Public News Service: MLPP “Read or Flunk” Won’t Solve MI Education Crisis

Too many Michigan fourth-graders aren’t making the grade when it comes to reading, but should struggling students be required by law to repeat third grade? July 30, 2014 — Public News Service

Shooting ourselves in the foot

Michigan and the seven other states that cut unemployment benefits in the wake of the Great Recession caused financial hardship for unemployed workers and failed to boost the overall economic outlooks of the states, a new report from the Economic Policy Institute concludes.

Problems with the unemployment system actually stemmed from underfunding the state trust funds in good times, rather than paying out benefits too generously, the report concludes. And cutting benefits not only shortchanged jobless workers and their families, it undermined the countercyclical role of the unemployment system that is designed to kick in when times are tough. (more…)

MLive: Health insurance subsidies – no impact yet from appeals court rulings

Health navigators for the Affordable Care Act expect to field calls from residents worried about their subsidies for health insurance after a pair of court rulings was released Tuesday, June 22.

Two federal appeals court panels issued conflicting rulings about whether the subsidies could be applied in Michigan and other states that use the federal insurance exchange. July 22, 2014 — MLive

The Detroit News: Health law rulings may affect Mich. subsidies

Washington— Federal health insurance subsidies could be in doubt for millions of Americans — including hundreds of thousands in Michigan — after two federal courts of appeal issued conflicting rulings Tuesday.

In the first case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with a group of small business owners who argued the law allows subsidies only for people who buy insurance through markets established by the states. Michigan is among 36 states that did not set up their own exchanges, relying on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace instead. July 22, 2014 — The Detroit News

WZZM on KIDS COUNT findings

WZZM’s Angela Cunningham looks at the Michigan findings in the National KIDS COUNT Data Book

WLNS report on KIDS COUNT

WLNS interviews League on the KIDS COUNT release.

WLNS TV 6 Lansing – Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Final Corrections Budget Invests in Prevention, Reflects Health Care Savings

The Department of Corrections budget for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 includes new efforts to prevent individuals from entering the justice system, helps inmates transition back into their communities and improves other re-entry programs. The Corrections final budget also reflects expected savings from the implementation of the Healthy Michigan Plan, which would allow the Department to claim federal reimbursement for some healthcare costs for inmates, probationers and parolees.

The final DOC budget approved is $2.04 billion in total funding, including $1.98 billion in state General Fund. This is a 0.4% ($8.1 million) increase in total funding, and a 1.2% ($22.8 million) increase in state General Fund dollars, compared with this year’s funding.

The DOC budget is the fifth largest, accounting for approximately 4% of total appropriations from all fund sources in the current fiscal year. When state General Fund monies are considered alone, the DOC budget is the state’s second largest, accounting for 21.3% of the General Fund. General Funds made up over 96% of the Corrections budget in Fiscal Year 2014.

The final budget is lower than the governor’s recommendation by $9.4 million in GF and total funding. Included in the DOC budgets are the following changes:

Healthy Michigan Plan

Governor:

  • Recognizes full-year savings of $19.1 million in state General Fund in Fiscal Year 2015 as a result of the implementation of the Healthy Michigan Plan. Under this plan, low-income individuals ages 19-64 – who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare, are not pregnant, and have incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level – qualify for comprehensive healthcare. The current-year budget assumed that most prisoner inpatient hospitalizations, certain services for mentally ill and medically fragile inmates, and some re-entry services would be covered. However, it was subsequently determined that certain treatments for sex offenders and substance abuse are not eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. The executive budget acknowledges that these services are not covered by federal funds, and reinstates $5.1 million in state funds to cover the costs.

House:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Senate:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Final Budget:

  • Concurs with the governor.

New Hepatitis C Treatment Protocol

Governor:

  • Includes $4.9 million in new funding to implement a treatment protocol for Hepatitis C, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current treatment duration can take up to one year; includes side effects such as depression, anxiety and anemia; and is not guaranteed to cure the disease. The drugs recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration shorten the treatment period to 12 weeks, have fewer side effects, and a success rate of approximately 95%.

House:

  • Does not concur with the governor.

Senate:

  • Includes a $100 placeholder to ensure discussion of the issue in conference committee, expressing concerns about the higher cost of the new treatment protocol.

Final Budget:

  • Includes $4.4 million in General Funds.

Mental Health Diversion Council

Governor:

  • Includes $1 million in state funding for a pilot project that will connect inmates in one local jail with comprehensive mental health treatment as they transition back into the community. This funding is part of the implementation of the recommendations of the Mental Health Diversion Council created by the governor in 2013. This council is tasked with developing methods to divert individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems out of the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment.

House:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Senate:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Final Budget:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Prisoner Education Enhancement

Governor:

  • Includes $4.3 million General Fund (of which $1.1 million is one-time funding) to expand prisoner vocational education and prepare parolees for entry into the workforce. The added funding will be used to hire 15 additional employment counselors and five instructors. This initiative will focus on helping inmates acquire skillsets that are in demand by employers and connect inmates with employers prior to their release.

House:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Senate:

  • Does not include this funding.

Final Budget:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Michigan State Industries

Governor:

  • Includes $12.3 million in restricted funds to cover the administrative costs of Michigan State Industries. MSI is a DOC program that employs inmates while imprisoned. MSI’s stated goal is to give inmates an opportunity to acquire job skills and experience in preparation for their release.

House:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Senate:

  • Reduces funding for this program by $6.2 million (50%) in restricted funds, and calls for a study of the program by December 2014.

Final Budget:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Goodwill Flip the Script

Flip the Script is a program of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, which provides education, job training and mentoring for young males, 16-30 years old, to encourage their self-sufficiency and prevent their entry into the justice system.

Governor:

  • Does not include funding for the program, which is a new line item in the Senate budget.

House:

  • Does not include new funding.

Senate:

  • Includes $4.5 million in state funds for Flip the Script.

Final Budget:

  • Includes $2.5 million in state funds.

Swift and Sure

The Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program is a joint project with Michigan Rehabilitation Services in the Department of Human Services, and is designed to assist mentally and physically disabled probationers find employment.

Governor:

  • Does not include new funding, which is a new line item in the Senate budget.

House:

  • Does not include new funding.

Senate:

  • Includes $3 million in additional state funding. These funds would be transferred to the Department of Human Services to expand The Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program.

Final Budget:

  • Includes $1 million in additional state funds.

Prisoner Re-Entry Legal Services

Re-entry legal services is a pilot program that would assist ex-offenders with employment, housing, child support and other related matters by providing outreach, education and legal representation.

Governor:

  • Does not include funding for the program, which is a new line item in the House budget.

House:

  • Adds $449,000 in state General Fund for two pilot programs to be established in Kent and Oakland counties (the latter also serving Wayne County).

Senate:

  • Does not include new funding.

Final Budget:

  • Includes $149,000 in state funds.

Re-Entry, Parole, Probation and Community Programs

Governor:

  • The governor recommends $311.7 million in total funding for re-entry, parole, probation and community programs, a decrease of 4.9% ($15.9 million) compared with year-to-date funding. This decrease reflects expected savings from the implementation of the Healthy Michigan Plan, expected reductions in federal grants, and a transfer of funds to the Correctional Facilities Unit for the newly re-opened Detroit Detention Center.

House:

  • Includes $312.1 million, a decrease of 4.7% ($15.5 million) compared with year-to-date funding.

Senate:

  • Approves $315.5 million, a decrease of 4.3% ($14.1 million) compared with year-to-date funding.

Final Budget:

  • Includes $313.6 million, a decrease of 4.3% ($14.0 million) compared with year-to-date funding.

Fox 17: Kids Count Report: Michigan ranks 32nd in overall child well-being

While Michigan is showing some improvement when it comes to the health and well-being of children, it still lags behind the majority of the rest of the states. That’s according to the 25th annual KIDS COUNT Report, produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

In the rankings for overall well-being of children, Michigan ranks 32 in the 2014 report. That is down a position from last year. July 22, 2014 — Fox 17

MLive: Kids Count rankings for child well-being: Michigan remains mired in bottom half of country

Michigan is improving slightly for major factors in child well-being, but still lags far behind the majority of states, according to the 25th annual “Kids Count” report.

The report, produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, revealed that while preschool attendance rates and teen birth rates improved from last year’s report, the state remains mired behind its neighbors. July 22, 2014 — MLive

WLNS: Kids Count Report Reveals Michigan Kids Falling Behind

The national kids count report is out Tuesday and it’s shining a spotlight on the kids in Michigan.

The study shows some Michigan children are significantly behind when it comes to their well-being and success. July 22, 204 — WLNS

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