Several Bills Stall as Legislature Done Voting Until January

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Michigan Legislature has adjourned for the year without authorizing the expansion of a statewide turnaround district for failing public schools.
The legislation has been a priority for Gov. Rick Snyder for more than a year but remains stalled.
The Republican-led House declined to vote Thursday after the bill eked through the GOP-controlled Senate a day before. Backers of the legislation will have to restart their efforts in the new year.
Fifteen Detroit schools are in the Education Achievement Authority that's in its second year of operation.
The authority's backers and opponents vigorously disagree over how it's doing and whether it should be expanded to other schools in the bottom 5 percent across the state.

Michigan lawmakers have voted to create a fund to sell the public on the benefits of hunting.
The legislation headed to Gov. Rick Snyder won final approval Thursday on 25-13 and 79-30 votes in the Senate and House. Democrats object that the money might be used to defend a wolf-hunting law before a statewide referendum vote next November.
The Michigan Wildlife Management Public Education Fund would be funded with a portion of higher hunting and fishing fees taking effect in 2014.
A council would spend money on a media-based information program promoting the role sportsmen and sportswomen play in furthering wildlife conservation. It's modeled on a Colorado program.
The fund would receive about $1.6 million a year from an already approved $1 surcharge on new base hunting and fishing licenses.

Bills requiring every public school in Michigan to have special injectors to treat allergic reactions are going to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk.
The Senate on Thursday voted 27-11 and 37-1 for bills requiring schools to have two epinephrine devices starting next academic year.
Many children with severe allergies already bring EpiPens to school. But supporters of the bills say a quarter of anaphylactic shock incidents in schools occur among students unaware that they have an allergy.
Children can die if they don't get a dose of epinephrine to stop reactions to peanuts or bee stings.
Schools can qualify for free EpiPens through a program being offered by a pharmaceutical company. School districts would have to train one or two employees to administer the medicine depending on a school's size.

Michigan lawmakers have voted to let local governments allow or prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries in their communities.
Other bills approved Thursday by the House clarify that patients can use non-smokable forms of marijuana and set the stage for pharmacy sales of the drug if the federal government signs off.
Michigan voters legalized marijuana use for medical purposes five years ago. Patients can grow it themselves or buy it from registered caregivers.
But the legality of marijuana-dispensing shops that opened after the law has been thrown into doubt by judges.
The bills authorizing "provisioning centers" and non-smokable forms of medical marijuana now head to the Senate for consideration next year. The bill allowing pharmacy sales pending federal approval goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

Michigan insurers would have to give annual estimates of the federal health care law's impact on customers' premiums under legislation approved in the state House.
The Republican-backed bill passed 67-42 Thursday now heads to the Senate, where it won't be taken up until next year.
Supporters say people deserve transparency about the law's impact -- positive or negative. GOP Rep. Mike Shirkey of Clark Lake says utility customers get a similar line-item notice in their bills concerning the impact of government-mandated programs.
Minority Democrats say the bill is nothing more than a political ploy.
They say if insurers are required to tell people about the law's cost, they should also explain its benefits.
Insurers must cover 10 essential benefits that will make plans more costly buy also more comprehensive.

Michigan lawmakers have finished approving bills to double the maximum contributions to political candidates and block a plan to require disclosure of donors to certain kinds of election ads.
The Republican-backed legislation passed the Senate Thursday after narrowly clearing the House a day before.
The bills double campaign finance limits and allow them to rise with inflation over time. Candidates have to file more statements in non-election years, and the legislation now requires political robocalls to include contact information for the groups behind them.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson last month proposed public disclosure of who pays for "issue" ads that don't directly ask for a yes or no vote on candidates. But fellow Republicans are putting the current rules into law, saying her move would violate free speech rights.


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