Ben Thorp

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan should forgive the school districts who have needed to take multiple snow days, according to at least one state senator.

Districts are allowed to take six snow days over the course of the school year - with an additional three days if the state approves a waiver.

But some school districts are already at or above those limits - with a good portion of the school year still to go.

ISLE ROYALE NATIONAL PARK (MPRN)--   The federal government shutdown could stall wolf relocation efforts to Isle Royale National Park.

Park officials have brought four wolves to the island so far. The only male in that group died in November.

Rolf Peterson is a researcher at Michigan Technological University, which studies the wolves in the winter. He says the park had hoped to bring more wolves to the island this winter.

State House passes fantasy sports gaming bills

Nov 30, 2018

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state house voted Thursday to legalize fantasy sports gaming in Michigan.

The bills both legalize fantasy sports gaming and create a statutory framework overseeing it. 

Steve Brubaker is an attorney representing Small Businesses of Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He says the bills $50,000 registration fee too steep for smaller fantasy gaming businesses.

“The companies that will pay that price to operate in Michigan are two: Draft Kings and Fan Duel,” he says.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A package of bills aimed at raising the age Michigan residents can be tried as adults passed out of a House committee Wednesday.

Under current Michigan law 17-year-olds are automatically tried as adults. The bill package would raise that age to 18 years of age.

Jason Smith is the Director of Youth Justice Policy for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. The group supports the legislation.

Objections voiced to proposed Line 5 authority

Nov 28, 2018

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Several former members of the Mackinac Bridge Authority joined with environmental groups Tuesday to oppose legislation that would give the Authority control of a utility tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac. 

The bill is part of an agreement announced in October between Enbridge Energy and Governor Rick Snyder to give the Mackinac Bridge Authority control of a tunnel that would house the Line 5 pipeline.

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   Absentee ballots for the upcoming midterm election are “vastly” higher than in Michigan’s 2014 midterms, according to officials with the Secretary of State. 

Numbers show that a week before the election in 2014 roughly 350,000 absentee ballots had cast. This year, close to 590,000 ballots have been cast.

Fred Woodhams is with the Michigan Secretary of State.

“We’re very excited to see so much voter interest across the state. Absentee ballots are approaching numbers that we don’t normally see in a Midterm election,” he says.

EAST LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Research out of Michigan State University will look at a possible link between opioid overdose and suicide. 

The research is connected to a current study looking at suicide prevention for people recently released from jail.

Dr. Jennifer Johnson is a researcher on the study. She says in monitoring subjects with a risk of suicide they began to see a trend.

“Overdose is probably, if I had to guess our number one method that we’re seeing in our sample for people who are thinking about or attempting suicide.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A package of bills in the state House would classify 17-year-olds as juveniles, rather than automatically treating them as adults.

Representatives and advocacy groups testified in favor of the bills at a hearing last week.

Briana Moore testified during the hearing. Moore was convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery at age 17 for being involved in a fight. She says that record has followed her for the rest of her life.

Driver responsibility fees eliminated in MI

Oct 1, 2018

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Office of the Secretary of State says it expects long lines Monday as it eliminates driver responsibility fees. 

The fees were a penalty in addition to tickets from driving infractions. Those fees could cost drivers upwards of one thousand dollars every year. Drivers who couldn’t pay had their license suspended.

Fred Woodhams is with the Secretary of State. He says statewide drivers accrued 570-million dollars in debt.

AG testifies on CPS report

Sep 28, 2018

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The office of the Auditor General testified Thursday in front of a House Oversight Committee on their audit of the state’s Child Protective Services. 

The audit was released earlier this month. It found a pattern of failures to meet state requirements, including that CPS had not conducted criminal history background checks in more than 50% of cases.