Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A jury has been selected in the criminal trial of William Strampel. He’s the former dean of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University. 

Opening statements in the case will begin Thursday.

Attorneys took the morning and into part of the afternoon on Wednesday to pick the people who will decide if William Strampel is guilty or not of the charges against him.

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says she’s ready to go to court to force Enbridge to shut down a pipeline that moves oil and gas on a route that runs through the Great Lakes. That’s if the energy company and the state don’t reach a deal by the end of June.

Enbidge’s Line 5 runs through the Straits of Mackinac. The waterway connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron and runs beneath the Mackinac Bridge.  The bridge is a landmark visible from Mackinac Island, and that’s where the attorney general made her plans known at a business conference.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (MPRN)--   State Representative Larry Inman (R-Grand Traverse County) was in federal court Tuesday for an arraignment on multiple criminal charges.

Chris Cooke, Inman’s attorney, told the federal magistrate that his client is not guilty of the three crimes he’s charged with. The charges include attempted extortion – which carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. He’s also charged with soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The future of a ballot-signature law passed last year is unclear. 

Wednesday Attorney General Dana Nessel said that parts of the law that add requirements to the ballot signature process are unconstitutional. Now Republican lawmakers - and others - are working on their next steps.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he’s waiting to see if Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson actually follows through on the order before deciding what to do.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A legal opinion from state Attorney General Dana Nessel throws into doubt the future of a law adopted last year. 

The law makes it harder for petition campaigns to put political questions directly to voters. It was adopted by Republicans in the Legislature before it was signed by then-Governor Rick Snyder.

The opinion from Nessel – a Democrat – says the law violates free speech rights and sets conditions on ballot campaigns that are not allowed by the state constitution.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some bills in the state Legislature would expand who can administer life-saving drugs in the event of an opioid overdose. 

The legislation would allow government agencies – and their employees – to administer opioid antagonists. Commonly called Narcan, it’s an emergency overdose medication.

This would open the door for public agencies – like libraries and schools – to have Narcan on hand in the event an employee sees someone suffering from an overdose.


LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Court of Appeals says a commitment ceremony does not equal a marriage.

An ex-husband sued to end an expensive spousal support order after his ex-wife invited family and friends to a commitment ceremony with her new partner. He said that is effectively a marriage, and he should be allowed to stop making support payments.

The ex-husband won in a lower court. But the appeals court reversed the decision, and said a marriage in Michigan requires a ceremony, witnesses, and a certificate filed with a county clerk.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A Michigan group wants to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. 

That would effectively ban abortions after around six weeks. The Michigan Heartbeat Coalition filed ballot petition language with the Secretary of State Tuesday.

Mark Gurley is with the coalition. He said the group wants to get enough signatures to then send the measure to the state Legislature for a vote. Once that happens, the Republican-led Legislature can pass the measure instead of putting it on the November 2020 ballot – and without the governor’s signature.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State Representative Larry Inman has been booted from closed-door planning sessions with fellow House Republicans. That’s following his indictment on charges of soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI.

The indictment says Inman tried to squeeze a prospective donor for campaign contributions in exchange for his vote on a contentious labor issue. Republican House members disowned Inman in a closed-door meeting.

Republican Lee Chatfield is the also the House Speaker.

“He has lost the faith and trust of the Republican caucus,” he says.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the entire state of Michigan notched a win with Fiat-Chrysler’s decision to build the first new auto plant in Detroit in almost three decades.

A state board approved a generous incentive package for the project.

The deal hinged on a generous incentive package that was approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund. 

Governor Whitmer says the project shows Michigan is still a major player in the auto business.

“It is fitting the state that put the world on wheels, it is where we will build the cars of the future.”