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Gongwer News Highlights, November 6, 2017

Jon Harrison
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Senate To Take Up Bills Ending Gun-Free Zones

One day after a man shot and killed 26 people at a Texas church and wounded 20 others, a Senate committee scheduled a hearing on legislation that would allow people to carry concealed firearms in facilities, like churches, where guns are now off limits.

Ex-Sen. Allen Gets USDA Post Over Green In Surprise

Former Sen. Jason Allen was named Monday as the new state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for rural development in Michigan after months of expectation that Sen. Mike Green would receive the post.

What Wells Knew When Early Focus Of Court Hearing

Testimony Monday in the preliminary examination of the state's chief medical executive, Dr. Eden Wells, centered on the timeline of when she was informed of the deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak in the city of Flint and the level of response to that information.

Schuette: Legislature Cannot Direct Natural Resources Trust Fund

The Legislature can accept or reject recommendations of the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board, but it cannot designate its own projects, nor can it direct the board in how it decides projects, Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a recent opinion.  Mr. Schuette said the board also can choose not to spend all of the available funds in a given year, but cannot simply allow the funds to accumulate indefinitely.

Court Rejects Argument Indigent Commission Act Unconstitutional

Michigan's Indigent Defense Commission Act does not violate the constitutional provision of separation of powers, the Court of Claims has held, nor does it subject judicial authority to administrative rule making.

Cambensy, Rossway Make Final Push In 109th House

With the special election in the Upper Peninsula's 109th House District coming up on Tuesday, Republican Rich Rossway and Democrat Sara Cambensy spent the weekend making their final push to voters.

Whitbeck Questions State Covering Attorney Costs For Flint Defendants

A former chief judge of the Court of Appeals, William Whitbeck, has written a column raising the question of whether the administration of Governor Rick Snyder has agreed to cover the criminal defense costs of state employees charged in the investigation of the Flint water crisis as a way of ensuring their loyalty to the governor in the investigation.

PTL Supporters Hints They're Getting Close To Signature Numbers

Supporters of a part-time legislature proposal hinted that they were getting close to the number of signatures they need to make the November 2018 ballot in a fundraising email distributed Monday.

Larger Communities Most Likely To Report Voting Problems

Election officials in Michigan's largest communities, where nearly half the population lives and votes, are more likely to report election-related problems, a survey of local officials showed.

Snyder Signs Flint Promise Zone Bill

A bill that would allow five new promise zones where local leaders can fund tuition payment plans for high school graduates, legislation targeted for Flint, was signed into law Monday by Governor Rick Snyder.

Lottery Winnings

Rules that would allow only real people to collect lottery winnings have been scheduled for a public hearing.  The rules (ORR #2017-036) would revise current regulations that allow corporations and other entities to collect on winning lottery tickets.

Teacher Vigils

AFT Michigan and the Michigan Education Association announced a series of flashlight vigils around the state Tuesday to "shine a light" on the case to be argued before the Supreme Court on Wednesday on the 3 percent teachers had withheld from their salaries for retiree health care. Courts have ruled that the funds were illegally withheld, but have yet to order that they be paid back to the teachers.  The events are planned for 11 sites across the Lower Peninsula, including at the Hall of Justice, 925 West Ottawa Street, Lansing, at 5:30 p.m.

Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #56, Report 218, November 6, 2017.

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