Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   More money could be added to the state’s wrongful conviction fund.

Lawmakers sent a bill to add $10 million to the fund to the governor’s desk Thursday.

The money set aside for people who were wrongfully convicted is almost gone. Republican Representative Steve Johnson is a bill sponsor.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Legislature sent Governor Gretchen Whitmer bills Thursday changing the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws.

Supporters say there should be a conviction before police can keep a person’s property. They say it’s a due process issue.

Republican Senator Peter Lucido is a bill sponsor. He’s been working on these changes since he was first a Representative in 2015.

“That was my number one bill I entered when I came up to this place. I saw the injustices done, I want to fix it, and I also said it’s time for making a change.”

House and Senate move on criminal justice changes

Apr 25, 2019

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Legislature held key votes Wednesday on bills that would make various changes to the state’s criminal justice system.

The state Senate passed a series of bills that some lawmakers say will make the criminal justice system fairer for young people.

The so-called “Raise the Age” legislation would automatically treat 17-year-olds as juveniles for certain crimes. Right now, they’re automatically tried as adults.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The fight over abortion rights has resumed in the state Legislature. 

A state House committee opened hearings Wednesday on legislation to ban the dilation-and-evacuation abortion procedure. Similar bills are up for a hearing Thursday before a state Senate committee.

Republicans say this would be allowed under the Roe-versus-Wade US Supreme Court decision, although similar laws have been blocked by federal courts in other states.

Opponents say the bills would violate medical best practices and intrude into the doctor-patient relationship.

Group rallies for gun law changes in Lansing

Apr 24, 2019

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   People who have lost loved ones to gun violence rallied at the state capitol Tuesday for a change to state gun laws. 

The group is called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Volunteers want state legislation that would keep guns away from people deemed a danger to themselves or others. They also want state law to keep guns from people convicted of domestic abuse.

Linda Peltz is with the group. She says her daughter was killed in a murder/suicide by her daughter’s ex-boyfriend.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in a sex discrimination case involving a Michigan funeral home.

Aimee Stephens was a funeral director at R.G and G.R Harris Funeral Homes. The company has three locations in Michigan. Stephens says she was fired when she told the owners she was transitioning from male to female and would begin to wear women’s clothing. The Court of Appeals ruled that the funeral home’s firing of Stephens was unlawful sex discrimination under federal law.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says a new unit in her office will focus on businesses that illegally classify their workers as independent contractors to reduce their costs. 

The Democratic attorney general says it’s a growing trend around the country – employers who classify their workers as independent contractors. Nessel says that’s used to avoid paying workers the minimum wage as well as health and unemployment benefits they’re entitled to.  And she says it cheats other employers who play by the rules and shoulder those costs.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Lawmakers at the state Capitol have made changing the state’s criminal justice system a priority this session. 

Two packages of bills are close to the governor’s desk – with crucial votes taking place early this week.

One would raise the age for when a person is automatically considered an adult for certain crimes from 17 to 18. Another would change the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The leader of the state Senate Republicans says he’s not in favor of the Secretary of State’s call for candidates to disclose their financial information.

Last month, Jocelyn Benson said she wants the Legislature to pass bills that would require elected officials to disclose any outside income, investments, travel or gifts they got as candidates or after they were elected.

CHARLOTTE, MI (MPRN)--   Former Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon has some time off from court. Simon has been charged with multiple felonies. A hearing to determine if she should stand trial will continue in June. 

The state Attorney General’s office says Lou Anna Simon lied about what she knew about a 2014 complaint against former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar. A judge sentenced Nassar to at least 40 years in prison for sexually assaulting his patients.