Lawmaker: Students need education in financial literacy

One Michigan lawmaker would like to see financial literacy become a part of every high school students’ education. 
State Senator Darwin Booher was a banker for 41 years before he entered the world of politics, so he’s seen a lot of people destroy their credit because they didn’t understand the basics of finance.
He would like to see every high school student learn the basics of personal finance before they graduate.
“You have to know what your revenues are, and you can’t spend more than you take in unless you’re going right to the bank and borrow. And it’s as simple, just 101. Says heres how much money we have, and you can’t spend more than that.” Booher said.
Booher sponsored a resolution proclaiming April as “Financial Literacy Month.”
And he said his Senate Banking Committee will look at bills requiring finance classes in high school in the coming months.

Petoskey seminars focus on RTW and ACA

After fierce debate between Republicans and Democrats, two very different bills, that each have significant impacts on businesses, have passed into law. 
To help businesses navigate both the Right to Work and Affordable Care Act, the Petoskey Chamber of Commerce will  host two seminars, on each topic this week.   
Laws can change quickly. And businesses and employees who don’t keep up, could be faced with tax penalties or lost revenue. 
Carlin Smith is the president for the Petoskey Chamber of Commerce. He said two upcoming seminars will act as a practical guide to help businesses adjust to Right to Work and the Affordable Care Act. 
“The bottom line is both laws are in place and are moving forward, and businesses really need to know their role and responsibilities in regards to those laws. It’s our job to shine light for the businesses and help them be prepared.” Smith said.
“So they know and can stay ahead of the curb on what the law requires and what it means for the freedom of their employees.” Fishman said.
That’s Steven Fishman, the chair of the Workplace Law Group Bodman PLC. He’ll be speaking on Right to Work. He said the most important thing an employer can do is stay informed. 
“Employees will be asking lots of questions about this new law and employers should be prepared to answer those questions so employees can exercise their full freedoms under this new law.” Fishman said.
Employers will also soon be answering questions about health care. Charles Russman, is an attorney at Bodman. He’ll be speaking about the new Affordable Care Act as part two of the seminar.  
Russman said he’ll be concentrating on helping businesses prepare for the new law to avoid tax penalties. 
“You have to give healthcare to your full time employees, which for the health care reform is 30 hours a week on average. And so if you have employees who may or may not be above that threshold it’s very important to start keeping track of that and there’s very specific ways that the regulation encourages you to do that.” Russman said.
Russman said one concern with employees is that their health care coverage could change but Russman said, for the majority it will not, because of the type of coverage that employers are required to provide. 
“You have to provide what the health care reform defines as essential health benefits, which is a list of most of the things you normally think of like pediatric care, newborn care, hospitalization, physicals, vaccinations, things like that.” Russman said.
Chamber President Smith said whether or not you support Right to Work or the Affordable Care Act they are in place and Michigan businesses need to be prepared. 

State school takeover bill stalls in Senate, Republicans want changes

Michigan Public Radio Network
Republicans in the state Senate say it’s time to go back to the drawing board on a bill that would facilitate state takeovers of struggling schools.
They’re not happy with a version that passed in the state House last month.
Lawmakers in the House added several things Republican Senators don’t like to the bill. For one, they capped the number of schools the state’s Education Achievement Authority could take over at 50. They also put in language that would let regional public school officials take control of the schools instead of the state.
Phil Pavlov chairs the Senate Education Committee. He said he won’t take a vote on the bill until at least some of those things are taken out.
“We need to get support for it. So we’re taking a look at the changes the House made and coming up with some potential solutions.” Pavlov said.
Critics of expanding the Education Achievement Authority say it hasn’t been proven to turn around struggling schools and strips away local control.
Copyright 2013, MPRN

Business grant funds “wraparound” schools in Detroit

Michigan Public Radio Network
Detroit and other Michigan cities are turning to businesses to help pay for schools that offer a wide array of services for students, their families, and surrounding neighborhoods. Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta tells us how three schools in Detroit will use corporate support to expand what they offer.
Governor Rick Snyder was at Western International High School in Detroit to accept a one and a half million dollar donation from JPMorgan Chase. The idea is this: Students won’t succeed without a supportive environment in and out of the classroom.
“And when you look at a neighborhood that may have challenges, the best place to start is the local school.” Snyder said.
Snyder said schools can be used to provide parenting training, advice on managing household finances, help finding a job, and counselors who are available around the clock. 
It’s also being tried at schools in Pontiac, Flint, and Saginaw. The governor said he’s looking for more businesses to step in and help with the financing and to demand results. 
Copyright 2013, MPRN

Pure Michigan reports record numbers

Michigan had a record year for tourism in 2012. The Pure Michigan campaign announced there were three point eight million out-of-state visitors. 
Those three million-plus visitors spent a record one point one billion dollars at Michigan businesses. 
George Zimmerman is the vice president of Travel Michigan. He said its the product that makes the campaign so successful. 
“Michigan has a great tourism product. That’s where you have to start. Michigan has always had a great tourism product, that is not new but for budget and other reasons until 2009 we never advertised nationally our great tourism product.” Zimmerman said.  
Zimmerman said now that the state advertises nationally Michigan’s tourism industry could easily double. 

Snyder confident roads, Medicaid will be part of budget deal

Michigan Public Radio Network
Budget negotiations continue this week in Lansing. 
Governor Rick Snyder said he remains confident the Legislature will agree to raise more than a billion dollars for roads and transportation projects, and to add people to the Medicaid program. But many Republicans don’t support the federal health care law that would pay for the Medicaid expansion.
The Republican governor continues to have a tough time selling his budget to GOP lawmakers. But he said it can get done before a June deadline.
“You can’t predict things for sure, but as a practical matter, I think people are working in good faith to understand, we have problems to solve in Michigan.” Snyder said.
Some Republicans say they might consider the Medicaid expansion in exchange for some changes to the program. 
Copyright 2013, MPRN

Support building in Lansing to change high school graduation requirements

Michigan Public Radio Network
A plan to change Michigan’s high school graduation requirements could be sent to the state House floor as early as next week. 
Some Democrats are starting to embrace a few of the proposals.
Representative Ellen Lipton is the top Democrat on the House Education Committee. She said some changes are coming to one of the bills that could lead her to vote ‘yes.’ That bill is aimed promoting curricula designed for individual students.
But she said she still can’t support another bill in the package that would get rid of foreign language requirements and change math standards.
“To me, just to flat-out say, ‘these are no longer requirements,’ I think that that’s way too drastic.” Lipton said.
Lipton said the state’s current graduation requirements have led to higher student achievement and graduation rates.
Many Republicans in Lansing say they push students away from art, music, and vocational training. 
Copyright 2013, MPRN