Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The government cannot threaten Iraqi detainees with indefinite detention or prosecution to get them to sign a document saying they want to leave the US. 

That’s according to a federal judge in Detroit. The government is trying to deport the Iraqis, who say they face persecution or death if they return to Iraq.

ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman says the detainees are being denied legal assistance. 

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state elections board has complied with a court order to place a question on the November ballot.  It would change how congressional and legislative district boundaries are drawn.

A jubilant crowd broke out in cheers as the Board of State Canvassers voted to put the Voters Not 

Politicians question on the November ballot. Voters Not Politicians leader Katie Fahey says the group has already started voter outreach efforts.

“We are eager and excited to go fixing our state,” she said. “…We look forward to being in the November 6, 2018, ballot.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Enbridge Energy has submitted a report to the state on possible alternatives to continuing to run an oil and gas pipeline on the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac. 

Neither of the alternatives would shut down the line.

Shutting it down is what environmental groups are calling for. Enbridge has proposed digging a tunnel 100 feet below the bottom of the straits, or encasing Line 5 in a trench covered with concrete and stone.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A new state rule requires local water systems to get rid of all their lead service lines over the next 20 years. 

Those are the types of pipes that contributed to the Flint water crisis.

Governor Rick Snyder says a confusing federal lead and copper rule helped create the Flint crisis, and called for Michigan to adopt its own standard covering roughly 2,000 water systems.

“So Michigan will now have its own rule that’s stricter than the federal standard.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The decision on whether voters will decide to overhaul how Michigan draws congressional and legislative districts is now before the state Supreme Court. 

The business-backed group fighting the campaign says the proposed amendment to the state constitution is too sweeping and complex to be decided as a ballot question. The group Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution asked the Supreme Court to block any action on the proposal while the case is argued.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Legislature has sent Governor Rick Snyder the new state budget, including a provision that attempts to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. 

Snyder and the Legislature’s disagree on the provision, which could lead to a showdown on whether it will be enforced.

The provision in the budget would require county health departments to favor family planning clinics that don’t also offer abortions. State law already forbids the direct use of public money funds for abortions, so this would apply to money for services unrelated to terminating a pregnancy.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   An adult testifying in court in a criminal case cannot bring an emotional support animal to the stand.

The Michigan Court of Appeals made that ruling in a decision released Friday.

A woman filed a rape complaint against a male acquaintance who disputed her version of events. When the trial came, a judge allowed a support dog and a handler holding a leash to be with her when she testified. That was over the objection of the defense.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MPRN)--   Former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon was in Washington Tuesday to answer questions before a US Senate subcommittee. 

Simon was subpoenaed as part of an inquiry into the Larry Nassar scandal. She and former officials from USA Gymnastics were called in to explain how Nassar was allowed to prey upon young athletes for 20 years before he was caught.

Simon says she was unaware until two years ago that Nassar – an acclaimed sports doctor -- might also be a predator, and she apologized.

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Rick Snyder wants an oil and gas pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac to eventually be de-commissioned. He said so speaking to reporters on Mackinac Island.

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI (MPRN)--   Environmental groups are using a large gathering of Michigan’s political and business leaders on Mackinac Island to pressure the state to shut down Enbridge Energy’s Line 5. 

Protesters were at the ferry docks to greet attendees of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac conference.

Jim Lively is with a Northern Michigan environmental group. He says the line under the straits serves as a shortcut for moving fuel between points in Canada with little benefit to Michigan.

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