LANSING, MI – The Michigan Senate has passed a bill that would eliminate funding for a state-sponsored college scholarship program but keep debate about the program alive.
The Republican-led chamber's version of the higher education bill passed 19-17 Tuesday eliminates money for the Michigan Promise scholarship for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. But it keeps a placeholder for the program in the bill in case lawmakers figure out a way to at least partially fund the scholarships.
Mason, MI – The Ingham County Board of Commissioners has approved the use of project labor agreements for certain types of construction projects. AUDIO: The commission's 13 to 2 vote in favor of project labor agreements gives the county the discretion to use them on a case by case basis.
PLA's are collective bargaining agreements that set workplace rules before contractors are hired. Non-unionized workers argued PLA's would shut them out of the county bidding process.
LANSING, MI – Lt. Gov. John Cherry says Michigan lawmakers should restore money for the state's primary publicly funded college scholarship program.
Cherry said in a teleconference Tuesday that while the Michigan Promise scholarship program may not be immune from budget cuts, lawmakers should not completely eliminate it. Cherry, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for governor in 2010, says eliminating the program would break a promise to the 96,000 students expecting to receive some money from it this fall.
TWIN LAKE, MI – TWIN LAKE, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan arts camp has canceled a three-week orchestra tour of Europe after several students came down with the flu.
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp says its International Youth Symphony Orchestra was scheduled to depart Monday evening from Detroit Metropolitan Airport. But several students were diagnosed with type-A influenza while touring Ohio over the weekend.
LANSING, MI – The state House Appropriations Committee plans to vote Wednesday to cut spending for the department of History, Arts and Libraries, but save it from elimination.
The committee plans to roll back spending on the department by more than ten percent. Governor Granholm wants to get rid of the department altogether, and have its programs absorbed by other departments.
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is creating a White House council to handle issues that affect American communities and workers tied to the automotive industry.
The White House says Obama will sign an executive order Tuesday to establish the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. The council will be chaired by the president's economic adviser, Larry Summers, and his labor secretary, Hilda Solis.
The executive director will be Obama's director of recovery for auto communities and workers, Ed Montgomery.
DETROIT – DETROIT (AP) - Even in tough economic times, the body that regulates high school athletics in Michigan says most team uniforms are off-limits to schools looking to make some extra cash.
The Detroit News reports the Michigan High School Athletic Association doesn't allow member schools to accept sponsorship for their athletics uniforms. That rule applies to sports governed by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
NEW YORK – A closely watched study of new vehicle quality says Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have improved, but they still lag behind foreign competitors like Toyota.
J.D. Power and Associates' study of initial vehicle quality shows 2009 model year vehicles sold by the Detroit Three improved by an average of 10% from 2008. That's compared with an industrywide improvement of 8%.
Toyota's Lexus brand topped the rankings released Monday, followed by Porsche, GM's Cadillac, Hyundai and Honda.
LANSING, MI – Labor groups want Michigan to pass legislation that would extend unemployment benefits for people in job training programs and to some who were laid off as part-time workers.
The federal stimulus plan would make about $138 million available to temporarily pay the expanded jobless benefits. But Michigan would be on the hook to continue the payments once stimulus money runs out in 2011.
EAST LANSING, MI – The state Senate plans to vote this week on melding the Department of Environmental Quality with the Department of Natural Resources.
The Senate plan approved by the Appropriations Committee last week would create a new department - the Department of Conservation. The department would be similar to the Department of Natural Resources before the DEQ was created by then-Governor John Engler.
EAST LANSING, MI – Refugees with professional backgrounds often have difficulty getting re-certified to work in the United States. A national conference in East Lansing this week is addressing that problem.
Obstacles facing refugees include getting paperwork such as diplomas into the U. S. Conference organizer Linda Rabben says it's particularly tough for Iraqis.
LOS ANGELES – An American soprano singer and a Ukrainian pianist have won top honors at a competition that combines elements of "American Idol" and classical music.
Leah Crocetto, a 29-year-old first-year fellow with the San Francisco opera, won the $50,000 first prize in the vocal portion of the third annual Jose Iturbi International Music Competition at the University of California, Los Angeles.
ALLEGAN, MI – Flood warnings remain in effect for much of southwest Lower Michigan as residents clean up from damaging weekend storms.
The storms that slammed the region from late Thursday until Saturday generated three tornadoes, dumped up to as eight inches of rain in some places and knocked out power to 130,000 homes and businesses.
The tornadoes touched down Friday night in Allegan and Kalamazoo counties, destroying or heavily damaging three homes and several other buildings. No injuries were reported.
LANSING, MI – State Senators are planning to vote on budget cuts this week in Lansing.
The Senate Appropriations committee approved sweeping budget cuts for education, corrections and Medicaid last week. Committee member Roger Kahn said when the state faces a $1.7 billion deficit, lawmakers are forced to make cuts where there's a lot of money. And that often results in cuts to programs they'd rather not cut at all.