Feb. 6, 2015 Budget

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Capital News Service Budget – Feb. 6, 2015
To: CNS Editors
From: Perry Parks & Sheila Schimpf
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VETERANSSERVICES: Local networks of veteran service providers are being introduced across Michigan to close gaps in veteran services. We spoke with the veteran services community coordinator of the West Michigan Veterans Coalition and the Wayne County veteran services director to hear about this program’s beginning in Kent County and its expansion this year. Every region of Michigan should be served by an action team by fall 2016. By Elizabeth Ferguson. FOR GREENVILLE, HOLLAND, BIG RAPIDS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, THREE RIVERS, STURGIS AND ALL POINTS.
CHINATOURISM: Following relaxed visa restrictions, the rate of Chinese tourist visits to the United States is expected to increase dramatically. This could result in a lucrative future for the Michigan tourism industry. We speak to the manager of travel industries for Travel Michigan as well as tourism officials in Traverse City and Grand Rapids to see what popular cities are doing to encourage this new type of tourist. By Cheyna Roth. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, MANISTEE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LUDINGTON, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS
LICENSEPLATES: Michigan motorists who want to show their “green” credentials can chose specialty license plates that raise money for environment-related projects. But Wildlife Habitat, Agriculture Heritage, Water Quality and Ducks Unlimited plates compete with each other and with plates that benefit other causes, such as public universities. Neighboring Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin offer their own environmental plates. By Jenna Chapman. FOR ALL POINTS.
w/LICENSEPLATESPHTOWILDLIFE: The Wildlife Habitat plate supports protection of non-game wildlife and habitat. Credit: Michigan Secretary of State.
w/LICENSEPLATESAGHERITAGE: The Agricultural Heritage plate supports agricultural education in schools. Image: Credit: Michigan Secretary of State.
COUNTYROADWOES: Michigan roads are in desperate need of additional funding, and county road commissions bear the brunt of the challenges. Public opinion is split on a May ballot proposal that would increase the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, which would yield an additional $1.2 billion annually for roads. Road managers in Alpena and Wexford counties and state legislators voice their thoughts on the ballot proposal. By Collin Krizmanich. FOR ALPENA, CADILLAC, ALCONA, CRAWFORD COUNTY, TRAVERSE CITY, BIG RAPIDS, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, GLADWIN AND ALL POINTS.
MILITARYCUSTODY: Sponsors of legislation protecting the child-custody rights of deployed military service men and women say the proposal is a matter of fairness. Citing last year’s controversial Lenawee County case involving the Hindes family, legislators say the bill will ensure judges comply with federal law, requiring a stay in proceedings until the return of the deployed parent. With bill sponsors from Grand Ledge and Potterville and a national parents’ rights advocate. By Caitlin McArthur. FOR CHEBOYGAN, BLISSFIELD, HOLLAND, STURGIS, AND ALL POINTS.
ELECTRONICCIGARETTES: No ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors is likely to happen anytime soon now that Gov. Snyder has vetoed legislation from the previous session, a state senator says. Snyder thinks e-cigarettes should be regulated and taxed as tobacco, but Sen. Rick Jones, one of the sponsors of the original legislation, says that’s nonsense. The impasse suggests no imminent move to stop sales to minors. We talk with Jones and a health advocate from Lenawee County. BY Josh Thall. FOR HOLLAND, STURGIS, BLISSFIELD, THREE RIVERS, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

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