“Lansing hates us,…the People love us!!!”

2nd hour discussion today, Monday 3-25-19;

From the movie Agenda, Grinding America Down (WATCH IT)!!!
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 3-25-19;
MIRS News Service, Lansing, MI

State Won't Let Religious Adoption Agencies Say No To Same-Sex Couples

State-contracted child welfare agencies must comply with the state's non-discrimination requirements and accept all qualified families -- including same-sex couples -- interested in foster care or adoption.

The announcement came today as part of a negotiated settlement in Dumont v. Gordon, a federal lawsuit challenging the state's practice of allowing state-funded child-placing agencies to use religious standards to turn away same sex-couples (See "ACLU Suit: Same-Sex Couples Face Bias In Adoption," 9/20/17).

"Discrimination in the provision of foster care case management and adoption services is illegal, no matter the rationale," Attorney General Dana NESSEL said today on the settlement. "Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home not only goes against the state's goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child-placing agency enters into with the state."

Lori WINDHAM, senior counsel at Becket Law, the Washington, D.C.-based law firm representing St. Vincent Catholic Charities, said the AG and ACLU's efforts are "trying to stop the state from working with faith-based adoption agencies" and the result will be "tragic."

"This settlement violates the state law protecting religious adoption agencies," she said in a statement. "This harms children and families waiting for forever homes and limits access for couples who chose to partner with those agencies."

In a tweet, Michigan Catholic Conference echoed Windham's sentiments, saying it does nothing to protect foster children looking for loving homes, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represented the plaintiffs, called it a "victory for the nearly 12,000 children in foster care."

Plaintiffs Kristy DUMONT and Dana DUMONT, of Dimondale, praised the settlement agreement.

According to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), each agency provided foster care case management or adoption services for one or more children referred to them by DHHS.

Because the plaintiffs were not seeking direct-placement or private adoption services and because they were not referred to the agencies through MDHHS, the agencies could not reject them under existing state law, Nessel said, noting that she and legal experts determined DHHS could be subject to liability on the plaintiffs' claims.

The settlement agreement calls for DHHS to maintain non-discriminatory provisions in its foster care and adoption agency contracts.

DHHS also agrees to enforce the non-discrimination provisions up to and including termination when a state-contracted agency discriminates against same-sex couples or LGBTQ individuals that may otherwise be qualified foster care or adoptive parents for any child accepted by the agency for services under contract with DHHS. The agreement also specifies that DHHS is not required to take adverse action against an agency on the basis that the agency has decided not to accept a referral from DHHS.

MDHHS has established an online complaint form for individuals who believe they’ve been a victim of illegal practices by an adoption facility, agency or provider.

The Dumont couple and another couple, Erin BUSK-SUTTON and Rebecca BUSK-SUTTON, filed their complaint in September 2017, alleging they approached St. Vincent Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services directly to adopt children the agencies had accepted through referrals from DHHS.

The plaintiffs claimed the agencies refused to work with them in violation of the non-discrimination provisions in the agencies’ contracts with DHHS.

The settlement has already sparked criticism with the Republican-led Legislature, which passed a 2015 law allowing adoption agencies to refuse to work with members of the LGBTQ community (See "Faith-Based Adoption Bills Signed Into Law," 6/11/15).

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) disagreed with the settlement, saying Nessel has shown "she cares little for the Constitution and even less for the vulnerable" children who need forever homes.

"Nessel's actions make it clear that she sought the office of attorney general to further her own personal political agenda," he said. "The Legislature wrote and passed a law regarding adoption practices in Michigan to both protect religious freedom and guard against discrimination."
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2 days ago

Your Defending Fathers

My first take to be airing soon on TV here in Northern Michigan!!!

Please SHARE,..."We LOVE our WellConnect"!!!

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3rd hour discussion today, Friday 3-22-19;
MIRS News Service

Senator Aric Nesbitt Sets No Fault Timeline

House and Senate Republicans have legislation designed to lower car insurance rates their top priority, but up until now no one has ventured in to say when the job will be done.

Enter the fray Sen. Aric NESBITT (R-Lawton), the sponsor of Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0001, with a goal to get "something on the Governor's desk before summer." The Senate is expected to break for summer recess around June 13, but has tentative session dates going until June 27. It gives Nesbitt and company April, May and June to deliver something.

MIRS has learned that the Senate will go first on the issue as both the Senate Insurance and Banking Committee and the House's Select Committee on Reducing Car Insurance Rates continue to take public testimony on the subject.

So far, nobody has seen an actual document containing all of the elements of a cost-reduction plan, but a bill that returns Michigan back to a tort liability system hasn't been ruled out. Rep. Jason SHEPPARD (R-Temperance) introduced a bill that would do just that Tuesday.

Asked what he felt the two critical issues for reform were, Nesbitt said, "It's all about competition and choice."

He says everything is on the table, including a fee structure to bring down some of the hospital costs under no-fault. Earlier this week the Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-ClarkLake) said, "I don't like fee schedules at all," but he did add that if talks did not progress, "I'm not afraid to do so." (See "Shirkey Not Wild About Fee Schedules, Mandates," 3/19/19).

Nesbitt is all in on allowing the marketplace to bring down the costs without a state mandate that cost savings be shared with motorists.

"Those costs will go down if we provide power to the individual drivers to have choice . . . if you believe in the free market there will be a cost savings, absolutely," he promised.

Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint) said last week that any no-fault auto insurance reform ideas that don't include a 100 percent guarantee of a rate reduction a non-starter (See "Senate D's Want Guaranteed No-Fault Rate Relief; Senate R's Want SAF For Higher Ed," 3/14/19).

Nesbitt said he is mindful of the possible statewide petition drive by developer Dan GILBERT if lawmakers don't act.

"I think the possibility of a ballot initiative for a full repeal of no-fault is legitimate. I'd rather see legislative action," Nesbitt said. He concluded if lawmakers don't, "That shows a failure of the legislative process."

Nesbitt has the support of the Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN on the choice front. The lawmaker says Michigan's "one size fits all" mandate for lifelong and unlimited catastrophic insurance does not work, which is why this state is the only one to have it.
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1st half hour discussion, Friday 3-22-19;
MIRS News Service

House, Senate GOP Hold Joint Caucus

House and Senate Republicans met in the House's caucus room for about 20 minutes before this afternoon's session, marking likely the first of-its-kind meeting in about 10 years.

Nearly all of the Senate Republicans emerged from the caucus room at about 12:25 p.m. after what numerous sources described as a congenial, albeit-packed, gathering.

"We are partners," smiled Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-ClarkLake). "Get used to it. It's a new day."

The meeting was the joint idea of Shirkey and House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering), who have enjoyed an infinitely more productive relationship than the prior Republican leaders, which is due, in part, to the fact they are working with a Democratic governor.

"Leader Shirkey and I have developed a very strong and healthy relationship heading into this term and we wanted to make sure our caucuses were on the same page and understood that relationship," Chatfield said. "We are going to continue the work we began a couple months ago."

Chatfield said "there are certain benefits" to the caucuses working together and partnering with Gov. Gretchen WHITMER to make sure "we're moving the state in the right direction."

Neither Shirkey nor former House Speaker Jase BOLGER said they remembered a similar joint meeting during the former Gov. Rick SNYDER administration. Former Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE said he remembers getting together a joint caucus in the 2007-08 term when former Democratic Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM was in office.

"This is a great sign the current leaders are working together very well," Bolger said. "As a unified Legislature they can lead the policy of the state. As a divided Legislature, the Governor would have the upper hand."

Shirkey and Chatfield have enjoyed a strong relationship since the beginning of the year. They meet or speak regularly and have attended functions like the Michigan Republican Party convention together.

It helps both caucuses are on the same page as far as their immediate priorities. Both have made reducing auto insurance rates -- be through a reform of the auto no-fault system or a return to tort liability in car insurance -- their top priority, even before the completion of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget.

Coming up with additional road dollars would be the third priority, with the expansion of the 2015 roads funding package being seen as a potential alternative.

Neither the House nor the Senate are supporting Whitmer's 45-cent gas tax increase proposal. It's possible either chamber could put a resolution denouncing the measure on the voting board to see where their Democratic colleagues stand on it.

Legislative Democrats, up to now, have been reluctant to give full-throated support to the gas tax proposal, in part because they don't see value in getting behind something so controversial when they know Republicans won't seriously consider it.

"I support raising $2.5 billion," said House Minority Leader Christine GREIG (D-Farmington Hills) when asked if she supports the 45-cent gas tax. Her constituents are telling her they agree that more revenue needs to be raised and aren't opposed to paying more at the pump to do it.

"We're going to talk about it as a caucus, but we're still gathering information from our constituents," she said.

Rep. Donna LASINSKI (D-Scio Twp.) said her constituents are telling her the same thing -- basically, they're fine paying more in gas taxes as long as 100 percent of it goes to the roads.

House Minority Floor Leader Yousef RABHI (D-Ann Arbor) said he'd seriously consider voting for 45 cents if it were put on the board.

But since it's not on the board, Democrats are being creative with their responses.

"I'll vote for it . . . in 2022," smiled Rep. Sheldon NEELEY (D-Flint), who is term-limited after the current term.
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2nd hour discussion today, Thursday 3-21-19; MIRS News Service

MML, Detroit Chamber Support Whitmer's 45-Cent Tax Increase

The Michigan Municipal League and the Detroit Chamber of Commerce each came out in support of raising Michigan's gas tax 45 cents if that's what it took to raise an additional $2.5 billion to fix the roads.

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER learned of the 19-member MML Board's unanimous decision on Tuesday before speaking the organization's members at its annual legislative conference in downtown Lansing. The Detroit Chamber announcement came today.

"The Detroit Regional Chamber supports the Governor's proposal to address Michigan’s road funding crisis by generating $2.5 billion annually in new funding with the preferred source being a gas tax or other user fee," said Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy BARUAH. "The Chamber looks forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to finalize the mechanism and timing to achieve this goal.”

Lawmakers are not exactly jumping up and down about the proposal.

Today in the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Tom ALBERT (R-Lowell) doublechecked with House Fiscal Agency Director Mary Ann CLEARY how much a gas tax increase would need to be to raise $1.9 billion, assuming the remaining $600 million came out of the General Fund. The answer is between 34 and 35 cents.

Still the Governor's press secretary said the Governor is pleased to see "growing, bipartisan leadership and support for the Governor's budget."

"They understand the challenges facing our state and recognize that the Governor has put forth a budget with real solutions -- to fix the roads, clean up drinking water, and make sure every Michigander has a path to a high wage career -- to solve problems that will make a difference in people’s lives right now," said Whitmer Press Secretary Tiffany BROWN. "As you’ve heard her say many times before, the Governor is willing to work with anyone who is willing to work with her on real solutions."

Meanwhile, the Senate Majority Leader is getting some Democratic push back on his line-in-the-sand stance that the Governor's road package should be a separated from the budget debate.

"I don't understand how you can write the budget without dealing with the road package because roads effect the budget . . . there are (budget) decisions" linked to that. That's the opinion from Sen. Curtis HERTEL Jr. (D-East Lansing).

While he is suggesting that, he and other Democrats are telling the Republicans if you don't like Whitmer's road blue print, "show us your plan."

House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) have not, but Shirkey promised to have his package in "early summer."

Early summer?

Hertel countered, "that seems like a long time," but he is still pleased that the other side has conceded that "their original road plan did not work."

On another front, Sen. Tom BARRETT (R-Potterville) is telling MIRS that if the governor's 45 cent a gallon gas tax hike was so good, how come no Democrat has introduced the measure?

"They ought to put up or shut up," the new Eaton County GOP Senator asserted. "Not a single one of my colleagues on the Democratic side is willing to put their name on this proposal," which he concludes only goes to show that the Governor's tax hike doesn't have backing in the Democratic ranks.

Hertel checking in on that, countering, "I think Tom knows he's being facetious . . . He knows how the budget process works (so) that charge is not fair." He adds it takes time for bill drafting and he conceded if Mr. Barrett "had a bill and wanted it out in two weeks," he could probably get the Legislative Service Bureau to do that, but that's not the case with a Democratic proposal.

Meanwhile, adding a touch of intrigue to the back and forth, a source indicates there has been some chatter in the House GOP ranks about running the governor's tax hike and letting the chips fall where they may with the Republicans hopes being that it would go down in flames.
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 3-21-19; MIRS News Service

House Votes To Give Libraries Immunity If They Administer Naloxone

Libraries and their employees would be able to purchase, possess and use opioid antagonists without fear of criminal or civil repercussions, under a pair of bills approved today by the House in unanimous votes.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4366 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4367, sponsored by Rep. Jason SHEPPARD (R-Lambertville), would provide criminal and civil immunity if a librarian has to administer such a drug, like naloxone hydrochloride, Narcan or Evzio, which rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The bills would treat libraries similar to what schools, explained Gail MADZIER, executive director of the Michigan Library Association. Without that immunity, she explained, some library attorneys had been recommending against libraries having the overdose drug.

"It is unfortunate that libraries are put in this situation, but libraries are open to all. They offer relative anonymity. They allow patrons to stay as long as the like and that makes them vulnerable to those seeking a place to use drugs at times. Nobody wants them to be in the position to have to administer this drug, but those librarians are on the front line dealing with the issue on a regular basis," Madzier said.

Sheppard said that emergency personnel are very good at responding to overdoses and, when administered to an individual whose breathing has slowed or stopped due to overdosing on heroin or a prescription opioid, naloxone can very quickly restore normal breathing.

But there might be circumstances when emergency personnel can't get to the scene quite fast enough. Sheppard said his Government Operations Committee, which took testimony on the bills Tuesday, heard of one overdose death in a library that might have been preventable if the library had the drug.

"We have been fortunate that most of the overdoses have been close enough that first responders have been able to get there, but our concern is there is going to be time when a first responder isn't going to get there in time, or it is in a more rural area, or it is some place that doesn't have a close first responder, and then the library is going to be in the situation to have to provide that," Madziar said.

Sheppard noted that the bills do not require libraries to have naloxone, it is strictly voluntary. But library employees, if trained in how to property administer the drug, would be allowed to have it.

Sheppard called the bills "sensible legislation" and he hopes the 106-0 votes on the bills today will convince the Senate to quickly take them up.
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2nd half hour today, Wednesday 3-20-19; MIRS News Service

Expanded FOIA Bill Passes House For 3rd Straight Term

The governor's office would be subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Legislature would fall under a new, similar open records law starting with records created Jan. 1, 2020, under legislation that unanimously passed the House this afternoon.

The 10-bill package led by Rep. Daire RENDON's (R-Lake City) Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4007 is virtually identical to a FOIA-related legislation that overwhelmingly passed the House last year, but died in the Senate due to Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF's reluctance to release future constituent communications.

These bills do shield certain documents: Non-lobbyist constituent letters, medical information, information pertaining to an internal investigation, trade secrets and attorney-client communications.

Documents that would be open to disclosure would be staff calendars and policy information obtained by a legislator. One of the bills, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4014, sponsored by Rep. Andrea SCHROEDER (R-Independence Twp.), did not move as she recovers from an illness.

"Government exists to work for the people, and residents can’t have faith in their government if it fails to set an example of openness and honesty," said Rep. Ryan BERMAN (R-Commerce Twp.). "We must make sure people have all of the information they need to hold us accountable."

The current Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake), is not supportive of the bills as they came out of the House, but does want to get something done on the FOIA issue this term, according to Shirkey Press Secretary Amber McCANN.

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER campaigned on expanding FOIA to cover the Legislature and the Governor's Office, not on creating a special disclosure law for the legislative branch.

"The Governor appreciates the hard work that has gone into this package of bills. She's committed to transparency, which these bills achieve. While not everything she wanted, this package is a considerable step forward and she supports it," said Whitmer Press Secretary Tiffany BROWN.

Today's vote marks the third straight session the House overwhelmingly passed the reform and the second straight term the bills moved without a single no vote (See "Open Records Bills Breeze Through House; Face Headwinds In Senate," 3/16/17 and See "FOIA Reform Bills Pass House," 9/21/16).

Reps. Daire RENDON (R-Lake City), Padma KUPPA (D-Troy), Darrin CAMILLERI (D-Brownstown Twp.) and Donna LASINSKI (D-Scio Twp.) each spoke on the floor on the importance of the legislation.

"The people in my district know first-hand that corruption is allowed to exist when a public body is allowed to operate in the darkness," Kuppa said. "This is actual, over-due change."

"We live in a world where so much knowledge is at our fingertips, yet the average person still can't access basic information about how their state government operate or how their tax dollars are being spent," Camilleri said. "I was subject to open records law while I was a teacher and when I served as a local parks and recreation commissioner, but those same transparency measures aren't in place for something as consequential as out state government."

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4007, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4008, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4009, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4010, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4011, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4012, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4013, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4014, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4015 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4016 create a Legislative Open Records Act that operates separate from FOIA. The main difference is that those denied an open record would appeal to the Legislative Council administrator as opposed to the courts. A further appeal could be made to the Legislative Council.

A legislative record fee couldn't be more than $75 and if an administrator believes that someone has "arbitrarily and capriciously violated" the LORA law in denying a request, disciplinary action can be recommended.

The House Fiscal Agency (HFA) estimates that hiring three more legislative staff and an additional gubernatorial worker would cost the state $381,000 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and $508,000 in FY '21.

"We'll get it over here and we'll process it," Shirkey told reporters regarding the House-passed legislation. "We're not going to do 'nothing.' We will do something, but it probably won't be exactly like what the House is sending over here."

Shirkey said he has spoken with House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) "at length" about the FOIA issue. He repeated that his concerns about FOIA reform are to "make sure any changes won't impair the natural flow of negotiations or risk personal communications with social media and electronic transmission.

"We're probably going to propose something very specific," Shirkey continued. "It will likely be very different than what comes out of the House."

MIRS asked if the Senate Republicans would be looking at what other states have done regarding FOIA.

"That is already being looked at," Shirkey responded.

McCann told reporters that the Senate Majority Leader wants a "specific definition of open records," instead of "painting with a broad brush."
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1st half hour discussion today, Wednesday 3-20-19;
MIRS News Service

Whitmer Administration Holding Back Support On Gaming Expansion

Gaming expansion bills similar to what former Gov. Rick SNYDER vetoed last term were reported out of a House committee this morning overwhelmingly, but without the Gov. Gretchen WHITMER administration's support.

Lottery, Treasury and the state Budget Office all submitted cards before the House Regulatory Reform Committee voted to move Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4307, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4308, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4309, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4310, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4311, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4312 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4323. Officials wrote they were willing to work with legislators on the package, but they opposed the bills at this time.

"As written, the fiscal implication is concerning; however, we are open to further discussion regarding this legislation," said Whitmer Press Secretary Tiffany BROWN.

Legislation legalizing in-state internet gambling, remote horse race betting, fantasy sports regulation and looser charitable gaming regulations may be getting some administrative pushback out of concerns that it would chip away at Lottery's clientele and suck away School Aid Fund (SAF) money.

The Michigan Association of School Boards was among the education-related groups that opposed the bills under the premise laid out in a House Fiscal Agency (HFA) analysis that for every $1 bet that's lost on an online internet game as opposed to being lost on a brick-and-mortar casino, there's a 7.8-cent loss to the School Aid Fund.

The reason is this: brick-and-mortar Detroit casinos are taxed at 19 percent with 42.6 percent of that money going to the SAF. Rep. Brandt IDEN's (R-Oshtemo Twp.) Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4311 taxes internet casinos at 8 percent with 5 percent of that money going into the SAF.

Theoretically, if the Detroit casinos lost 1 percent of their revenue from internet gaming, the hit to SAF would be $1.17 million. In order to make up that revenue from internet gaming, the wagers would need to total $2.44 billion, according to the HFA.

Overall, the HFA estimates the bills would cut state and city of Detroit revenues because of the lower 8 percent state taxes attached to internet gaming as opposed to the 19 percent tax attached to the physical casino locations. A rough estimate on the revenue loss, however, wasn't offered.

Still, the committee overwhelming moved the bills to Iden's Ways and Means Committee with Rep. Frank LIBERATI (D-Allen Park) being the lone consistent no vote.

"There's an addicting factor," Liberati said. "It tears families apart."

House Regulatory Reform Committee Chair Mike WEBBER (R-Rochester) said he understands the administration has concerns and expressed faith that Iden would continue the conversation with the Whitmer administration through his Ways and Means Committee.

"This is a long process, but this was a good first step," Webber said.

Rep. Alex GARZA (D-Taylor) proposed ramping up the tax rate from 8 to 16 percent from now until 2023, but the Republican-led committee voted down the idea.

Most Democrats voted in favor of the bill today. Their continued support in the process is critical since at least one bill, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4307, needs three-quarters support on the House and Senate floors to pass, Webber noted.
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2nd half hour in Hour 1 discussion, today Monday 3-18-19;
MIRS News Service

Shirkey Liking Idea Of Electoral College Votes By Congressional District

Having states select its Electoral College votes by congressional district would be a way to avoid a national effort to elect presidents by popular vote ends while not "disenfranchising" "whole states, Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-ClarkLake) said this week.

Asked if he supports the National Popular Vote -- in which states making up 270 electoral votes sign a compact to throw their Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote -- the Senate leader said he didn't see the movement as a "viable solution" to what he sees as a growing concern.

"At one time, I considered NPV an option worthy of debate," he said. "As the move towards urbanization continues, we run the very real risk, within states, of disenfranchising a significant portion of non-urban citizens.

"My opinion is we (the states) need to apply the concept of 'federalism' within our states as it relates to allocation of electoral college votes."

One way to do, that, Shirkey argued, would be to change state laws so that Electoral College vote allocation would be done by congressional district.

"This would keep every part of every state engaged in presidential races, which should be the goal," he said.

Currently, Nebraska and New Hampshire are the only states that divide up their electoral college votes in this way.

Shirkey's comments come as the Delaware House passed a measure today that would include it into the National Popular Vote compact. The bill now goes to the state's governor for his expected signature. The vote comes two days after the New Mexico Senate passed legislation to the join the compact.

Colorado is an expected gubernatorial signature away from signing up, as well.

If all three states join the compact, it will include 15 states representing 189 electoral college votes. The compact needs enough states to make up 270 electoral college votes before it would have the effect of giving the presidency in the next election to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally.

Don't expect Michigan to be joining the list any time soon.

Saul ANUZIS, the former Michigan Republican Party chair who is working this issue nationally, conceded on Michigan's Big Show this morning that Michigan is still "a year or two away" from a vote on the concept.

"This is one of those things that's a long process," he said. "It usually takes about three to five years to pass a bill because you have to talk about it with the various parties. That activists need to get educated on it."

A majority of state senators supported the measure last year, but a bill that would have added Michigan to the compact died after then-House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt) made it clear he didn't like the idea (See "Union Decertification And A Few Other Bills That Died In The Senate," 12/13/18).

Conservative grassroots groups have argued that as long as Republican President Donald TRUMP needs Michigan to win the Electoral College vote, it makes sense to keep the current presidential selection process in place. National money and attention will continue to flow into the state to boost other Republican candidates.

This may be great for Michigan in those cases in which the Republican presidential nominee is playing here. But Anuzis argues that when that nominee is engaged, the money dries up fast and Republicans can face a rough election season, as was the case in 2008 when John McCAIN pulled out of Michigan with a month left in the campaign.

Over in the House, Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) isn't spending time on the issue at the moment because "It's not something that's being discussed right now" in Michigan, said press secretary Gideon D'ASSANDRO.
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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 3-12-19;
MIRS News Service

Shirkey Prioritizing Auto Insurance Over Budget

It's early March in the state capital, which means it's typically "all things budget" from here until it's finished.

But this year, Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-ClarkLake) is prioritizing auto no-fault insurance reform over the budget. In short, the Senate leader wants to tell ratepayers that real relief is on the way before even asking residents to reach into their pockets for any more state investment, said Press Secretary Amber McCANN.

With Michigan having the nation's high car insurance rates, Shirkey wants to show residents the state is serious about making life easier for them. What that looks like, is still not crystal clear.

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's proposed 45-cent-a-gallon gas tax increase isn't going to move through the Legislature, but Shirkey and other Republicans are reluctantly signaling that some increase in revenue to pay for Michigan's roads is likely (See "Stamas: 1% Chance On Gas Tax; Chatfield: 0%," 3/7/19).

"The Senate Majority Leader is very focused on not linking any policy to the completion of the budget," McCann said. "Car insurance reform is a complex issue by itself and locking it to the budget, which is complex in itself, would make it all very difficult to resolve."

Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Wayne SCHMIDT (R-Traverse City) is on board with the timing of saving drivers money on their auto insurance at about same time as asking for more money for the roads.

"That's ultimately the goal. To make sure we have some kind of reduction in the auto insurance rates and part of that reduction is going toward fixing the roads," he said. "In order to have safe roads we're going to need some more money."

Of course, if there is enough money for the roads, the Governor's gas tax would not be needed to which the Traverse City senator opines, "that would be nice."

It's unclear what dollar amounts are in this plan since all of the interest groups involved in the auto no-fault debate are point to each other as the reason for the state's sky-high rates (See "No Timeline On Senate No-Fault Reform; Hearings Continue," 3/1/19).

"I don't know the exact amounts that would be reasonable," said Schmidt, but he contends there is an extra bonus for motorists. If there are better roads, "that would help auto insurance claims costs," he added.

To this general idea, Sen. Curtis HERTEL Jr. (D-East Lansing) said, "I am more than willing to have any conversation possible. Obviously, I have an enormous amount of respect for the majority leader and I'll look forward to what the actual puzzle looks like."

In the meantime, minus the "devil in the details," he said, "the concept is a fair thing to talk about and sounds like a balanced approach, but only if the details are there and I don't know what those look like."

Schmidt says it could be a couple of weeks before all this comes together, but with the whole package riding on special interests chipping in on no-fault, there may be some who doubt it can happen (See "No-Fault Committee Discussions Nearing Boiling Point," 2/27/19).
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1st half hour discussion today, Tuesday 3-12-19;
MIRS News Service

Gas Usage Could Decline 12% By 2025, And Tax Revenue With It

A federal study projects that U.S. vehicle gas usage could decrease 12 percent by 2025, and one expert said that could mean a 12 percent decline in gas tax revenue by that time, as well.

As debate over Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's plan to fix the roads takes shape with her proposal to hike the state's gas tax by 45 cents, one objection raised to the approach is this: With vehicles getting more fuel-efficient, relying on gas taxes to pay for roads results in relying on a declining revenue source over the long-term.

It's a point both House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) and Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint) made in responding to another proposal to raise the gas taxes by 47 cents (See "Adopting An Early Budget Is Not Chatfield's Highest Priority," 2/12/19).

Reacting to the 47-cent proposal from former lawmakers Bob EMERSON and Ken SIKKEMA, Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) called it an "unsustainable funding source." Ananich said that day, as well, "There is no question that a gas tax is not the most sustainable way."

While it's generally stated that vehicles are getting more fuel efficient, a 2017 analysis issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) -- part of the U.S. Department of Energy – puts a number to what this may mean for gas usage in the future.

The analysis pegs anticipated changes in energy consumption -- which is primarily gasoline -- by light-duty vehicles on two factors: The amount of travel and the fuel economy of vehicles.

According to the study, the average on-road fuel economy -- which the EIA deemed more relevant for estimating energy consumption -- for new passenger vehicles during model year 2015 averaged about 31 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars, and 21 mpg for light trucks

By model year 2025, passenger car on-road vehicle fuel economy is expected to jump to 45 mpg, which is a 43 percent increase. For trucks, it's expected to go to 31 mpg by that time, a 46 percent increase.
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2nd half hour of 1st hour, Monday 3-11-19; MIRS News Service

Lucido Still A 'No' On Road Funding Absent PA 51 Re-Write

Sen. Pete LUCIDO (R-Shelby Twp.) was a "no" vote on the 2015 roads package in the state House. This week, he said he'll vote "no" on any additional road funding bills in 2019 unless the Legislature agrees to rejigger how the transportation dollars is spent.

The Macomb County lawmakers said roads in his end of town get the short end up of funding stick under the current P.A. 51 arrangement, which basically sends 39 percent to state roads, 39 percent to county roads and 22 percent to city roads.

And even though Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget runs new money from her proposed 45-cent gas tax increase through a different funding formula that focuses on the state's most-travelled roads, Lucido said he's still a "no" (See "Gov's New Formula Sends 70% Of New Gas Tax Funds To State Roads," 3/5/19).

"That tells me PA 51 isn't working," said Lucido on Whitmer's new funding scheme. "Why are you going around 51 if it's such a great, great 70-year-old archaic bullshit way of doing business?"

Lucido wants to make two changes to the current law. His Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0027 has all money collected through vehicle registrations return to the county where the vehicle is registered. His Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0028 redirects gas tax money to the county where the fuel was purchased.

Neither one has much of a political pulse at this point and the first-term senator said he thinks he knows why.

"If the leaders would put in chairpeople that have no affinity to the Upper Peninsula and let Southeast Michigan people stand guard on the committees, we would take the bills up and have the discussion," Lucido said. "The bills won't even be taken up. Why not?

"P.A. 51, if anything goes through there, doesn't work. We need to start over, give all the education their piece of the pie without this Betty Crocker mixing of things up."

The bills likely have no future in the Senate, where Senate Transportation Committee Chair Wayne SCHMIDT (R-Traverse City) said, "P.A. 51 works. I think it works for the entire state, but I do recognize that there are some larger projects that need attention."

As then-Gov. Rick SNYDER put $52 million in state money into the Soo Locks to make that project happen, the state does need to sink large investments into the state's main arteries -- such as Interstate 96, I-75, I-94 -- because of their impact on commerce and passenger travel. Passenger rail funding is a statewide investment need, too, Schmidt said.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jim STAMAS (R-Midland) didn't give Lucido's idea a warm embrace when talking with reporters after Thursday's taping of Off The Record.

And over in the House, Lucido's approach has even less chance of passing with both House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) and House Majority Floor Majority Floor Leader Triston COLE (R-Mancelona) less than supportive.

Asked about P.A. 51 on Thursday, Chatfield said, "I don’t think we have a formula problem in our state, I think we have a road funding problem in our state and the root of that problem is that we have people paying taxes at the pump that are not going to roads."

Meanwhile, Lucido said he has several Southeast Michigan lawmakers on his side and Whitmer, herself, is acknowledging through her actions that P.A. 51 is not getting money to where money needs to go.

"If you’re inclined to make changes and fix the damn roads, then fix Public Act 51 with me," Lucido said. "Because it is a culmination of monies going to different diversions that have been used as stop gaps over the years. It should all be dedicated to roads."
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1st half hour discussion today, Monday 3-11-19;

LEAVE THE CLOCKS ALONE!!!
Now that we have "Sprung Forward",...leave the clocks alone and NEVER change them again!!!
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3 weeks ago

Your Defending Fathers

1st hour discussion today, Thursday 3-7-19;

Salute to State Rep. - Triston Cole, Majority Floor Leader!!!
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3 weeks ago

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3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Tuesday 3-5-19;

CALL TO ACTION - Call your MI State Rep. AND State Senator TODAY,...tell them to come out publicly AGAINST Gov. Whitmer's budget proposal and NOT TO VOTE FOR IT!!!

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MIRS Breaking News - Updated: 4:30 p.m.
Monday, March 04, 2019

Gov. Whitmer To Propose Raising Gas Tax By 45 Cents -
(Highest in the Nation)

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's plan to "fix the damn roads" includes increasing the gas tax by 45 cents as part of an 18-month, three-step process starting Oct. 1 and ending Oct. 1, 2020.

Whitmer is not proposing selling bonds as part of the plan. Instead, she is looking at adding to the state's 26.3-cent-a-gallon gas tax without taking off the existing sales tax on gasoline. Such an increase would raise roughly $2.5 billion for the roads.

The plan to bring Michigan's gas tax to 71.2-cents-a-gallon also includes offsets for low-income individuals in difficult financial situations.

According to the Tax Foundation, Michigan currently collects 44 cents per gallon on roads, when the sales tax is factored into the equation. Adding 45 cents would boast that total to 89 cents a gallon. Pennsylvania's 58.70 cents-a-gallon increase on gasoline is currently the nation's highest tax on gas. California is next at 55.22 cents.

What Whitmer has in mind is in line with what former Senate Majority Leader Ken SIKKEMA and former Senate Minority Leader Bob EMERSON suggested Jan. 31, when they proposed ramping up a 47-cent-a-gallon gas tax by 2028 (See "Former Leaders Support 47-Cent Gas Tax Boost For Roads," 1/31/19).

mirsnews.com/capsule.php?gid=5513#56537

"We've got to stop this wait narrative,” Sikkema said today. "Gov. (Rick) SNYDER’s 21st Century infrastructure commission two years ago documented that you need $2.6 billion on top of the $1.2 billion (approved in 2015). Stop the wait narrative. It is just getting more and more expensive two years later. I think people need to accept that $2.6 number from two years ago because it was well scrubbed. It was well documented.”

The proposal didn't exactly get a salute from at least one legislative leader.

"Before we ask citizens to spend more on roads, let's prove to them we will give them real money with insurance reform," said Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-ClarkLake).

Michigan Republican Party (MRP) Chair Laura COX said a $2 billion tax increase will "break many Michiganders' budgets" and comes four years after residents rejected the road funding ballot proposal.

"The people of Michigan deserve real solutions on this critical issue, not a tax and spend solution which places the burden on the states overtaxed families," Cox said.

While this specific proposal was not public earlier today when the Business Leaders for Michigan held its infrastructure policy panel discussion, BLM CEO Doug ROTHWELL did talk about lawmakers needing "air cover" and political public support as they support a gas tax increase to fix Michigan's worsening roads.

“We are not an organization, Business Leaders for Michigan, that likes to talk about raising taxes. We don't take that lightly, at all. But we are on record saying that we need to make a significant increase in investment in our infrastructure and we believe user fees -- which could be a gas tax -- is the best and fairest way to do it," Rothwell said.

Whitmer will unveil her budget plan 11 a.m. Tuesday. The plan is for Whitmer to personally deliver an overview of the budget with Budget Director Chris KOLB getting into the details.
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3rd hour discussion today, Thursday 2-28-19;
MIRS News Service

Amash Challenger Talks Emerging In West Michigan

Mike JURRIANS of Grand Rapids has had enough.

As word of U.S. Rep. Justin AMASH's (R-Cascade Twp.) vote with congressional Democrats on blocking President Donald TRUMP's emergency declaration filtered into the 3rd District, the Grand Rapids resident picked up the phone today and called Amash's office.

"The people in his office told me Trump is trying to make an end-run around Congress," Jurrians said. "I told her that we've been dealing with this issue since Ronald REAGAN. People are coming across the border. They're killing people. Driving drunk on the highways. Drug runners are coming up.

"I told her, 'You lost my vote, my wife's vote and my son's vote. We need to get rid of you.' I was hot. I'm still hot. I've had it with him," he said.

Jurrians and his wife, Chris, helped found what was known as the Tea Party of West Michigan back when Tea Parties were beginning to be a grassroots force in 2009 and 2010.

Chris Jurrians knocked doors for Amash back then, when the then-state House member was in a competitive three-way Republican primary to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Vern EHLERS. They helped Amash against Democrat Pat MILES in the General Election and even in 2014 when he faced a GOP opponent in Brian ELLIS.

Not anymore. Amash's shine has dulled for Jurrians and several other grassroots conservatives who now classify him as a "never Trumper."

In West Michigan, serious preliminary discussions are taking place among some establishment Republicans and grassroots conservatives about a credible, well-financed conservative to challenge Amash in August 2020, MIRS has learned.

It's not only his opposition to Trump using a national emergency declaration to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Amash voted against Kate's Law, which raises penalties for undocumented immigrants who re-enter the United States after being deported. And the socially conservative constituents don't forget that he's lost the support of Right to Life for declining to vote to defund Planned Parenthood.

He declined to endorse Trump in 2016. And he mentioned there may be grounds for a Trump impeachment.

There also are questions about his constituent services. The self-proclaimed Libertarian's limited-government bent is so intense, it's impacting his office's ability to help veterans connect with services and local government's ability to access funding.

With Trump presumably anchoring the Republican ticket in 2020, Amash's perceived antics aren't seen as uniting the party in a year when such unity is vital for any chance of success.

"There's become a pattern," said Joni JONES of the Calhoun County Tea Party Patriots. "He's lost his ability to be objective because of his own personal dislike for our President . . . He's not representing the people who put him into office very well, I'll say that."

Jones is one of them.

She said she's knocked doors and written checks for Amash in years past, but that's come to a screeching halt. Things started going downhill when Amash declined to support Trump against the "deplorable" alternative of Democrat Hillary CLINTON in 2016.

Since then, she sees in Amash a member of Congress who is so lost in his strident ideology that his self-imposed alienation prevents him from being an effective member of Congress.

"You can stand on principle. That's great. But you have to bring people along. You have to win them over to your way of thinking, not turn them off," Jones said.

"There are so many Republicans I've talked to who I would never believe would say this who tell me, 'We're so disgusted with him,'" she added. "Personally, I'll never vote for him again."

Amash won in years past with the support of such high-dollar donors as the DeVos family and former ambassador Peter SECCHIA. In 2014, he managed to raise $1.8 million when he beat Ellis 57.5 to 42.5 percent. In the 2018 election cycle, no sitting Michigan member of Congress raised less than Amash, who pulled together $688,107.

Was that because Amash didn't have a primary challenge or a well-funded Democratic opponent? Was it because he didn't really attempt to raise funds? Private polling shared with MIRS in 2018 had Ellis, Amash's 2014 primary opponent, up on Amash and the incumbent's favorable rating at 43 percent.

Is it possible Amash could be defeated in a primary? "Establishment" Republicans have wanted Amash gone almost since the moment he took office in 2011.

Rumors of a serious Amash challenge has become predictable.

"Just copy and paste the article you wrote two years ago and four years ago," said one GOP consultant when asked to comment about an Amash challenge.

But the 38-year-old rarely, if ever, comes to Michigan Republican Party functions to endear himself to activists who knock on doors and get out the vote. This past weekend, a regular attendee at the 3rd Congressional District caucus said he's seen Amash at a caucus meeting twice in the past 10 years.

Members of Congress such as U.S. Rep. John MOOLENAAR (R-Midland), Jack BERGMAN (R-Watersmeet), Paul MITCHELL (R-Dreyden Twp.), and Tim WALBERG (R-Tipton) took an active role in their caucus meeting Friday. Folks in the 3rd were grumbling about memories of Amash pledging in 2010 to only run three or five terms (depending on the memory) before he vowed to leave office.

Amash is now in his fifth term.

Yes, a likable conservative with credentials who is willing to land some punches could give Amash problems, said Republican consultant Greg McNEILLY, a close confidant of the DeVos family.

"I think his schtick has worn thin," he said. "People expected a certain maturity to come with his time in office and they haven't seen it. They're frustrated with it."

Former Sand Lake Village President Tom NORTON said when his town was looking for help paying for its main street improvements, Amash's staff basically told him, "Good luck."

Norton said he ended up going to U.S. Sen. Gary PETERS' (D-Bloomfield Twp.) office and state Sen. Peter MACGREGOR (R-Rockford) for help. They came through with state and federal money to help make the project happen.

When it came to a National Guard veterans issue, Norton said he again went to MacGregor for help when Amash basically told him, "You're not our problem."

"I'd call Gary Peters' office before I call Amash's for anything and I'm a die-hard Republican who rarely votes for a Democrat," Norton said.

For strong pro-lifers like Byron Township Supervisor Tom HOOKER, Amash's less-than-anti-abortion record is a concern.

"I'm not happy with a lot of the things he does," Hooker said. "He is a perfectionist. It has to be exactly the way he wants it or he won't vote for it. I understand what he's doing to some extent, but . . . it's been a struggle."

While Hooker commended Amash for his visibility on social media and being open in explaining his votes, Hooker isn't convinced his public transparency will be enough next time voters head to the polls, depending on the alternative.

"If another conservative individual who would be a little less detailed oriented ran, (Amash) would be somewhat vulnerable," he said.
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4 weeks ago

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3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Thursday 2-28-19;

I'm so proud of OUR President Donald Trump,....and screw you Justin Amash!!!

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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4 weeks ago

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3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Wednesday 2-27-19;

What did Gov. Whitmer talk with Speaker Nancy Pelosi about in Washington D.C. on Sunday?!?!?

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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1st half hour discussion today, Wednesday 2-27-19;
MIRS News Service

Trump Hand-Picked Whitmer To Sit With Him At State Dinner

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER sat to the immediate left (appropriately enough) of President Donald TRUMP at Sunday's state dinner with several other governors. And as it turns out, it wasn't an accident.

In Washington D.C. for her first National Governors Association (NGA) meeting, Whitmer was among the 48 governors and 1,911 attendees to participate in what turned out to be the second-highest attended annual Washington D.C. meeting in the organization's history.

Whitmer ended up attending the President's ball with her father, former Blue Cross CEO Richard WHITMER, but her first face-to-face meeting with Trump was a highlight.

"He told me, 'I hand-picked who was at this table with me,'" Whitmer said. "I told him, 'It's because Michigan is so important to your re-election, isn't it?' He said, 'You're right.'"

The governors of Ohio, Georgia and Montana also sat with the President as he dined on a slab of well-done beef. Trump and the governors talked about issues, of course. The skills gap, the "infrastructure crisis," tariffs and so forth.

"He did a lot of the talking," said Whitmer. "He was talking about a bit about his most recent trip . . . There were some funny exchanges."

Asked to share some of those, Whitmer, laughed, "I took notes for the book."

The next morning, Trump participated in the morning session with 36 governors before he headed off to Vietnam and the Far East.

The Governors spent time with Trump, Vice President Mike PENCE, cabinet secretaries, and representatives of various countries, including Canada, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, Australia, South Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom.

As a whole, Whitmer said it was a "really good experience," one that former Gov. Rick SNYDER encouraged her to attended.

"He told me that as the CEO of a state, you don't have a lot of people who understand the kind of responsibilities that come with being governor so it was helpful to talk with other governors and bounce ideas off them," she said. "I found that to be true."

In particular, Whitmer spent time with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWINE, Illinois Gov. J.B. PRITZKER, Wisconsin Gov. Tony EVERS and Minnesota Gov. Tim WALZ as the Midwestern leaders talked about how to join forces around issues involving the Great Lakes.
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4 weeks ago

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3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Tuesday 2-26-19;

Media,...not reporting the truth; President Trump in Vietnam, SoS Jocelyn Benson worked for the Southern Poverty Law Center and U.S. Senate votes to KILL LIVE BABIES!!!

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4 weeks ago

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3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Monday 2-25-19;

Obama's SuperPAC from 2012,...coming after President Trump!!!

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The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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4 weeks ago

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Just a regular citizen, who is NOT a member of the NRA, delivers a GREAT speech to a committee of the State House of Rhode Island,...PLEASE SHARE!!!

Whiskey and Rebellion
One of my followers on instagram giving the Rhode Island House of Representatives the fucking business on gun rights in America. Rob, you're the man.
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1 month ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”,
Friday 2-22-19;

Every County in Michigan,...needs one of these groups!!!

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The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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1 month ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy”, Thursday 2-21-19;

Michigan's Attorney General - Dana Nessel is wasting tax dollars joining a frivolous lawsuit WITHOUT "Legal Standing"!!!

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The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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1st-hour discussion today, Thursday 2-21-19;
MIRS News Service

Roads, Rights, Reform Of Criminal Justice Top Republican Priority List

Improving infrastructure, protecting constitutional rights and religious freedom, and reforming the criminal justice system were all listed as top priorities for the House Republican caucus today when it unveiled its Action Plan for the 2019-2020 legislative term.

Rep. Aaron MILLER (R-Sturgis), who chaired the House Action Plan Committee that drafted it, called the document titled "Leading the Way For an Even Better Michigan" a roadmap.

"We have to sell Michigan," Miller said. "That's our central goal. We have to sell Michigan as a state. The simple truth is, we are competing with 49 other states, and we have to sell Michigan as the right place to live . . . This plan is the best road map for Michigan carrying us into the future."

Miller said the document drew from all 58 members of the caucus. It included:

- Improving infrastructure, including roads, public water systems and broadband.

- Protecting constitutional rights and religious freedoms.

- "Standing up for the most vulnerable," including the mentally ill and victims of opioid addiction.

- Criminal justice reform, including changes to civil asset forfeiture.

- And "putting more hard-earned money back into the pockets of Michigan taxpayers through lower car insurance rates and tax relief."

House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) said nothing in the document had been altered in an effort to win consensus with Democrats or Gov. Gretchen WHITMER. He said the Action Plan reflects the priorities of the caucus, but they do understand there may have to be some compromise to win consensus.

"These issues are priorities for us, because these are the significant reforms that will help us stay on that course," Chatfield said. "We are going to focus on the state's most pressing issues and deliver real reforms that will benefit the people of this state and our future generations."

Whitmer just outlined her priorities in the State of the State and promised more details on her roads plan when she submits a budget proposal in the next few weeks (See "Whitmer Calls On Residents To Post Pothole Photos On Social Media," 2/12/19).

Chatfield said the Republican plan on roads is already in operation and is not yet fully implemented.

"The one beautiful thing -- and I remind people of this often who say, 'What are you doing to fix my roads?' -- we have a plan that is actually working right now," Miller said. "It is in action as we speak. It's been in action for the last three and half years. To the end that more road funding is needed in addition to the plan that is already working and will be working for the next couple of years, I think that is going to be a discussion over the next two years."

But Miller said much of what is in the Republican plan are issues that the Governor should agree on.

"A lot of these priorities are the ones she advocated for on the campaign trail, and I don't think that is a bad thing. I think we can agree on a lot of these guiding principles. I would just site a few, as being auto insurance, that issue has taken great prominence in just the last four years that I've been in office. Infrastructure is on there, clean water is something we all agree on," Miller said.
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1 month ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with “Trucker Randy Bishop” Tuesday 2-19-19;

Gov. Whitmer wants Michigan to become a "sanctuary State" and AG Dana Nessel wastes Michigan tax dollars on joining a frivolous lawsuit against President Trump.

upnorthlive.com/news/local/michigan-joins-lawsuit-against-president-trump-for-emergency-declarati...

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1st half hour discussion, Monday 2-18-19;
MIRS News Service

Rep. Triston Cole Keeping An Eye On The Road For Hands-Free Legislation

As the driver of a semi-truck for 10 years, Rep. Triston COLE (R-Mancelona) had a vantage point of looking down into vehicles to see what other drivers were doing. Over that time, Cole said he saw drivers did "less and less true driving as they were traveling down the road."

"People were multi-tasking in many ways other than looking down the road. They'd be on an iPad, putting on makeup, eating a sandwich, all at the same time while talking on the phone. They just don't realize how dangerous that is. The human brain can only take in so much information at once and they really should be prioritizing traveling down the road in a safe manner," he said.

Cole and Rep. Jason SHEPPARD (R-Lambertville) introduced bills this week, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4198 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4199, makes viewing or sending messages in a smart phone, tablet or computer illegal while driving a car. The bill also bans being on a social media site while driving.

Although the bills don't use the words "hands-free," as Gov. Gretchen WHITMER suggested in her State of the State address, Cole said that is indeed his intent, to prohibit viewing or sending texts, messages and e-mails, but allowing phone calls if they are made from a hands-free device. (See "Whitmer Calls On Residents To Post Pothole Photos On Social Media," 2/12/19).

Cole said he had been working on the bill well before the speech, and called it "a first approach to solving some of the issues of distracted driving."

Current law bans texting while driving, but doesn't prohibit web browsing or posting to social media. Sheppard's bill would increase fines for violations from $100 to $250 for a first violation and from $200 to $500 for subsequent violations.

Rep. Mari MANOOGIAN (D-Birmingham) one day earlier introduced her own version of a hands-free bill. It appears more detailed. For instance, Manoogian's bill specifically says drivers can't use headphones if both ears are covered and spells out that drivers can't view video while driving. (See "Manoogian Dials Up Hands-Free Device Bill," 2/14/19).

"I really don't want to micro-manage law enforcement out there. And the intent was to put more tools in their hands to keep motorists safe on the highway. The more that we specify, the more detail, the more difficult it is for them to prove that was happening," Cole said, but he agrees drivers shouldn't be watching TV.

"Depending on what you are watching, that can be very distracting. That endangers other motorists on the road," he said.

Cole said he hasn't seen Manoogian's bill, but he's open to the idea of merging or picking up pieces of it.

"I will be looking at that legislation she has introduced and see how it fits with what Rep. Sheppard and I have introduced and have those conversations. I think there is still a lot of bipartisanship that can be done. That is how I will approach that as I go through the committee process," he said.
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1 month ago

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PLEASE,....SHARE THIS VIDEO,...EVERYWHERE!!!

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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 2-13-19;
MIRS News Service

Legal Challenge To Paid Sick Leave, Min. Wage Changes Imminent

A legal challenge to take down the Legislature's lame duck changes to the state's minimum wage and paid sick leave proposals is coming soon, MIRS has learned.

Leaders of both drives to create a $12-an-hour floor by 2022 and an annual bank of 72 hours of paid sick leave said with "100 percent certainty" something would be done to bring back the original proposals approved by lawmakers last summer before they were changed in December.

Oakland County Commission Chair Dave WOODWARD, who did work for both Time To Care and One Fair Wage, said he could say with "100 percent" certainty that "we're going to improve paid sick time for all workers and we're going to do whatever it takes."

"We're not going to stop," he said. "We're going to keep at this. We're going to keep moving the needle so workers have a chance to climb up that ladder of opportunity."

That could mean going back to the ballot in 2020, but Woodward also said, "I'd like to explore the constitutionality of what (the Legislature) did" when it passed both citizens initiatives in September (See "House, Senate Pass Paid Sick Leave, $12 Minimum Wage," 9/5/18) and then significantly changed both proposals in December (See "House Further Revises, Then Passes Paid Sick Leave, Minimum Wage Bills," 12/4/18).

No lawsuit challenging the amending of the citizens initiatives has been filed, yet, but One Fair Wage and Time to Care, the groups that pushed the proposals, have previously decried the legislative action as being unconstitutional.

Danielle ATKINSON, founder of Mothering Justice in Michigan, also emphasized during a panel discussion at the Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE) annual conference that her group isn't letting off the gas.

"Mothering Justice is a momma's agenda. Leave policies are on that agenda. We've been working toward that for six years. We will not stop until all of our proposals are enacted," she said.

Justin WINSLOW, executive director of the Michigan Restaurant Association, and Charlie OWENS, National Federation of Independent Businesses, also shared their perspective during an issue panel.

Under the legislative changes, the $12 minimum wage won't be phased in until 2022 as opposed to 2030. Also, tipped workers won't be brought up to $12, which was in the original proposal. Instead, restaurant staff's pre-tip wage will be 38 percent of the existing minimum wage.

The Legislature's changed paid-sick leave proposal limits the number of impacted businesses to those with more than 50 employees. Instead of 72 hours of paid sick time a year, it would be 40 hours and would only apply to employees with a year of service.

Winslow called the original proposals a "fundamental and existential threat to the restaurant industry," the state's second-largest employer. Polling from 1,700 of his members showed that because of this change, 19 percent will be allowed to stay open.

Another 76 percent said because of the retention of the tip credit, they will be able to grow or retain jobs.

On the issue of whether One Fair Wage and Time to Care will be on the ballot in 2020, Winslow took a pessimistic view that "this will be a perpetual two-year process. There is no end game. Politically speaking, it makes sense to put this on the ballot every two years."

While the straight polling on both issues is strong, Owens said if respondents knew the impact both proposals would have -- a projected 18,000 jobs lost and $3.9 million sucked out of the state's economy -- they would change their minds.

"It is a soul-crushing experience to be a small business owner and have 10 employees and have to walk out to two of them . . . and say 'I'm sorry, we have to let you go' . . . in order to afford this mandated benefit on the remaining eight employees," Owens said.
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TOMORROW - Wednesday, February 13th, 2019,
(3rd Hour 11 am - Noon);
"Trucker Randy's" response to Michigan Governor - Gretchen Whitmer's "State of the State" address tonight;

Listen online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com
Or, on the TuneIn app (download, open and search for WYPV) and LIVE on Facebook via my personal page;
www.facebook.com/truckerrandybishop
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 2-11-19;
MIRS News Service

Whitmer Wants 'Legislative Improvements' For Healthy MI Work Requirements

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER wrote to federal officials today that she plans to ask for legislative "improvements" to the Medicaid expansion program Healthy Michigan and the work requirements lawmakers last year added to the program.

The federal government signed off late last year on Michigan adding work requirements to Healthy Michigan beneficiaries (See "Feds Approve Healthy MI Waiver For Another 5 Years," 12/21/18).

While that may be, Whitmer said she's planning to ask the Legislature to "work with me in the coming months on changes to the Healthy Michigan Plan that preserve coverage, promote work, and reduce red tape for Michiganders, while also minimizing administrative cost to the state."

Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) said today in response that Whitmer "missed a chance to demonstrate her voiced commitment to 'partnering with the legislature' by going public with her intent to likely water down Michigan's unique and thoughtful Medicaid work requirement."

Shirkey said "learning to commit to the disciplines of work is a very key element of fulfilling" the mission of Healthy Michigan, which he said is to remove the health-related obstacles that prevent enrollees from achieving their highest level of personal responsibility.

"I will be an active listener," Shirkey said.

Shirkey sponsored the legislation last year requiring the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to submit a waiver proposing work requirements for Healthy Michigan (See "Medicaid Work Requirement Bill Signed," 6/22/18).

In the letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Whitmer pointed to Arkansas, where she said 18,000 people lost insurance in the first seven months under similar requirements, with many losing coverage "simply because they had not heard or did not understand how to comply."

The Governor then referenced a study this week projecting anywhere between 61,000 to 183,000 Michiganders could lose health coverage with the work requirements scheduled to be implemented in 2020 (See "Report: 183K Could Lose Medicaid Coverage Under Work Requirement," 2/6/19).

"As in Arkansas, Michigan's new law provides no resources for job training, job search or job supports," Whitmer wrote. "There is no reason to expect better job outcomes."

Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) President and CEO Gilda JACOBS today commended Whitmer for acting to keep Healthy Michigan going, while moving to promote change to the work requirements piece.

Jacobs said the law forced Whitmer's hand "by requiring her either to accept the work requirements -- a policy she clearly has concerns with -- or risk eliminating the Healthy Michigan Plan altogether, which puts the care of 680,000 people in jeopardy (See "Pink and Blue Sounded Nice But Did Greenbacks Call the Tune?" 2/4/19).

"It is an unfortunate statement on how this public policy was crafted that the only recourse our state's top elected official currently has is a letter, but we appreciate that Gov. Whitmer is doing what she can to oppose this and protect Michiganders’ healthcare," Jacobs said.

The Michigan Association of Health Plans (MAHP) said in a statement today that while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) "has raised concerns about a few issues," the MAHP doesn't believe "they create serious disruption for the Healthy Michigan Plan.

"We are prepared to work with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration and the Legislature to refine the Healthy Michigan Plan policies to meet the needs of our state," said Dominick PALLONE, executive director of the MAHP.

The work requirements stipulated by the legislation and reflected in the DHHS waiver were intended to "closely mirror" the current cash and food assistance program work requirements.

The requirements in Healthy Michigan would apply to beneficiaries aged 19 to 62 who aren't already exempt to log an average of 80 hours a month of qualified work activities.

Among those qualified activities include education related to employment, job training, vocation training, internships, participation in a substance abuse disorder treatment program, and community service with a nonprofit, although the community service can only count for three months of work activity in a 12-month period.

There are a number of exemptions to the work requirements, including caretakers of a family member under age 6, pregnant women, beneficiaries of temporary or long-term disability benefits, the medically frail and people who had been incarcerated in the past six months, among other categories.

Beneficiaries would be expected to self-report these hours, and are allowed three months of noncompliance in a 12-month period. After that, the beneficiary's eligibility would be suspended, and if anyone misrepresents his or her compliance with work requirements, they'd be barred from Healthy Michigan for a one-year period.
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1st hour discussion today, Tuesday 2-5-19;
MIRS News Service, Lansing, MI

AG Withdraws State From 4 More Federal Cases, after withdrawing from 8 cases last week;

Attorney General Dana NESSEL's efforts to withdraw Michigan from federal cases continued today as she withdrew the state from four federal cases involving civil rights.

The cases are: Fish v. Kobach in the 10th Circuit; Greater Birmingham Ministries v. Merrill in the 11th Circuit; Lopez-Aguilar v. Marion County in the Seventh Circuit; and United States v. California in the Ninth Circuit.

"Michigan is a melting pot of legal residents who have come here from every corner of the world," Nessel said today in a prepared statement. "This office will not take any action that would limit full and active participation as voters and as residents."

Fish was filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City and it seeks an order requiring the state to immediately register thousands of Kansans who sought to register to vote, but who were denied due to the alleged failure to complete citizenship documentation requirements, according to the ACLU of Kansas.

Greater Birmingham is a legal challenge to Alabama's voter photo identification law, according to the Campaign Legal Center.

Lopez-Aguilar is an Indiana case about the sheriff's department detaining someone without a probable cause warrant from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The California case challenges the state's sanctuary laws.

Nessel announced in late January that she had pulled Michigan from federal cases dealing with abortions and the separation of church and state (See "AG Pulls Michigan From 8 Federal Cases," 1/31/19).

Nessel also moved to intervene in a federal lawsuit defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is known as Obamacare. (See "Michigan Moves To Intervene In Federal ACA Case," 1/31/19.
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Hour 2 discussion today, Monday 2-4-19;
MIRS News Service

Gary Glenn: Consumers Energy Crisis Was Avoidable

The fall-out from the unexpected fire at a Consumers Energy pumping station that stopped the daily flow of 1.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day down to zero could have been avoided had the utility had a reliable back-up system to fall back on during the state's most brutal deep freeze since 1994.

That's the opinion of long-time utility critic and former House Energy Committee Chair Gary GLENN. He argues the Jackson company needs a "backup infrastructure and a redundant system" that would have negated the need to urge customers to lower thermostats to 65 degrees (See "Whitmer, Consumers Energy President: Please Turn Thermostats To 65," 1/30/19).

Consumers CEO Patti POPPE and Gov. Gretchen WHITMER asked all Lower Peninsula customers to comply with that request, which resulted in a 10 percent reduction in usage.

Poppe credited the voluntary reductions with helping the company restore power to its normal levels. Consumers may have been in a position of using rolling blackouts if it didn't have the inability to get enough natural gas to its customers.

Glenn said he believes Consumers has the least reliable system in the Great Lakes region. Citing a report done for his former Energy committee, Michigan and Minnesota have the most outages, but Michigan has 13 a year, which he contends is "double" the other states.

The utility reportedly did obtain more natural gas from the interstate pipeline and from other storage facilities in Northville and St. Clair.

The ex-GOP lawmaker demanded the utility use what he believes was $43 million spent on political commercials last year to beef up its infrastructure.

He told the Off the Record panel that part of the money the utility spent on negative ads against him cost him a Senate seat. He had a comfortable 8-point lead, but he saw it evaporate after those commercials hit the airwaves.

The Public Service Commission in a recent order, forced the company to halt such expenditures for now.

Consumers spokesperson Katie CAREY said the company faced an "unprecedented and unexpected emergency" because of the fire at its largest natural gas compressor station on the day before the state's coldest day since 1994.

"We have invested over $3.2 billion over the last 5 years to upgrade our infrastructure. However, we know that this week’s events have caused unease which is why we are already under way with a full investigation to help ensure this doesn’t happen again," she said.

Senate Wants Review Of Consumers After Fire, Too
Senate Energy and Technology Committee Chair Dan LAUWERS (R-Brockway) said today he wants to review the state's energy supply after a fire at a Consumers Energy facility Wednesday resulted in a statewide call for residents to turn down their thermostats to 65 degrees during the recent cold snap.

The fire at Consumers Energy's Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County resulted in all three of the facility's compressors being shut down. The facility handles a significant amount of the natural gas for the utility, and the shutdown reduced the amount of natural gas that could be delivered to customers from underground storage.

On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen WHITMER asked the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to conduct a review of natural gas supply and delivery as well as electrical and propane supply and develop a contingency plan by July 1.
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1st half hour discussion today, Monday 2-4-19;
MIRS News Service

AG Pulls Michigan From 8 Federal Cases

Attorney General Dana NESSEL announced today that Michigan will withdraw from eight federal cases, including four dealing with abortions and three involving the separation of church and state.

In making the announcement, Nessel said: "As Michigan's Attorney General, I will not use this office to undermine some of the most important values in our state, including those involving reproductive rights and the separation of church and state."

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan agreed with the decision, tweeting: "Best possible use of the pull-out method."

Amanda WEST, director of government affairs for Planned Parenthood, said Michigan residents "finally have the ally they deserve."

"Women elected strong leaders like AG Nessel to protect our access to reproductive health care, and with today's actions, she is doing just that," West said. "We were fed up with our bodies being politicized and our rights being the first concession in any negotiation."

Genevieve MARNON, legislative director for Right to Life, said Nessel's decision isn't a surprise since she "made her opinion . . . extremely well known" throughout her campaign. She called Nessel's comment about what's "most important" in Michigan's values is "a matter of opinion, which I don't share."

"She has her specific set of agenda," Marnon said. "She removes us from limiting abortion and joins anything that helps her friends at Planned Parenthood, such as challenging the (Affordable Care Act) rules."

Nessel announced today that she, Gov. Gretchen WHITMER and attorney generals from Colorado, Nevada and Iowa filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit that seeks to defend the ACA.

Three abortion-related cases are in the Sixth Circuit:

- EMW Women's Surgical Center v Glisson, concerns the constitutionality of a statute requiring abortion clinics to maintain written "transfer agreements" with a licensed acute care hospital and written "transport agreements" with a licensed ambulance service

- Pre-Term Cleveland v Himes, challenges Ohio's law that criminalizes performing an abortion if the person performing the abortion knows that one reason for the woman's decision to terminate the pregnancy is a fetal indication of Down syndrome

- Planned Parenthood of Ohio v. Himes, challenges a law that ensures funds received through non-abortion-related federal health programs aren't used to contract with entities that perform or promote nontherapeutic abortions.

The fourth case, Garza v. Azar, is in the District of Columbia Circuit Court. The suit is about an undocumented immigrant teen in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who seeks an abortion.

The three cases arguing the separation of church and state are:

- Freedom From Religion v. Lehigh, Lehigh, Pennsylvania, appeals a ruling that found a prominent cross in their county seal was unconstitutional.

- Gaylor v. Mnuchin challenges the constitutionality of Internal Revenue Code Section 107(2) -- commonly called the parsonage allowance -- that allows ministers to receive an untaxed cash housing allowance as part of their salaries.

- Barker v. Conroy deals is the constitutionality of the U.S. House of Representatives' guest chaplain policy that requires chaplains offering a prayer addressing a "higher power" to be ordained clergy.

Nessel, the state's first openly gay attorney general, also withdrew the state from Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management in the Eighth Circuit. That case, she said, would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Missouri resident Mark HORTON claimed Midwest discriminated against him when it rescinded a job offer after learning he was gay.

Progress Michigan Executive Director Lonnie SCOTT applauded Nessel's decision.

"Pulling out of these lawsuits is a great move for our state," Scott said in a statement. "Reproductive rights and freedom for all people are areas that need to be expanded and protected, and we're glad to see the attorney general standing up for those values."
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd hour discussion today, Friday 2-1-19;

Click on the below link for the Crain's Business story;

www.crainsdetroit.com/government/former-lawmakers-propose-47-cent-gas-tax-increase-over-time-fix-...www.crainsdetroit.com/government/former-lawmakers-propose-47-cent-gas-tax-increase-over-time-fix-...
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Hour 2, 1st half hour discussion today, Thursday 1-31-19; MIRS News Service

Whitmer, Consumers Energy President: Please Turn Thermostats To 65

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER is urging Consumers Energy natural gas customers, which is much of the Lower Peninsula, to turn down their thermostats to 65 degrees on Michigan's coldest night since 1996 in the face of a potential gas shortage Thursday. Whitmer asked people to keep their indoor heat at 65 degrees until noon Friday.

A morning fire at a "significant facility" in Macomb County is straining the system and Consumers President and CEO Patti POPPE is concerned about getting enough heat to hospitals, senior citizen homes and other facilities Thursday in the face of a second straight day of subzero temperatures.

Lansing's forecast for tonight is a low of -11 with a wind chill of -34.

Roughly 4.1 million Michiganders rely on Consumers Energy natural gas to heat their homes. This includes nearly all of mid-Michigan, the northern part of Metro Detroit and the tri-cities area around Saginaw, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

"You can play a role in helping people across the state survive these extreme temperatures," Whitmer said. "Please do. We’re calling on every Michigander to do your part and help us weather this storm together.”

Poppe said she's already convinced General Motors, Chrysler, Ford and "countless" other business to slow its production schedules in the face of the problem, but "it's not enough."

"No one can do everything, but everyone can do something and I need you to take action right now," Poppe said. "We are appealing to all Michiganders to consider reducing your thermostat as much as you can. It will make a difference."

The 10:33 a.m. fire at Consumers Energy's Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station was contained with no reported injuries. The cause is still under investigation. In the meantime, the compressor station has been shut down until safety and damage assessments are done.

Consumers is tapping into its emergency storage in Northville and St. Clair to help deliver natural gas, but the utility may be reaching "uncharted territory" and that demand may overwhelm what can be supplied. Contingency plans are being developed on what that might look like.
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1st half hour discussion Thursday, 1-31-19; MIRS News Service

Mackinac Island Going After State Over Line 5

The city of Mackinac Island is formally challenging two permits issued by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 2018 to try to reduce the "risk of catastrophic damage" to the island posed by the 66-year old Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

Mackinac Island Mayor Margaret DOUD said residents were promised that Line 5 "would have a limited life span," but state officials have proposed to "extend the operation of the dual pipelines as much as another 10 years" rather than phasing it out.

"The city, people, and businesses have waited far too long," she said. "It is time to bring Line 5 under the rule of law and bring it to an orderly closure. Enough is enough."

The city's petition contests the DEQ's November decision to issue a permit for the installation of 48 saddle supports along the dual pipelines, as well as an application to intervene in an already pending contested case involving a similar permit for 22 such supports issued by the DEQ in May 2018, according to a press release issued today.

The city argues the anchor supports "significantly alters the structure and design" of the pipelines that the state originally approved in 1953.

By turning the pipelines into an underwater suspension bridge above the lakebed, these support structures increase the risk of an anchor strike hitting the pipeline, like the one that occurred in April 2018, the city alleges. (See "Line 5 Back Up After Being Down, Coast Guard Still Investigating," 4/16/18)

The Straits of Mackinac Alliance, a local citizens group, filed the existing contested case in the summer. (See "Bits And Tidbits New Coalition Challenges Enbridge's Anchor Permit," 5/22/18.)

A separate petition also was filed by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and combined into one administrative proceeding (See "State Approves 4 Anchors For Straits Pipe Holds Off On 18 Others," 10/3/16).
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 1-28-19;

Trump Seeks Chatfield Advice . . . Really?

"It was a neat experience. I can't lie."

Ya think?

That's the takeaway from an exclusive 12-minute con fab with President Donald TRUMP and the House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) earlier this week after Chatfield invited Trump to do his State of the Union address in the state House chambers.

Once the President graciously declined the offer, the chat moved onto something that might raise your eyebrows. The 72-year-old Trump was picking the brain of 30-year-old Chatfield on how to get along with the other side.

"I understand you have a Democratic governor," Trump began. "How are you able to work things out?" he wondered out loud, perhaps with shades of his nasty and very public verbal fisticuffs with U.S. House Speaker Nancy PELOSI and Senate Minority Leader SCHUMER still spinning in his head?

The Speaker did not tell the Off the Record panel his response, but he did say, "He was certainly asking how to do it."

To prove that it can be done, at this early stage, the bi-partisan thing at the state capitol is taking shape. The Speaker noted that he already trusts the Governor and "we have a great relationship . . . We got off on the right foot," while acknowledging what everybody knows, there will be times when he and she don't agree.

Back to the Trump conversation, it's a talk that almost did not happen.

It was not the Speaker's original idea to extend the SOTU overture to the White House. In fact, he was not sure he wanted to do it given the feeling that he knew what the response would be. But he pulled the trigger and came away from the phone conversation from the Oval office to the Speaker's office with this impression,

"It was a genuine interest in wanting to have further investment in the State of Michigan," he said.

The big loser in all this was perhaps the unnamed reporter who was interviewing Chatfield when the series of text messages flew back and forth between Lansing and Washington. The reporter had no idea that the President was going to be on the line. So, he left missing out on an exclusive that never was.

As for the Speaker, it is unclear if he pinched himself after the once-in-a-lifetime exchange with the leader of the free world.
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3rd hour discussion today, Friday 1-25-19; MIRS News Service

Civil Asset Forfeiture Bill First To Move In Session

Someone would have to be convicted of a crime before police could keep, through civil asset forfeiture, money or property seized during an investigation, under legislation that moved out of a Senate committee this morning.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0002, sponsored by Sen. Peter LUCIDO (R-Shelby Twp.), became the first bill reported out of a legislative committee in the 2019-2020 session after members took roughly 45 minutes of testimony on the matter.

The measure mirrors House-passed legislation that stalled in the Senate during last month's lame duck session (See "About 50/50 Custody And Other Bills That Died In The House Today," 12/12/18).

"SB 2 has already been voted on in the House," Lucido told his colleagues, in reference to last session's vote. "It was overwhelmingly a bipartisan-supported bill.

After the hearing, Lucido, chair of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, told reporters he saw no reason why the bill shouldn't move quickly on the Senate floor.

There was no testimony offered against the legislation, however, the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police turned in a card opposing it. Support for the bill came from groups across the ideological spectrum -- including the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the ACLU, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the Bankers Association and the District Attorneys Association.

Sen. Tom BARRETT (R-Potterville) questioned why cash or property valued at $50,000 or more isn't treated the same way under Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0002 as smaller amounts are treated.

"I don't feel like, as of itself, having a large sum of money is a criminal act in this state and that alone shouldn't make you forfeit anything of your own," Barrett said.

Lucido asserted that the $50,000 threshold does not define when the property becomes subject to forfeiture, it defines when the police turn the situation over to the prosecutor, who then has to determine whether there's probable cause to believe a crime is involved.

Sen. Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake), who chaired the House Judiciary Committee last term where much of the work on the legislation took place, pointed out that between 80 and 90 percent of all forfeitures involve amounts below $50,000.

Sen. Curt VanderWALL (R-Ludington) asked what happens to someone's property if their case gets "plead down."

"You can still fight the asset forfeiture, however that plea can be used against you," Lucido said. "But if you talk with the police, they'll tell you that 99.9 percent of the time they'll work out the property as part of the plea disposition."

Sen. Jeff IRWIN (D-Ann Arbor) said, though he is in favor of the legislation, he'd prefer that it further reflected the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He then posed a hypothetical question.

"You spoke of folks out there who feel we can go even further – for the record, you can count me among them," Irwin said. "However, I appreciate the direction this is going. But how will this play out when we have something that's legal under state law, but federal law makes it illegal?"

He then asked if the State Police or the Macomb County Sheriff's Department could seize medical marijuana and destroy it based on the argument that it's an illegal substance under federal law.

In response, Lucido admitted that the legalities of the situation described by Irwin are open to debate.

"I'd like to see an Attorney General opinion, or that of a U.S. Attorney from the Eastern or Western district," Lucido said. "Nobody really knows what the federal government is going to do."

Waterford Township Police Chief Scott UNDERWOOD, who said he began his 35-year career as an undercover narcotics detective, testified in favor of the bill.

"Asset forfeiture has been a valuable tool in the fight against drugs for all of us," Underwood said. "I think we need to continue to be able to use that as police officers. We still need to seize property while we continue to negotiate, using the assets and pleas. I believe that those interests in this particular bill have been addressed."

Charles OWENS of National Federation of Independent Businesses-Michigan, also testified in favor of the legislation.

"Our members have made it clear that they want us to go further," Owens said. "We do support SB 2 as more progress toward resolving some of the outstanding concerns with this issue."

"Why does small business care about this issue?" Owens continued. "It's not unusual for small businesses to carry a lot of cash."

After the bill was reported out of committee, MIRS asked Lucido if he'd talked with Senate leadership about moving SB 2 quickly. He answered "yes," and then emphasized that the issue is also on solid ground in the House, where House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) has made asset forfeiture reform priority No. 1. (See "Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Is First Horse Out Of The Gate," 1/9/19).

"I talked to the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee [Rep. Graham FILLER (R-DeWitt)] last night, because it's the No.1 priority of the Speaker of the House, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside," Lucido said. "They have taken my initiative of interest and brought it right to the front."

Amber McCANN, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) told reporters that it has yet to be decided how soon SB 2 will be brought up on the Senate floor.
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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 1-24-19; MIRS News Service, Lansing, MI

Senate Gives Shirkey Authority To Intervene In Redistricting Case

With a voice vote, the Senate today passed SR 6, which gives Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) the authority to engage counsel to file a motion on behalf of the Senate to intervene in League of Women Voters of Michigan et al v. Jocelyn Benson.

Senate Republicans want their interests represented in the court case and suspect Secretary of State Jocelyn BENSON doesn't have their best interests in mind now that she is pursuing a deal to settle the lawsuit (See "Benson Seeks Deal In Redistricting Suit; May Mean Redrawn Districts in 2020," 1/17/19.)

The voice vote on SR 6 seemed less than enthusiastic. But although the Republicans weren't particularly loud in calling out: "aye," they seemed more adamant than the Democrats did, when they voted "nay."

"If the bear and the raccoon choose to get together to decide how to divide up the forest . . . it only makes sense that the owl provide some wise input," Shirkey said.

One Senator's voice that wasn't heard taking the vote, was former Secretary of State and current Sen. Ruth JOHNSON (R- Holly), who officially abstained to avoid any question of a conflict of interest. The suit was originally filed with her as defendant -- in her role as Secretary of State.

Johnson told MIRS she preferred not to comment on either SR 6 or the lawsuit at this time.

Bill BALLENGER, editor of the Ballenger Report, offered a theory about the seemingly less than enthusiastic 'nay' votes coming from the Senate Democrats.

"That might be because some of the Democrats weren't exactly thrilled at the prospect of possibly having to run again in 2020, or not even being termed out in 2020 if they're currently serving their second term," Ballenger suggested, referring to the point he made in a recent article titled: "Jocelyn Benson To Legislative Democrats -- 'You've Got To Take One For The Team.'"

Ballenger's point is that if Benson's efforts result in requiring 2020 State Senate races, current senators would see the term they're serving halved; meaning Senators now in their second term would be ineligible to run. Among others, this would include: Shirkey, Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint), Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter MACGREGOR (R-Rockford), Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jim STAMAS (R-Midland), Sen. Curtis HERTEL, Jr. (D-East Lansing), Sen. Wayne SCHMIDT (R-Traverse City), Sen. Dale ZORN (R-Ida), and Sen. Ken HORN (R- Frankenmuth), the sponsor of SR 6.

MIRS asked Ballenger if he was aware of anything in Michigan's political past that was on par with the situation now beginning to play out with Benson's approach to the lawsuit.

"Absolutely not," Ballenger said. "There hasn't been anything like this. The closest thing I can think of, and it wasn't anything nearly as weird as this, was in 1961-62, when the Democrats and Republicans couldn't agree on how to draw the state's new 19th Congressional District. Yeah, that was way back when we were actually gaining districts.

"Well, they were running out of time, so the court made them use the previous 18 districts and had the new 19th District congressional race decided by a statewide vote," Ballenger continued. "The winner was Neil STABLER of Ann Arbor, and he did so well statewide that the Democrats ran him against then-Governor George ROMNEY in 1964. But Romney clobbered him, despite the fact that the Democrats and LBJ won just about everything else there was that year."

Ballenger said the courts also made Michigan redraw its congressional districts in 1964 to comply with the so-called "one man-one vote" principle. But neither the 19th district snafu in 1962 nor the 1964 map changes come close to what's happening under Benson.

"This is just crazy," Ballenger said. "These districts have been uncontested by the Democrats since 2011. It's obvious what should be done. Let the new commission draw the next maps. That will be tough enough. Jocelyn Benson may be a law school dean but she's totally unfamiliar with the Michigan Constitution."
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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-23-19; MIRS NEWS Service, Lansing, MI;

Leaving office, Gov. Rick Snyder's MSU Board Pick Gave $4K To Whitmer, $2,500 To Benson

Michigan Republicans are grumbling behind the scenes about how Gov. Rick SNYDER's Michigan State University (MSU) trustee appointment is a Democrat who helped push the party's former leader, ex-Gov. John ENGLER, out of a job.

Nancy SCHLICHTING does not wear her partisan credentials on sleeve. Her calling card is that she was the president and CEO of Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital who turned around, for the better, a health system that was $90 million in the hole when she took over.

The published author's professional accolades and other board positions are numerous.

But Schlichting is an admitted Democrat who supported Engler's removal as interim MSU president as one of her first actions on the board (See "Engler Resigns As MSU President In Face Of Removal," 1/16/19). That isn't setting well with Republican activists, according to numerous sources.

"That's offensive to a Republican Spartan from a barely Republican Wolverine," said Republican strategist Greg McNEILLY about the action by Snyder, a University of Michigan graduate.

Schlichting gave $4,000 to now-Gov. Gretchen WHITMER's campaign in the 2018 campaign and another $2,500 to now-Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn BENSON.

Schlichting donated $3,300 to former Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM back in the day. Combined, she's given $13,800 to Democratic candidates compared to $2,950 to Republican candidates, based on campaign finance records.

According to data compiled by Practical Political Consultants' Mark GREBNER, Schlichting voted Democratic in the 2016 presidential primary and signed the Voters Not Politicians petitions. Over the past 10 years, she has signed the nominating petitions of seven Democratic candidates and four Republican candidates.

In interviews with some media outlets, Schlichting has conceded that she is a Democrat, which Grebner said the election-related activities of she and her household would back up.

"My model says that given an evenly matched pair of candidates, there's an 85 percent chance she'll choose the Dem," he said. "That's not what I'd call a 'strong Democrat,' but more like a Dem-leaning independent."

Unlike Snyder's other appointments to college boards, his lone appointment to replace former retiring Democratic Trustee George PERLES comes with a political label. If she chooses, Schlichting could run in 2022. If she wants to seek the nomination, current Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Brandon DILLON said he doesn't see any reason why she wouldn't get a nod from Dem delegates . . . particularly after she was among the board members who pushed out Engler.
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” Monday 1-21-19;

Lansing policies have got to change, to fix what is wrong with our Great State!!!

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The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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1st hour discussion today, Monday 1-21-19; MIRS News Service

Former Sen. Jack Brandenburg Shooting For 239 Pounds

So what do former senators, who chaired the finance committee for example, do now that they no longer have a shot at eliminating the state income tax?

Answer: They work out every other day on the elliptical contraption with a goal of getting their weight down from 245 to 239.

"I want to get it below that 240 mark," laughed ex-Macomb County lawmaker and ex-football player Jack BRANDENBURG. His record is climbing 12.6 miles in 65 minutes "and after that I was dead and slept very well."

"It was six of one kind, half a dozen of the other" on leaving the legislature, he added.

“I didn't want to go. But it's nice to work on my schedule," Brandenburg reported from his retirement digs in Harrison Township. "I do miss the action. I loved walking onto the Senate floor every day and being ready for anything. I liked to play the game and score some points," he laughed again.

One of the touchdowns he could not score was his ill-fated effort to wipe out the state income tax. He labored long and hard with other like-minded conservative anti-taxers in the upper chamber but in the end, he couldn't get it by former Gov. Rick SNYDER.

He revealed the best he hoped for was a tax shift whereby the income tax would go bye-bye only to be replaced by about a 10 percent sales tax. He trotted out the argument he made as a senator.

"From 2006 to 2016, Michigan had 44,000 new people move here. Texas had 2.7 million and it has no income tax," he said.

Despite his hours working this thing behind the scenes, he still thinks, "it could have been done" were it not for the Governor and state Treasurer, who told him in no uncertain terms that they would not cut the budget. And even though Snyder did not telegraph veto threats, Brandenburg reported the Governor broke the rule on this one.

"I'm glad to be home," he reflected and recounts a conversation he had with his bride the other night, "Are you tired of having me around so much?" he cautiously inquired.

"You are not driving me crazy, yet," she revealed.

But for the next two months, he may get a chance to do that as he and she are heading to Naples, Florida, for his first-ever elongated break from the daily grind. "The most time I ever took off was three weeks," he recounted.

"I'm healthy, enjoying life and will help my son run the business, but I won't get in his way," which is a departure from what he did in the legislature. He was not bashful about getting his towering body in the way of those who stood in the way of advancing his agenda.

And as one wag put it, "if ever you were in a bar fight, you'd want Jack on your side." Not that they do any drinking or fighting in Macomb County.
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2 months ago

Your Defending Fathers

3rd/Final Hour of “Your Defending Fathers” Wednesday 1-16-19;
“Reforming Michigan’s No-Fault Car Insurance”

***PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO on your Facebook page and ON GROUPS ACROSS MICHIGAN!!!.***

The show can be heard LIVE 9 am - Noon, M-F (EST) AND 24/7 online at; www.yourdefendingfathers.com and on your cell phone/tablet via the TuneIn app (download the app and search for WYPV - "We're Your Patriot Voice")!!!
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