CNS budget, Oct. 1, 2021

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9/24/21 CNS Budget — Week 4

To: CNS Editors

From: David Poulson and Judy Putnam

For technical problems, contact CNS technical manager Eryn Ho at (616) 485-9295,

For other matters, contact Dave Poulson at (517) 899-1640;

Here is this week’s file:

LEADINWATER: Children’s health advocates are pushing to install drinking water filters in Michigan schools and child care centers instead of using a costlier system of testing for lead in the water. The move could cost about $55 million in the first year, but that’s still cheaper than the “test and tell ” method that includes testing of all drinking water fixtures and then replacing those that test positive for lead above a set action level. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. FOR ALL POINTS

W/ LEADINWATER PHOTO: Estimating the cost of two approaches to protecting children from water contaminated by lead. Chart by Natural Resources Defense Council and Safe Water Engineering.

PRISON HEALTHCARE: Michigan prison inmates get a new health care provider this month, a private company with links to other controversial companies sued for inadequate care by jail inmates in Michigan and elsewhere. By Emerson Wigand. FOR ALL POINTS.

BEACH SAFETY: Two different approaches to beach safety in Michigan state parks are making waves. A newly introduced bill would stop the Department of Natural Resources from enforcing temporary swim bans when water and current conditions are dangerous. A potential order from the DNR would expand that authority to ban use of beaches near dangerous or polluted water. By Danielle James. FOR HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, SAINT IGNACE, MARQUETTE, CHEBOYGAN, MANISTEE, OCEANA, BENZIE COUNTY, ALCONA, SAULT STE. MARIE, LEELANAU, HARBOR SPRINGS AND ALL POINTS.

W/ BEACH SAFETY PHOTO: Beach flag warning system signage at Mears State Park. Photo by Department of Natural Resources. 

CHILDCARE: Certain child care facilities could expand their capacity under proposed legislation designed to aid employment by providing workers with more child care options. But some child advocates worry about increasing the ratio of children to caregivers. By Zaira Magomedova. We talk to a Lake Ann lawmaker, a Detroit child care provider, and two child advocacy organizations. By Zaira Magomedova. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, LEELANAU, BENZIE COUNTY, LUDINGTON, LAKE COUNTY, CADILLAC AND ALL POINTS

SNOWMOBILE HELMET LAW: Off-road vehicle and snowmobile riders who get panic attacks would not have to wear a helmet under a bill passed by the Senate. A doctor’s note would give a get-out-of-jail-free card — similar to excuses some people receive to not wear seatbelts – to Michigan outdoor enthusiasts who have certain physical or mental conditions. We talk to snowmobilers from Acme and Harbor Springs and bill sponsor Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. By Barbara Bellinger. FOR HARBOR SPRINGS, PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, CHEBOYGAN, ST. IGNACE, SAULT STE. MARIE, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS AND ALL POINTS.

MENTAL HEALTH DRIVERS: It can take up to 10 hours for police to transport certain mental health patients from the Upper Peninsula to a psychiatric hospital downstate. Proposed legislation would allow counties to decide if private companies could be allowed to drive patients who are involuntarily committed to an institution. The proposal could save money but advocates say it does not solve the problem of inadequate psychiatric care in northern Michigan. We talk to two Upper Peninsula lawmakers, executives at northern Michigan patient transportation companies and the Marquette County sheriff. By Cameryn Cass. FOR MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, BAY MILLS AND ALL POINTS.

PRISON VOTING: A group of mostly Detroit-area lawmakers is proposing that prison inmates be allowed to vote. If the amendment is signed into law, Michigan would join Maine, Vermont and Washington, D.C. to allow people to vote while incarcerated, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. By Kyle Davidson. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

TRISHARE CHILDCARE: Michigan is expanding a program that covers two-thirds of the cost of child care for certain working parents. Employers, desperately looking for workers, pick up a third of the cost while the state covers another third. By Emerson Wigand. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP! AND ALL POINTS.

BACKYARD BIRDSEED LAW: Fewer Michigan residents with sloppy backyard birds could be ticketed for potentially spreading disease among deer and elk under a bill the state Senate recently sent to the governor’s desk. Bird lovers now can be ticketed for allowing feed to spill or otherwise feed deer in areas where Chronic Wasting Disease has been detected. But in the unlikely event that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs the bill, it would allow recreational feeding of birds and wildlife anywhere as long as the feed is within 300 feet of the residence and not more than 2 gallons is placed out. By Barbara Bellinger. FOR ALL POINTS

BUS DRIVER SHORTAGE: Statewide driver shortages are leaving buses idle at transportation companies and prompting school superintendents to take to the road. Transportation demand plummeted during the pandemic and many drivers lost their jobs and got work elsewhere. Owosso-based Indian Trails Transportation lost 95% of its statewide business when the pandemic hit, but now that demand is recovering there are few drivers to meet it. Lansing schools are using federal COVID relief funds to provide parents with public transportation gift cards to get their kids to school. We talk to a Lansing school official, the Indian Trails president and executives at the Michigan Association of School Boards and the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators. By Cameryn Cass. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, GRAND RAPID BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.