Senate OKs school district dissolution
LANSING — Legislation nearing final approval in Lansing allows state officials to dissolve deficit-ridden school districts and send the students to nearby schools.
Bills passed 20-18 Wednesday evening by the Republican-controlled Senate primarily address two struggling districts in the Detroit and Saginaw areas.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers are moving quickly because the Inkster and Buena Vista districts face the prospect of not having enough money to reopen for classes in September.
The legislation lets the state school superintendent and state treasurer dissolve a district with 300 to 2,400 students if certain criteria are met. Republicans say kids need a place to attend school this fall while Democrats say the GOP is wrongly blaming schools’ problems on mismanagement.
The House plans to send the measure to Snyder today.
Senate OKs off-road vehicles on more roads
LANSING — All 83 counties could choose to allow off-road recreation vehicles on road shoulders under legislation nearing final approval in Lansing.
Current law lets eight counties in the Lower Peninsula and every county in Upper Peninsula authorize off-road vehicles on road shoulders.
A bill approved 27-11 along party lines Wednesday in the Republican-led Senate could allow the vehicles on more roads if municipalities pass an ordinance. Another bill would let local governments ask the state Department of Transportation for permission to allow off-road vehicles on highway shoulders.
Law lets municipalities restrict fireworks
LANSING — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has signed a bill giving local governments in Michigan power to restrict the use of fireworks on the day before, during and after a national holiday.
After lawmakers legalized louder, more powerful fireworks in Michigan in late 2011, they began hearing from residents and local officials upset about noise and safety issues.
Legislation signed by Calley Wednesday lets local governments regulate fireworks use during nighttime hours on holidays and the day before and after.
Commercial-grade fireworks all are sold legally in Michigan after lawmakers and Snyder erased a previous ban. A local government could impose a maximum fine of $500 per violation of a fireworks ordinance under the new law.
Michigan’s jobless rate steady at 8.4 percent
LANSING — The state says Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate remained steady at 8.4 percent in the latest month as the size of the workforce and the number of people employed both grew.
The Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday that May’s unemployment rate was unchanged from April. The rate has dropped 0.8 percentage points from May 2012’s 9.2 percent.
Michigan’s jobless rate remains higher than the nation’s May rate of 7.6 percent, which was up from 7.5 percent in April.
The department says total Michigan employment rose 24,000 in May to 4.303 million.