Michigan News

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  Chrysler Group is recalling 18,092 Fiat 500L cars in the U.S. because the transmission shifter can be delayed or stop working.

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  Five years after Michigan targeted copper thefts plaguing cities like Detroit and disrupting railroads and utilities, plans to better restrict sales of stolen scrap metal are caught in a legislative fight.

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  University of Michigan students and staff gathered in the school's Union ballroom to celebrate retiring president Mary Sue Coleman.

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  Local, county and state law enforcement officials say they're stepping up patrols to catch drunken drivers during a period that includes St. Patrick's Day, the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments and spring break.

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  Wayne County Parks is promising a sweet time for those who sign up for its hands-on maple sugaring program.

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  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is awarding $357,450 in grants for scrap tire cleanup projects.

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Michiganders buying insurance on their own cannot get abortion coverage

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Wolf hunt referendum petitions filed
By Rick Pluta

The campaign to repeal Michigan's new wolf hunting law filed petitions Thursday to put their challenge on the November ballot.

The Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Campaign says it has 225,000 signatures. That's well over the 161,305 needed to qualify for the November ballot.

State could soon pop the cap off microbreweries - or at least lift it By Jake Neher  Michigan craft breweries are cheering the state Legislature for passing bills to ease some state regulations.  The state House sent the bill package to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk Thursday. One bill would double the amount of beer Michigan microbreweries can produce every year. "We know that immediately this is going to result in some businesses being expanded and some additional employees being hired," said state Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mt.

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Bill making it easier for companies to end landline service headed to Gov. Snyder It could soon be easier for phone companies to end traditional landline service in Michigan. The state Senate gave final legislative approval to the measure Thursday. Senate Bill 636, which was championed by AT&T, now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk. AARP and other critics say it could leave people in some areas of the state without reliable and affordable service.

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Campaign to stop wolf hunt to turn in petitions

The campaign to stop wolf hunts in Michigan says it has more than enough petition signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot. This would be the second ballot challenge to a wolf hunt because the state's first wolf hunting law was blocked by a petition challenge that will also go before voters in November.

The Legislature got around that by passing a new law that's the target of this ballot drive.

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Our snowy morning commute made for a slow drive for motorists, and a busy time for AAA Michigan.

AAA Michigan spokesperson Nancy Cain said the auto club had assisted close to 2,300 motorists as of 4pm Wednesday, and was still pretty busy.

Cain said she expected that as the weather cleared up things would slow down a bit.

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State lawmakers will probably double the amount of money they had planned to spend on fixing roads torn apart by nasty weather this winter.

A legislative conference committee hopes to approve a mid-year budget bill Tuesday that will probably include about $200 million to fix potholes and help local governments pay for things like salt and snow plowing.

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About 145,000 Michigan residents have selected private insurance plans under the federal health care law. Updated figures released Tuesday by the Health and Human Services Department show about 314,000 people in the state have completed an application and are eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan.

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Michigan lawmakers are working to draw more medical providers to low-resource areas by raising caps for a loan repayment program for health professionals in those areas.  

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A person briefed on the matter says the Justice Department is investigating whether General Motors broke any laws with its slow response to a deadly problem with ignition switches on certain small cars.  The probe is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is not public.

senatorjoehune.com

Legislation nearing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's desk would let community service be a requirement to receive welfare benefits. The legislation is sponsored by Republican Senator Joe Hune of Livingston County's Hamburg Township. The state Human Services Department already includes community service among the work participation programs it can require for cash assistance recipients. A bill approved 91-19 Tuesday by Republican-led House would codify the practice into law.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Legislation nearing the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder would let high schools award diplomas to Vietnam War-era veterans who enlisted or were drafted before graduating. State law already lets schools grant diplomas to veterans who served honorably during World War II or the Korean War. The Michigan House on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill making Vietnam veterans eligible.

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land has relentlessly attacked Democrat Gary Peters for supporting the federal health care law.  

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The final phase of demolition has begun for a well-known vacant Detroit housing project that once was home to boxer Joe Louis and members of the Supremes.  Active demolition began Monday on four 15-story towers that are part of the former Frederick Douglass Homes, better known as the Brewster projects.  Louis once lived at the project near downtown Detroit, as did members of the Supremes before the musical trio became vital voices of the Motown sound. Other demolition work began at the site last year.

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Governor meets with legislative leaders to hammer out road fix, Medicaid deal

State lawmakers are about to dive into the process of crafting a budget for next fiscal year. But they have to fix some problems with the current year's budget first.

One of the biggest concerns is a hole in the state's Medicaid budget of more than $100 million. Everyone agrees that shortfall needs to be addressed. But the state House and Senate have not been able to agree on how to fix it or where that money should come from.

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       Legislation to rewrite or clarify recent changes in Michigan's foreclosure rules has taken a step forward.

     The bill approved 107-3 by the House last week retains main elements of a law signed last summer by Governor Rick Snyder, including taking away someone's right to save his or her property if an inspector discovers the home's in bad shape due to neglect or other reasons.

Michigan State Legislature

       Michigan cities are getting behind legislation to create local stock exchanges allowing residents to invest in smaller businesses.

Metro Cannibis

    

The debate over reviving medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan starts up again in Lansing this week.  A state Senate panel will hear public testimony on House Bill 4271, which would let communities decide whether to allow dispensaries and how to regulate them. It is also expected to take up House Bill 5104, which would allow patients to use edible and other non-smokable forms of cannabis.

The bills come in response to recent Michigan Supreme Court rulings that shut down marijuana distribution through dispensaries in the state and effectively outlawed any forms of medical cannabis other than smokable forms. 

Supporters of the legislation say reviving and regulating dispensaries will ensure patients have safe and consistent access to treatment. And they say patients who are children or who suffer from respiratory illnesses should not have to smoke marijuana.

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Actress Mariska Hargitay plans to join Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to discuss proposed legislation that would speed up sexual assault kit testing.  Worthy's office also says the Detroit Rape Kit Project will be discussed at the press conference later today. She has been pushing for more funding to process the backlog of kits. 

Hargitay stars on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." She also is founder and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation. The foundation works with police and prosecutors on eliminating the backlog of testing for sexual assault kits. 

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