Cheyna Roth

   Michigan’s next governor will be sworn into office tomorrow.

The festivities begin at 10:30, but the actual swearing in will take place at noon. Everything is outside in the January cold, in front of the State Capitol.

When it comes to certain details – like what people will say – governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer isn’t talking.

“No! laughs – You’re good Cheyna, but you’re not that good. You’re not getting it out of me”

Governor Rick Snyder is making his way through a large stack of bills. Lawmakers passed hundreds of pieces of legislation during its recent lame duck session. But more than a dozen bills so far didn’t make it all the way to the finish line.

       Before the end of the Legislature’s lame duck session – Snyder said he would not be a rubber stamp for the Republican Legislature’s bills. And he’s made good on that promise – even vetoing bills that got bipartisan support.

Michigan’s governor elect officially starts her new job on Tuesday. But Gretchen Whitmer is already announcing key new directors in state departments.

During her campaign, incoming governor, Gretchen Whitmer vowed to fix the roads. And a key appointment will be her new director of the department of transportation – Paul Ajegba. He says the department has a lot of needs, but not enough resources.

 

“We still have to learn to be innovative. Not be afraid to implement on innovative ideas to try and stretch that dollars.”

The Michigan Department of Corrections says it wants to fix its employee shortage. Department officials say they hope improving the shortage will help another initiative – Improving the mental health of the department’s corrections officers.

   Governor Rick Snyder will have to decide if Michigan should change how it regulates its wetlands.

   A bill is on its way to Snyder’s desk. The original bill was more broad and state departments opposed the move. But Republican lawmakers say they’ve made enough changes to bring the Department of Environmental Quality and others on board. And fewer wetlands would be impacted.

   The bill would, in part, prevent wetlands under 5 acres from being regulated, with exceptions. If a wetland is rare or imperiled, it could be regulated at under 5 acres.  

It’s the final stretch of the state Legislature’s lame duck session, and some bills won’t make it to the governor’s desk. Because of a procedural rule, some pieces of legislation are effectively dead.

Before a bill can move from one chamber to another, the Legislature has to wait 5 days. That means any bills in their original chamber that didn’t pass last Thursday, were effectively dead.

Some lawmakers had hoped to change regulations on recreational marijuana. But it was too heavy a lift since changes to measures passed during an election require a 3/4th majority.

Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law controversial changes to minimum wage and earned sick time measures.

In September, the Legislature adopted measures that were headed for the November ballot.

The Legislature’s bills significantly scaled back potential changes to the state’s minimum wage and earned sick time laws.

   Ari Adler is a spokesman for Governor Rick Snyder. He says the governor treated these like any other bills.

Republicans in the state Legislature are trying to limit the powers of statewide offices that – come January – will flip to Democrats. 

It's a strategy that's angered Democratic voters.

A new bill would penalize petition circulators if they lie to get people to sign a petition.

Petition circulators, in Michigan, are not legally obligated to tell you the truth about what is in the ballot measure you’re putting your name on.

A bill would change that. And if a petition circulator is dishonest about the measure, the signatures would be invalidated. 

Republican Representative Jim Lower is a bill sponsor.

“It makes sense to have this kind of transparency and accountability.”

Legislation that would allow for a proposed multi-use tunnel to send oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits of Mackinac passed in the state Senate today.

The plan is controversial. That’s because it would allow the decades old pipeline that currently transports oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits to stay open while the tunnel is built. Possibly for a decade.

Legislation approved by the Senate calls for a commission to oversee the multi-use tunnel that would be built and used by Enbridge Energy.

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