Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place
The Right Place

The annual Mackinac Policy Conference has come to close. During last week’s program a discussion about the state’s preparation for future economic growth.

What are the elements for economic development?

“The bedrock is really three things: Workforce talent, infrastructure and a quality of life. Okay, those are the bedrocks.”

Birgit Klohs is CEO of regional non-profit economic development organization, The Right Place.

The Muskegon Fire Department may soon be a thing of the past. City officials are considering a proposal that would hand over firefighting responsibilities to the Muskegon Heights Fire Department.

Under the proposal, The City of Muskegon would maintain the buildings and equipment the Muskegon Fire Department uses, but would terminate local 370 and its firefighters, and outsource the duties of the fire department to Muskegon Heights. Muskegon Heights City Manager Jake Eckholm says the proposal is a win/win for both municipalities.

A candidate for the United States House of Representatives in Michigan’s 3rd district claims he’s getting squeezed out of the primary by incumbent Justin Amash. 

Republican Candidate Joe Farrington says the Amash campaign is behind a petition challenge sent to the State Board of Canvassers that challenges 362 of Farrington's nearly 1200 campaign petition signatures. A thousand valid signatures is required to appear on the primary ballot.   

wiki commons

The Michigan elections bureau is recommending certification of a ballot initiative that aims to end political gerrymandering by having an independent commission draw congressional and legislative districts instead of state lawmakers.

In a report filed Tuesday, Michigan elections bureau staff estimated that 394,000 signatures submitted by Voters Not Politicians are valid. That's more than the 315,000 needed.

The Board of State Canvassers is scheduled to meet Thursday to consider the proposal.

calculator and financial paperwork
Dave Dugdale via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / wikimedia.org

In a statewide poll Michigan voters overwhelmingly support expanding overtime pay. 

Lansing-based EPIC-MRA recently surveyed 600 registered Michigan voters asking this question: There is a proposal under consideration for either Michigan’s Legislature or Michigan’s next governor that would guarantee time-and-a-half overtime pay for salaried workers who earn up to $47,000 per year when they work more than 40 hours per week. 275,000 Michigan residents would be guaranteed overtime pay if this proposal was adopted. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?


The sponsor of proposed Medicaid work requirements is dropping a provision that would have exempted recipients who live in Michigan counties with higher jobless rates, saying Gov. Rick Snyder's administration worries it would be an "administrative nightmare."

Republican and Democrat logos

A statewide poll asks Michigan voters which of the gubernatorial candidates are recognizable and appealing leading up to the November elections. 

Lansing-based EPIC-MRA recently surveyed 600 registered Michigan voters likely to vote in the upcoming November midterm election.

Survey respondents were asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of gubernatorial candidates. The pollster selected Republicans Brian Calley,

Brian Whiston, State Superintendent, Michigan Department of Education
Dearborn Public Schools

State Superintendent Brian Whiston, who led the Michigan Department of Education since 2015, has died. He was 56.

The department said Whiston died Monday evening at his home, surrounded by family. He had gone on long-term disability leave Friday after being treated for cancer since last fall.

State education board co-presidents Casandra Ulbrich and Richard Zeile issued a statement Tuesday calling Whiston a "wonderful person who devoted his life to serving others." They say his vision to make Michigan a top 10 education state will endure.

John Kivela

A year after a state lawmaker's death, friends and family are gathering to raise money to support addiction treatment in the Upper Peninsula.

John Kivela, a Democrat from Marquette, killed himself after a drunken driving arrest in the Lansing area.

In 2015, he publicly said that he had struggled with alcoholism. An event to honor Kivela will be held Wednesday at Central United Methodist Church in Lansing. Lawmakers from both parties are expected to attend.

Great Lakes Recovery Centers Foundation will administer a fund in Kivela's name.

Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

The Michigan Senate has approved $56.6 billion budget plan that would provide the biggest increase in base aid for lower-funded school districts in a dozen years while slightly trimming a main fund that covers other state spending, largely due to a projected drop in public assistance caseloads.

The move Thursday sets the stage for further talks more than a week after the House OK'd its own plan. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature will work to finalize the next budget in June.