Michigan legislature split on how to handle college tuition

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan officials are weighing their options for solutions to a university funding crisis that saddles the state’s students with the ninth-highest average debt in the country. That’s how the Michigan League for Public Policy recently ranked the state in a report that shows state support of universities dropping 30 percent since 2003. The revelations are not surprising. In 2011 Gov. Rick Snyder cut higher education funding by 15 percent, the league said. That came after years of smaller cuts caused by the nationwide recession.

Lawmakers seek to ease restrictions on historic districts

Capital News Service
LANSING— State lawmakers are pushing to change a law that preserves historic districts so that residents will have a greater say in how they can modify their homes. A coupleof  Republican legislators want to rewrite the 45-year-old Historic Districts Act so that the people it affects will be able to modify their homes without being easily denied by the historic preservation committees in charge of them. Historic districts are areas with buildings deemed significant to a city’s cultural history. They allow communities to preserve the richness of the past, while providing continuity for the present and future, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are 78 in Michigan, including ones in Cadillac, Grand Rapids, Holland, Manistee, Three Rivers and Traverse City, according to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Legislators split on added death threat penalties

Capital News Service
LANSING – A bill aimed at giving lawmakers additional protection drew high criticism from some legislators. Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, proposed the bill, saying there should be specific laws to protect lawmakers. “When elected officials receive death threats, it affects them, their families, their work and their voting process,” he said. According to Booher, there are laws against intimidation on the federal level and state lawmakers should be protected under the same type of rules. Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, agreed, saying,
“It’s unacceptable just to throw around death threats without any responsibility.”
Last year, both Booher and Casperson received several death threats via phone and mail.