Michigan News

Rachael Denhollander will be the first to take the stand at 9 am on Friday, according to her attorney. It's the first day of preliminary hearings in a case involving her and 6 other alleged victims, who claim they were abused by Dr. Larry Nassar. 

“Yeah, I’m really not looking forward to it, to be honest,” Denhollander says. The mom of three is at home on the phone, while her husband’s in the background wrangling their 2-year-old (whose molars are coming in painfully and loudly.)

There was a big rally at the state Capitol Wednesday to support improved mental health services and to oppose Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to overhaul how those services are paid for.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters joined Stateside today to react to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The Michigan Supreme Court this week handed a big win to parents with disabilities in child welfare cases.

If the state removes a child from her home and puts her in foster care, generally the goal is to reunite the child and parent as soon as possible. The parent is given services and a plan with specific goals they have to meet before reunification, and if those goals aren't met, their parental rights can be terminated.

After battling bottled water giant Nestle, residents and concerned citizens near Evart now are trying to keep another company from drawing down and potentially contaminating their water supply.

Just six miles from Nestle's wells, Michigan Potash, a Colorado-based company, is seeking permits to drill 11 injection wells for a potash mining operation. Potash, a mineral element, is naturally occurring in Michigan and is used in many forms of fertilizer.

A civil rights group says it's unconstitutional for the Michigan Secretary of State to suspend the drivers licenses of people who are too poor to pay their fines. 

There were tears and hugs on the floor of the state House today as colleagues got word that state Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, took his life – one day after his second arrest on a charge of drunk driving.

“I’m sure today is the toughest day we will experience this term together,” House Speaker Tom Leonard told his colleagues in the House. “And I truly have no words about the loss of our dear friend, John Kivela.”

Big business investors are waiting on Governor Rick Snyder to give them a break. A tax break that is, to build on blighted land.

Investors who buy blighted property would get new tax incentives, under a set of bills on their way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

Last year, these so-called brownfield bills were nicknamed after Dan Gilbert, the prominent Detroit developer. That’s because opponents call them a gift to wealthy corporations at the expense of taxpayers.

The uncertain future of Great Lakes funding

May 9, 2017

Now that President Trump has signed the spending bill, Great Lakes funding is safe, at least for now.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is funded in full for 2017. But Trump wants to eliminate this funding entirely in his 2018 budget proposal.

It makes sense that the more we run our air conditioners during the heat of the summer, the more pollution we put into the air. But now scientists have figured out exactly how much more.

David Abel is the lead author of a study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, and a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A Michigan congressman has decided against running for governor in 2018 and instead will seek a fourth term in the U.S. House.

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint Township made the announcement Tuesday in an email to supporters. His decision leaves former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer as the highest-profile candidate in the Democratic field.

Abdul El-Sayed, the former head of Detroit's health department, has been aggressively seeking to raise his profile with Democrats. Three other lesser-known candidates also are running.

The state is stepping in to help struggling schools instead of closing them.

 

UPDATED @ 8:48 on 5/9/17

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen has been chosen by President Trump to serve on the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Trump once put Larsen on his list of judges and lawyers he would consider naming to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There’s a face off between Governor Rick Snyder and Republican leaders over an issue that’s not even at the top of anyone’s to-do list.

The state Legislature is working away on the state budget and Republicans have been cutting Snyder’s budget proposal. They’re squirreling away money but they haven’t decided what to do with it yet.

A petition campaign wants to allow marijuana retailers in Michigan communities that will permit it, and for people to grow their own at home. The campaign has submitted its petition for approval by a state elections board.

Jeff Irwin is the campaign’s political director. He says the proposal would regulate recreational marijuana using a system similar to the one for selling beer, wine, and alcohol. He says outlawing pot has been a failure.

Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel was in Lansing Friday. Her visit comes on the heels of a controversial health care vote.

Democrats fought the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They say the Republican plan that would replace it has worse coverage and would cost millions their healthcare coverage. 

Romney McDaniel says the new plan will save American lives.

The state of Michigan is being sued in a bid to restore the driver's licenses of people who say they can't afford to pay traffic fines.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court says the secretary of state is running a "wealth-based" scheme in which people too poor to pay fines are having their licenses suspended. The lawsuit says a traffic violation can cause a "downward spiral" of lost opportunities for jobs and education.

Michigan’s agriculture industry leaders will get the chance to have their say about what should be in the next federal farm bill Saturday.

U.S. Senate Agriculture committee chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) are holding the public hearing in Frankenmuth.

"Listening to producer perspectives from across the country is a critical step in writing the next Farm Bill,” says Roberts

The proposed merger of Midland-based Dow Chemical and DuPont has cleared another regulatory hurdle.

Brazilian officials are the latest to give their blessing to the $130 billion merger of the chemical industry giants. The recommendation by Brazilian regulators still must be approved by an administrative tribunal, which is largely a formality.

"Making Ends Meet" is a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy that reveals the average cost of living throughout Michigan.

In its seventh annual report, the policy organization analyzed housing data, child care costs, food expenses, health care costs, and other necessities to calculate a “basic needs income level.”

Law enforcement and pharmacists are working together to curb methamphetamine production in the state.

It’s called the “Anti-Smurfing Campaign.”

Smurfing is the practice of buying cold and allergy medicine – like  Sudafed – that contain meth ingredients, for meth cooks.

Some of Michigan’s top law enforcement members met Thursday to announce the launch. It’s a partnership with pharmacies to display posters discouraging the practice.

In a close vote of 217 to 213, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new health care insurance plan this afternoon.

For weeks, Republicans have struggled to gain enough votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats in Lansing have renewed their mission for a Voter Bill of Rights.

Democrats in the state House attempted to pass a resolution to amend the Michigan Constitution last year. This time, State Representative Jon Hoadley is spearheading the effort.

Hoadley said a Voter Bill of Rights would empower people and let them know their voices are heard.

“The entire process from registering to vote in Michigan to dropping your ballot in the ballot box hasn’t improved in 20 years while other states, Red and Blue, have left us in the dust,” he said.

Ahead of the 100-year anniversary of the state park system, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has drafted a strategic plan for the state parks and recreation system.

The draft plan will replace the current strategic plan, which was set to last until 2019. The draft identifies new issues and recent changes within the system. Key issues include the environment, economic impact, and balancing recreation and protection.

There’s been an uptick in money being seized by U.S. Customs officials in Michigan.

U.S. Customs agents at Michigan’s international airports and border crossings have seized $4.4 million since last October. That’s an 8% increase over the same period a year ago.

Budget talks in the House and Senate may close Michigan's pension program for new teachers.

Supporters say this would help ease Michigan's growing debt. But others say pension cuts would hurt a profession that's already struggling.

David Crim is with the Michigan Education Association.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning announced today that traffic fatalities rose 10% in 2016, from 963 in 2015 to 1,064 last year. 

This was the second year in a row traffic deaths rose by 10%. Officials say the last time fatalities were over 1,000 was in 2007.

In addition to the rise in traffic fatalities, crashes were up 5%, injuries up 8%, and serious injuries were up 16%. Bicyclist and motorcyclist fatalities were both up from 2015, as well as drug-involved fatalities.

Michigan State University is asking a court to decide whether it has to release police and arrest records related to a highly publicized investigation. The records are related to the criminal investigation into an alleged sexual assault that may involve members of the Spartan football team.

The sports network ESPN filed a request for the records under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. But the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office says releasing the records could interfere with the criminal investigation.

Since Rachael Denhollander went public with her accusations against former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar in September, more than 80 women and girls have come forward with similar complaints.

Seven of the women and girls who say they were sexually abused by a former sports doctor will begin testifying against him next week.

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