chalk and chalkboard in an education classroom
Public domain image via Wikimedia / wikimedia.org

Michigan legislators have given final approval to bills that would provide flexibility for K-12 schools as they prepare to open amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will sign the legislation to waive physical attendance and minimum instruction requirements to allow for remote classes. The legislation would give districts and charter schools the option to choose in-person instruction, online or a hybrid based on consulting with local health departments.

Hospital sign

A split Michigan Senate has approved changes to the process by which hospitals can do multi-million dollar construction or renovation projects. Senators also voted Wednesday to exempt hospitals from needing state regulatory approval to add psychiatric beds. The Republican-sponsored bills go to the House for consideration next. The legislation would change what's known as the certificate of need program, which is intended to ensure only needed health services are added in Michigan.

Prescription drugs photo
U.S. Army via Wikimedia | Public Domain / Wikimedia.org

People will be able to pick up prescriptions at certain Michigan pharmacies that aren't staffed by an on-site pharmacist under legislation signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Water faucet photo
Public domain image / Wikimedia.org

New bills in the state House would put Michigan’s water – including groundwater – in a public trust. That means that the waters would have to be reserved for the public’s use, and the state would have to protect the water for that purpose.

Elaine Isley, Director of Water Programs for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, said during a press conference that the state has not protected the ground water as much as the Great Lakes – and that has caused issues with contaminated drinking water in the state.

Michigan Capitol Building photo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is joining Democratic lawmakers to support a repeal of Michigan's abortion restrictions and regulations.

The legislation introduced Tuesday won't advance in the Republican-led Legislature. But the Democratic governor said it's important to advocate for the proposed Michigan Reproductive Health Act because residents "value a woman's right to choose."

The bills would repeal an unenforced 1931 law that bans virtually all abortions, remove a parental consent requirement and lift a 24-hour waiting period.

Mark Sanchez photo
Courtesy photo / LinkedIn.com

Mark Sanchez discusses legislation targeting surprise medical billing and delays impacting the Grand Rapids Whitewater project. Also, how an extended United Auto Workers strike could impact local auto parts suppliers.

School bus in the snow photo

Michigan school districts would not have to make up snow days that occur during state-declared emergencies under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

The House approved the measure on a 101-7 vote Wednesday. It goes to the Senate for consideration next.

The legislation is intended to address the high number of canceled schools days.

State law forgives districts from making up six days canceled for emergencies, and schools can get a waiver for three additional days. Legislators say the wintry weather has been so extreme that the law should be loosened.

Mark Sanchez photo
Courtesy photo / LinkedIn.com

The reintroduction of legislation could force downtown Grand Rapids residents to pay for city core services. Also, the growth of Association Health Plans and Grand Rapids SmartZone and Smart Garden propose a new contract.

Child hunter

A bill advancing in the Michigan House would allow 10- to 13-year-olds hunt on public land Children as young as 10-years of age could hunt on public land under a bill advancing in Michigan's Legislature.

State law currently allows those who are 10, 11, 12 or 13 years old to hunt with a gun on private property if they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or authorized adult.

The measure approved 102-7 by the House Wednesday would allow 10- to 13-year-olds to also hunt deer, bear and elk on public land.

Michigan's 15 public universities are asking the state Legislature to delay voting on bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case, expressing concern about measures that would retroactively extend the time victims would have to file lawsuits and remove an immunity defense for governmental agencies.

The Senate may vote this week on the legislation backed by victims of the imprisoned former doctor at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics.