State pushes to expand free pre-K programs

FREE PRE-K: The governor is pushing to expand free pre-K programs for 4-year-olds. We hear from the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement and Potential, the Wayne Regional Education Service Agency and a Wyoming legislator who is enthusiastic about its potential benefits. By Sophia Ceru. FOR GREENVILLE, WKTV, DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.

Rep. Phil Skaggs, D-East Grand Rapids

Agencies, lawmakers act against child labor abuses

CHILD LABOR: Federal and state agencies have been taking action against employers who hire underage workers following news reports of child labor abuses at a Kentwood company and elsewhere. Pending legislation is intended to crack down on illegal child labor and protect whistleblowers. We hear from the lead sponsor from East Grand Rapids, Michigan Immigration Rights Center in Grand Rapids and federal and state labor agencies. The other sponsor is from Muskegon. For business and news sections. By Alex Walters. FOR CORP! GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, WKTV, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

MCAH works “behind the scenes” to end homelessness

Chronic homelessness is defined as living on the streets for 12 months out of the last 36. A number of shelters and organizations are finding their own ways to address the needs of these citizens in Lansing. One of the organizations is the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness (MCAH). According to MCAH’s communications manager Amy Stephenson, MCAH works more “behind the scenes.”

Undocumented new mothers need health care coverage for 12 months, advocates say

POSTPARTUM: There’s a push to extend Medicaid coverage for undocumented immigrants from two months to 12 months after giving birth. The change in policy for the Maternity Outpatient Medical Services program would cost $6 to $10 million a year, says the Michigan League for Public Policy. The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, with offices in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ypsilanti and Detroit, and an NYU expert explain. By Theo Scheer. FOR DETROIT, WKTV, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Rep. Dylan Wegela, D-Garden City

Michigan House staffers are unionizing: What could it look like? 

HOUSE UNION: Some staff in the state House are organizing a unionization drive which, if successful, would add Michigan to the small roster of states with unionized employees. It would be up to the House leadership, now Democratic, to recognize such a union. We talk to an MSU labor expert and to lawmakers from Clare, Garden City and Northfield Township. By Liz Nass. FOR DETROIT, CLARE, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Right to Repair bills still being debated in Michigan House

House Bill 4673, one of two “right to repair” bills currently being considered by Michigan legislators, is intended to make it easier for farmers and their independent mechanics to get access to parts, documentation and important software needed to restore the expensive machines back to full functionality. 

Feds warn Michigan to improve speed, accuracy of food assistance program

SNAP DELAYS: USDA has criticized Michigan for delays and errors in handling applications for SNAP food benefits for low-income residents. One result is increased demand on already-stressed food banks. Whitmer and the governors of neighboring Ohio and Indiana have received warning letters from Washington. We talk to the Food Bank Council of Michigan and the National Center for Budget and Policy. By Alex Walters. FOR DETROIT, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, HILLSDALE, COLDWATER, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MONROE, BLISSFIELD, ADRIAN, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Michigan lags in preventing tobacco use but more funds, new laws could change that

TOBACCO MONEY: Michigan isn’t doing well in its anti-tobacco initiatives and spending, the American Lung Association says. The governor wants to boost spending, and some lawmakers want tighter controls over the sale of tobacco products. We talked to Health & Human Services, the Michigan unit of the American Cancer Society and an East Lansing lawmaker. Includes references to anti-tobacco programs by groups in Detroit and Grand Rapids and legislators from Metro Detroit and Flint. By Liz Nass. FOR DETROIT, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, LANSING CITY PULSE, WKTV AND ALL POINTS.