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Stateside: More people eligible for welfare; Pure Michigan’s impact; state’s most endangered species

a small orange brown butterfly sits on top of a yellow flower
Vince Cavalieri
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Poweshiek skipperling butterfly was once common around the Great Lakes region. Now, there are only five remaining populations, four of them in Michigan.


Today on Stateside, more people will be eligible for welfare benefits like food stamps and cash assistance under new rules rolled out by Governor Gretchen Whitmer this week. Plus, the budget for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign was zeroed out in a line-item veto. We'll talk about the campaign's effectiveness, as well as the politics over its funding. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.  

More Michiganders will be eligible for welfare benefits under new state rules 

Stateside’s conversation with Emily Lawler

  • The Whitmer administration is making it easier for some people to get welfare benefits, including food, cash assistance, and emergency funds. Previously, there were three different asset limits for each, and none totaled more than $5,000. Now, the cut off for all three programs is $15,000. There are also fewer verification tests. MLive reporter Emily Lawler has been following this story,and joined Stateside to explain why the Whitmer administration made this policy change, and what impact it might have on Michigan families.

Bills to “raise the age” for automatic adult prosecution head to governor’s desk

Stateside’s conversation with Jason Smith

  • Both chambers of the Michigan Legislature have approved bills that would stop the state from automatically treating 17-year-olds arrested for a crime as adults. Michigan is one of only four states in the nation to still do so. Jason Smith is the director of Youth Justice Policy for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. He shared what this legislation will mean for young people across the state if Governor Whitmer signs it into law.

The Pure Michigan campaign lost its funding. Here’s how that might impact tourism.

Stateside’s conversation with Evan Jordan, TJ Bucholz, and Ken Sikkema

  • Michigan ranks fourth in the nation when it comes to tourism ad spending, but comes in at number 10 for actual tourism rates. Despite its popularity among residents, there are conflicting reports about what kind of return-on-investment Michigan gets for money spent on its well-known Pure Michigan campaign. Evan Jordan is an assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies at Indiana University. He explained the debate over tax-funded tourism advertising and how effective campaigns like Pure Michigan are at attracting tourists. 
  • We also discuss the politics behind Governor Whitmer's line-item veto of the budget for the Pure Michigan campaign with our Friday political commentators. TJ Bucholz is president of Vanguard Public Affairs, a progressive political strategy firm. Ken Sikkema is Senior Policy Fellow for Public Sector Consultants, and a former Republican Majority Leader of the Michigan Senate. 

Wayne County takes first step in an effort to reduce its jail population

Stateside’s conversation with Robert Dunlap and Timothy Kennedy

  • The state of Michigan is looking into how counties handle jailing suspects and those serving short sentences. At the same time, some counties are doing their own studies. Wayne County held a meeting last night to review data from a study looking into how to reduce the number of people incarcerated in Wayne County jail.
  • Robert Dunlap is the Chief of Jails for the Wayne County Sheriff’s office. Timothy Kennedy is Chief Judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court. They joined us to talk about what the data says about who ends up in jail in Wayne County, and how the county might use that information to reduce the jail population. 

How the once-common Poweshiek skipperling became Michigan’s most endangered species

Stateside’s conversation with Nick Haddad

  • Just since the 1990s, a small butterfly has gone from an abundant population to a survey count of fewer than 100 in the U.S. and Canada. Of that number, 43 were found in Michigan. Most of those were in one spot in Oakland County. We learned that from Detroit Free Press reporter Keith Matheny's recent storyon the Powesheik skipperling.
  • Nick Haddad is a professor and senior terrestrial ecologist in the Department of Integrative Biology at Michigan State University. He’s based at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station near Battle Creek. He told us how the butterfly became so scarce, and what we can do to prevent it from becoming extinct. 

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