The Grand Rapids Public Library in downtown Grand Rapids

Michigan libraries seek to stock opioid overdose meds

Opioid overdoses have increased dramatically in America over the last two decades. A pair of bills moving through the Michigan Legislature would allow librarians to store and administer opioid overdose antidotes with legal immunity, an option many are eager to have.

State struggles with eldercare worker shortage

By ZARIA PHILLIPS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan doesn’t have enough personal care workers for the growing population of elderly residents and more aren’t coming, experts say. The state will need 32,000 more elder care aides next year, said Clare Luz, an assistant professor at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine who has studied the need for the past 10 years. The study said that personal care workers help reduce falls by 76% and the number of emergency hospital visits by 56%. They can improve emotional health by 79% and overall physical health by 77%. The shortage is at a critical level, she said.

Schools buy local produce with state grants

By KALEY FECH
Capital News Service

LANSING — More Michigan students than ever have access to fresh produce, thanks to a state farm-to-school program. The 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids and Farms program this year provided 135,000 children with locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. “I’m all about kids eating healthy food, and there’s nothing healthier than fresh produce that’s grown right in their home state,” said Diane Golzynski, the director of Health and Nutrition Services in the Department of Education. Grant-winning school districts purchase fresh fruits, vegetables or dried beans grown in Michigan. The schools report how many meals they served that contained the fresh produce.

Watch Focal Point: A MSU Professor finds a new office, a MSU student graduates with his mother, and a MSU student starts her own business

On this special edition of Focal Point, we spotlight many cool things Spartans are doing around campus and beyond. Learn about the MSU professor who took his talents out of the classroom and onto a TV set. We introduce you to a group of MSU students who are making dreams come true as Disney princesses. The first annual Izzo Legacy Run/Walk leaps into action and an MSU baseball player achieves a lifelong goal. These stories and more on this edition of Focal Point.

Tampon tax relief once again under consideration

By MAXWELL EVANS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Lawmakers are weighing whether to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales and use taxes starting June 30. The “tampon tax” unjustly burdens people who menstruate, supporters say. Critics point to the possibility of $6.5 million in lost annual revenue, just to save approximately $5 per person in annual taxes if they used a box of tampons per month. In the House, bills to exempt taxes on these basic health necessities are sponsored by Reps. Brian Elder, D-Bay City, and Tenisha Yancey, D-Harper Woods.

Michigan food assistance program threatened by Trump’s budget proposal

By ZARIA PHILLIPS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Federal officials are proposing a budget cut to food assistance that would add restrictions to 1.2 million Michigan families receiving benefits, according to Michigan advocates for low-income residents. In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the farm bill that would expand the food assistance program and double the funding in Michigan, but the president‘s budget proposal would undermine that agreement. It must be approved by Congress before taking effect. “Months after Congress and the Trump Administration debated and renewed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the farm bill, the administration is proposing to take away food assistance from struggling workers and families through these harsh cuts and changes to SNAP, ” said Alex Rossman, communications director for the Michigan League for Public Policy. The Michigan Center for Civil Justice, a nonprofit legal firm that advocates for low-income people, objects to proposed federal rules that would give able-bodied adults without disability more work requirements, much like what Michigan legislators have proposed for Medicaid recipients.