Michigan News

Ahead of the 100-year anniversary of the state park system, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has drafted a strategic plan for the state parks and recreation system.

The draft plan will replace the current strategic plan, which was set to last until 2019. The draft identifies new issues and recent changes within the system. Key issues include the environment, economic impact, and balancing recreation and protection.

There’s been an uptick in money being seized by U.S. Customs officials in Michigan.

U.S. Customs agents at Michigan’s international airports and border crossings have seized $4.4 million since last October. That’s an 8% increase over the same period a year ago.

Budget talks in the House and Senate may close Michigan's pension program for new teachers.

Supporters say this would help ease Michigan's growing debt. But others say pension cuts would hurt a profession that's already struggling.

David Crim is with the Michigan Education Association.

The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning announced today that traffic fatalities rose 10% in 2016, from 963 in 2015 to 1,064 last year. 

This was the second year in a row traffic deaths rose by 10%. Officials say the last time fatalities were over 1,000 was in 2007.

In addition to the rise in traffic fatalities, crashes were up 5%, injuries up 8%, and serious injuries were up 16%. Bicyclist and motorcyclist fatalities were both up from 2015, as well as drug-involved fatalities.

Michigan State University is asking a court to decide whether it has to release police and arrest records related to a highly publicized investigation. The records are related to the criminal investigation into an alleged sexual assault that may involve members of the Spartan football team.

The sports network ESPN filed a request for the records under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. But the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office says releasing the records could interfere with the criminal investigation.

Since Rachael Denhollander went public with her accusations against former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar in September, more than 80 women and girls have come forward with similar complaints.

Seven of the women and girls who say they were sexually abused by a former sports doctor will begin testifying against him next week.

Tony Paris says that in ten years as an attorney filing charges with the National Labor Relations Board, he has never had a case sent to Washington until now.

Apparently, it's because in the current political climate, immigration is a sensitive issue. 

“They have to go up through to Washington D.C. and the national office of the NLRB for what they call 'advice',” Paris said. “I was instructed that’s because of the high sensitivity of this issue.”

A state Senate committee holds a hearing Tuesday on bills to outlaw female genital mutilation in Michigan.

It’s already a federal crime with a penalty of up to five years in prison. The bill’s sponsors say that’s not tough enough.

But a lot of experts say a tougher law may not be enough to deter an entrenched cultural and religious practice.

Republican Senator Margaret O’Brien says she was surprised to learn that Michigan didn’t already ban the practice of female genital mutilation.

Marijuana legalization advocates will rally at the state capitol Monday, as they plan to try and get a legalization question on the state's 2018 ballot.   

State lawmakers are back at the Capitol following their spring break. One job facing them is ending a standoff over money to help Macomb County deal with a giant sinkhole.

The sinkhole is as big as a football field and displaced two dozen families after an underground pipe collapsed on Christmas Eve in Fraser. Now, the disaster threatens to rupture sewer lines that could send a giant mess into Lake Saint Clair, which is part of the Great Lakes system.

The state House approved a $3 million dollar grant before the spring break. But the Senate wants the money to be a loan.

Fake news has become ubiquitous, and it's more sophisticated and thus harder to spot, say communications experts at the University of Michigan.

In response, they'll offer a free online course on Friday, "Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts" on the edX website, which universities use to offer free classes to the public.

Brian Weeks teaches communication studies.  He says it's good news that Google and Facebook are launching new tools to help people try to determine if something is true.  But he thinks the best strategy is citizen education.

Past and present public policies have a major impact on the disparities in child well-being in Michigan. That’s according to a report released Tuesday by the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Four more former patients, including a 14-year-old dancer, are suing former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar for sexual abuse.

They join more than 80 other women and girls who claim Nassar abused them under the guise of treatment.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, one woman says Nassar abused her around 1992 to 1993, when he was still in medical school at MSU. A spokesman for MSU confirmed Nassar graduated in 1993.

A Republican state lawmaker says Michigan should protect people’s internet privacy if the federal government won’t.

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, has asked for bills that would restore privacy protections for people in Michigan. That’s after Congress voted to block a rule that would have required internet service providers to get customers’ permission before selling their data.    

“So now, if you go on an internet service provider, or if you go on a search engine, anything you look at can be retained and it can be sold,” Jones said.

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