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Legislature OKs exempting cybersecurity info from FOIA

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Cybersecurity plans and vulnerabilities would be exempt from open-records requests under legislation approved by Michigan’s Legislature.

Legislators sent the bill to Gov. Rick Snyder Tuesday on a 104-4 vote, paving the way for the state to block cybersecurity information shared with Michigan State Police and other public bodies. Supporters of the exclusion say under current law, companies may be reluctant to cooperate with officials in the event of a security breach due to fear of sensitive information being released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Topics under this exemption include cybersecurity assessments, plans and breaches disclosed to authorities by private companies.

Opponents cite concern that the bill allows for censorship of information relevant to public interest, such as a company’s data breach.


Judge: State of Michigan contracts are ‘done politically’

MASON, Mich. (AP) — A judge isn’t impressed with how the state of Michigan awards big contracts.

Ingham County Judge William Collette says, “What is the point of a bid process where everything is done politically?” He made his remark in court last week during a dispute over a $650 million contract to manage dental benefits for Medicaid recipients.

MCNA Insurance is suing the state, claiming Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration improperly allowed Blue Cross Blue Shield to alter a bid and improve its score. The state denies wrongdoing and says it has the right to negotiate with a bidder.

Collette has ordered the state to make someone available to explain the bid process. The state is appealing the order, saying the judge is exceeding his powers in an agency decision.


El-Sayed, first Dem to file petitions, says he is eligible

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democrat Abdul El-Sayed has submitted his nominating petitions to the state, a step that could lead to clarity over whether he’s eligible to run for governor.

The former Detroit health chief became the first Democratic candidate to file Tuesday before April’s deadline. He’s among four main Democrats vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

Questions have been raised because El-Sayed, who spent much of his childhood in Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan, later lived and voted in New York before returning to Michigan in 2015.

Michigan’s constitution requires gubernatorial candidates to have been a registered voter for four years before the election. They also must be a “qualified elector,” and that may be in question due to El-Sayed’s past out-of-state residency.

El-Sayed says he’s eligible.

911 FEES

Governor signs bill to hike fees to upgrade 911 system

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law an increase in 911 fees to upgrade Michigan’s emergency response system.

The law enacted Tuesday will boost the monthly surcharge on phone bills by 6 cents, from 19 cents to 25 cents. The surcharge on prepaid wireless plans will rise to 5 percent per retail transaction. It is currently under 2 percent.

The fee hikes will generate $20 million more a year.

Supporters say the 911 system is in dire need of upgrades. Technology is being used that hasn’t been updated in nearly 60 years.

Backers say first responders will be better equipped to respond to a scene with more information — pictures, videos, text, GPS — helping to pinpoint disoriented callers.



Senate Bill 400:


The Latest: College student arraigned in parents’ slayings

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — A 19-year-old student accused of killing his parents inside a Central Michigan University dorm room has been arraigned.

James Eric Davis Jr. is hospitalized but appeared in court via video for Tuesday’s hearing. He was arrested early Saturday following a manhunt.

Davis is charged with murder in the Friday slayings of James and Diva (DY’-va) Davis. The family is from the Chicago suburb of Plainfield, where Davis Sr. was a part-time police officer.

Investigators say the couple was helping their son pack for spring break when they were shot with a gun that belonged to Davis Sr. They’d picked their son up that morning from a hospital where he was taken for evaluation after police said he was acting erratically.

Judge Paul Chamberlain set bond at more than $1 million. A next court date was not scheduled.



City to remove park fountain decried by some as racist

(Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette,

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Officials in a southwestern Michigan city have decided to remove a park fountain featuring a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the Kalamazoo City Commission voted 5-1 early Tuesday following a meeting that began Monday night on the future of the Fountain of the Pioneers in Bronson Park. A plan will be developed to put something new in its place.

Some residents decried the piece as racist, while others argued it’s a work of art that can teach people about history.

Designed by Alfonso Iannelli, the fountain is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s been in the park for nearly 80 years.

Kalamazoo says the fountain will be dismantled and put into storage later this year.



Family sues Michigan nursing home over abuse caught on video

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — The family of an elderly man is suing a Michigan nursing home after capturing footage of his alleged abuse on a hidden camera.

Hussein Younes, an 89-year-old Lebanese man, was seeking care at Autumnwood of Livonia in 2015. His son, Salim Younes, grew concerned after noticing his father had several bruises, cuts and significant weight loss.

Salim Younes hid a camera in an alarm clock next to his father’s bed. The family’s lawyer, Jonathan Marko, says they gathered more than 100 clips documenting neglectful behavior over two days.

The family removed Hussein Younes from the facility in December 2015.

The lawsuit alleges caretakers physically abused and hurled ethnic slurs at Hussein Younes.

Autumnwood attorneys say the employees in the video have been fired and employees are receiving additional training.


Watch your step: Fall at party reaches state Supreme Court

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court is trying to sort out the legal significance of a woman’s fall at a holiday party.

The court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Susan Blackwell, who missed an 8-inch (20-centimeter) step when she stepped into an unlit room at the Oakland County home of a co-worker. The state appeals court said a jury should determine whether the danger was open and obvious, a key legal standard in Michigan.

The homeowners are appealing. The Supreme Court is exploring whether Blackwell, who was injured, needed to be told the risks of the home.

The Michigan Manufacturers Association is watching the case. The group says a decision against Dean and Debra Franchi would force any property owner to explain every potential hazard to a visitor.


Legislation seeks to name Dec. 1 as Rosa Parks Day

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama might set aside a day honor civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

A proposal in the Alabama Legislature would name Dec. 1 as Rosa Parks Day. However, it would not be a full-fledged state holiday where state offices close.

Supporters of the idea held a Tuesday rally at the Alabama Statehouse.

Parks was arrested Dec. 1, 1955 in Montgomery for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Rep. Laura Hall, the bill’s sponsor, said Parks changed the world with the stance she took in Alabama.

Asked why not make the day a full state holiday, Hall said she wanted to avoid debate over the cost.

Alabama has three state holidays honoring Confederate figures.


APNewsBreak: White nationalist to drop Ohio State lawsuit

CINCINNATI (AP) — A new attorney for white nationalist Richard Spencer’s campus tour efforts says he plans to drop a lawsuit against Ohio State University.

James Kolenich (KOH’-len-ik) tells The Associated Press that litigation will continue against the University of Cincinnati. An OSU spokesman didn’t have an immediate comment Tuesday.

Kolenich recently became lead counsel in the two cases as Michigan attorney Kyle Bristow abruptly withdrew after waging lawsuits against U.S. schools for months. Bristow says he had been unfairly vilified in media reports.

Spencer spoke Monday night amid protests at Michigan State University, but the rest of his campus tour plans have bogged down because of lawsuits and safety issues.

Bristow sued Ohio State on behalf of tour organizer Cameron Padgett after the school last year refused to book Spencer.