House Republicans scale back minimum wage and paid sick leave

Michigan voters came out in numbers last week to protest the recent changes to the minimum wage and paid sick leave laws that were approved early this year. The new bills, which passed the House and Senate during the lame-duck session, significantly alter the original legislation. Coming from various cities across Michigan, women and men gathered outside the Capitol for half-an-hour before making their way to the Rotunda chanting “lame-duck has got to go.” Roquesha O’Neil, a Detroit resident, traveled to Lansing to join the protests and express her displeasure with the lawmakers who amended the minimum wage bills. “It’s a dangerous game they’re playing because they’re hurting and breaking our families,” she said.

Waverly school board race intensifies

The Waverly school board race that once did not have enough candidates to fill the ballot for four open seats now has seven candidates. Four people met the Oct. 26 deadline to run as write-in candidates, Eaton County Clerk Diana Bosworth said. They are:

Students surprised by the easiness of political activeness

The voter registration deadline in Michigan is October 11, and the corresponding rush of political advocacy has been embodied by the influx of events around campus. Throughout the first week of October, the Associated Students of Michigan State University hosted a myriad of registration events on campus. The Residence Halls Association sponsored drives to register those on campus, as well. Both the MSU College Democrats and MSU College Republicans could be found lurking opportunely at seemingly every corner. The featuring of several prominent speakers on campus also drew out a large student base.

Seats without candidates cause problems for schools, cities

Capital News Service
LANSING — In Michigan more than 150 local government, school and library seats lack candidates for this November’s election, according to a preliminary document from the  Department of State. State officials are in the early stages of tallying uncontested seats and that number could change. “It looks like a long list, but it’s actually a small proportion,” said Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University. The United States has more elections than any country in the world, Grossmann said. The vacancies do, however, create problems for cities.

Michigan officials seek strategy to encourage voter turnout

Capital News Service
Lansing — With voter turnout in Michigan steadily declining, some lawmakers and state officials are looking for ways to make voting easier. In the 2014 midterm election, 41.6 percent of Michigan’s voting-age population turned out, according to the Michigan Secretary of State website. That’s a drop from 50.7 percent in the midterm election of 2006 and 42.9 percent in 2010. To help encourage voting, Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren, recently introduced an amendment to the Michigan Election Law to allow for no-reason absentee voting. That means voters would no longer need an excuse to get an absentee ballot.

Take ID to polls but ID photo optional

Capital News Service
LANSING – While courts in other states wrestle with challenges to their voter photo ID laws in the run-up to the November elections, Michigan’s law is firmly in place. Supporters of photo ID requirements argue that they prevent fraud at the polls, while critics counter that they discourage Election Day participation, especially among minority voters who may not have one of the mandatory forms of identification. Michigan is one of 33 states where voters must show proof of identity, according to Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. “The long history of voting rights issues in the United States haunts this debate, with one side focused on preventing voter suppression and the other focused on preventing elections from being ‘stolen,’” the center said. “Frequently, memories are invoked of the extreme suppression of African-American voters in the Jim Crow South or of corrupt ward bosses in the Tammany Hall era, for example, stuffing ballot boxes and encouraging voting ‘early and often.’”
Court decisions on the issue are mixed.