Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EDT


Michigan Senate: Train police on bias, de-escalation

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would require police to be trained on implicit bias and de-escalation techniques to minimize the use of force. Thursday’s vote came more than a week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has sparked nationwide protests. The legislation would also mandate, starting in 2022, that officers complete annual continuing education. Michigan is among six states without such a requirement, according to a 2017 report. The measure, which was passed just a week after its introduction, was sent to the House for further consideration.


High court won’t bypass in GOP challenge to virus orders

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has declined to expedite an appeal in the Republican-led Legislature’s lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home restrictions. A judge ruled in her favor two weeks ago. Both lawmakers and the governor wanted the high court to skip the appeals court and hear the case now. But in a 4-3 ruling Thursday, the court said the case should follow the normal process. Also Thursday, Michigan’s school superintendent sid K-12 districts are confronting the possibility of staggering spending cuts unless Congress helps fill a nearly $2.4 billion revenue shortfall over this budget year and next.


Epidemic of wipes and masks plagues sewers, storm drains

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Clogs in sewers and storm water drains are increasing during the pandemic as home-bound Americans are seeking alternatives to bathroom tissue because of occasional shortages, while stepping up efforts to sanitize their dwellings and themselves. Officials in U.S. cities and rural communities — and even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — have issued pleas to be careful about what gets flushed down the toilet, as wastewater plant operators report a surge of stopped-up pipes and damage to pumps and other equipment. The outbreak is further strapping local budgets while sharpening debate over whether body wipes are suitable for toilet disposal.


Pandemic and racial unrest test black clergy on dual fronts

For black clergy across the United States, the past 10 days have been a tumultuous test of their stamina and skills. For weeks, they had been striving to comfort their congregations amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has taken a disproportionately heavy toll on blacks. Then came a coast-to-coast upsurge of racial tension and unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died in police custody. Black pastors have been conferring with police, liaising with activists, and updating their sermons to address the overlapping crises. Said one pastor in Texas, “We’ve got a coronavirus and a racism virus.”


Ex-UAW president pleads guilty to living high life on dues

DETROIT (AP) — A former president of the United Auto Workers has pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to embezzle union dues and spending the money on things such as golf trips, expensive meals and vacations. The government says the scheme netted more than $1 million. Gary Jones appeared by video in federal court in Detroit, acknowledging that he falsified expenses from 2012 to 2017. Jones was a UAW regional director in St. Louis before he became president in 2018. Jones pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy. Ten union officials and a late official’s spouse have pleaded guilty since 2017, although not all the crimes were connected. 


Panel OKs $1.2B coronavirus bill; visitation rules relaxed

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers have advanced a bill that would allocate more than $1.2 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding, including $200 million to help small businesses restart as stay-at-home restrictions are loosened. The state, meanwhile, relaxed rules Tuesday so people can visit patients in hospitals and accompany them to physicians’ offices as long as they are screened. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rescinded an order that allowed governments to delay responses to public-records requests during the emergency, effective June 11. Grants to small businesses would be capped at $5,000 under the legislation sent to the Michigan House.


Study: Autonomous vehicles won’t make roads completely safe

DETROIT (AP) — A new study says that while autonomous vehicle technology has great promise to reduce crashes, it may not be able to prevent all crashes caused by humans. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study questions whether self-driving cars will be able to prevent all crashes now blamed on human error. It says that while autonomous vehicles eventually will identify hazards and react faster than humans, and they won’t get distracted, that’s only enough to prevent about one-third of roadway crashes. The rest of the crashes are a lot harder. Auto safety experts say 94% of crashes are caused by humans.  


Mix-up leads to wrong virus results for some prisoners

LENOX TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The Corrections Department says more than 100 prisoners in southeastern Michigan were given the wrong results of coronavirus tests. Fifty-four men were told they tested positive while another 54 were told they tested negative at Macomb Correctional Center. The results were actually the reverse. Spokesman Chris Gautz says the mistake led to prisoners subsequently being housed in wrong areas. The Corrections Department recently finished testing the statewide population of 38,000 prisoners. Ten percent were infected, and 68 prisoners have died, including five at Macomb. 


Fire strikes five homes in Kalamazoo; 84-year-old woman OK

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say fire damaged or destroyed at least five homes in Kalamazoo, including one where an 84-year-old woman had lived for more than four decades. The woman was not injured. The other properties were vacant. The fires were reported around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Kalamazoo was under a 7 p.m. curfew. It has been the site of raucous protests over police abuse and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Police consider the fires suspicious.