at its meeting in December (See "Pipeline Safety Board Adopts Call For Temporary Line 5 Shutdown," 12/11/17).

The resolutions were pushed by a faction of PSAB members, consisting of Jennifer McKAY of Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Mike SHRIBERG of the National Wildlife Federation and Craig HUPP, the general public representative on the board.

The resolutions surfaced in the wake of Snyder striking a deal with Enbridge in November, which some PSAB members saw as the Governor going over the board's heads, as the PSAB was set up by Snyder to provide him advice on Line 5 and other pipelines (See "Enbridge Deal Keeps Line 5 Open In Possible Underwater Tunnel," 11/27/17).

The resolutions only received supporting votes from McKay, Shriberg, Hupp, Christopher SHEPLER of Shepler's Ferry and Homer MANDOKA of the tribal governments. The rest of the voting board members were state government, Enbridge or Marathon officials, and they all abstained from voting.

Despite this, PSAB Co-Chair Valerie BRADER said at the time that the resolutions passed, despite none of them gaining a majority of the board's support. Snyder said today Brader had been incorrect and that the resolutions needed a majority vote, meaning the resolutions aren't considered official board action.

Shriberg criticized Snyder's assertion in a statement, saying that "means that the advisory board cannot conduct its work. The non-state actors voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolutions, which means that the appointees not directly employed by Governor Snyder agreed. That should be enough to provide critical input to the governor."

The first resolution had called for Enbridge to shut down Line 5 operations in the Straits of Mackinac until all the areas of the pipelines could be inspected and the external coating gaps could be fixed.

Yet, Snyder said inspections and repairs could not be done until the summer, and that an "immediate and unexpected shutdown of the pipeline for several months would very likely create a propane supply crisis."

The Governor also didn't accept the two other resolutions.

The second one called on the state to broaden the standard by which Enbridge would close Line 5 under adverse conditions, proposing to replace "sustained adverse weather conditions" with "significant adverse maritime conditions."

Snyder said "given the amount of negotiating time and effort that went into that specific provision, a request to reopen that provision would be extremely unlikely to result in an agreement to move in the direction envisioned by the resolution."

The last resolution called for a more Michigan-specific analysis of the alternatives to Line 5 that resolution supporters said would address shortcomings in the final edition of the Line 5 alternatives analysis.

The Governor said state agency staff is already working to verify "key Michigan-centric data and assumptions" within the alternatives analysis report.

He also said the state is "considering the possibility of obtaining the services of outside transportation consultants to better define the feasibility and costs of alternatives to meeting Michigan propane and Michigan-produced crude oil transportation needs that would not depend upon Line 5."

Also in his letter to the PSAB, Snyder said he would be reaching out to Enbridge to move the deadline set for action on Line 5 from Aug. 15 back to Sept. 30, based on the fact that the risk analysis being conducted by Dr. Guy MEADOWS of Michigan Technological University won't be done until September.
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2nd half of hour #1 discussion today, Tuesday 1-30-18; MIRS News Service

Cutting Taxes Takes Center Stage At Kent County GOP Debate

Cutting taxes was a main theme of the evening as three Republican candidates for governor -- Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY, Sen. Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton) and Saginaw physician Jim HINES -- met for a debate at the Kent County Republican Headquarters in Grand Rapids this evening.

Asked to provide their record as a tax cutter, Calley was able to claim the cuts put in place working with Gov. Rick SNYDER.

"There are two parts. You want taxes that are as low as possible and you want to have a system that is simple," Calley said. "In Michigan, that is the course that we took. We started right out with a tax cut of $1.2 billion."

He claimed Democrats only accomplished making the bad less bad. "With us, it was a leap to best practice . . . we went from 40th to 11th in our overall business climate. That is because we decided to make it simple, fair and efficient. And we cut taxes $1.2 billion," Calley said.

Colbeck touted his opposition to various taxes that have come up in time in the state Senate.

"I have no problem saying I'm a tax cutter and I have a record to back it up," Colbeck said. "I opposed the senior pension tax. I wrote a letter to leadership at the time identifying $700 million in expense reductions that could be used instead and offset the need for taxes by $300 million. I opposed the health insurance claims assessment. That's one of those little taxes that starts out at one percent, but every time, there is a short fall they find a way to dial it up."

And he brought up the increase in the gas tax.

"Remember Proposal 1? I was probably the most vocal person saying there were other ways to fix our roads without increasing taxes," he said. "That got rejected by 81 percent of the voters. What happened right after that? Within two months, they came up with another tax increase and increased taxes by over $600 million . . . I opposed that as well. And when I oppose things, I provide alternatives."

Hines noted that he didn't have a record as a tax cutter, because he is not a politician.

"When you start raising taxes and regulations, this has a direct effect on what we can do, the number of people that we can employ and at what level we can employ them . . . As you increase the taxes, you have less to do what you want to do," Hines said, saying he favored keeping taxes as low as possible.

"I am so thankful for the Trump tax reform," Hines continued. "We are seeing businesses save money and pass that on to their employees. They are already talking about expanding, so this has been a tremendous boost. And we are see this all across our state."

The forum was the first of a number of forums for the GOP candidates. The next is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Jackson at Weatherwax Hall, 215 W. Michigan Ave.

A third has been scheduled for Feb. 5 at Saginaw Valley State University, although the exact location has yet to be determined. More forums are planned, two in the Upper Peninsula, another in Traverse City and perhaps one more for Oakland County.

Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE was not present at tonight's debate. Luke ARENDS, Executive Director of the Kent GOP, said Schuette's campaign did respond to the invitation to participate, but said the date for the event did not fit into his schedule.

Earlier however, Schuette had called the series of debates "political gimmickry" and "hijinks." "Frankly, I have a job to do and it's time that people get back to work," he said in a radio interview. (See "Schuette Calls Calley-Colbeck-Hines Town Halls 'Political Gimmickry'," 1/9/18).

But the Republican contenders present took the opportunity to put their best arguments forward.

Calley said that when he and Snyder took over the state administration in 2011, the state was "last in every list you want to be first in, and first in every list you want to be last in."

Now the state is at a 17-year low in unemployment, he said. Now, the state is leading the Great Lakes states in inbound people with bachelor degrees.

Colbeck said he's the only candidate who has stayed true the conservative principles that first led him to run for office. He noted that he's been rated the most conservative member of the Senate twice.

"Government works for us, not the other way around," he said.

Hines touted the fact he is not a politician, but a medical doctor, former missionary and a business owner.

"For 38 years, I have been putting my patients first," he said. "As governor, every decision we make, we will ask what the impact will be on the people."

Hines said he is "pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-family and pro-limited government."
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1st half hour of 3rd hour discussion today, Monday 1-29-18;

Get your ticket NOW,....this event is going to sell OUT!!!

Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

Corey R. Lewandowski​ - Author of "Let Trump be Trump" will be there too!!! Register at; battlecrymichigan.com
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Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

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2nd hour discussion today, Monday 1-29-18; MIRS News Service

Snyder Considering Action Against Michigan State University Leadership

Action involving the leadership at Michigan State University (MSU) by Gov. Rick SNYDER "is under consideration," Snyder Press Secretary Anna HEATON said today, hours after ESPN released a report about the "widespread denial, inaction and information suppression" at the school involving sexual assaults.

Larry NASSAR's numerous assaults against mainly female gymnasts aside, the ESPN report notes how MSU fought in court to withhold information on alleged sexual assaults and for years steered complaints to the athletic director or coaches.

It quotes the schools' former sexual assault counselor who said complaints were addressed "behind closed doors . . . none of it was transparent or included people who would normally be involved in certain decisions."

"The situation is heartbreaking and unprecedented," Heaton said. "The Governor first needs to consider whether action, if any is taken, would interfere with the myriad investigations already taking place."

The NCAA, Attorney General, the state House, possibly Congress and the U.S. Department of Education are among the entities set to launch inquires into the handling of sexual assault complaints at Michigan State.

Today's remarks are the first indication of Snyder getting involved in the discussion about whether the MSU Board of Trustees should be replaced following Nassar being sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual assault that may have involved as many as 160 women.

The Board has taken fire, particularly after Trustee Joel FERGUSON referred to the controversy surrounding his school as that "Nassar thing" and sounded generally dismissive about the whole affair during a radio interview.

"There needs to be accountability and when you see the types of comments made by Joel Ferguson, it is contributing to the culture," said Sen. Tonya SCHUITMAKER (R-Lawton), who held sexual assault awareness seminars on college campuses with First Lady Sue SNYDER.

The Board today accepted the resignation of President Lou Anna SIMON. Athletic Director Mark HOLLIS also resigned today. The Speaker of the Michigan House said today all of the eight members of the Board of Trustees should be the next to go.

"This is heartbreaking. This is so much worse than we thought, and it was already unimaginable," said House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt). "Dozens more of these young women were brushed aside and buried by Michigan State University. No one knows how deep this goes and how badly the school failed this community.

"We are trying to bring as much of it to light as possible, but every day that goes by shows how far we have to go."

Under the constitution, the House has the authority to start impeachment hearings against public officials for "corrupt conduct in office" under Article XI, Section 7, but the Constitution also gives authority to the governor under Article V, Section 10 to remove public officers for "gross neglect of duty."

Information gathered by MIRS on Wednesday was that Leonard has not taken impeachment of the board off the table, but hearings weren't imminent either.

Republican political consultant Dennis LENNOX went as far as to sue Snyder earlier this week to get him to take action to remove the board. Today, he wrote:

"The members of the MSU Board of Trustees admitted their inaction contributed to the university's failure to safeguard. It is time for the governor to convene a removal inquiry, pursuant to the Constitution, for gross neglect of duty, malfeasance and misfeasance."

The situation could be tricky or uncomfortable for Snyder considering his director of appointments is Brian BRESLIN, the chair of the MSU Board of Trustees.

The chair the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee, Rep. Kim LASATA (R-St. Joseph) noted that the university board is an independent body and that going beyond asking trustees to resign "gets really tricky."

"We need to be careful. Maybe they should do the right thing and resign," LaSata said. "They were elected. They can recalled. That's an option we have as citizens. For governor to remove them, we have to be very careful with that."

LaSata and House Law and Justice Committee Chair Klint KESTO (R-Commerce Twp.) are in the midst of asking MSU for documents related to the Nassar case, but the ESPN report reinforced her desire to see how the school's athletic department handled other sexual assault cases.

"This isn't just about gymnastics. It's the entire school. If there's football or basketball involved, that should all be part of it," LaSata said.

If Snyder decides to remove members of the board, Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Brandon DILLON said he would "strongly urge" the governor to "not turn this into a partisan issue and keep the political make-up of the board as it is."

"Let the voters decide if they want to make partisan changes," he said.

The eight-member board includes four Republicans and four Democrats. Two terms of two Republicans -- Breslin and Mitch LYONS -- expire at the end of this year. Both have decided not to run for re-election.

Sen. Margaret O'BRIEN (R-Portage) said she was "sick to her stomach" after reading the ESPN report. Asked about the future of the board, she said, "It's not good. The ones I know personally are good people but Joel Ferguson doesn't get it. His comments have been offensive and the rest of the board has been silent and that's being interpreted as silent agreement."

She praised the news media for succeeding in bringing these cases to light where the school and law enforcement officials clearly failed.

"All of this was hidden," she said. "It took Rachel (DENHOLLANDER) going to the Indy Star. Since then, it's been all of you digging this up. If it weren't for the journalists, justice wouldn't have been served."

O'Brien wrapped up an interview with the BBC on the Nassar affair today. BBC reporters told her that they had spoken with victims.

"They said the world is watching," O'Brien said.
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Get your ticket NOW,....this event is going to sell OUT!!!

Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

Corey R. Lewandowski​ - Author of "Let Trump be Trump" will be there too!!!
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-24-18; MIRS News Service

Snyder Tells How Michigan's Comeback Story Is Real

Michigan's "relentlessly positive" governor used his final State of the State address to make the case why the Great Lakes State is better off today than it was when he took over more than seven years ago.

The vast majority of Gov. Rick SNYDER's 53-minute speech heralded "The Michigan Comeback Story" as an example of how civility in government is part of what is making Michigan great. Fighting is for the "beaches of Normandy, not the beaches of Lake Michigan.

"If we can't get along with ourselves, how can we be great?" said Snyder, saying that when a political candidate talks about "fighting," "the red light should be flashing." He asked, "What are we fighting for?"

Asked who Snyder might have been referring to with that comment, possibly Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Gretchen WHITMER, Secretary of State Ruth JOHNSON said, "I think it's directed towards the nation."

Absent from the speech were the sticky issues political opponents will use to paint Snyder's tenure -- the Flint water crisis, the false unemployment fraud charges, the maggots in prisoners' food or the failings at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home.

Rather, Snyder sought to define his two terms early in his speech by holding up two posterized Wall Street Journal editorials, a 2009 piece headlined "The State Of Joblessness, The tragedy of Jennifer Granholm's Michigan" and a 2017 editorial titled, "The Michigan Comeback Story."

In his Democratic response, Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint) said "too many working families" aren't seeing the recovery Snyder was pitching.

New Detroit News and WDIV-TV-commissioned polling would seem to side with Ananich, with Snyder's favorability rating underwater -- 35.8 percent to 47.5 percent, despite his job approval rating being split 41.1 percent favorable to 42.6 percent unfavorable.

House Minority Floor Leader Christine GREIG (D-Farmington Hills) noted these types of polling numbers in making the point that fiscal stability in state government isn't translating to economic stability in the minds of Michiganders.

"While Gov. Rick Snyder likes to brag that Michigan is the 'Comeback State,' I've got to wonder what, exactly, that means . . . People aren't a ledger book of debits and credits," she said. "They are families who are concerned about their children's education, seniors who are making desperate decisions between prescriptions and groceries."

In the speech, however, Snyder stuck to the 540,000 new private sector jobs, higher per-capita income and how programs like the Vocational Village in Michigan's prisons and First Robotics has helped residents with first-hand stories.

The speech's most powerful moment came when 2-year-old Jeremiah NELSON, whose severe form of spina bifida keeps him from being able to walk or crawl, drove down the center aisle of the House chambers driving a motorized Power Wheels car retooled by the First Robotics team from Petoskey and Central Lake.

Snyder stopped his speech, stepped down from the rostrum and greeted Nelson and his parents.

"I was extremely touched," said Sen. Wayne SCHMIDT (R-Traverse City). "Jeremiah is truly a story of Michigan's gumption and what we are capable of when we put our minds to accomplishing our goals."

Throughout the speech, Snyder took victory lap after victory lap and Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) said he was glad he did.

"Looking back over the seven and a half years he's been serving I'm very proud to have served with him and the investments we've made in the future the assets we've paid down, the budgets that we've balanced have put Michigan in a place where my kids can have a great future here," he said.

The closest Snyder came to criticism came when he singled out tax cuts or unaccounted-for spending as ideologically driven policies that may have short-term political gains, but long-term fiscal pain.

"We have a broken culture in our political world where it's OK to say we can spend money or we can cut taxes now for short-term benefit and leave the bill to our kids," Snyder said. "I don't think that's right either. If we're going to do something, let's make sure we're paying for it."

The comment was likely a swipe at Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial Bill SCHUETTE, who spent the afternoon heralding tax cuts in his released comments and Republican lawmakers who are pushing the envelope on income tax exemptions in recent weeks.

Snyder recognized Lt. Gov. and GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian CALLEY's work on opioid abuse prevention. But otherwise, used his own legacy to subtly infer that his second in charge would be best in terms of solving "real problems with real solutions" as opposed to "forcing ideological solutions on one another" after his term ends in 343 days.

As is common for this governor, Snyder rushed through or breezed past his major policy initiatives for 2018.

If you'd run to the bathroom, you might have missed his desire for a "Marshall Plan" on talent in Michigan's workforce, the highest per-pupil funding increase in 15 years, a new way to clean up industrial brownfields, a recycling initiative, stopping Asian carp, more money for water infrastructure and roads and addressing an emerging chemical pollutant known as "PFAS."

The other piece of news is Snyder plans on breaking ground on and starting construction on the Gordie Howe Bridge, the second span across the Detroit River, an initiative he launched in his 2011 State of the State address.

The Dr. Larry NASSAR scandal at Michigan State University was mentioned in brief, when Snyder recognized his wife, Sue SNYDER, for her work in addressing sexual assaults on college campus through a bipartisan effort that spent grants on education and victim support.

"Let us also apply a similar commitment in the Nassar case and reach out to support the courageous survivors and ensure that cases like this never happen again," he said.

The quirky governor had another strange "Snyderism" that has become commonplace for the "One Tough Nerd." After mentioning Michigan's growing wine and hard cider industry, Snyder enthusiastically blurted, "So get out there and check out those grapes."

Among those mentioned during today's speech were Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN, Flint Mayor Karen WEAVER and Charlotte Mayor Tim LEWIS.
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Our 3rd hour discussion, 1st half hour today, Tuesday 1-23-18;

Norm Kammeraad called in to talk about the petition drive to put Part-Time Legislature on our November's general election ballot, which needs YOU to help get more signatures for this effort!!!

Call them today to get petition sheets mailed directly to you;
616.560.2708 and leave a message with your Name, Address and how many sheets you want mailed to your home or office.

Thank you for your time and efforts!!! ~ "Trucker Randy"
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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 1-23-18;

Call your State Rep. & State Senator and tell them to DEFUND Michigan State University until their current President - Lou Anna K. Simon is FIRED!!!

DO IT TODAY,...as a former Spartan I am fully disgusted and outraged that Dr. Larry Nassar abused young women under her watch!!! No MONEY for MSU, until she is FIRED!!!
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1ST AND 3RD HOUR DISCUSSION, today Friday, 1-19-18;

Call the Capitol - Washington D.C.'s "Switchboard" at;
202.224.3121 (STORE THAT NUMBER) and Hit "Zero" 0
to be connected to a LIVE OPERATOR,...then ask for the "Senate Majority Leader's Office";

Tell them to "eliminate the 60 Rule, and pass the bill with a Simple Majority tonight"!!!
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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Monday 1-15-18; MIRS News Service

AG's Office Has 3X More GOP Delegates Than SOS

Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE's department has three times the number of past or present Republican precinct delegates or alternates on staff than that of fellow statewide elected official Secretary of State Ruth JOHNSON, even though Johnson's department has almost three times more employees.

After comparing lists of recent GOP precinct delegates and alternates to staff lists of state agencies, MIRS found at least 24 individuals who have worked in the Department of Attorney General who were also on GOP precinct delegate lists from 2017 and 2015. The Department of State listed at least seven such employees.

Of the 24 identified delegates or alternates in the AG's office, seven appeared on a similar AG staff list from 2010, meaning the rest -- 17 people -- have come on since Schuette took office as AG in 2011.

"It's not unusual that those who defend the Constitution chose to exercise their First Amendment rights of assembly and free speech, on both sides of the aisle," said Schuette spokesperson Andrea BITELY said in a statement today.

While the Executive Office has considerably fewer employees than either of those agencies, MIRS identified eight recent delegates or alternates who are also on staff for either Gov. Rick SNYDERor Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY.

In Calley's shop, four of the six employees attributed to him also served as GOP delegates or alternates in recent years. MIRS also reviewed former Calley staffers like Jenell LEONARD and Nat FORSTNER and found Leonard was a precinct delegate in 2015 and 2017, and a Calley spokesperson confirmed Forstner was an alternate in 2014.

In an effort to get a better scope of politically involved people who are also working for the four statewide elected officials, MIRS acquired and analyzed the state GOP's 2017 and 2015 delegate and alternate lists along with current staff lists for the offices of Schuette, Johnson, Snyder and Calley.

All four of those elected officials have served as precinct delegates in recent years, and were not included in the final tallies with their staff. Of the statewide officials, three are seeking another office -- Schuette and Calley are both running for governor, while Johnson is seeking a term in the state Senate.

Matt GROSSMANN, director of Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, said there's a lot of crossover between the types of people who end up being political appointees and those who are valuable in political campaigns.

Still, Grossmann said the matching names aren't necessarily evidence of corruption or politicization of those offices.

The recent staff list for the Department of Attorney General -- pulled from December 2017 -- listed 548 individuals. The staff list for the Department of State, which included the various branch office employees, numbered 1,555 employees.

For that fact alone, Bill BALLENGER, head of The Ballenger Report, said the number of delegates found in the AG's office isn't very significant in his eyes. If being a precinct delegate or alternate delegate is a measure of Republican Party involvement, that means just under 5 percent of people who work in the AG's office fall into that category.

Further, Ballenger theorized that a large number of SOS employees are career types working in the branch offices, and he "doubts these people are political at all." He said it's "conceivable" that the AG's office has more lawyers and others that "could have some avowed interest in politics and government beyond just being bureaucrats, which is what you probably have in the Secretary of State's office."

State employees are not barred from being precinct delegates for any party -- or vice versa -- and they're not allowed to conduct political business on state time. The state constitution bars appointments, promotions, demotions or removals in classified service for partisan considerations, and civil service rules prohibit discrimination based on partisan considerations.

But Schuette in particular has still come under fire from a Detroit Free Press article for a number of hires he's made and of others working on his state staff who also do time on his campaign.

Critics -- ranging from Calley and other gubernatorial candidates to Progress Michigan -- have called on Schuette to pull those campaign staffers off the public payroll (See "Calley Calls On Schuette Over Campaign Staff Issue," 1/5/18).

"Forcing taxpayers to subsidize any officeholder's political ambition is a clear and disturbing breach of the public's trust," Calley said. "Attorney General Schuette should immediately move the gubernatorial campaign field staff exposed in the story off the government payroll and refund the state for all taxpayer funds that were misspent on political purposes."

Democratic Attorney General hopeful Pat MILES has gotten into the act, as well saying Schuette's hiring practices are "outrageous and an enormous breach of trust with the taxpayers . . . The Attorney General is the top law enforcement in the state, and citizens deserve to have an AG whose top priority is protecting and serving the people, not their political career."

Bitely had told the Free Press they've hired people not for their political considerations but because of their qualifications.

The Free Press named several people who work on Schuette's campaign or have been politically active with the GOP. Most, if not all, were also on the GOP precinct or alternate delegate lists that MIRS reviewed.

They include Dennis STARNER, Judith SCHWALBACH and Brandon SINCLAIR, who have received reimbursements from his campaign or had some other role with the campaign.

Typically, most of the delegates or alternates working in the state offices were senior-level staff.

On Schuette's team, for instance, that included folks like long-time Schuette allies and past campaign operatives like Rusty HILLS and John SELLEK -- directors of public affairs and public relations, respectively -- and the same could be said for Johnson's Mike SENYKO or Kieran MARION, the senior chief deputy director and senior policy executive, respectively.

Both Schuette's primary media contact, Bitely, as well as Johnson's media contact, Fred WOODHAMS, were listed as delegates in recent years. Snyder and Calley's media personnel were not found to be delegates.

That high-level staff were the ones showing up as delegates was a significant point for Ballenger, who said, "I'm not going to say is grounds for suspicion, but it's grounds to make a conclusion that it seems that these people are more inclined to be political activists" and are surrounding the state officials they're working for and on behalf of.

Ballenger also said not all precinct delegates are created equal.

Some might not be full-out party activists, rather, just the next-door neighbor of a party chair who needed some help filling out some delegate slots.

Then there are others who are really involved in district and county conventions, with politics being "their meat and potatoes," Ballenger said, making those delegates "a lot more significant."

With the analysis came some caveats. MIRS was not able to contact every matched name between the delegates list and the state staff list to make sure they were the same person.

Not every delegate had listed personal contact info, and state employees are typically directed to steer any media requests to their respective communications offices.

And one of the delegates that came up on the SOS list was Norm SHINKLE, an active GOP operative who is listed as a "per diem employee" as a member of the Board of State Canvassers (BSC), so it's not like he's a full-time employee of the SOS.
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3rd hour discussion today, Friday 1-12-18;

Meet & Greets set up in Northern Michigan for Patrick Colbeck to be Michigan's next Governor!!!

Saturday - Traverse City 5-7 pm at La Senoritas on Garfield (North of Cherry Capital Airport).

Monday - Cheboygan 5-6 pm at Cheboygan County Republican Party's headquarters (215 N. Main Street - across from the Post Office);

www.facebook.com/events/323340514845806/
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Meet & Greet - Patrick Colbeck for Governor!

January 13, 2018, 5:00pm - January 13, 2018, 6:00pm

Michigan's State Senator - Patrick Colbeck will be in Traverse City to meet and greet everyone who would like to hear his policy platform to truly fix Michigan with his "Principled Solutions" as our next Governor!!!

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1st hour discussion today, Friday 1-12-18; MIRS News Service

Personal Exemption Talk Up, Income Tax Cut Talk Down

Senate Finance Committee Chair Jack BRANDENBURG (R-Harrison Twp.) one-upped Gov. Rick SNYDER and Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY today by proposing a heightened personal property tax exemption of $4,800 by 2021, $300 more than the administration's proposal.

The proposal comes as key legislators and the administration back away from any talk of lowering the state's 4.25 percent income tax in the face of a projected windfall from President Donald TRUMP's federal income tax change because Michigan's sputtering General Fund is showing turtle-slow revenue growth.

Legislative leaders are beginning to resign themselves to the reality that an income tax cut wasn't in the cards last year and it's not in the cards this year.

"I don't think the idea of tax relief is in the forefront of our minds right now," said House Appropriations Committee Chair Laura COX (R-Livonia).

Rather, the focus has moved to the personal income tax exemption, which the Snyder administration fears is going away with the Trump tax plan. He wants to restore it back to $4,300 personal exemption and then increase it to $4,500 (See "Snyder, Calley Team Increase Personal Exemption to $4,500," 1/8/18).

Brandenburg's newly introduced SB 0780 would do the same thing but, in addition, hike the exemption by $100 per-year over the next three years, while remaining tied to inflation.

"Michigan residents have not had any real tax relief over the past 20 years," Brandenburg told reporters on the Senate floor this morning. "I think the Governor is right when he says his cut would mean about $35 more for a family of four. Ours would go past $80 and up to about $100 over the next three years. It's not the greatest thing in the world but it's responsible."

According to information from Brandenburg's office, the possibility that the exemption increase could eventually mean more than nearly $100 for a family of four was based on a different set of numbers than those that have been used by the Governor.

Brandenburg was asked if he thought Gov. Snyder would be supportive of SB 0780.

"I don't know why he'd object," Brandenburg replied.

Reporters then asked Brandenburg if he thought the current push to cut taxes was "playing" into the GOP gubernatorial race.

"I think their plan played into the governor's race," Brandenburg said. "That just gave me the idea to boost it up."

In response to reporter questions concerning theories that the federal tax changes do not zero-out Michigan's tax exemption, Brandenburg said he couldn't figure out what those claims are based on (See "Mitchell Says Calley 'Dead Wrong' On Tax Fix," 1/10/18).

mirsnews.com/capsule.php?gid=5246#52498

"I've heard that argument," Brandenburg said. "I'll tell you this -- our state tax law is very straight-forward, and on exemptions it follows along with what the federal number is."

Reporters asked Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) to comment on Brandenburg's plan.

"Chairman Brandenburg has worked very hard with his group," Meekhof said. "He's already scheduled a hearing [on the bill] for next Tuesday."

In response to reporters asking how he thought Gov. Snyder would react to Brandenburg's bill, Meekhof said: "I don't know why the Governor would object to giving people back their own money."

Weighing in from the opposite perspective, Gilda JACOBS, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, issued a press release today arguing that this is no time for an "irresponsible election year tax cut." Her group supports the Snyder/Calley proposal, opposes any tax cut talk and was silent on Brandenburg's accelerated exemption idea.

"This morning's numbers show that lawmakers need to carefully consider what lies ahead," Jacobs is quoted as saying in the release. "The state's General Fund will be strained over the coming years by potential federal cuts and by funds already committed to roads and tax relief for businesses.

"Some elected officials in Michigan still have tax cut fever in 2018 and are thinking more about the ballot box than balance sheets, but they need to understand that there's no money or political will to do that."

Budget Director Al PSCHOLKA observes that there is "moderate growth" and one of the question marks is taxes and efforts in some circles to rollback the income tax rate.

"Once you start rolling back the income tax rate, you're going to put solid pressure on the General Fund," he warns.

House Tax Policy Chair Jim TEDDER(R-Clarkston) signaled earlier this week that he'd like to take another run at a rate cut (See "Tedder: Use $1.5B For Rollback," 1/10/18).

But Pscholka said he'd prefer to leave the rate along for now.

"Please look at the data," he offered, referring to budget data that suggests the state has other baked-in budget costs that must be met first.

He advised that at the end of the day, the state has to have a "balanced budget."
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3rd hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-10-18; MIRS News Service

Bentivolio Wins Straw Poll Following GOP MI-11 Debate

Former U.S. Rep. Kerry BENTIVOLIO won Monday night's straw poll of attendees at the Michigan Conservative Coalition's (MCC's) Republican 11th Congressional district debate at Novi's Emagine Theater.

Asked for whom they would vote after the night's performance, 33.8 percent selected Bentivolio.

Former state representative Rocky RACZKOWSKI was second with 31.9 percent, and 28.1 percent picked Vesco Oil official Lena EPSTEIN.

Also participating in the debate were small business entrepreneur Kristine BONDS, Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt HEISE and state Rep. Klint KESTO (R-Commerce Twp.) (See "Immigration, Support For President Top Issues In 11th Congressional Debate," 1/8/18).

Even with the April 24 filing deadline more than three months away, GOP supporters filled the 336-seat theater to capacity, not counting the candidates, questioners and volunteers.

"Tonight's victory told me that experience matters, fighting for conservative values matters, and fighting for America matters," said Bentivolio told the MCC after the results were announced at the candidate post-debate reception. "Tomorrow is another day and there are more battles to fight and win."

Bentivolio hasn't always done well at the ballot box. The "accidental congressman" won his seat in 2012 when then-U.S. Rep. Thad McCOTTER was kicked off the ballot in a petition signature scandal. U.S. Rep. David TROTT (R-Birmingham) took the seat away from him in the next election. Trott's decision not to seek re-election this year is what has set off this high interest race.

In any case, Bentivolio started off the evening Monday with a high point during introductions.

"The hardest part I have is getting people to pronounce my name correctly. You've got to sing it when you say it. Bentivolio. You try," he said, point the microphone at the audience. "I can't hear you, what? . . . Who scored as a congressman the second-most transparent member? . . . Who got a 100 percent rating for cutting spending? . . . "

In all, he got the crowd to shout his name back to him five times. One audience member thought out loud, "very clever."

During the pre-debate schmooze-fest, Bentivolio worked the crowd heavily, walking up and down the aisles of the theater introducing himself and chatting with those he knew.

But the award for most active schmoozer, by reporter observation, would probably go to Epstein. With a large contingent of supporters working the crowd and a table in the center of the lobby area, Epstein spent the warm-up time shaking hands, hugging supporters and posing for photos. When the crowd mostly had entered the theater, she moved in there and continued to work the room.

Raczkowski also had a table and his own contingent in the lobby. He worked the lobby hard and then the theater, shaking hands and greeting supporters.

Kesto was also spotted midway through the prelims working the theater aisles.

Lower on the schmooze ranking would be Heise, who spent most of the warm-up time hanging out in front of the debate stage, staying out of the way of the higher traffic areas like the lobby and hallway into the theater.

Bonds, a newcomer-to-politics, was hard to find. When a reporter had organizers point her out, she was seated in the far corner seat at the front of the theater. After an affable handshake and an attempt engage in chit-chat, one of her handlers shooed the reporter away, asking him to talk to her after the event. She was "preparing for the debate," he said.

Kesto's knowledgeable performance during questioning was marred only slightly during introductions -- the moderator skipped his name. He could only shrug. But Raczkowski played on it later in the evening, pretending to hand the mic past Kesto during questioning.
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-10-18; MIRS News Service

SOS Widening Net On Prevailing Wage Repeal Signatures

The Bureau of Elections is taking a closer look at the prevailing wage repeal folks' petitions after its preliminary review was inconclusive as to whether they had the signatures needed to make the Nov. 6 ballot.

Of the 535 Protecting Michigan Taxpayers (PMT) signatures the Secretary of State sampled, 370 were found to be valid, fewer than the 373 required by the Board of State Canvassers' statistical model, according to Fred WOODHAMS of the Secretary of State's office.

In response, the Bureau of Elections will go through 4,000 signatures and then recommend whether the petition be approved or denied. There will be no third sample, Woodhams said.

In their second crack at trying to eliminate the state's prevailing wage law through a citizens' initiative, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)-based PMT turned in 380,000 signatures in November (See "Prevailing Wage Repealers Say They've Submitted 380K Signatures," 11/3/17).

PMT President Jeff WIGGINS said he "can't emphasize enough" that the signatures are there to move the question of prevailing wage repeal to the Legislature. If 370 of the 535 sampled signatures were found sufficient, that's 69 percent. If used on the entire 380,000 collected, PMT has 262,803 valid signatures, more than the 252,523 valid signatures needed.

"This is a procedural hurdle," Wiggins said. "I can't argue with their procedure and I can understand why they'd want to be 100 percent sure. I have no qualms about that. But this will show we have the necessary signatures."

Patrick DEVLIN, secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Building and Constructors Trades Association, said his group also saw the types of anomalies the Bureau of Elections flagged that "led us to believe this happened again."

PMT failed to turn in the needed number of signatures in 2015 after an aggressive campaign effort (See "Prevailing Wage Repealers Starting From Scratch On Ballot Initiative," 10/30/15).

This go around, the Builders and Contractors' attorney, John PIRICH, argued that just 303 of the 535 sample signatures were valid (See "Challenge To Prevailing Wage Repeal Again Says They're Short Sigs," 12/28/17).

"I applaud the rigorous efforts of the Secretary of State's office to guard our state's democracy from fly-by-night operations looking to gut our state's skilled workforce by repealing the prevailing wage," said Mike JACKSON, executive secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights. "Repealing the prevailing wage would be a major setback to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce in Michigan, and I am pleased to see these efforts delayed."

The state's prevailing wage law requires that workers on public infrastructure projects be paid a wage that represents the region's prevailing wage on similar projects. PMT argues repealing the law would save taxpayers money. Organized labor said ditching the law would result in shoddy work done by disinterested out-of-state workers.

The Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council is sponsoring an 8 a.m. rally in front of the Capitol on Wednesday morning, at which Devlin is expecting about 1,000 participants.

The rally in support of the prevailing wage law was originally scheduled on the premise that the Board of State Canvassers would pass the initiative along to the Legislature. Due to today's development, this will not be the case.
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2nd hour discussion today, Monday 1-8-18; MIRS News Service

Sessions Decision Could Open Door To Federal Pot Raids In MI

U.S. Attorney General Jeff SESSIONS' reversal of a Obama-era marijuana policy that kept federal officers away from states that legalized and regulated pot could open the door to federal raids on marijuana businesses deemed legal in Michigan, according to Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) spokesperson Morgan FOX.

Fox said individual U.S. Attorneys will now enforce marijuana laws as "they see fit within their districts," meaning "They could send threatening letters or they could send in SWAT teams."

"Individual U.S. Attorneys could decide intelligently that it is a waste of resources to go after individuals and businesses that are in compliance with state law," Fox explained. "But this is definitely sending a very clear political signal to them that leadership in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and, in particular, Jeff Sessions want them to start going after these businesses. Given that the majority of Americans want marijuana to be legal and that these businesses are creating jobs and paying taxes and keeping a large portion of the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals, I think there is going to be tremendous political backlash."

Josh HOVEY, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), said the feds can't crack down on local medical marijuana users or businesses because of a budget amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which prohibits DOJ from spending money to enforce federal prohibitions in states that have legalized, and regulated, medical marijuana.

True enough, according to Fox. But that amendment currently is set to expire in just 15 days.

"Right now, there is actually a spending amendment that prevents the Department of Justice -- it's not a policy guideline, it is binding -- that prevents the Department of Justice from spending any resources to go after medical marijuana patients or providers in states where it is legal," Fox said. "However, those protections are set to expire on Jan. 19 unless Congress includes them again in the fiscal year 2018 spending budget or there is a continuing resolution that continues the current levels of spending for another couple weeks while we keep working on the issue."

Congressional leadership must reauthorize the amendment, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved it but the House Rules Committee held it and other budget amendments back. House and Senate leadership will decide the issue when they meet to reconcile the appropriations bills.

Since 2013, DOJ has operated under guidance given in a document known as the Cole Memo, which directed U.S. Attorneys to not enforce federal marijuana laws in states where medical marijuana is legal as long as eight public safety criteria are met.

Sessions issued a new directive today, instructing U.S. Attorneys to use their discretion on the matter, essentially rescinding the Cole Memo.

"My guess is they have more pressing issues than going after what is now a pretty tightly controlled medical marijuana industry in Michigan, and what we are proposing will also be very tightly controlled," Hovey said.

Hovey's CRMLA has submitted petitions to put the question of legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use on the ballot in 2018 (See "Marijuana Coalition Submits 365,000 Signatures To Bureau of Elections," 11/20/17).

Meanwhile, the Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has been working to revamp the state medical marijuana licensing program (See "Three Apps Completed On Medical Marijuana Program Opening Day," 12/15/17).

LARA Public Information Officer David HARMS issued statements in reaction to the Sessions announcement.

"As a state, Michigan has recognized and authorized the use of medical marihuana pursuant to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) and has tasked LARA with administering the registration process for patients and caregivers. We will continue accepting and processing applications for registry identification cards. Any questions regarding enforcement of federal law should be directed to federal authorities," he said.

Regarding facilities, he said: "The Michigan Legislature has authorized the licensing of medical marihuana facilities and has required a rigorous statewide monitoring system to help keep Michigan's citizens safe. LARA . . . will continue to move forward in accepting and processing applications for state operating licenses."
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 1-8-18; MIRS News Service

House, Senate Leaders Name Legislative Priorities For 2018

Getting rid of driver responsibility fees sooner and reforming mental health services in Michigan would count among House Speaker Tom LEONARD's (R-DeWitt) legislative priorities for 2018.

Getting the skilled trades package, which passed through the House just before Christmas, through Senate and paying down long-term debt would round out his list.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) is "focused on continuing the eighth year of a budget done ahead of schedule," according to spokesperson Amber McCANN. Meekhof is also looking at the impact of the new federal tax plan on Michigan taxpayers. He wants to make sure "taxpayers benefit" from any adjustment to Michigan tax code.

Finally, the Senate Leader "would like to reach consensus on the driver responsibility fee legislation."

The Senate and House have competing versions of driver responsibility fee (DRF) elimination bills. The Senate version frees drivers from unpaid DRFs of six or more years. It also allows those with fees issued more recently a chance to keep their driver's licenses if they pay their outstanding fees off.

The House version wipes away all DRFs from all drivers, giving them a clean slate as of Oct. 2018 (See "House Churns Out Its Speed Up Of The Driver Responsibility Fee Phase Out," 11/2/17).

"Something that is near and dear to my heart, I want to see a resolution to this driver responsibility fee situation that we have right now," Leonard said. "We've got over 300,000 of our citizens who are currently driving without a driver's license. It is time we got that addressed."

But opponents of total elimination say that would cost the state budget too much.

"The time is over for excuses," Leonard responded. "Again, we've got 300,000 residents that need to get their driver's licenses back and I believe we have waited long enough. As you have seen, we had nearly $280 million in lapsed dollars from that the last budget cycle. This is something we can afford. It is the right thing to do. We need to get these people their driver's licenses back."

Leonard told reporters at the end of session just before the Christmas break that he's also eager to take up reforms to mental health services.

"I would like to get some bills dropped," he said. "The task force was out for the past several months meeting with interest groups and having their town halls so I would like to see those put into bills."

Referred to as the Community, Access, Resources, Education and Safety (CARES) Task Force and headed up by Rep. Hank VAUPEL (R-Fowlerville) and Rep. Klint KESTO (R-Commerce Twp.), the group held hearings across the state. Vaupel has said there are good mental health services in the state, but that services not consistent and differ in every county. He expects drafts to be submitted shortly (See "Task Force Hears Mental Health Systems Improvement Suggestions" 9/7/17).

Leonard's spokesperson, Gideon D'ASSANDRO, this week added passage of the five bills in the skilled trades package to the list of legislative priorities. Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5141, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5142, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5143, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5144 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5145 are intended to boost career tech courses in public schools for students not college bound. The most controversial piece in the package was Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5141, by Rep. Bronna KAHLE(R-Adrian), that would allow licensed professionals to teach courses in their area of expertise without a teaching degree (See "Career Tech Bills Work Their Way Through House," 12/13/17).

"When you look at what the Michigan unemployment rate is right now, we are essentially at full employment," Leonard said. "The problem right now is we don't have enough skilled individuals to take a lot of these skilled trade jobs."

Paying down debt for MPSERS, State Employee Retirement , the State Police and other long-term liabilities counts as another priority, D'Assandro said. Some $8.5 billion has paid down since 2011, he said. About $6.61 billion of that is additional payments the legislature has made to get ahead on the long-term debts.

McCann said another priority for Meekhof in the Senate is "monitoring the proposed laws that may come before the legislature in the form of citizens' initiatives."

So far, three initiative petitions have been submitted for the 2018 ballot regarding legalization of recreational marijuana, redistricting and repeal of the prevailing wage law (See "Marijuana Coalition Submits 365,000 Signatures To Bureau of Elections," 11/20/17).

(See "Supporters Dance, Cheer As They Submit Boxes Of VNP Petitions In The Rain," 12/18/17). mirsnews.com/capsule.php?gid=5233#52335

(See "Challenge To Prevailing Wage Repeal Again Says They're Short Sigs," 12/28/17). mirsnews.com/capsule.php?gid=5239#52407
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1st Hour discussion today, Thursday 1-4-18; MIRS News Service

MDOT Wants Confirmation That Convicted Towing Titan Not Tied To Contract

The state is asking the leader of one of its contractors to verify her business isn't affiliated with her ex-husband, who recently pled guilty to a federal bribery conspiracy charge.

The Dec. 28 letter was sent by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to Joan FIORE, who is described as Gasper FIORE's ex-wife in court documents that were sealed but recently made public.

Gasper Fiore - who has owned several tow truck companies in metro Detroit -- recently pled guilty in federal court to a bribery conspiracy charge, according to The Detroit News, stemming from him conspiring to bribe a Clinton Township trustee to obtain a municipal towing contract.

According to MDOT, Joan Fiore stated in an affidavit that she is president and owner of Emergency Road Response, Inc. (ERR), which has a contract with MDOT to provide courtesy patrol service on highways in the metro Detroit area.

MDOT's letter to Joan Fiore referenced an affidavit dated Nov. 2, 2017 that she provided MDOT, in which she stated that she's the president and majority owner of ERR, and that Gasper Fiore does not have any financial, ownership, or shareholder interest in ERR.

She also stated in this affidavit that Gasper Fiore is not employed by ERR, doesn't hold any management positions with ERR or have any responsibilities with ERR, according to the MDOT letter.

MDOT asked for documentation to substantiate all of those claims and to receive it within 14 calendar days. And, MDOT wants to know about Gasper Fiore's role, if any, in procuring the aforementioned contract with MDOT in the form of an affidavit.

From there, MDOT will "assess the impact of this information on any pending or future contract awards" to ERR.

The MDOT contract with ERR was mentioned in a number of court documents that contain wiretapped conversations involving Gasper Fiore, Joan Fiore, and a number of other officials.

The FBI has been wiretapping conversations between the Fiores and others as it investigates Gasper Fiore and others for a number of suspected crimes related to corruption, which is tied to the Macomb County public corruption investigation that has featured trash hauler Rizzo Environmental Services.

According to transcripts of federally wiretapped conversations obtained by MIRS, Gasper Fiore was recorded having conversations with Joan Fiore and a former state House member about the ERR contract and whether they were going to land it.

According to the transcripts, the FBI claimed that Jennifer Fiore -- Gasper's daughter -- was trying to push for an amendment in MDOT's budget that would require companies to pre-qualify showing they had five years' experience, which would apparently eliminate Fiore's competition for the contract that ERR was going for.

In the end, according to the transcripts and media coverage, the amendment idea was dropped because MDOT was going to award the contract to ERR, with final approval from the State Administrative Board (SAB) coming in June 2016.

The released documents also contain conversations involving or mentioning three former or sitting lawmakers. The FBI, in a request to the court to continue wiretapping, listed out a number of "target subjects" that include former Rep. Brian BANKS and former Rep. Alberta TINSLEY-TALABI.

Sen. Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba) is also mentioned in the transcripts of the wiretapped conversations, although he is not listed as "target subject."

None of those three have been charged in connection to this investigation.

Other prominent public officials of note that were on "target subjects" list for intercepted communications include Westland Mayor Bill WILD and Wayne County Sheriff Benny NAPOLEON, among others, although those two have also not been charged.

The transcripts of the wiretapped conversations were reported by The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press on Dec. 29 after they were unsealed and then subsequently sealed back up in court. Their release has been described by the court to have been a "clerical mistake" and have had a "rather devastating" effect on people's lives. MIRS also acquired a copy of these wiretapped transcripts, which had been filed in court by an attorney of one of the defendants in the case, according to The Detroit News.

The U.S. Attorney's office, in a statement to The News, said "sensitive investigative documents were inadvertently filed on the public docket by a non-governmental attorney."

In the transcripts, the FBI labels Banks as potentially being "involved in bid-rigging" with Gasper Fiore and allegedly attempting to get aforementioned the MDOT budget amendment passed, but nothing is presented as hard proof that this was the case.

In the transcripts, a conversation between Gasper Fiore and Banks depicted Gasper Fiore trying to offer Banks a "billboard trailer," but Banks declined, saying "they don't allow that over here in this part of the . . . neck of the woods."

Also in the transcripts, an FBI investigator states his belief that Gasper Fiore is trying to set up a rendezvous so he can deliver Banks a "cash bribe." But the investigator is going off Gasper Fiore's use of the word "paperwork," which Banks told MIRS was some old towing receipts Fiore wanted to show him. Outside of the investigator's own stated suspicions, nothing was presented to show the conversation about the "paperwork" was anything illegal.

Banks, in a statement, said it was common for constituents to contact his 1st House District office and for his office to offer assistance, and that Fiore and his family are constituents who reached out to his office.

As for Casperson, his name came up in the transcript when Fiore asked his daughter, Jennifer Fiore, if Casperson had been "helpful," as the Fiores discussed how the proposed MDOT budget amendment was dropped with the award of the contract to ERR.

Casperson -- chair of the Senate's Transportation Committee -- said today that he believes he met Gasper Fiore at a southeast Michigan event while he was running for Congress. He said he later met with Jennifer Fiore, who he said came to him saying MDOT was trying to cut the Fiore company out of the bidding process. Casperson said he would talk to MDOT for them if they needed him to, but he said they never gave him the green light to do that.

But from what he read in the newspaper compared to what he was told in the meeting, Casperson said he was "given completely the opposite scenario" by the Fiores.

The transcripts appear to portray the Fiores as trying to get an amendment passed in MDOT's budget that would potentially cut out its competition on the contract, but then backing off once MDOT awarded the contract to Joan Fiore's ERR.

All this led to Rep. Scott DIANDA (D-Calumet) to call for the department's management -- including MDOT Director Kirk STEUDLE -- to be put on administrative leave and for Gov. Rick SNYDER to get to the bottom of things.

"Right now, the buck stops with the director. I think that this is another case of his incompetence in that department," Dianda said, who also referenced the leased railcar issues from a few years ago (See "Auditor Takes The Latest Swing At MDOT's Unused Railcars," 2/13/15).

Dianda is a former MDOT employee, who once served as president of the Michigan State Employees Association. He called on Steudle to be removed two years ago because he was allegedly "a poor steward of the taxpayers' dollars." Gov. Rick SNYDER's team continued to stick up for Steudle, the only former Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM cabinet-level appointee who has stayed with Snyder during his entire tenure.
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-3-18; MIRS News Service

MIRS Breaking News - Young Ends U.S. Senate Bid -- 9:11 a.m.
Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob YOUNG Jr., announced this morning on WJR-AM he is ending his U.S. Senate bid, becoming the latest high-profile Republican to pass on a November challenge to three-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie STABENOW (D-Delta Twp.).

"After a lot of discussion with family, friends and supporters, I've decided that I am suspending my campaign to defeat Debbie Stabenow," Young said on the Frank BECKMANN Show, adding that he didn't see himself gathering the "financial support to get me where I need to be."

Young said he still believes Stabenow can be knocked off by a "principled conservative" and that is he is in the best person to do so. However, he said he didn't have enough appeal with the major donors in the Republican Party, despite having a lot of support from small-donor donors.

Young joins Vesco Oil executive Lena EPSTEIN and U.S. Rep. Fred UPTON as high-profile Republicans who have passed on the nomination, leaving Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran John JAMES and business executive Sandy PENSLER as the most high-profile candidates in the race.

Young, 66, entered the race last June at the urging of personal friend and former Gov. John ENGLER after a brief stint in the private sector at the Dickinson Wright law firm (See "Young Announces From Barren Detroit Plot That Used To Be His Home," 6/28/17). Young left the Michigan Supreme Court in April 2017.

His campaign has had it's ups and down, from winning the straw poll at the Michigan Republican Party Mackinac Leadership Conference to his shaky Facebook live video that kicked off his campaign.

However, a couple key problems continuously haunted Young. One was his profile as a former "rule-of-law justice." Despite being a familiar face in Michigan Republican politics and listed as a President Donald TRUMP U.S. Supreme Court justice possibility, Young's resumé didn't connect with voters, according to Target Insyght pollster Ed SARPOLUS.

In November, Sarpolus ran a poll for MIRS that showed a 24 percent plurality of likely Republican voters preferred the profile of Detroit business executive and military veteran John JAMES to that of Young, who only managed 7 percent (See "James Leading In GOP U.S. Senate Race Poll Shows," 11/13/17).

The other was money and visibility. The Sept. 30 federal filings had James raising ($309,154 to $166,193) and having on hand ($216,204 to $102,014) twice that of Young's haul, despite Young's established party connections and having won statewide office in 2000, 2002 and 2010.

Pensler has millions of dollars in personal wealth he has pledged to spend in his U.S. Senate bid. Stabenow had $7 million in the bank as of Sept. 30.

Plus, James has positioned himself as a fresh face and an up-and-comer in Michigan GOP politics during appearances on FOX News and other national outlets. It's exposure that dwarfed Young's biggest grasp for exposure, like his rocker Ted NUGENT endorsement.
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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 1-2-18; MIRS News Service

Challenge To Prevailing Wage Repeal Again Says They're Short Signatures

A unions-backed challenge has again surfaced against the signatures submitted for the prevailing wage repeal initiative, and it claims that Protecting Michigan Taxpayers (PMT) falls short of the required number needed for certification.

In the eyes of Protect Michigan Jobs (PMJ) and its attorney John PIRICH, of the 535 random PMT signatures made available by the Bureau of Elections for challenging, just 303 of those signatures were considered valid after PMJ throws out 232 signatures it's challenging for a number of reasons.

PMJ says the Bureau of Elections needs 373 signatures from the sample to stand firm to recommend certification to the Board of State Canvassers (BSC). If there's 339 valid signatures or less, that would require denial of certification, according to the PMJ filing.

That puts the 303 estimated valid signatures below that number, which gets PMJ to its recommendation to the state that certification should be denied to PMT.

Pirich and PMJ filed their challenge to the PMT petition sample Dec. 20, the last day of the challenge period that ran from Dec. 6 to Dec. 20.

But Bureau of Elections spokesperson Fred WOODHAMS said today the petition is still being reviewed and a staff report would be put out to the BSC before its next meeting. It's been estimated the BSC will meet to decide the petition's fate early next month.

If there's any merit to PMJ's challenge and the BSC agrees certification isn't warranted, it would be a mirror image of what happened in 2015.

That was when PMT submitted signatures that were challenged by PMJ, with the same unions group finding enough problems to lead PMT to scrap the petitions (See “Prevailing Wage Repealers Starting From Scratch On Ballot Initiative,” 10/30/15).

That led PMT to scrap its petition-gathering company it used in 2015, which the group also sued and settled with, in favor of a different company for this campaign.

The PMJ challenge filing this year cites a number of specific issues it found in the sampling, including signers who were not registered voters, circulator signatures that were incomplete and invalid, and suspected duplicate signers, among other alleged issues.

All in all, PMJ found 232 of the 535 signatures in the sample worthy of challenge. Each of those 535 signatures in the sample is worth about 711 signatures.

The state requires 252,523 valid signatures for a petition to become certified.

But PMT spokesperson Jeff WIGGINS dismissed the challenge, saying in a statement today, “If these special interests had faith in their own challenge, there would be no need for them to simultaneously be launching a hastily-thrown together petition drive of their own.”

Wiggins is referring to PMJ and the Michigan Prevails coalition and their launch earlier this month of a counter petition drive to keep the prevailing wage (See “Prevailing Wage Backers Want People To Decide,” 12/12/17).

“We firmly believe both the challenge and their supposed petition drive are bogus, and are 100 percent confident the voices of over 380,000 Michigan citizens will be successful in sending this proposal to the Michigan Legislature,” Wiggins said.

PMT has claimed to submit nearly 380,000 signatures in its effort to get a prevailing wage repeal before the Legislature and possibly voters (See “Prevailing Wage Repealers Say They've Submitted 380K Signatures,” 11/3/17).
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 1-2-18; MIRS News Service

Leonard, Meekhof Go One-Two As Most Quotable Of `2017

Here at MIRS, we recognize quantity in addition to quality, by also highlighting who nabbed the most Quote of the Day nominations this year.

And when it came to the Legislature's top leaders - House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) and Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive), both scored on the quantity front.

Leonard and Meekhof finished first and second, respectively, for most Quote of the Day nominations for 2017. Leonard had eight quotes, and Meekhof seven.

Asked for a response to the final tally, Meekhof, via spokesperson Amber McCANN, said, “The House is officially full of more hot air than the Senate."

And Leonard, through his spokesperson Gideon D'ASSANDRO, had this: "Clearly I spent too much time talking to Kyle MELINN (MIRS editor) in 2017. I'll have to make a New Year's resolution to dial that back in 2018."
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 12-28-17;

"Fellow Defending Father" - Brian Pannebecker joined in to talk about the boycotting of the NFL effort, recalling past grassroots activism of passing "Freedom to Work" in 2012 and helping President Trump winning the state of Michigan in 2016;

www.facebook.com/brian.pannebecker
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 12-27-17; MIRS News Service

Michigan's Unemployment Rate Now Tied For 13th Highest

Michigan's 4.6 percent unemployment rate for November is tied with California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania as the nation's 13th highest among the 50 states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The placement may be more a statement on how fickle these rankings are than an accurate reflection of Michigan's economy, however. In July, Michigan's 3.7 percent unemployment rate was good for 15th lowest in the country (See "Michigan's Unemployment Rate Tied For 15th Lowest," 8/18/17).

Four months later, Michigan's unemployment rate has risen less than a point, but the Great Lakes State lost 23 spots in the BLS list that compares the states.

Michigan was one of 17 states that had unemployment rates lower than the national average of 4.0 percent. Hawaii's 2.0 percent unemployment rate was the nation's lowest. The rates in Alabama (3.5 percent), California (4.6 percent), Hawaii (2.0), Mississippi (4.8 percent) and Texas (3.8 percent) are the lowest rates recorded by these states since the BLS started keeping these stats in 1976.

Alaska had the highest unemployment rate at 7.2 percent. Other states with higher employment rates include: New Mexico (6.1 percent), West Virginia (4.8) New Jersey (5.1), Nevada (5.0) Illinois (4.9), Mississippi (4.8), Ohio (4.8) Delaware (4.7), Kentucky (4.7), Louisiana (4.7) and New York (4.7).
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 12-20-17; MIRS News Service

Yob Poll Shows Calley Down 11 To Schuette
Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY is gaining on Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE in a presumed showdown between the two Republican gubernatorial candidates, according to a 600-person survey conducted by Calley's consultant, Strategic National.

Strategic National CEO John YOB has Schuette at 30 percent among likely Republican voters to Calley's 19 percent. Sen. Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton) is at 5 percent and Dr. Jim HINES is at 2 percent with 44 percent undecided.

Earlier this year, Yob had Schuette around 33 percent to Calley's 10 percent, roughly a 23-point advantage.

The poll also shows Calley leads Schuette in net favorability rating by a 37 to 32 percent margin, he said.

"Lt. Gov. Brian Calley's support is surging following his formal announcement to continue the Michigan comeback as Governor," Yob said. "The numbers should continue to tighten as Sen. Colbeck takes support from Attorney General Schuette in the months ahead."

Prior to this Dec. 16-17 survey, the last public polling on the 2017 Republican gubernatorial primary came from MIRS and Target Insyght in early November, which showed Schuette with a 24-point lead, 38 to 14 percent (See "Schuette Holding 24-Point Lead In Latest GOP Gubernatorial Poll," 11/14/17). Colbeck was at 5 percent and Hines at 4 percent.
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 12-19-17; MIRS News Service

Could Ghosts of Granholm's Past Haunt Dems in 2018?

During the Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM administration, Michigan began losing population during its single-state recession and the phrase "blown away" took on a uniquely unpleasant connotation. But could the Granholm legacy still negatively impact Democratic chances in the November 2018 Governor's race, even after what will be nearly eight years of Republicans controlling state government?

MIRS asked a panel of political pundits that question today as well as questions concerning the anti-gerrymandering proposal, the race to replace John CONYERS and what level of voter turnout in Detroit next fall would tip the scales in the Democrats' favor.

1. There is speculation, on both sides of the political aisle, that Gretchen WHITMER's gubernatorial chances would suffer in the general election from negative memories of the Granholm years. Is this a realistic possibility?

"She's vulnerable on this, but I also assume her team has developed a satisfactory way to respond," said John TRUSCOTT, President of Truscott Rossman Group. "They know this is coming and should definitely be prepared with a strong response and pivot."

Mark GREBNER, president of Practical Political Consulting, said it might have some negative impact, but not much.

"It'll be a main talking point for Republicans who will feel that it's highly damaging," Grebner said. "Whether it will matter to ticket-splitters and independents, who are the important audience, is another issue. Many of them didn't share the Republican dislike of Granholm, and many more have forgotten her after eight years."

"I suppose it will be a small net negative for Whitmer, but you won't get that impression by talking to the Granholm haters," Grebner concluded.

According to Tom SHIELDS, president of Marketing Resource Group, it will be a problem Whitmer will need to face.

"Whitmer will be branded as Granholm 2.0 and that's a problem in the general election for someone nobody knows," Shields said. "I'm sure the GOP has been digging up the photos."

Ed SARPOLUS, president of Target Insyght, said Whitmer won't be any more vulnerable on allegations concerning the Granholm legacy than Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE will be regarding numerous potential allegations against him.

"Time to be real - Democrats will claim Schutte is an Apostle of Steve BANNON and a founding member of the Trump movement in Michigan," Sarpolus said. "Republicans will accuse Gretchen Whitmer of having been groomed by Granholm and as an Apprentice of Hillary CLINTON. All is fair in love and war."
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 12-18-17; MIRS News Service

Simon Shares Regret, MSU Establishes $10M Fund For Nassar Victims

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. SIMON today distributed a letter to the Michigan State University (MSU) community weighing in on the recent conviction of former university physician Larry NASSARfor possession of child pornography.

"The sentence for possession of child pornography is the first of what I hope will be many lengthy prison sentences," Simon wrote of Nassar. "Nassar preyed on his victims' dreams and ambitions, changing their lives in terrible ways. Under the guise of medical treatment, he abused his patients for years."

Simon's letter quoted U.S. Attorney Sean LEWIS, in a court filing that said, "underneath this veneer lurked a predator."

Simon has come under fire in recent days for her handling of the Nassar matter, including a call by House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) for her to resign (See "Leonard Calls On Simon To Resign," 12/11/17).

But Simon offered no resignation in this letter, and the university’s Board of Trustees indicated they wouldn’t be ousting her either today at the meeting. They offered her a $150,000 raise, which she declined, according to The Detroit News.

In her letter today, Simon announced that the MSU Board of Trustees has established a $10 million fund for counseling and mental health services as "part of our commitment to support Nassar's victims."

The action was the first board meeting after mediation ended. "The trustees moved promptly to direct the establishment of the fund, as it was the right thing to do for victims regardless of the legal situation."

Simon said that MSU since the fall of 2016 has engaged "external experts to comprehensively review various programs and recommend changes to strengthen our policies and procedures." The review included a look at the MSU Title IX program, the MSU HealthTeam, and how university medical services are provided to student-athletes.

"While much has been achieved, I understand that strengthening a policy or introducing a new procedure today doesn't change what happened to these women in the past or the pain they feel," Simon wrote.

The MSU president also acknowledged the pending lawsuits the school faces over the situation and noted that there will be allegations against the university that may go largely unchallenged until or unless the cases reach open court "because the university does not litigate in the press."

The letter also repeated the letter Patrick FITZGERALD sent to Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE stating that, "no MSU official believed that Nassar committed sexual abuse prior to newspaper reports in the summer of 2016" (See "MSU's Attorney: Nothing To See Here; Whitmer Wants MSP Investigation," 12/08/17).

Simon concluded by stating, "I want to express my respect and appreciation for the MSU Police who worked tirelessly to help bring Nassar to justice. To the brave young women who came forward about Nassar, you have my deepest thanks, respect and sympathy. I am truly sorry for the abuse you suffered, the pain it caused, and the pain it still causes. I am sorry a physician who called himself a Spartan so utterly betrayed your trust and everything this university stands for."
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1st hour discussion today, Friday 12-15-17; MIRS News Service

County Sells Property Over $8 In Unpaid Taxes For $24,500; Pockets Windfall

Two Oakland County property owners are asking the Michigan Supreme Court to tell local governments they cannot keep profits from the sale of foreclosed properties.

Uri RAFAELI and Andre OHANESSIAN filed an application to appeal the Court of Appeals' Oct. 24 decision that affirmed a lower court's order dismissing their case against Oakland County and its treasurer, Andrew MEISNER, on Dec. 4.

The case is a "matter of profound public importance, affecting thousands of individuals who have lost or will lose their property in tax foreclosures in Michigan," wrote attorney Andrew FINK in a court filing.

A decision on whether the state's highest court will hear the appeal could take months.

According to court documents, Rafaeli owed $8.41 on a Southfield rental property and the amount owed grew to $285 with penalties and interest while Ohanessian, who moved to California in 2011, owed $6,000 on 2.7 acres in Orchard Lake Village. The county foreclosed on both properties, which were later sold for $24,500 and $82,000, respectively.

The two men sued, alleging the General Property Tax Act (GPTA) is unconstitutional because it violates due process guarantees by providing insufficient steps for the government to properly notify the taxpayer of the unpaid taxes. They also argued the GPTA allows "unconstitutional taking" because it mandates governmental entities retain proceeds beyond those required to satisfy the debt.

The appeals court dismissed both arguments.

The appeals court reasoned that Rafaeli paid taxes in August 2012 and January 2013 when he received two deficiency notices, but he failed to pay a third notice and Oakland County had "no reason to doubt that the address" for the property owner was no longer valid. Furthermore, the court noted, the county also left a notice with the tenant as well as the corporation identified as Rafaeli's address, according to court documents.

The appeals court also noted that Ohanessian paid his property taxes for years before moving to California in 2011, and while the county sent notices to Ohanessian and published three foreclosure notices, it did not know he had moved out of state.

The appeals court opinion said Oakland County "obtained the property" of Rafaeli and Ohanessian through a "statutory scheme that did not violate due process."

"The constitution does not require them to compensate plaintiffs for the lawfully-obtained property," the opinion, which was signed by Judges Jane MARKEY and Patrick METER, reads.

Judge Douglas SHAPIRO concurred, but wrote a separate opinion, noting that despite his concurrence in the court's opinion, he recognizes "that plaintiffs' claims call out for relief." Shapiro referenced U.S. District Judge Terrence BERG's June 2015 opinion in a federal lawsuit that Rafaeli filed, which Berg dismissed.

"It cannot be denied that the concept of the state confiscating all of the equity of a citizen's property, worth between $24,500 and $70,000, and selling it and keeping the entire proceeds -- all to collect $8.41 in property taxes and $27.40 in interest and fees, is a manifest injustice that should find redress under the law," Berg wrote.
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3rd hour discussion today, Thursday 12-14-17;

Here is a list of bills reported or moved on Tuesday 12-12-17 in Lansing;

Dear Randy,

Please note that the following legislative actions have been taken.

Senate Bill 478: Ban drivers license renewal if three unpaid parking tickets

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View Senate Bill 478

Senate Bill 480: Give honorary road designation

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 Without amendment and with the recommendation that the bill pass.
View Senate Bill 480

Senate Bill 481: Give honorary road designation

Reported in the Senate on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View Senate Bill 481

Senate Bill 509: Authorize honorary road designation

Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on December 5, 2017

Senate Bill 566: Exempt dental prosthetics from use tax

Passed 98 to 11 in the House on December 12, 2017
See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 567: Exempt dental prosthetics from sales tax

Passed 98 to 11 in the House on December 12, 2017 To exempt dental prosthetics from the state sales tax.
See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 575: Increase motorcycle operator license fee

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 Without amendment and with the recommendation that the bill pass.
View Senate Bill 575

Senate Bill 582: Tighten handicap license plate and parking standards and procedures

Reported in the Senate on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the bill pass.
View Senate Bill 582

Senate Bill 589: Let police use electric vehicles on sidewalks

Reported in the Senate on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View Senate Bill 589

Senate Bill 631: Revise nonprofit dental care corporations detail

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 Without amendment and with the recommendation that the bill pass.
View Senate Bill 631

Senate Bill 645: Create new state mass transit regulation bureau

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To create a new bureau in the state Department of Transportation to to supervise and regulate “fixed guideway public transportation systems,” meaning rapid rail, heavy rail, light rail, monorail, trolley, streetcar, inclined plane, funicular, and automated guideway systems.
See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 660: Accelerate phase-in of chicken and livestock rules

Reported in the Senate on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the bill pass.
View Senate Bill 660

Senate Bill 672: Clarify scope of state commercial bus service regulation

Reported in the Senate on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the bill pass.
View Senate Bill 672

Senate Bill 673: Revise nonprofit dental care corporations detail

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View Senate Bill 673

Senate Bill 686: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To concur with the House-passed version of the bill.
See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 686: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 104 to 5 in the House on December 12, 2017 To establish a new state disclosure and oversight regime for pensions and other post-retirement benefits (OPEBs) offered by local governments to their employees, including retiree health insurance benefits. Local governments would have file annual reports on the extent to which the future benefits they have promised are underfunded, using standards the state Department of Treasury would be required to establish. Locals that fail to meet certain funding levels, or that spend more than 12 percent of their budget to prefund benefits (or catch up on past underfunding) would be required to submit a corrective action plan. Provisions authorizing “emergency manager”-type receivership provisions for local governments that fail to meet the standards by specified deadlines were not included in the final version of the bill.
See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Senate Bill 688: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 107 to 2 in the House on December 12, 2017 To revise a law that requires a local government to post online steps it may be taking to decrease unfunded retirement benefit promised to employees, and replace the disclosure requirements in this law with the ones proposed by Senate Bill 686 .
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Senate Bill 691: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 106 to 3 in the House on December 12, 2017 To revise a law authorizing county commission retirement benefits so that it conforms with the funding disclosure and oversight requirements proposed by Senate Bill 686.
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Senate Bill 692: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 106 to 3 in the House on December 12, 2017 To revise a law authorizing different forms of county government so that it conforms with the retirement system funding disclosure and oversight requirements proposed by Senate Bill 686.
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Senate Bill 694: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 105 to 4 in the House on December 12, 2017 To revise a details in a law authorizing municipal employee retirement benefits so that it conforms with the funding disclosure requirements proposed by Senate Bill 686.
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Senate Bill 696: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 106 to 3 in the House on December 12, 2017 To revise a law authorizing township employee retirement benefits so that it conforms with the funding disclosure requirements proposed by Senate Bill 686.
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Senate Bill 699: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 107 to 2 in the House on December 12, 2017 To establish that a state “incompatible offices” law would not apply to members of a Local Government Retirement Stability Board that Senate Bill 686 would authorize to oversee underfunded local retirement benefits. This law prescribes positions that appointed or elected government officials are prohibited from serving in simultaneously.
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Senate Bill 702: Ban school districts and local governments from discriminating against charter schools

Reported in the Senate on December 13, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (S-3) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View Senate Bill 702

House Bill 4054: Mandate enhanced school bus tail lights

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To allow but not require enhanced lighting at the top and bottom of the rear of school buses, and flashing messages that say, "caution," "stopping," "stop" and "do not pass" as the bus slows to pick up or drop off children.
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House Bill 4069: Revise requirements for substitute teachers

Passed 64 to 45 in the House on December 12, 2017 To permit an individual to be a substitute teacher in a public school who has earned 60 credit college credit hours at a community college or an associate degree at one. Current law requires 90 credit hours.
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House Bill 4176: Let neighborhood watch mount flashing yellow lights

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (H-2) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 4176

House Bill 4320: Appropriations: 2017-2018 “Omnibus” budget

Reported in the Senate on December 13, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (S-3) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 4320

House Bill 4380: Revise free state parks for disabled veterans procedure

Passed 109 to 0 in the House on December 12, 2017 To revise procedural details in a law that waives state park and campground admission fees for totally disabled veterans.
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House Bill 4381: Revise free state parks for disabled veterans procedure

Passed 109 to 0 in the House on December 12, 2017 To revise procedural details in a law that waives state park and campground admission fees for totally disabled veterans.
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House Bill 4406: Require opioid abuse training in schools

Reported in the Senate on December 13, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 4406

House Bill 4407: Require opioid abuse training in schools

Reported in the Senate on December 13, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 4407

House Bill 4644: Revise heavy equipment special use permits

Reported in the Senate on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (S-2) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 4644

House Bill 4807: Revise ferry service regulations

Reported in the Senate on December 12, 2017 with the recommendation that the bill pass.
View House Bill 4807

House Bill 4907: Let commercial vehicles use specialty license plates

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To allow owners of company-owned vehicles to buy fund-raising specialty license plates. Under current law this is limited to owners of personal vehicles.
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House Bill 4940: Revise “dry bean commission” marketing program details

Reported in the Senate on December 13, 2017 With the recommendation that the bill pass.
View House Bill 4940

House Bill 4956: Revise semi-truck trailer regulation detail

Reported in the Senate on December 12, 2017 with the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 4956

House Bill 5086: Revise "personal property tax" details

Passed 108 to 1 in the House on December 12, 2017 To revise many details and formulas in a mechanism created by a 2014 legislative package enacted to distribute some state use tax revenue to local governments, which would replace revenue they lose due to reductions in the "personal property tax" imposed on business tools and equipment.
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House Bill 5112: Authorize honorary road designation

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 Without amendment and with the recommendation that the bill pass.
View House Bill 5112

House Bill 5126: Exempt police from school restraint policies

Reported in the Senate on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the bill pass.
View House Bill 5126

House Bill 5139: Mandate K-12 public school career development courses

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 5139

House Bill 5140: Give trade schools and employers access to high school student information

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 5140

House Bill 5141: Revise teacher certification exceptions

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (H-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 5141

House Bill 5142: Revise teacher certification exceptions

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 Without amendment and with the recommendation that the bill pass.
View House Bill 5142

House Bill 5145: Authorize substitute for teacher continuing education requirement

Reported in the House on December 12, 2017 With the recommendation that the substitute (H-4) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
View House Bill 5145

House Bill 5164: Exempt dental prosthetics from use tax

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To exempt dental prosthetics from the state use tax.
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House Bill 5173: Exempt dental prosthetics from sales tax

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To exempt dental prosthetics from the state sales tax.
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House Bill 5301: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To revise a state reciprocal benefits act to align it with the proposal in House Bill 5298 to establish local government retirement system funding standards and reporting requirements. This law allows a former government employee covered by a defined benefit pension system, who goes to work with another government agency, to add the pension credits earned under the previous government employer to those earned under the previous one.
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House Bill 5304: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To revise a law authorizing charter county employee retirement benefits so that it conforms with the funding disclosure and oversight requirements proposed by House Bill 5298.
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House Bill 5304: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To revise the "tie-bars" in the package of bills consisting of House Bills 5298 to 5213, and the identical OPEB funding disclosure package comprised of Senate Bills 686 to 699, so as to make the package "bicameral." Tie-bar means one bill can't become law unless a another bill specified in the provision also becomes law.
View House Bill 5304

House Bill 5306: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To revise the "tie-bars" in the package of bills consisting of House Bills 5298 to 5213, and the identical OPEB funding disclosure package comprised of Senate Bills 686 to 699, so as to make the package "bicameral." Tie-bar means one bill can't become law unless a another bill specified in the provision also becomes law.
View House Bill 5306

House Bill 5306: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To revise a law governing fire fighter and police retirement systems so that it conforms with the funding disclosure and oversight requirements proposed by House Bill 5298.
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House Bill 5308: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To revise a law governing local library employee retirement systems so that it conforms with the funding disclosure and oversight requirements proposed by House Bill 5298.
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House Bill 5308: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To revise the "tie-bars" in the package of bills consisting of House Bills 5298 to 5213, and the identical OPEB funding disclosure package comprised of Senate Bills 686 to 699, so as to make the package "bicameral." Tie-bar means one bill can't become law unless a another bill specified in the provision also becomes law.
View House Bill 5308

House Bill 5310: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To add a reference to the law authorizing a Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS) to reflect the funding disclosure and oversight requirements proposed by House Bill 5298.
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House Bill 5313: Establish funding requirements for municipal employee retirement benefits

Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on December 12, 2017 To revise a law authorizing a particular form of city government so that it conforms with the employee retirement benefit funding disclosure and oversight requirements proposed by House Bill 5298.
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MichiganVotes.org promotes Government Transparency and Government Accountability. Michigan Votes gives users access to concise, plain language and objective descriptions of every single bill, amendment, and vote that takes place in the Michigan legislature. The MichiganVotes.org website also offers an email subscription, advanced searches, scorecards and legislation from past years.
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