Dec. 9, 2011 CNS Budget

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COLLEGEALCOHOL – Michigan community college and university students can now drink alcohol in class. But that doesn’t mean students can crack open a beer in the middle of math. A recent state law change allows community colleges with accredited culinary or hospitality programs to more easily teach the pairing of alcohol and food and in cooking. By Sam Inglot. FOR GRAND RAPIDS, LANSING, DETROIT AND ALL POINTS; EDITORS NOTE LOCALIZATION POTENTIAL WITH LIST OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES THAT HAVE SUCH PROGRAMS.
COALPLANTS – Consumers Energy is closing seven coal-fired plants near Luna Pier, Muskegon and Bay City and cancelling a new one in favor of wind and solar energy. Environmentalists hail the move as the wave of the future. By Nick McWherter. FOR LUDINGTON, BAY CITY, AND ALL POINTS
PROPERTYTAXREFORM – With the governor set to propose personal property tax reforms to spur economic growth, Michigan counties, business groups and public officials are scrambling for ways to ease at least a short-term drop in revenues. We interview Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, the administration’s point person on tax reform, on his ideas for making up a significance loss in local government revenues that reforms could bring. By Alex Mitchell. FOR BLISSFIELD AND ALL POINTS
WINDTURBINETAX – Michigan counties with wind farms won’t generate as much tax revenue as they anticipated because of a change just implemented by state tax authorities. The change in a depreciation schedule could cost counties millions of dollars. By Sam Inglot. FOR LUDINGTON, BLISSFIELD, HOLLAND, ALL COUNTIES WITH WIND FARM PROPOSALS AND ALL POINTS
FATHERSRIGHTS – Proposed legislation would allow men to get blood tests to prove if they are the father of a child whose mother is the wife of another man. Advocates say the current law is bad for children and fathers. By Shannan O’Neil. FOR ALL POINTS
WORKSHARING – State officials are considering a plan that would allow workers to work part time while collecting partial unemployment benefits. The idea is to reduce layoffs while at the same time easing the burden on Michigan’s unemployment insurance fund that is $3.2 billion in debt. By Jacob Kanclerz. FOR ALL POINTS
TOYGUNS – The close calls with toy guns that look real have been just too close for some lawmakers who want to outlaw any modification of a toy that would make it more realistic. The bill includes both misdemeanor and felony possibilities and is being sold as a way to save the lives of kids who might get shot by cops who think their toys are real. By Nick McWherter. FOR LANSING, DETROIT AND ALL POINTS
PARENTS – More than half of Michigan residents in a recent survey say lack of parental involvement is why some schools struggle. School administrators and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley agree that it is why top schools succeed. By Courtney Culey. FOR BIG RAPIDS AND ALL POINTS

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