Friday State News Summary
Fri, 15 Mar 2013 13:14:09 EDT
A U-S District Judge in Detroit has granted a preliminary injunction to Domino's Farms, which effectively stops the enforcement of a federal requirement dealing with several services, including contraception.
The federal requirement includes offering services such as abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception, part of a federal mandate in the national health care reform law.
The ruling was hailed by Erin Mersino, an attorney with the Ann Arbor-based thomas More Law center, who says the federal mandate required Domino's to provide services in direct violation of the teachings of the Catholic church and their client's religious beliefs.
Mersino says the decision (quote) "upholds everyones freedom of religion and rights protected by the Constitution."
US Senator Carl Levin led a wave of criticism Friday aimed at banking giant JP Morgan over its huge trading losses on complex derivatives last year. He also joined others in calling for stronger regulation of the banking industry.
Levin, noted that JP Morgan lost 6-point-two (b) billion dollars over a period of a few months last year. The hearing focused on so-called "whale trades."
He also pointed to the findings in a scathing report on the scandal that exposed a derivative trading culture at JPMorgan that piled on risk, dodged oversight and misinformed the public, among other things.
The hearing was before the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations.
A new study is showing that the problem of unfunded liabilites that the state imposes on local governments continues to grow.
An unfunded liability is when the state requires a local government to do something, but then does not provide the funding for it.
The new report, issued this past week by a specialist from Michigan State University, shows more thatn 300 local governments in Michigan with a combined unfunded liability of almost 13- (b) billion dollars.
Eric Scorsone of MSU says Detroit makes up almost 40 percent of the total, with about five (b) billion dollars in unfunded liabilities.
Detroit officials for some time have noted the amount of money the state owes it, but has not paid up.
He also indicates that because of lagging statistics, the figures may be higher.
Consumers Energy has resumed some directional drilling projects in the aftermath of a house explosion in Royal Oak earlier this month.
By Monday Consumers expects to have all crews fully operational.
Consumers had suspended all directional drilling projects after an explosion killed a homeowner.
At the time of the explosion a Consumers Energy spokesperson said it appeared that work on the replacement of a three-inch gas line in the neighborhood caused the rupture.
Since the suspension the company has reviewed its operating procedures with workers. Federal regulations require ongoing training for crews that install gas lines.
She went from Detroit City Council, to prison, to an auto repair shop on Michigan Avenue.
Ex-Detroit Councilwoman and convicted felon Monica Conyers is spending her work days filling out paperwork and answering phones.
A manager at Metro Tech Collision in Detroit says Conyers is a very hard worker and has been humble in her new role. She was hired two months ago when she left a halfway house.
Conyers entered prison in 2010 after pleading guilty in 2009 to taking bribes while on the Detroit council. She was released in late December after serving 27 months at Alderson Federal Prison Camp, often referred to as “Camp Cupcake.”
Conyers remains under house arrest and her boss said she’s not allowed to talk to the media.
Southfield Police say a high speed chase this morning that ended on Detroit's west side, started as a felonious assault on a policer officer.
Reportedly the driver of the vehicle drove into an officer who was on foot while attempting to stop the suspect from fleeing in a stolen car.
The suspect, according to police then rammed a police vehicle and fled.
The man, who was taken into custody after a chase that lasted about tewnty minutes, is a suspect in over a dozen break-ins of cars in several cities.
(Capitol-Dead Food Assistance)
Legislation to ensure that dead and incarcerated people are removed from Michigan's food benefit program has cleared the State House.
The House yesterday (Thursday) passed the measure that would require Michigan's Department of Human Services to check each month if food benefit recipients are in jail or prison or dead, then terminate their Bridge card access.
House Republican Tim Kelly of Saginaw Township introduced the legislation. He says requiring the state to cross-check Bridge Card recipients with the country's death index is a commonsense way to keep our welfare system strong and free from abuse.
The bill now heads to the State Senate.
(MI-Open Carry in School)
The Michigan Education Association (MEA) is calling on state lawmakers to take up and pass legislation that would close a loophole in Michigan’s gun law that allows a concealed weapons license holder to openly carry a gun in gun-free zones such as schools.
Citing a string of gun violence across the country, including the shootings in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, MEA President Steve Cook says something must be done to protect our children from these acts of violence. He says (quote) "As both an educator and a gun owner, I say this, having more weapons in Michigan schools is not the answer."
House Democrat Andy Schor of Lansing is sponsoring the legislation. He says allowing openly-armed civilians to roam the halls of our schools is a recipe for disaster.
Michigan law prohibits a permit holder from carrying concealed weapons into schools and other "gun-free zones," but a statutory loophole does not prevent permit holders from openly-carrying in those areas.
Michigan had a point-one-percent gain in population from July 2011 to July 2012, according to U.S. Census data.
The state gained six-thousand-559 new residents pushing it's population up to nine (m) million-883-thousand-360. It's Michigan's first net increase since 2004.
However, 57 of 83 counties saw their populations decline over the period.
Wayne County experienced the biggest slide, a point-five-percent decline or nine-thousand-424 people.
Oakland County had the biggest increase in numbers, nine-thousand-300 or point-eight-percent. By percentage, Ottawa County tops the list with one-point-one-percent growth, or two-thousand-923 people.
Police from 155 agencies in 26 counties are stepping up drunk driving enforcement through April 8.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says St. Patrick's Day, NCAA basketball tournaments and spring break for high schools and colleges all fall in that timeframe.
During the same enforcement period last year, police made nearly 25-hundred arrests in Michigan for drunk driving, with 789 nabbed under the state's high blood-alcohol content law.