Here’s some of what has been happening in Grand Rapids and Michigan in the past twenty four hours:
- Clash over bias-crime protections for sexual orientation, gender identity continue as bills clear committee – Religious right activist Gary Glenn is continuing to oppose an expansion of Michigan’s bias crimes bill saying that protections for sexual orientation and gender identity were simply protections for “homosexual behavior and cross dressing.” The legislation is expected to face a difficult battle in the legislature.
- Saginaw River dredging project begins without safety measures sought by the state – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started a project to remove contaminated sediments from the Saginaw River without safety measures requested by the state, a move that sparked worry because toxins such as dioxin could make their way into the water supplies for Saginaw and Bay City, which don’t test for the toxins.
- Chrysler to cut ties with 789 dealers – Chrysler announced Thursday that it is cutting ties with 789 dealers. According to the article, this puts more than 189,000 jobs across the United States at risk.
- Frustration, shock and sadness – The Detroit Free Press has reaction to Chrysler’s announcement of dealership closings. Not surprisingly, dealers are upset by the closings and some are pledging legal action.
- Some Local Chrysler Dealerships on Closing List – Eight West Michigan dealerships are among the 789 that Chrysler is hoping to eliminate.
- Kalamazoo senator introduces health care affordability bills – A Republican Senator from Kalamazoo is offering a plan to reform Michigan’s healthcare system by implementing a new insurance program for the uninsured. The plan would create “affordable” policies for Michigan’s 1.2 million uninsured residents.
- Tax breaks could be a wash – A new study has found that Michigan’s practice of granting tax breaks to companies that promise to bring jobs to the state isn’t always that successful. With the tax breaks, Michigan trades revenue for jobs–often at a high cost. Among the most effective are tax breaks given to manufacturers, while the least effective are those given to the film industry.
- Proposed laws would raise Michigan gas tax, vehicle registration fees, authorize toll roads to raise $1.8 billion for road repairs – Lawmakers are hoping to raise revenues to fund road repairs by raising the gas tax and increasing the vehicle registration fee. According to the article, it’s necessary both to ensure that the state’s roads are improved and to secure $2 billion in federal money.
- West Michigan is not all gloom and doom, West Michigan Strategic Alliance study says – At least things aren’t all bad. The West Michigan Strategic Alliance touts some good things about West Michigan–namely it does a good job keeping teenagers in school and that the area has a high number of residents with healthcare than other areas.
- Grand Rapids schools Superintendent Bernard Taylor asks state lawmakers to give districts that create charter schools credit for those students – GRPS Superintendent Bernard Taylor was in Lansing to ask state lawmakers to give districts more control over charter schools. He said that current proposals to create more charter schools if public schools do not meet reform standards would draw more resources from public school districts.
If we missed anything, let us know in the comments.