Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state lawmaker wants to amend the Michigan Constitution to ensure there is a right to keep electronically stored information private.

State Senator Jim Runestad says laws have not kept pace with the ways personal information can be taken from computers, cell phones, tablets and web sites. He says law enforcement should not be allowed to go searching through a person’s electronically stored information without a court’s permission.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A state elections board began working Monday on new rules for how petition signatures are collected for citizen initiatives and ballot questions. 

That’s a response to a formal opinion from state Attorney General Dana Nessel. She says a law adopted last year that makes it more difficult for petition drives to succeed is unconstitutional. Republicans have filed a legal challenge to the opinion.

Democrat Jeannette Bradshaw chairs the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. She says the board has to keep working while waiting to see what the courts decide.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A jury is expected to begin deliberations Tuesday in the trial of former Michigan State University Dean William Strampel, who is accused of two felonies and two misdemeanors. 

Strampel was the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at MSU. Prosecutors say he used his position as dean to try to get sexual favors from female students. They also say Strampel did not properly oversee Larry Nassar after an internal investigation. Nassar is the former MSU sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for years.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state department in charge of Michigan’s prisons is not happy with a proposed spending plan in the state Legislature. 

A spending plan for the Michigan Department of Corrections passed out of a state House committee last week. It would redirect millions of dollars that previous budgets had allocated for certain projects – like prison maintenance – to other priorities.

Chris Gautz is a spokesman for the department. He says this could cause funding problems within the department.

Inman seeks treatment for opioids

Jun 7, 2019

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (MPRN)--   State Representative Larry Inman will seek treatment for opioid use, according to his lawyer.

Inman is a Republican from Williamsburg, near Traverse City.

Two years ago he started taking prescribed pain medication for an ankle injury.

Inman’s attorney Chris Cooke says since then he’s taken more and more pills after undergoing multiple surgeries. Now Inman’s seeking treatment for opioid use.

He faces up to 20 years in jail on charges of extortion, soliciting a bribe, and lying to the FBI.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order to, in part, create a new Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission. 

This comes after tens of thousands of Michigan residents were falsely accused of unemployment insurance fraud due to a computer error.

Whitmer says the old system was not efficient. It combined workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance appeals.

Enbridge files with Michigan Court of Claims

Jun 7, 2019

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   Enbridge says it's filing a legal action on agreements with the state of Michigan. 

Enbridge had agreements with the Snyder administration to replace a section of its Line 5 pipeline in the straits of Mackinac and build a tunnel for that new section.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer halted the tunnel plan earlier this year.

Bob Rooney is the Chief Legal Officer for Enbridge.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some Republicans in the state Senate have introduced bills that would drastically limit when a woman can get an abortion.

The bills would prevent an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That’s usually at around six to eight weeks of gestation. There would be an exception where the life of the mother is at stake.

Republican Senator Ed McBroom is a bill sponsor. He says he’s been thinking about tying heartbeats to abortion for a long time.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The National Transportation Safety Board blames human error and equipment failures for an anchor strike that dented the Line 5 pipelines. 

Attorney General Dana Nessel says the report is evidence the twin pipelines needs to be removed from the Great Lakes.

The NTSB report says the vessel was short-staffed during the Easter weekend as a technical malfunction allowed an anchor to drag on the lakebed. It struck Line 5 and the pipelines were dented.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Republicans in the state Legislature are taking on Attorney General Dana Nessel over a law she says is unconstitutional. 

Lawmakers announced Wednesday that they’ve filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for not implementing a 2018 ballot petition law. The law adds additional requirements for collections of signatures to get a measure on the ballot.

Republican Representative Jim Lower sponsored the original bill that became law. He says there’s a lot of ambiguity over how much weight the AG’s opinion really has.

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