Wednesday Afternoon State News Summary
Wed, 06 Feb 2013 12:10:38 EST
(Snyder-Medicaid Expansion)
Governor Rick Snyder has thrown his support behing the expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program to those with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
Snyder says his fiscal year 2014 budget recommendation includes an expansion of Michigans Medicaid program, benefitting about 320,000 residents in the first year alone. More than 470,000 will be covered by 2021, reducing the amount of Michigans uninsured by about 46 percent.
The expansion is allowed under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and would be funded by the federal government through 2017 with the federal governments share gradually declining to 90 percent beginning in 2020.
Snyder says failure to go through with the expansion would mean that Michigan tax dollars will go to cover health care costs for other states that do take part.
He says the expansion will create more access to primary care providers, reduce the burden on hospitals and small businesses, and save taxpayer dollars. A recent study estimates that Michigan will save $351 million by 2022.
The governors budget recommendation calls for a deposit of 50 percent of the savings achieved from the expansion to be deposited into a special health savings account for the first seven years to help cover the increased share of the costs when the federal government scales back its funding.


(MI-Mega Millions Winner)
Someone in the western Upper Peninsula could be walking around with $19 million in their pocket.
Michigan Lottery officials say one ticket that matched all six numbers for Tuesday evenings multi-state Mega Millions drawing was sold at Festival Foods in Houghton.
The winning numbers drawn were two, five, 10, 26 and 44. The Mega Ball number was 46.
Officials say the winner must contact the Lottery's Public Relations Division at (517) 373-1237 to set up an appointment to claim the prize.
Mega Millions is played in 41 other states plus the District of Columbia and the U. S. Virgin Islands.


(Capitol-Sales-Tax-Diff)
The Michigan Senate this morning (Wed) approved legislation designed to improve car and boat sales, by taxing those sales only on the difference in price between the new purchase, and a trade-in.
Some other states have passed similar measures.
The bill is sponsored by State Senate Republican Dave Robertson of Grand Blanc.
Efforts in previous years to pass such legislation has failed, as critics have questioned which part of the budget should be cut to make up for the loss of tax revenue.
That same question was raised again today (Wed), as Senate Republican Roger Kahn of Saginaw noted the bills are (quote) "unaccompanied in every instance, with a recitation of where the cuts in the budget will be to allow them to give out the goodies....it's disgusting."
The Governor has also raised questions about the legislation, with a spokesperson saying they'd like to work out the state budget before offering any such tax breaks.
The bills will remain a loss of about 13 (m) million dollars per year in tax revenue for the state, according to the State Senate Fiscal agency, although a spokesperson for the Michigan Treasury believes it could total 240 (m) million dollars over ten years.
The bills now go to the Michigan House for consideration.


(Capitol-Sex Offender Registry Fee)
The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman is working on drafting legislation that would require registered sex offenders in Michigan to pay an annual fee to help maintain the state's sex offender registry.
Republican Rick Jones of Grand Ledge points out that Indiana charges $50 per year while Illinois and Ohio charge $100 per year.
Currently, the cost of maintaining the Sex Offender Registry database is funded through a one-time $50 registration fee, even though the majority of offenders register for 25 years to life. During the past five years, the money collected from this one-time fee is less than 10 percent of the cost of maintaining the registry.
Jones noted that as a result, law enforcement must divert taxpayer dollars that should be spent on putting more police officers on the streets


(Detroit-I-75 Crashes Probe)
Michigan State Police are now saying there were a total of 43 vehicles involved in 12 separate crashes over a mile-long stretch of I-75 last week as a snow squall produced white out and icy road conditions.
The nightmare pileup that happened last Thursday is responsible for claiming the lives of three people: a 7-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl from Canada, and 54-year-old Larry Manolis of Allen Park. The children are believed to be brother and sister, although their identities have not been released.
Twelve or more people were transported to area hospitals, most with back, neck and head injuries. At least two of those hospitalized were reported in critical condition.
Multiple cars were seen crushed up against the median and some motorists, at one point, were trapped in their cars. Several vehicles were overturned and twisted metal littered the freeway.
A stretch of southbound I-75 was shut down for several hours while police tried to figure out exactly what led to the massive series of crashes.
Troopers say that they have now completed all of the investigations, except for inquiries into the two fatal crashes - for which they are awaiting autopsy and toxicology results and vehicle inspections.
(WWJ, Detroit)


(MI-Hathaway Complaint Dropped)
The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission has dropped its complaint against former state Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway.
The commission met privately in Detroit on Monday and decided not to pursue a six-count ethics complaint against Hathaway since she's no longer a judge. Hathaway retired last month and pleaded guilty to bank fraud in federal court last week.
Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a complaint against the former justice with the Attorney Grievance Commission, who could decide to strip Hathaway of her license.
(Metro Source)


(Capitol-Veteran Designation)
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, state lawmakers and veterans advocates announced several initiatives to assist the more than 650,000 military veterans who live in Michigan, including a proposal to put a veteran designation on their drivers license or ID card to better link veterans with the services theyve earned.
The designation allows the Secretary of States Office to partner with the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and veteran service organizations across the state to provide referral information to veterans so they better know what resources and services are available to them. Additional information also will be made available to veterans in the 131 Secretary of State offices throughout the state.
Under the proposal, veterans who want the designation would provide the Secretary of States Office with proof of an honorable discharge.
Another initiative calls for the creation of a new fundraising license plate to benefit Michigan veterans.


(Detroit-Kilpatrick Defense Rests)
The federal corruption trial of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and a city contractor will be going to the jury.
The defense rested their case today (Wednesday) without any of the defendants taking the witness stand. The jury will likely hear closing arguments on Monday and could begin deliberations later in the day.
Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson are accused in what prosecutors have framed as a sweeping conspiracy to fix city contracts and shake down businesses. The government said the then-mayor pocketed bribes and also used a nonprofit fund as a slush fund for his personal use.
The two Kilpatricks and Ferguson each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on racketeering, bribery and tax charges.
Kwame Kilpatrick resigned from office in 2008 and pleaded guilty to obstructing justice by lying in a civil case about having sex with an aide. He subsequently served 14 months in prison for violating his probation in that case.
(Help from: WWJ, Detroit)


(Alger Co-Inmate Assault)
A sheriff deputy in the Upper Peninsula is on administrative leave facing possible assault charges.
The Alger County Sheriff told the Marquette Mining Journal that the deputy, whose name has not been released, is accused of assaulting a 55-year-old jail inmate in December.
The inmate is facing fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges using force or coercion for molesting women during their treatment at the HealthQuest chiropractic clinic in Munising. The deputy was the husband of an alleged victim.
The incident is being investigated by the Michigan Sheriffs Special Investigation Operations Network team.


(Detroit-Murdered Woman ID)
Detroit police believe the body of a young woman found in a house on the west side is that of a 23-year-old who has been missing since New Years Day.
Dynasty Myles was last seen at the Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn on New Years Day, after leaving her young daughter with her parents in Southfield. Her body was discovered by city workers late Tuesday morning at an abandoned home on Log Cabin near the Lodge Freeway in Detroit.
Evidence collected at the scene by police suggest Myles was dragged into the home against her will, but officials are not saying how long her body had been there.
An exact cause of death has yet to be determined, but police are treating the case as a homicide.
(Ron Dewey, WWJ, Detroit)


(Alpena-Former Cop Sentenced)
The former commander of the Huron Undercover Narcotics Team in Northeast Lower Michigan will not spend time in jail for pocketing money intended to make drug deals.
Lt. Delmer Putnam pled guilty in December to a reduced charge of willful neglect of duty by a public officer. He was sentenced Monday in 88th District Court In Alpena.
Putnam admitted was using funds that belonged to HUNT for his personal use.in late 2011 and early 2012.
As part of a plea agreement, he was put on one year probation, ordered to pay $1,400 in restitution along with court costs and fines and perform 200 hours of community service.
Putnam must also resign from the State Police and surrender his law enforcement licensing and certifications.
Antrim County Prosecutor Charlie Koop acted as special prosecutor in the case.
(WATZ, Alpena)


(Lapeer Co-Double Fatal)
Police in Lapeer County say two people were killed when the car they were in went airborne after hitting an embankment and burst into flames.
The accident happened early Tuesday morning on East Davison Lake and Barber roads, just east of M-24, in Metamora Township.
The car was burning so intensely that police didnt see the front seat passengers until after firefighters got the blaze under control. They were declared dead at the scene.
Police say a preliminary investigation shows that the vehicle struck the northeast embankment of the intersection, went airborne and came to rest in the roadway on Barber Road before bursting into flames.
The victims names were not immediately released. Autopsies were expected to be performed today (Wednesday).
Police say its unknown if alcohol played a role in the crash. An investigation is ongoing.
(WWJ, Detroit)

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