Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is the fourth Republican running for governor to file petition signatures to appear on the primary ballot. 

Calley says he wants to succeed Governor Rick Snyder, who cannot run again due to term limits.

Calley says he wants to continue the work started by Snyder over the past seven years. He says Snyder administration policies helped fuel Michigan’s recovery from the Great Recession, resulting in low unemployment and higher wages.

“We need to keep this comeback going,” he says.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state says now is not the time to rule on whether a candidate for governor is eligible to run.  That could mean the question will wait until after Democratic voters make their choice in the primary. 

The state constitution says a candidate for governor must have been a registered voter in Michigan for at least four years before the election. Democratic hopeful Abdul El-Sayed voted in New York in 2012, and the question is whether that invalidated his Michigan voter registration until he re-registered here in 2016.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Rick Snyder rolled out a plan Monday to improve school safety following the Parkland-Florida shootings; however, the plan is silent on issues related to guns. 

It calls for boosting security at hundreds of schools, and expanding an anti-bullying tip line. A task force would also come up with more ways to improve school safety between now and the end of the year, when Governor Snyder steps down.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The debate over firearms and school safety found its way Wednesday to the Michigan Supreme Court. 

The court must decide whether schools can ban firearms, or if that’s preempted by state law. The court heard more than an hour of arguments from both sides.

At issue is a state law that says cities, townships, villages and counties cannot adopt their own firearms ordinances. But the law is silent on school districts.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A federal judge says the Michigan Department of Corrections cannot deny good conduct credits to former juvenile lifers who are now entitled to parole hearings. 

The decision revokes part of a state law adopted to comply with a 2012 U-S Supreme Court decision. That decision said automatic life without parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional.

Deborah LaBelle is an attorney with the ACLU. She says the state is making it too hard for this group of Michigan inmates to win their freedom.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Inmates sent to prison as children can sue the state over sexual abuse and other alleged misconduct, under a ruling from the Michigan Court of Appeals. 

The lawsuit claims minors aged 13 to 17 who were sent to prison were beaten and sexually abused by adult inmates and prison staff. The state tried to get the lawsuit dismissed under a 1999 amendment to Michigan’s civil rights act that barred legal actions filed by inmates under that law. 

The court struck that down.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state medical marijuana board has deadlocked on the first two applications for licenses. 

The issue was how to deal with old criminal convictions. 

One applicant thought his marijuana conviction had been expunged from the record. In another case, the applicant had a 20-year-old misdemeanor. 

Michael Densmore says it’s all a misunderstanding. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state House has approved a bill to require vehicles to keep a distance of at least three feet when passing bicyclists. 

The legislation is largely a response to a fatal accident two years ago near Kalamazoo.

Five bicyclists were killed and four injured when a truck plowed into the group cycling in Cooper Township. That same year, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says 38 bicyclists died in crashes.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state schools chief wants to let local districts experiment with student testing.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston says Michigan will file for a federal waiver to allow five percent of the state’s school districts to opt out of the M-STEP and try their own tests.

Whiston says technology and social media are changing how kids learn, and student testing should reflect that.

“And kids are going to do very well at it because it’s where they’re at,” he says.

Whiston notes student testing has not kept up with how kids think.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State schools superintendent Brian Whiston is stepping down to concentrate on his battle with cancer. 

Whiston was named superintendent in 2015, and set a goal of making Michigan one of the nation’s top 10 states when it comes to the quality of schools within 10 years.  He says plans that have been put in place to turn around struggling schools make that possible.

“They’re just now in progress,” he said, “and it’s just very sad to me that I won’t be part of seeing whether they all worked or not.”

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