Nov. 4, 2011 CNS Budget

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LATERKINDERGARTEN – A state lawmaker’s distasteful personal experience has him pushing an older age for when Michigan children are eligible to start kindergarten.  Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, wants students to be 5 years old on Sept. 1 before they are allowed to start school.  By Paige Houpt.  For BIG RAPIDS, ALPENA AND ALL POINTS
COUNTYROADS – State officials, including the governor, are pushing to merge the responsibilities of county road commissions with other county operations. They say it could save millions of dollars. But critics say it would politicize road construction and that the real problem is that they system is underfunded. By Jacob Kanclerz For CADILLAC, MOUNT CLEMENS, MARQUETTE AND ALL POINTS
SYNTHETICDRUGS – New versions of dangerous synthetic drugs could be outlawed quickly after they’re invented under a proposal that would let state authorities act faster than the legislature. By Alex Mitchell FOR LANSING AND ALL POINTS
HORSETOURISM – Horse owners are pushing to open more state land for riding trails. But state officials say pending legislation threatens some $25 million in federal funding for maintaining public land for hunting. By Shannan O’Neil FOR CHEBOYGAN, ALPENA, LUDINGTON, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS
PLEDGEREQUIRE – Requiring Michigan students to say the Pledge of Allegiance is back before the Legislature. Critics worry if such a requirement is meaningful, costly and creates controversy that cuts into instructional time. By Sam Inglot FOR GRAND RAPIDS AND ALL POINTS
SEWERS – Aging southeast Michigan sewers that overflow into the Detroit River could be fixed with a federal grant that invests in green plants rather than gray concrete. By Nick McWherter For ROYAL OAK, MOUNT CLEMENS, DETROIT AND ALL POINTS
IMMIGRANTS – Studies show that immigrants are twice as likely to start a business as other people so several Michigan agencies and public officials are welcoming them to spur economic growth. But at the same time advocates say that bills pending in the Legislature could undermine that effort. By Jacob Kanclerz FOR ALL POINTS
OBSERVICES – State officials are trying to improve the health of women and infants by targeting rural areas underserved by obstetric care. By Courtney Culey FOR TRAVERSE CITY AND ALL POINTS
COLLEGEADMISSIONS – Michigan higher education officials disagree with a national survey of admissions officers who say they target international and out-of-state students because of the extra revenue they generate. But they indicate that such students increase diversity and help subsidize students who could not otherwise afford a college education. By Sam Inglot FOR ALL POINTS
FARMTAXES – A plan to reform personal property taxes could benefit Michigan farmers. Lawmakers are considering a bill to exempt equipment for draining farm fields from the unpopular tax. Right now tax collection varies by county.  By Shannan O’Neil  FOR ALL POINTS
INVASIVESPECIES – Michigan officials are holding hearings in search of weapons to fight out-of-state invaders as diverse as carp and phragmites.  By Paige Houpt. For ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN AND ALL POINTS
FOSTERCARE – Michigan foster children could receive benefits and support until they are 21 instead of losing it at 18 when many need support while seeking jobs or in school.  The extension, now in the state legislature, would be funded in part by the federal government. By Nick McWherter For ALL POINTS
TEXTBOOKS – Michigan schools may be saying goodbye to bulky and expensive textbooks in favor of cheaper online materials. By Courtney Culey For JACKSON AND ALL POINTS
YOUNGBOATERS – Michigan waterways may be safer under a bill that would require young boaters to be certified. By Alex Mitchell FOR ALL POINTS

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