Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT

TERM LIMITS

Term limits plan would be tied to ‘good government’ changes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A potential plan to ask Michigan voters to ease legislative term limits would likely be paired with “good government” changes aimed at addressing the state’s feeble transparency and accountability grades.

No proposal has been finalized. But the fact that Republican legislative leaders have privately briefed their caucuses about talks with two political heavyweights — the Voters Not Politicians ballot committee and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce — is a sign that there is serious interest.

The constitutional amendment would need Democratic votes for the GOP-led Legislature to put it on the 2020 ballot.

The measure may be tied to pending bills. Those include requiring officeholders to fill out financial disclosures, subjecting the Legislature and governor’s office to public-records requests, and instituting a waiting period for public officials to become lobbyists.

GAY COUPLES-ADOPTION

Michigan judge denies request to halt LGBT adoption ruling

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has denied Michigan’s request to halt his preliminary injunction that preserved a Catholic adoption agency’s ability to refuse to place state wards with LGBT couples.

Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids declined the stay Tuesday. It had been sought by state Attorney General Dana Nessel and the state Department of Health and Human Services, while the case is appealed.

Jonker says state attorneys “offered nothing new” and “failed to come to grips” with the factual basis supporting an inference that Nessel engaged in “religious targeting.” Nessel has denied having hostility toward faith-based agencies that contract with the state.

She says Michigan law allows child-placing agencies to turn away families in private cases based on their sincerely held religious beliefs, but not when they place state-supervised children.

HIGH-SPEED INTERNET

Whitmer: Nearly all K-12 districts meeting broadband goal

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says nearly all Michigan school districts are meeting a minimum bandwidth target of internet access, and she wants to focus next on expanding broadband to 450,000 households.

Whitmer said Tuesday that 98% of K-12 districts are at the Federal Communications Commission’s goal of 100 kilobits per second (kbps) per student. She says since 2015, schools in Michigan have used $90 million in federal funding to upgrade their Wi-Fi and internal networks.

Whitmer, who helped the nonprofit EducationSuperHighway announce nationwide progress connecting classrooms to high-speed internet, says broadband access is a “huge part of our kids’ education.” She says it is important to ensure that they also can do their schoolwork at home, while online.

PROFESSOR SURVEY-RACIST COMMENTS

Professor’s survey in Michigan criticized for racist remarks

(Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A survey by a Michigan State University professor to determine how people respond to derogatory online comments has sparked outrage because it included racist statements.

Saleem Alhabash, an associate professor of public relations and social media, sent his survey to select students Monday. It was posted on a Michigan State website and later removed.

The Lansing State Journal reports the survey asked students to rate statements taken directly from social media and other online sites. Several students told the newspaper that the statements targeted blacks, Asians, Muslims and the LGBTQ community.

Alhabash apologized for the survey, adding it wasn’t meant to hurt anyone.

Michigan State President Samuel Stanley said in a letter to students, faculty and staff Tuesday that “building inclusive communities is at the core of” the school’s values.

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AP-US-UNION-AUTOS-CORRUPTION

Feds get 10th conviction in union corruption probe

DETROIT (AP) — A former union official has pleaded guilty to accepting more than $120,000 in bribes and kickbacks from contractors with business at a United Auto Workers training center.

Jeff Pietrzyk’s plea agreement calls for federal prosecutors in Detroit to seek no more than two years and three months in prison.

Pietrzyk of Grand Island, New York, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy. He’s the 10th person to be convicted in an investigation of corruption inside the UAW and the auto industry.

Pietrzyk was accused of taking payments to steer contracts to vendors for watches, jackets and backpacks for union members. He was an administrative assistant who worked closely with Joe Ashton, now retired as a UAW vice president.

The government says 58,000 watches still are in storage five years later.

CARING FOR KIN

Ohio plans to increase payments to relatives caring for kids

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio plans to increase payments to approved relatives caring for children who were taken from their parents even when the family members aren’t licensed caregivers.

The move is meant to close a gap between non-licensed relatives such as grandparents who receive a basic payment for caring for children, and relatives who become licensed and often earn hundreds of dollars more per month.

The issue has taken on new significance because the opioid crisis has seen a huge increase in the number of children taken from homes because of parents’ or guardians’ addictions.

A 2017 federal court ruling said the so-called foster care maintenance payments must be paid to relatives recognized by children services offices as caregivers, regardless of whether they are licensed.

FATHER-SON-SHOOTING

Police: Man kills himself after killing 6-year-old son

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — Police say a man killed his young son in Port Huron and then fatally shot himself.

Police found 35-year-old Robert William Lagrow of Port Huron and 6-year-old Weston Keith Lagrow dead from gunshot wounds in an apartment Monday night after a family member asked authorities to check the residence.

The shootings remain under investigation.

WOMAN-SEARCH

Search continues for Detroit-area woman in northern Michigan

HONOR, Mich. (AP) — Police turned to a drone and dogs to try to solve the disappearance of a Detroit-area woman in northern Michigan, but the latest search didn’t result in any new findings.

TV station WPBN reports that the search Tuesday was focused on a half-mile radius of a cabin in Honor in Benzie County. Adrienne Quintal of Warren was reported missing last week. Police say it could be a case of foul play.

State and local investigators used a drone to map the area and keep track of where they’re searching.

The 47-year-old Quintal called someone in the Detroit area for help early last Thursday. Deputies found her car, purse and phone at the cabin.

Anyone with information can call (231) 882-4487.

GM STRIKE-AGREEMENT

Autoworkers from closed plants fight new GM contract

DETROIT (AP) — If they can close our plant, they can close yours, too.

That’s the message from workers at three shuttered General Motors factories that didn’t get new products under the tentative contract agreement reached last week between GM and its striking union.

Many workers from those closed factories say they want to vote down the contract and continue the 6-week-old strike.

But few think they will be successful because the agreement is too attractive.

PEDESTRIANS KILLED

‘Heart-wrenching:’ Couple killed were planning to move

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A husband and wife who were killed during a hit-and-run in Grand Rapids had put their house up for sale and were planning a move to Tennessee.

Tyler Duflo tells WOOD-TV that his mother and stepfather were enjoying a night out Saturday when they were hit while walking across a street in a crosswalk. Duflo says it’s “heart-wrenching.”

Tracy Fuhr and Todd Fuhr of Grand Rapids were 56 years old. Police say the suspect, Jason McCann, blew through a stop sign before hitting the couple. He appeared in court Tuesday on charges of leaving the scene of a deadly crash and reckless driving causing death.

It wasn’t immediately known if McCann has an attorney who could comment.

Duflo says he would want to see the couple’s “contagious smiles one last time.”