April 28, 2017 CNS Budget

April 28, 2017

To: CNS Editors

From: Perry Parks and Sheila Schimpf

http://news.jrn.msu.edu/capitalnewsservice/

For technical problems, contact CNS technical manager Pechulano Ali, (517) 940-2313, pechulan@msu.edu.

For other issues contact Perry Parks, perryrobertparks@gmail.com, (517) 388-8627.

BONUS WEEK AHEAD: This is the last original file of the semester. Next week (May 5) we will move a bonus file of stories that moved previously this semester but remain timely.

SUMMER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS PACKAGES: Again this summer, CNS plans to move three packages – in June, July and August — of Michigan environmental stories in partnership with Great Lakes Echo.

Here is your file:

MAYDAYACTION: On May Day, workers and immigrants will rally to protest President Trump’s immigration policies under the slogan “Rise up.” The seven Michigan cities scheduled to participate are Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Battle Creek and Rochester. The action in Michigan is primarily sponsored by Michigan United. Other pro-immigrant groups are also supporting the event. By Chao Yan. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

Two stories on pay equity: Continue reading

Bills would eliminate concealed-carry regulations

By LAURA BOHANNON
Capital News Service

LANSING — Some lawmakers are working to remove the licensing requirement for concealed pistol carriers.

Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, has introduced bills to eliminate concealed pistol license, or CPL, laws.

Cole said he doesn’t want to make it easier to obtain a gun or loosen those regulations, but he wants to ensure that “law-abiding citizens” don’t need to jump through hoops to carry a concealed pistol for self-defense.

“The idea is to promote constitutional freedom,” Cole said. Continue reading

Bill seeks to reduce penalty of expired concealed pistol license

By LAURA BOHANNON
Capital News Service

LANSING — People with concealed pistols could avoid felony charges for expired licenses under a bill introduced by Rep. Shane Hernandez, R-Port Huron.

Under current law, anyone with an expired concealed pistol license who still carries his or her concealed weapon could be charged with a felony, even if it’s only been a few days since the license expired, Hernandez said.

Hernandez said he was inspired to introduce the bill after hearing about a staffer’s friend who faced such a charge because of a recently expired icense during a routine traffic stop.

The bill would reduce that felony to a civil misdemeanor with a $330 fine if someone’s license has been expired for six months or less. Continue reading

Bills would increase sentences for animal abuse in domestic violence

By LAINA STEBBINS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Proposed bipartisan legislation to stiffen punishments for abuse to pets during domestic disputes is headed to the full Senate with the unanimous approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Supporters say the increased penalties would help prevent both animal abuse crimes and domestic violence.

“It addresses a gap in the law right now,” said Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, the primary sponsor. “The current statute doesn’t deal with the situation where someone is using the torture of an animal to torture a human being.

“The bills are as much domestic violence prevention as they are animal abuse prevention.” Continue reading

Pro-immigrant groups to rally on May Day

By CHAO YAN
Capital News Service

LANSING — On May Day, workers and immigrants across Michigan will rally to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Under the slogan “Rise up,” the Michigan effort is a part of national action across 200 cities on Monday, May 1. The seven Michigan cities scheduled to participate are Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Battle Creek and Rochester.

The action in Michigan is primarily sponsored by Michigan United, a statewide civil rights organization. Other pro-immigrant groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Michigan Muslim Community Council and Emerge USA, are also supporting the event. Continue reading

Michigan works to bring young people back

By ISAAC CONSTANS
Capital News Service

LANSING — What do young people want? It’s a question employers, officials and educators are working overtime to answer.

A “brain drain” has leeched Michigan’s up-and-coming workforce for decades, with young professionals opting to live in other states. About a quarter of the state’s population is in the 20- to 40-year-old bracket, one of the lowest rates in the Midwest.

But state leaders say they’re beginning to siphon this demographic back in. Continue reading

$16 million federal grant targets rural opioid addiction

By ISAAC CONSTANS
Capital News Service

LANSING — The state plans to use part of an incoming $16 million federal grant to help prevent and treat opioid addiction in underserved rural areas.

The money comes through the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016, which promised funds to all 50 states to fight the growing epidemic linked to prescription painkillers.

Michigan received the seventh-largest aid package. The state’s 1,980 opioid-related deaths in 2015 were also the seventh-highest mark in the country.

In addition to rural expansion of a program that offers medicine and other treatment to opioid addicts, known as Medication Assisted Treatment, University of Michigan opioid research funding will be enhanced. The state will also prioritize educating doctors on safe opioid prescription and addiction rehabilitation.

State officials said the grant will help them tackle the epidemic from all angles. Continue reading

Farmers uninterested in renting land for bioenergy crops

By JACK NISSEN

Capital News Service

LANSING — When Scott Swinton, an agriculture, food and resource economics professor at Michigan State University, asked landowners if they’d be interested in renting their land for bioenergy crops, the initial response was unexpected.

“The first thing we found was that a number of people that we sent questionnaires to were hoping MSU was secretly trying to find people they could rent land from to grow bioenergy crops,” Swinton said.

“I got scores of phone calls from people telling me they would love to rent their land to MSU if we were interested.”

But that wasn’t what Swinton was looking for. Instead, he was trying to study the willingness of farmers to rent land that isn’t used for crops. Continue reading

Local governments seek help to regain big box tax revenue

By CHAO YAN
Capital News Service

LANSING — Local governments continue to fight recent changes in valuing commercial properties that they say have cost them $100 million in lost tax revenue since 2013.

The problem, according to local officials and some lawmakers, is that the state’s Tax Tribunal is using methods to assess “big-box” retailers like Target and Menard’s based on sales of similar, vacant properties, often called “dark stores,” whose true value is not reflected.

That’s a shift from evaluating a store’s tax value based on more complete factors such as the cost of constructing the building and the amount of income it generates. Now, big retailers are appealing assessments and winning big tax breaks across the state.

Rep. David Maturen, R-Vicksburg, and dozens of co-sponsors are again pushing to solve the issue by insisting that the tribunal take more information into account when reviewing assessment appeals for any commercial property. Continue reading

Bill package aimed at bridging gender wage gap

By CAITLIN TAYLOR

Capital News Service

LANSING — When a Michigan woman asked why she didn’t get promoted over her male counterpart, her employer told her she didn’t need the raise, according to Rep. Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, who was told this story by a constituent.

Her less-experienced male colleague had a family to support, the employer said, while the woman employee’s husband made enough money for both of them.

This is a common sentiment among some of the state’s employers, said Mary Pollock, the government relations coordinator for the American Association of University Women of Michigan.

“Still, employers say a married woman doesn’t need to be paid what a married man gets paid,” Pollock said. “But that’s just not true anymore. Both are supporting families, and there are many single-parent households now.” Continue reading