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Banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to kids may seem like a no-brainer, yet Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration and a number of health advocacy groups oppose legislation that does just that. They say it doesn’t go far enough.
For the full article, see Emma Fidel, "E-cigarettes ignite Michigan debate over regulation, sales", Detroit News, March 9, 2014.
Some advocates for children with disabilities are raising concerns about proposed changes to the rules that govern how special-education students are educated in Michigan — changes they say could give local school districts too much flexibility to decide how many students could be assigned to one teacher.
Michigan Department of Education officials, however, say the concerns are based on misinformation and a misinterpretation of the proposed rules. They say the changes would be mostly technical and would simply align Michigan with federal special-education rules.
The proposed changes are the subject of two hearings — one in Lansing and one in Detroit — on Monday.
For the full article, see Lori Higgins, "Hearings to review proposed changes to Michigan's rules on special-ed students", Detroit Free Press, March 9, 2014.
What Buffalo needed in 2011 to move ahead with a decade-long plan to twin the Peace Bridge into Canada was a financial commitment for $250 million from the U.S. government to pay for a bigger, better customs plaza on the New York side.
It never came.
In Port Huron, a customs plaza expansion project to reduce backups at the Blue Water Bridge began in 2002. More than 100 homes and commercial properties were demolished to make way. But as of last year, the federal government said it didn’t have the $145 million needed to finish the work — and officials there continue to wait.
In Lewiston and Alexandria Bay, N.Y.; in Dunseith, N.D., and in Brownsville, Texas, customs plaza projects at border crossings have been stalled for years due to lack of federal funding. Budget cutbacks, changing priorities and an overwhelming need at high-traffic Mexican crossings have shifted political attention, overwhelmed annual appropriations and sapped congressional will.
Those fiscal realities are becoming clear to supporters of the proposed New International Trade Crossing in Detroit. While they remain publicly optimistic about securing U.S. funding for a new $250-million customs plaza — a commitment Gov. Rick Snyder identified as key to moving forward with the project — their chances of doing so in the short term are murky at best. To get funding, the NITC will have to jump ahead of others that have been in line a lot longer than Detroit.
For the full article, see Todd Spangler, "Customs plaza for new Detroit bridge hits a roadblock on federal funding", Detroit Free Press, March 9, 2014.
For another, see Corey Williams, "Plans moving forward for new Detroit-Canada bridge", Detroit News, March 9, 2014.
Under Michigan law, all 17-year-olds are treated as adults in criminal matters. J’nai Porter is pushing a new petition to get that law changed. She wants 17-year-old offenders handled as juveniles in Michigan or, at least, for judges to decide. Porter is asking Gov. Rick Snyder to get involved and has reached out to various state and local officials in hope of enlisting support.
Michigan is one of 10 states where 17-year-olds are automatically treated as adults in criminal cases. North Carolina and New York go farther and mandate that offenders as young as 16 be treated as adults in criminal cases. However, there are efforts under way to raise the age of adult responsibility in those states, and just last year, Massachusetts and Illinois increased the age for charging as an adult to 18. The trend away from treating 17-year-olds automatically as adults is a rejection of the movement in the 1980s and ’90s to deal with young offenders harshly.
For the full article, see Eric D. Lawrence, "Cass Tech QB Jayru Campbell case raises questions of how teens are charged", Detroit Free Press, March 9, 2014.
Legislation to rewrite or clarify recent changes in Michigan’s foreclosure rules has taken a step forward.
The bill approved 107-3 by the House last week retains main elements of a law signed last summer by Gov. Rick Snyder, including taking away someone’s right to save his or her property if an inspector discovers the home’s in bad shape due to neglect or other reasons.
But the legislation going to the Senate imposes more restrictions on inspections, provides more notice to borrowers before inspections and gives them more chances to fix damage.
When he signed the 2013 law, Snyder called on lawmakers to clarify some issues involving inspections.
One proposed change requires borrowers to get at least 72 hours of notice before interior inspections.
For the full article, see "Lawmakers revisit Michigan foreclosure rules", Detroit News, March 9, 2014.
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