The cost of “law and order” in Michigan has become too expensive. The state spends over $34,000 per year on each inmate in state prison; while some states spend more than this, others spend much less. Michigan’s costs are compounded by long sentences and relatively high incarceration rates.*
A national advocacy group from New York, Children’s Rights, Inc., filed a federal class action suit against the state of Michigan on behalf of the children in DHS custody in order to seek foster care reform. As a result, proceedings occurred for 2 years, in which the number of caseloads were found to be a major reoccurring theme for the Department’s deficiencies.Some have seen the improvements DHS has made, while others do not believe in the small positive outcomes that have been reported.
Despite this focus on the worst offenders, the list of Michigan cities experiencing financial difficulties is not limited to the struggling former industrial centers. Even growing, affluent communities like Ann Arbor and Bloomfield Hills (the wealthiest city in Michigan) cannot escape the forces driving local government debt.
Public Act 295 was enacted in 2008 as Michigan’s first step towards a renewable energy standard. This act required cooperatives and municipal electric utilities to generate 10% of their retail electricity sales from renewable sources by 2015. Unfortunately, Michigan was in the last group of states to adopt such a standard and the renewable energy target itself was one of the lowest nationwide. Several other states such as Illinois, Ohio, and Minnesota have already increased their renewable energy targets beyond their original standard and have passed new legislation in recent years. With the failure of Proposal 3 in 2012, commonly known as 25% by 2025, Michigan currently does not have a plan in place to take renewable energy to the next level beyond 2015.
The Michigan House of Representatives recently killed House Bill 4982, sponsored by Representative Andy Schor (D, Lansing) but placed language from the bill into House Bill 4295, sponsored by Representative Joe Haveman (R, Holland), which means funds may be appropriated for the infrastructural changes needed to open some schools year round in Michigan. The amendment would not increase the amount of days or hours students and teachers spend in class, it would simply reorganize the school calendar to break up the traditional three month summer vacation.
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