Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A group marched on Governor Rick Snyder’s office Tuesday to call for faster work fixing Flint’s water system.           

About 50 demonstrators delivered more than 11 hundred empty water bills with messages from Flint residents curled inside each one. 

Nayyirah Shariff with the group Flint Rising led the march. She says the demands include picking up the pace of replacing lead pipes, and a moratorium on city water bills until the work is done. Shariff says the process of replacing the water pipes should not take years. 

Capitol mourning Kivela

May 10, 2017

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   There were tears and hugs on the floor of the state House today as colleagues got word that state Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) took his life – one day after his second arrest on a charge of drunk driving. 

House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) announced that Tuesday and Wednesday sessions would be cancelled to mourn Kivela’s passing. 

“I’m sure today is the toughest day we will experience this term together,” said Leonard. “And I truly have no words about the loss of our dear friend, John Kivela.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A bipartisan group of state lawmakers and local officials will try again this year to shut down a tax break that’s allowed big box stores to cut their property taxes. 

The so-called “dark store” loophole allows open and functioning big-box stores to base their property taxes on the value of stores that have been shut down. The value of the empty stores can be further reduced by restrictions on who can buy them.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A group of gun control advocates was at the state Capitol to lobby against a proposal to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit. 

About 75 members of the group Moms Demand Action showed up to urge lawmakers to reject a bill that would relax concealed gun rules. Right now, the state requires a clean criminal record and a safety course. This new bill would allow anyone 21 years or older who’s not barred from owning a firearm to conceal a gun under their clothes or in a vehicle.               

DETROIT, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan’s statewide recount of ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election is over unless the state Supreme Court intervenes. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The estimated cost of recounting all the votes in Michigan’s presidential election continues to rise.  

State officials plan to charge Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein almost a million dollars to conduct the recount.

If Stein carries through with plans to demand a recount, state will demand a check for $973,250. That’s higher than previous numbers, based on $125 per precinct.

Fred Woodhams of the Michigan Bureau of Elections says the number grew because of the high number of absentee ballots to be counted.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state has filed a lawsuit seeking to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from two water engineering firms that did work in Flint.  

The lawsuit accuses the companies Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newlman (LAN) of fraud and professional negligence. It says the firms not only failed to detect lead contamination of the water, but also did things that made the problem worse.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio Network

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Rick Snyder has ordered flags at state buildings to be flown at half-staff in memory of the 50 people killed in a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando-Florida. 

Vigils around Michigan Sunday night also marked the killings.

There was a candlelight vigil at the state Capitol, in Ferndale, and Grand Rapids.

And people gathered at a courtyard in Ann Arbor that hosted a celebration almost a year ago after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state Elections Bureau says the petition drive to legalize marijuana in Michigan has failed to gather enough signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

The MI Legalize campaign needed 252,523 signatures of registered voters to get a citizen-initiated bill before the Legislature or on the November ballot. The campaign turned in an estimated 354,000 names last week. But elections officials tossed all but 146,413. They said the rest were collected outside the 180-window set by law and state policy to collect signatures.   

arabamericannews.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.--   Michigan health and environmental department chiefs were in Washington Wednesday to explain the state’s response to the Flint water crisis to members of Congress. 

Nick Lyons directs the state Department of Health and Human Services. He said it’s plain the state should have done more sooner.

“I know the people of Flint are hurt,” he said. “They are upset. I know there is anger and mistrust. Rightfully so.”

But state and federal officials say they can’t predict how long it will take before the water is drinkable without being filtered.

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