The 38 Michigan schools that were threatened with closure in January could now have a way to stay open.
State superintendent Brian Whiston sent letters this week to eight school districts that have schools on the closure list inviting them to participate in a “partnership” to fix the schools instead of shutting them down.
“Once an agreement is reached,” the letter says, “The School Reform Office (SRO) has agreed to delay any next level of accountability actions in order to give the Partnership Model an opportunity to be successful.”
A spokesman for the state education department said the eight districts that got the letter were Benton Harbor, Bridgeport-Spaulding, Kalamazoo, Muskegon Heights, Pontiac, River Rouge, Saginaw and the Detroit Public School Community School District.
Also receiving a letter was the charter school office at Central Michigan University, which oversees Detroit’s Michigan Technical Academy. The charter school got a new principal and curriculum in 2015 but was put on the closure list based on the results of tests taken before the new management arrived.
READ MORE HERE: Michigan school closures are off for now — as long as districts agree to partner with the state to improve | Chalkbeat
Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare are being hampered by divisions within the GOP caucus over financial aid to customers.
Source: Secret Obamacare bill gets leaked, and it looks like the wealthy would get less financial aid under new GOP plan
A “new” Republican congressional plan to replace Obamacare, which was being kept secret from the public and even GOP senators, reportedly is considering barring wealthier people from receiving tax credits to help pay for their health insurance plans.
But the new GOP outline still contains many of the same details of a previous replacement proposal, including a provision that has drawn the ire of very conservative members of the Republican House caucus, Politico reported Friday.
That provision would offer tax credits to people based on their age, as opposed to their income, as the Affordable Care Act currently offers people who purchase plans on government-run Obamacare marketplaces. Conservatives have complained that the tax credits would make a replacement merely “Obamacare Lite,” and decry the credits as a new entitlement.
However, the new version would not allow higher-income people to get those credits, Politico reported.
The new version the site reported still plans to phase out the expansion of Medicaid benefits to nearly all poor adults and replace that Obamacare provision with block grants from the federal government to states’ Medicaid programs.
And the new plan would both eliminate Obamacare taxes, providing wealthy people with a tax break, and generate revenue “by capping the tax exemption” for insurance plans offered through a job “at the 90th percentile of current premiums.”
The fact that the new version looks so much like a recent GOP version, which was also leaked to Politico, last week, raises the question of why Republican leaders went to such lengths to hide the proposal in a basement room in the Capitol, where it could only be viewed by select congressmen and not copied to be viewed elsewhere.
READ MORE HERE – http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/03/secret-obamacare-bill-gets-leaked-and-it-looks-like-the-wealthy-would-get-less-financial-aid-under-new-gop-plan.html
The Official U.S. Senate website of Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
Source: Home | U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
Senator Stabenow Speaks Out about Administration’s Delay of Asian Carp Plan
Last week, Senator Stabenow learned that the Trump Administration is delaying the release of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers draft plan to stop further movement of Asian carp in the Illinois River. “It’s extremely alarming that it appears the Trump Administration has decided to delay the release of today’s plan which is a critical part of our efforts to stop Asian carp and other invasive species from reaching our Great Lakes,” she said in a statement. You can read more in this Detroit Free Press story.
Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of Senate Great Lakes Task Force, and Congressman Bill Huizenga, Co-Chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force, led a bicameral, bipartisan letter to the United States Army Corps of Engineers stressing the importance of completing the study at the Soo Locks in an accurate and timely manner. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is currently undertaking an economic reevaluation of a project to build a new navigation lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Locks complex in Michigan,” the lawmakers wrote. “This revaluation is necessary due to erroneous assumptions later acknowledged by USACE in its original economic analysis. We write to ensure that USACE engages stakeholders and considers appropriate transportation alternatives to ensure an accurate benefit-cost ratio (BCR) analysis for the project, which is critically important to our states and the entire country.”
Senator Stabenow, who is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, joined Chairman Pat Roberts in Kansas last week for the first field hearing on the 2018 Farm Bill. Later this spring, Roberts will travel to Michigan to join Senator Stabenow for the second field hearing examining the 2018 Farm Bill. In her opening remarks, she stressed the need for the committee to work together to focus on the needs of farmers, families, and rural communities. “In this new Congress, we face a political climate unlike any other, but if there’s anyone who can pass a comprehensive, bipartisan piece of legislation, it is the Senate Agriculture Committee,” she said. You can read her opening statement, as prepared for delivery, here.
“When you’re poor, and I know this for a fact, life is harder,” said School Reform Officer Natasha Baker.
Source: School closure plan lacks student transportation option
“A delayed plan to close up to 38 chronically struggling Michigan schools – many in Detroit and other high-poverty areas — would leave parents on their own to figure out how to get their children to recommended alternatives, some as far as 30 miles away…
‘It was their right to know, and that’s why we pushed to make sure they had options,’ Baker said. ‘Now, were they far away? Is it difficult? Yes. But when you’re poor, and I know this for a fact, life is harder. You have to go the extra mile.'”
READ MORE HERE:
The defense sector spent less than $29 million on political contributions in the last election cycle heavily weighted toward Republicans.
Source: Defense sector contributions locked in on committee members
The White House plans to recommend a $54 billion hike in defense spending, a boost of about 10 percent from current levels. That’s not too shabby a return on investment, considering that the defense sector spent less than $29 million on political contributions in the last election cycle … read more. by Niv Sultan
The Sharing Economy–Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and the like–are spending money in Washington. Learn what they’re spending it on.
Source: Follow the Money: The Sharing Economy Meets Washington
Law Street Media partnered with the Center for Responsive Politics to produce a piece that looks at the sharing economy, with a special focus of the recently ramped-up lobbying efforts of Uber and Airbnb. The companies offer new services in existing markets, which means they have reason to be concerned about local and federal policies and regulations.
… read more
Using its corporate coffers and its PAC, coal company Murray Energy donated $1.5 million to candidates, party committees and outside groups in 2016
Source: Murray Energy bucks coal mining trend with record giving in 2016
President Donald Trump wasted little time attending to one of his constituencies: Less than a month after taking office, and surrounded by applauding coal miners and a few friendly members of Congress, he put the knife in an Obama-era regulation barring coal mine waste from being dumped in waterways…. read more by Ashley Balcerzak