Midwest Memo: Michigan Lawmakers Approve Health Benefit Limits, Federal Court Won’t Intervene in Asian Carp Case

Three stories making news across the Midwest today:

1. Michigan approves health-care changes. The Michigan state Legislature approved a proposal Wednesday that requires local municipalities, school districts and counties to pay no more than 80 percent of their employees’ health-care costs or limit payments to no more than $15,000 per family. The vote was 25-13 in favor, largely along party lines. Proponents of the legislation say it gives local governments the means to trim benefit spending. Critics say the bill is an attack on middle-class families and public employees.

2. Courts won’t stop carp. On Wednesday, a federal appeals panel denied a request from five Great Lakes states to close shipping locks in the Chicago area. The states had asked for court intervention to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, but the court panel ruled the invasive species did not appear to be an imminent threat, according to the Chicago Tribune. Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had asked the courts to close locks at the Cal-Sag Channel and Chicago River.

3. JobsOhio announces partner. A jobs-creation group in Cincinnati has won a $4 million grant to help facilitate job growth at existing companies in the region. The Cincinnati USA Partnership announced Thursday a “grow your own” strategy that is supported by Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s JobsOhio plan, according to Cincinnati.com. Ohio’s unemployment rate inched upward to 9.0 percent in July, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cincinnati USA Partnership is one of six organizations that will officially be supported by JobsOhio.

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