Rep. Samantha Strekloff, D-Farmington Hills.

Proposal would protect right of college students to wear religious attire

RELIGIOUS CLOTHING: New legislation would prohibit colleges and universities from discriminating against students based on their religious clothing and other items they wear, such as hijabs, yarmulkes, Stars of David and crosses. It would also protect Indigenous students who wear culturally significant clothing and objects. We talk to the sponsor, from Farmington Hill, and a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Cosponsors include lawmakers from Marquette, Detroit, East Grand River and Livonia. By Elijah Taub. FOR DETROIT, MARQUETTE, GREENVILLE, WKTV, BAY MILLS, SAULT STE. MARIE, HARBOR SPRINGS, PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU AND ALL POINTS

East Lansing District Judge Molly Grennwalt works with a veterans court in Ingham County

Specialized courts, programs, help veterans in legal trouble

VETERANS SUPPORT: Twenty-eight veterans courts across the state are helping military veterans struggling with drug and alcohol-related legal problems. Another state program helps incarcerated veterans find jobs and services as they transition to outside society. We talk to an East Lansing judge, the state Labor and Economic Opportunity Department and lawyers from Norton Shores and Grand Rapids who represent veterans. By Anish Topowala. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, WKTV, DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.

Jamie Stuck is the president of the United Tribes of Michigan and tribal chair of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi.

Liaison office would be first to connect tribes and Legislature

TRIBAL LIAISON OFFICE: A new proposal would create an Office of the Tribal Legislative Liaison to improve communication between the House and Senate and Michigan’s 12 federally recognized tribes. We talk to the president of the United Tribes of Michigan, who is a citizen of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, Department of Health and Human Services and sponsors from Ann Arbor and Clare. References the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. Other sponsors include lawmakers from Marquette, Lansing, Traverse City and St. Joseph. By Liz Nass. FOR CLARE AY MILLS, MIDLAND, HARBOR SPRINGS, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, LEELANAU, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, IRON MOUNTAIN, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE, MARIE, ST. IGNACE, WKTV, LANSING CITY PULSE, LEELANAU AND ALL POINTS.

University of Michigan Assistant Professor Derek Van Berke researches how cities can plan for a possible influx of climate change migrants.

Are Great Lakes cities ready for climate migrants?

CLIMATE MIGRANTS: Michigan and other Great Lakes states may become destinations for climate migrants from other parts of the country beset with rising sea levels, drought, extreme weather and other adverse consequences of climate change. A U-M expert, whose team expects to work with Grand Rapids, Duluth and Buffalo to implement urban planning strategies,. By Kayla Nelsen. FOR MARQUETTE, IRON MOUNTAIN, GREENVILLE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.

State ramps up dental exams for kindergarteners 

DENTAL: For the 2024-25 school year, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to expand statewide a pilot program that gives free dental examinations to children entering kindergarten. The Whitmer administration proposes to spend $4 million next year, but advocates say that’s not enough. The Michigan Oral Health Coalition, Michigan Association for Local Public Health and Michigan Dental Association explain. Includes references to Petoskey, Detroit and Grand Traverse, Chippewa, Oakland, Ottawa, Marquette, Leelanau, Mason, Emmet and Cheboygan counties. By Theo Scheer. FOR PETOSKEY, DETROIT, LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CITY, CHEBOYGAN, SAULT STE. MARIE, LUDINGTON, HARBOR SPRINGS AND ALL POINTS.

Rep. Kara Hope, D-Holt, is sponsoring legislation to tighten state oversight of labor contractors.

Advocates call for more protection of migrant farmworkers

FARMWORKERS: Advocates are calling for more protection for foreign temporary farmworkers with H-2A visas, who are essential to agriculture in the state. The Farm Bureau reports a jump in their numbers in Michigan. An Ottawa County blueberry farm is involved in a lawsuit accusing it of migrant labor law violations. We talk to the Farm Bureau, a Holt legislator and the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, which has offices in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Detroit and Ann Arbor. By Owen McCarthy. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, HOLLAND, GREENVILLE, OCEANA, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP!, DETROIT, AND ALL POINTS.

Rep. William Bruck, R-Erie.

Lawmaker wants baby boxes at fire stations to protect unwanted newborns

A lawmaker from Erie wants to allow baby drop boxes at fire stations to speed the process of adoption of unwanted newborns who are left there anonymously. Neighboring Ohio and Indiana already have baby drop box laws. Cosponsors include lawmakers from Osseo, Milford, Lake Odessa, Clare and Shelby Township. The Michigan Health and Hospital Association opposes the bill. By Sophia Ceru. FOR MONROE, ADRIAN, BLISSFIELD, HILLSDALE, DETROIT, CLARE COUNTY, IONIA, GREENVILLE, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, LUDINGTON, LAKE COUNTY, COLDWATER AND ALL POINTS.

Black History Month in East Lansing offers opportunities for community engagement

East Lansing is offering community events and recognition to celebrate and reflect on the history of Black Americans throughout February’s Black History Month. “The City of East Lansing acknowledges the significance of Black History Month as an important opportunity to commemorate the tremendous contributions of Black Americans to the history of East Lansing and the United States and recognizes the importance of Black History Month as an opportunity to reflect on the complex history of the nation,” according to a resolution recognizing Black History Month from the East Lansing City Council. The resolution was approved unanimously by the council on Feb. 6, with remarks from City Councilmember Dana Watson. Watson noted some important events in East Lansing’s Black history.

Col. James Grady II is the director of the State Police.

State Police still working to improve troopers’ diversity

STATE POLICE ACADEMY: Despite intensified recruitment efforts in recent years, State Police recruits remain disproportionately white. In fact, the proportion of prospective recruits of color is smaller than in the State Police ranks overall. Recruits of color also have a lower academy graduation rate than their white peers. We hear from the department’s director and chief recruiter, as well as an MSU expert. By Alex Walters FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.