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Grace period extended for Michigan license, plate renewals

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan drivers whose license or registration expires between April and week’s end will have 120 additional days to renew it without being assessed late fees under new laws. The bills were signed Thursday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who says they give motorists flexibility during the pandemic. A 13-month grace period ended March 31, leading to a transactions backlog. The laws will help residents whose license, registration or state ID card lapses from April 1 through this Saturday. They also prohibit late renewal fees unless the secretary of state resumes letting people conduct same-day service at a branch without an appointment.


State’s top court: Detroiters can vote on city constitution

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has cleared the way for a vote next week on major changes to Detroit’s constitution that critics claim could ruin the city’s delicate finances. In a 4-3 ruling, the state Supreme Court said the ballot question isn’t doomed despite Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s refusal to give it her blessing because state law is silent on the impact of a governor’s objection. The court overturned decisions by lower courts. Proposal P is already on absentee ballots that were distributed ahead of next Tuesday’s election. If approved, it would create new city departments covering disability rights, environmental justice, veterans affairs and economic justice. It would also create a task force to consider paying reparations to Black people.


Whitmer: State to provide $10M for people impacted by storm

The state of Michigan will disburse $10 million in emergency relief funding to help Detroit-area and other southeastern Michigan residents whose homes, businesses and belongings were damaged by recent flooding caused by a late June rainstorm. Whitmer says Thursday that communities will distribute the funding based on greatest need. Basements and streets flooded following the June 25-26 storm that dumped 6 inches of rain in a matter of hours. Whitmer adds that the money essentially is to fill the gap for people who already have submitted claims through the federal Small Business Administration and FEMA, but “did not receive as much support as they needed to rebuild.”


Michigan restricts use of restraints on teens in courts

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court is restricting the use of handcuffs and other restraints on juveniles when they appear in court. They can’t be used unless a judge determines that a restraint would prevent harm or there’s a belief that a child might dash from the courtroom. Justice Megan Cavanagh noted that 31 other states have procedures governing the use of restraints in court. The Supreme Court has two former trial judges, justices David Viviano and Brian Zahra. They disagree with the new rule and say it interferes with a judge’s ability to manage a courtroom. 


Two more health systems mandate employee virus vaccinations

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Two of Michigan’s largest health systems are requiring all employees and doctors at their hospitals to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Spectrum Health, a 14-hospital network, and eight-hospital Beaumont Health announced the mandates Wednesday. At least five major hospital systems in the state have announced such requirements. Both Spectrum and Beaumont say their requirements will go into effect after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration fully approves one or more of the current vaccines. Three vaccines currently have emergency use authorization. Both hospital systems point to the delta variant, a mutated and more transmissible version of the coronavirus.


Feds seek money in Nassar’s prison account for restitution

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — U.S. prosecutors are asking a judge to order the Federal Bureau of Prisons to transfer all money in Larry Nassar’s prison account — about $2,000 — to help provide restitution to five victims as part of his 60-year child porn sentence. They say the former sports doctor, who was convicted in state court of sexually assaulting female gymnasts, has paid only $300 in penalties despite receiving $12,825 since he was incarcerated in a federal prison more than three years ago. Nassar owes roughly $57,000 in restitution and a $5,000 special assessment. The Washington Post first disclosed the court filing.


Detroit council member indicted on federal bribery charge

A Detroit city councilman has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and accused of accepting $1,000 from an undercover law enforcement agent. Andre Spivey was named late Tuesday in an indictment filed in federal court in Detroit. The indictment says the bribe allegedly was accepted on Oct. 26, 2018. It also says that between 2016 and 2020, Spivey and “public official A” accepted more than $35,000 in payments to influence votes “concerning an industry under review by the council.” Public official A is identified in the indictment as a member of Spivey’s staff. Spivey represents the city’s District 4 and first was elected in 2009. He did not file for reelection.


Motorist charged 2 years after crash that killed passenger

HOME TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A central Michigan man has been charged two years after a crash that killed a passenger in a vehicle he was driving, a delay apparently due to a misplaced police report and warrant request. The Daily News of Greenville reports Wednesday that Martin Swan faces failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death, reckless driving causing death and being a habitual offender charges. Prosecutors say Nicholas Chauvin died July 25, 2019, in a single-vehicle crash northeast of Grand Rapids in Home Township, but the state police report wasn’t received until May. A state police spokeswoman says police journal entries indicate the police report and warrant request were submitted on Aug. 29, 2019. 


Detroit-area water leader quitting weeks after floods

DETROIT (AP) — The head of a regional water agency in southeastern Michigan says she’s resigning, weeks after thousands of homes were spoiled by sewage backups during a tremendous storm. Sue McCormick didn’t cite the June 25-26 flooding as the reason for her departure, though the controversy has tarnished the Great Lakes Water Authority. She said she had been contemplating retirement. Power disruptions at pump stations have been blamed for the backup of water and sewage in basements in Detroit and many suburbs. A storm that dropped more than 6 inches of rain in a short period in late June.


New chief faces possible DOJ probe, community distrust

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The new police chief in Ohio’s capital and largest city is facing challenges ranging from a record number of homicides to longtime distrust of the force by Columbus residents. Elaine Bryant is a former deputy police chief in Detroit selected to run the department in June by Democratic Mayor Andrew Ginther. She is the first Black woman to lead the agency. She said she wants Columbus residents to have interactions with officers that don’t always involve a police response to an issue. She promises to call out officers for wrongdoing but also to have their back in the face of criticism if their actions are justified.