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Gongwer News Highlights, June 12, 2018

Jon Harrison
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Ballast Water Bill Resurfaces, Sent To Snyder

Supporters of a bill putting ballast water standards in line with federal rules decided Tuesday they had reached enough of a breakthrough to send an amended version of the bill that has been sitting in the Senate for six months despite being passed by both chambers to Governor Rick Snyder.

$56.78B Budget Passes: Increased Ed, Road Dollars Highlight Package

The Legislature passed a $56.78 billion fiscal year 2018-19 budget Tuesday during its final session day prior to its summer recess, featuring one of the largest increases in several years in per-pupil K-12 education and school safety grant funds as well as reductions in human services and autism spending.

Online Gaming Gets New Life In House

After sitting dormant for all of 2018, legislation allowing regulated online gaming through the state's casinos and tribal casinos passed the House with amendments putting some of the revenue generated into the School Aid Fund and the Michigan Transportation Fund.

Whitmer Finally On Air, As 527 Group Posts Commercial

The question of when Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer would be seen on television commercials in the state was answered Tuesday when the Build a Better Michigan committee launched an ad across the state and was prepared to continue running ads for the next five weeks.

DEQ Oversight Board Bills Headed To Governor

Legislation that would create public oversight boards over the Department of Environmental Quality are headed to the governor's desk after being concurred with Tuesday.

Local Licensing Limits Clear House

Legislation prohibiting local governments from setting their own licenses for occupations already licensed by the state, which supporters say reduces unnecessary bureaucracy and opponents say is another step in eradicating local control, passed the House on Tuesday.

House OKs Large Carnivore Breeding Bill With Some Changes

The House on Tuesday narrowly passed legislation allowing breeding of large carnivores with the addition of a $2,500 breeding license application fee for entities seeking to do so.

House OKs MPSERS Change For Community Colleges

The House on Tuesday passed legislation that would make it clear that part-time community college students employed by the college do not have to contribute to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System.

Do-Not-Resuscitate Bills Clear Senate

Legislation allowing for the filing and execution of do-not-resuscitate orders provided to school districts passed the Senate Tuesday.

Land Management Plan Legislation Passes

A bill approving a land management plan to guide state ownership, particularly in the northern part of the state, passed the Senate Tuesday.

Teacher Certification Bills Pass Senate

Lawmakers passed a group of bills that would allow noncertified teachers in industrial and technical programs to be hired by school districts and charter schools for up to three years.

Genetic Counselors, Acupuncturists

Legislation requiring the licensing of acupuncturists and genetic counselors for the first time cleared the Senate Tuesday.  Current law only requires voluntary registration for acupuncturists. SB 331, requiring the licensure of genetic counselors and SB 683, the requirement for acupuncturists, both passed 33-3.

Domestic Violence Board

HB 5278 would amend the Domestic Violence and Treatment Act by replacing references to "domestic violence" and the "Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board" with references to "domestic and sexual violence" and the "Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board" (the board's current name).  The bill, which passed the Senate 36-0, codifies a 2012 executive order from Governor Rick Snyder.

Bicycle Safety Bills Pass Senate

Legislation requiring drivers to pass cyclists at a distance of at least three feet when possible was first reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday and later passed the full Senate.

Environmentalists Denounce Expected Line 5 Tunnel Plans

A group of environmental experts opposed to putting Enbridge Line 5 into a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac spoke out Tuesday ahead of a report expected on Friday from the Canadian energy giant, saying a tunnel project would pose numerous legal and environmental questions while providing little benefit to Michiganders.

Calley Signs Sex Offender Statute Of Limits Extensions

Two bills that extend the statute of limitations for both criminal and in limited civil sexual assault claims were signed into law Tuesday by Lt. Governor Brian Calley.

Innovative Transportation Board Bills Clear House

Legislation creating an Innovative Transportation Board and a process to fund and test innovative ideas related to transportation passed the House on Tuesday.

Sports Plates

The House also passed a fundraising plate bill, SB 178, which would create fundraising plates for the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, Pistons and Michigan International Speedway.  The bill passed 80-29. The Senate later concurred 35-1 sending the bill to Governor Rick Snyder. Funds raised by the plates would go to those organizations' charitable arms for donation to causes they support.

Complaint Filed Against Livingston District Judge

Livingston County District Judge Theresa Brennan was issued a complaint by the Judicial Tenure Commission that featured 11 separate counts of the judge failing to disclose personal relationships with law enforcement officers, other attorneys and court staff. The complaint further accuses her of failing to recuse herself from cases that involved those persons, refusing to recuse herself in a timely fashion from her own divorce case which was assigned to her, requiring court staff to perform personal chores - such as staining her deck - and failing to abide with legal requirements in a case involving paternity.

Vitti Using Partnerships To Find Teachers

Detroit Public Schools Community District has more partnership schools than any other district and Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said he is using those partnerships in part to fill teacher vacancies across the district.

Board Targets July 2019 For New Superintendent

The State Board of Education adopted a schedule at its meeting Tuesday that would have a new superintendent of public instruction selected in March and in place by July 1, 2019.

New Professional Standards Approved

The board also approved Tuesday licensure standards for school psychologists and professional development standards for school counselors.

Appeals Court Keeps John Conyers From Ballot

John Conyers III lost a second battle Tuesday in his effort to make the ballot to succeed his father in the 13th U.S. House District.

Keeping A Drug House Is A Felony, Supreme Court Rules

A unanimous Supreme Court held Tuesday that operating a drug house, though it may be labeled a misdemeanor in the state's Public Health Code, is in fact a felony because a person convicted of running a drug house can be sentenced to prison.

Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #57, Report 114, June 12, 2018.

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