The Michigan House approved an amendment to the education budget on Thursday night that will penalize state universities and colleges five percent for offering domestic partner benefits for same-sex or unmarried partners. Shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday night, State Rep. Dave Agema (R-Greenville) posted the following status update to his Facebook page announcing the amendment:
A new Monroe County Human Rights Commission is set to take an important step forward Wednesday, paving the way to start hearing cases and complaints.
When fully functional, the group will be tasked with enforcing the county’s human rights ordinance, which aims to prevent discrimination.
The seven-person panel was established in December, and has been designing its first set of rules and regulations. If they are adopted as expected at Wednesday night’s meeting, the group will be ready to hear from individuals and businesses.
There aren’t any cases pending, said Jeff Cockerill, a county attorney. “This is one of those deals where we hope we don’t ever have to use the hearing process,” Cockerill said. “The potential, though, is certainly there.”
The new commission is designed to complement a similar body created by the city of Bloomington in the 1970s, he said. The county’s human rights ordinance, and the commission’s proposed rules, mimic those in place in Bloomington.
Cohesive standards are necessary to avoid confusion, Cockerill said.
The county’s ordinance aims to ensure that race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability are not a factor in access rights to education, employment, housing or public accommodations, according to a statement.
“I believe this is an important step for the people of Monroe County,” R. Earl Reagan II said in a statement. Reagan sits on the county’s new commission.
At a glance
WHAT: Monroe County Human Rights Commission
WHEN: Wednesday at 6 p.m.
WHERE: Nat U. Hill Room, Monroe County Courthouse, 100 W. Kirkwood Ave.