What Will the Senate Tax Bill Do to Graduate Students?

In a series of shocking twists and turns, Senate Republicans were able to pass their tax bill, their first legislative victory of the year. The Senate Tax bill calls for a mass overhaul of the American tax code. Everything from tax brackets, health care to graduate student loan rates were touched upon.

Senate panel passes bill to replace Common Core standards

By JASMINE WATTS
Capital News Service
LANSING – Some lawmakers want to change the standards for preparing students for college in hopes of raising Michigan’s education rankings. But critics say they are lowering the standards. The state now falls under the national Common Core standard where schools work with a state’s four-year public university system to certify that students will not need to take remedial coursework in college. Standards are based on what students must know at each grade level to graduate from high school and college to be career-ready. Some lawmakers are sponsoring legislation that would end the Common Core standard  and move to a new assessment based on one that Massachusetts used to use.

GOP control of the Senate: 30 years and counting

By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING – Thirty years ago this month, angry voters in Macomb and Oakland counties set the stage for a 30-year Republican lock on the Senate. They recalled two Democratic senators who had voted for Gov. James Blanchard’s 38 percent temporary income tax hike. The Democratic governor had won legislative approval for the increase to balance the state budget amid deep economic problems.
Sen. Phil Mastin of Pontiac lost his job in a Nov. 22, 1983, recall election, and Sen. David Serotkin of Mount Clemens suffered the same fate on Nov. 30.

Stabenow outpaces Obama in most Michigan counties, analysis shows

By R.J. WOLCOTT
Capital News Service
LANSING — Newly re-elected Sen. U.S. Debbie Stabenow not only defeated Republican rival Peter Hoekstra, but she also outpaced President Barack Obama in nearly every Michigan county. Stabenow, D-Lansing, secured 58 percent of the vote to Hoekstra’s 38 percent in her campaign for a third term. She won 61 of 83 counties, according to the Secretary of State’s unofficial election results. Obama won 20 counties. Hoekstra is a former member of the U.S. House from Holland who lost an earlier race for governor.

Representative Meadows prepares for Senate race

By Connor Muldowney
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

LANSING — Rep. Mark Meadows has been involved with politics ever since he can remember.  Being the Democratic Michigan state representative for the 69th District has been a stepping stone to the Michigan Senate race in 2014. “My plan is to run for the Senate in 2014, which really means I’ll be starting to run for the Senate in 2013,” Meadows said. Meadows was mayor of East Lansing from 1997 until 2005, so he understands the importance of connecting with the community.  Meadows does not take campaigning lightly and says that hard work will get him to where he wants to be politically. “I plan to cover every inch of the Senate district, which is basically Ingham County,” Meadows said.  “And for those areas that I’m not as well known, which would be outside of the 69th District, I plan to introduce myself and talk about the things that I have done and what I hope to accomplish as their senator.”

Although Meadows is serving his third and final term as state representative, he believes that there is more work to be done and hopes that the person who takes his place accomplishes that work.  He said that there is a lot he would like to accomplish if a fourth term was allowed. “My expectations would be that the person who took my place would fight to end the pension tax and improve the position of middle-class Michiganders,” Meadows said.  “I would expect them to fight for the things that I think citizens of the 69th District believe in, and one of the things that they believe in most strongly is adequately funding public education.”

Meadows would like to see more funding in K-12 education, community college education and university education so that the students will come out of school having high-paying jobs in the future.

Senate approves changes for voter registration

By JON GASKELL
Capital News Service
LANSING — Legislation that would place new restrictions on voter registration has passed the Senate. The bills, aimed at stopping potential voter fraud, would require a photo ID or birth certificate to register to vote. It would also create rules for groups that register voters. Senate Republicans say the measure is necessary to combat voter fraud, but Democrats and some advocacy groups argue it could block voters’ access to the polls. “There is a concern about voter fraud and registration issues,” said Erika Farley, chief of staff to Grand Blanc Republican Sen. David Robertson.