Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT
Michigan agency to include climate in tunnel permit review
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan agency says it won’t pass judgment on whether an oil pipeline that extends across the northern part of the state and neighboring Wisconsin should keep operating. The Michigan Public Service Commission is evaluating Enbridge’s permit application to move a section of its Line 5 from the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac to a proposed underground tunnel. The commission Wednesday sided against environmentalists and tribes who want it to consider whether the entire pipeline is still needed. But the agency agreed with pipeline opponents that it must consider pollution from fossil fuels the pipeline carries in weighing the permit application.
House leaders: End ‘revolving door,’ require financial info
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — New bipartisan ethics legislation in the Michigan House would require financial disclosure from lawmakers and top state officials and prohibit them from becoming lobbyists for two years after their tenure. The bills, introduced Wednesday, are part of a broader package that supporters say is designed to boost transparency, heighten ethical standards and improve accountability. It’s a top priority for leaders in both parties in coming weeks. Some initiatives, such as opening the Legislature and governor’s office to public-records requests, were approved earlier and are pending in the Senate. Other bills are new, including the proposed creation of legislative ethics committees.
Virus cases, positivity rate declining in hard-hit Michigan
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases has fallen by more than 1,200 in a week, a sign that the outbreak may be subsiding in a state where infection and hospitalization rates remain highest in the country. The state health department on Wednesday reported nearly 5,600 cases in the most recent 24-hour period. That brought the seven-day average to 5,742 — down from the third surge’s peak of around 7,000 on April 13. The seven-day average of tests coming back positive, 13.4%, was down from 15.5% a week before. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said earlier this week the “numbers are far too high,” but appear to be slowing and death rates are lower than in the last two waves.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-EMERGENCY LAW
AG: No charges despite ‘unsavory tactics’ in petition drive
DETROIT (AP) — No criminal charges will be filed in an investigation of a petition drive to repeal a law that was used to shut down parts of Michigan last year during the coronavirus pandemic. Attorney General Dana Nessel says investigators found “unsavory practices and sleazy tactics” but nothing that would stand up as crimes in court. A group called Unlock Michigan appears to have more than enough signatures to send a repeal of the 1945 law to the GOP-controlled Legislature. For months, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used the law to order sweeping restrictions on the economy. The Michigan Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in October, but Unlock Michigan wants to permanently sweep it off the books.
Michigan seeks to delay redistricting by nearly 3 months
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s top election official and its redistricting panel are asking the state Supreme Court for more time to adopt new congressional and legislative maps, pointing to delayed census data. The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks a Jan. 25 deadline, nearly three months later than the Nov. 1 date set in the state constitution. Due to pandemic-related setbacks, the U.S. Census Bureau isn’t expected to release redistricting data until August and it might not be available in an easy-to-use format until Sept. 30. Lawyers say if final data is available earlier, the commission will try to approve maps before Jan. 25.
No charges planned in probe of Detroit officials, nonprofit
DETROIT (AP) — The state has closed an investigation of Detroit officials and their connection to a prenatal health program supported by the city. Attorney General Dana Nessel says no criminal charges were warranted, although the city could do more to improve “transparency and accountability.” Investigators responded to complaints that Mayor Mike Duggan’s staff had directed some employees to delete emails that referred to Make Your Date. It’s a program associated with Wayne State University that is aimed at helping women through their pregnancies. There were allegations that Duggan had a personal relationship with the head of the program. Emails were subsequently recovered and publicly released. Duggan’s spokesman says it was “bad judgment, not a crime.”
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE CASH
Wayne State offering $10 if students get vaccinated
DETROIT (AP) — The COVID-19 vaccine is worth $10 for Wayne State University students. The school says it will add cash to students’ accounts if they show by May 7 that they’ve had at least one shot. Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson says it’s an “extra incentive — although the best incentive” for a shot is avoiding COVID-19. A majority of fall classes at the Detroit university are expected to be offered in a traditional face-to-face setting.
BKH-ALL STATE-DIVISION 2
Detroit Edison’s Damiya Hagemann wins AP D2 Player of Year
Detroit Edison guard Damiya Hagemann has been named The Associated Press Division 2 Player of the Year for girls basketball. She capped off her high school career with an outstanding senior year, leading a top-ranked team before it was knocked to the sidelines before the district title game due to COVID issues. The senior averaged 17.4 points, 9.9 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists and was named Miss Basketball, honoring the state’s top player in girls basketball in any class.
TAKATA-AIR BAG DEATH
South Carolina driver killed by exploding air bag inflator
DETROIT (AP) — A driver in South Carolina is the latest person to be killed by an exploding Takata air bag inflator. Honda says that a faulty driver’s air bag blew apart in a crash involving a 2002 Honda Accord in Lancaster County, South Carolina. The company wouldn’t give details of the Jan. 9 crash near Charlotte, North Carolina, nor would it identify the person who was killed. Honda says that company representatives and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inspected the car and the air bag parts on Wednesday and determined that the inflator had ruptured. The death is the 19th in the U.S. since 2009 and the 28th worldwide caused by the faulty inflators.
Man fatally shot by Detroit police after attack on officer
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police fatally shot a man as he was stabbing an officer with a knife. Police Chief James Craig says officers were called to a home Tuesday, where they found a man had stabbed himself in the abdomen. An officer who tried to take away the knife was stabbed several times in the leg by the man. Other officers on the scene shot the man, who wasn’t immediately identified. According to Craig, the man’s mother claimed he had a history of drug use and mental illness. Craig said the officer, who may have been wounded in the hand by friendly fire, was expected to recover.