Government

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The state database that tracks prescriptions of powerful painkillers may be on track for an overhaul amid a national addiction epidemic.  

The House approved a bill Thursday to spend about $2.5 million to revamp the system. It's among the recommendations from a task force that worked on responses to opioid addiction.

State figures show the number of opioid-related deaths has tripled since 1999.

Republican Rep. Anthony Forlini says doctors don't have good information. He says it can lead to new prescriptions for people who already have plenty.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Michigan Senate has voted to prohibit local governments from regulating the sale of plastic bags and food containers.  

The bill approved 25-12 mostly along party lines Tuesday is an effort by businesses to stop municipalities from banning the bags or adding fees to use them. Some communities in Michigan are discussing the regulation of plastic bags, though no ordinances have been passed yet.

Majority Republicans support the proposed law as a way to ensure consistent regulations statewide. Democrats say the bill erodes local control.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Police would be authorized to send alerts to cell phones when they're aware of a mass shooter under legislation motivated by the Kalamazoo-area shootings.  

The House approved a package of bills Tuesday. It's in response to Uber driver Jason Dalton, who is charged with killing six people and injuring two more in the Kalamazoo area in February.

LANSING, MI--   A bipartisan package of bills that combat meth addiction in Michigan is headed to Governor Snyder for his signature. 

LANSING, MI (AP)--   An effort to require health insurers to provide cancer patients the same coverage for oral drugs as for intravenous medications is expected to advance in the Michigan Legislature.

The Senate has scheduled a vote for Tuesday on the bill designed to reduce the cost of cancer pills, which can be much higher than the expense of sitting for IV drippings or injections.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Governor Rick Snyder has signed four bills dealing with domestic violence that he hopes will offer "peace of mind" to people trying to escape dangerous situations. 

Rep. Kurt Heise, a Plymouth Republican who sponsors one of the bills, said the legislation signed into law Tuesday updates overlooked ways abusers can manipulate or terrorize victims, such as by harming someone's pet. Heise says the theme is ensuring laws are "up to date" and that domestic violence situations are given "higher scrutiny."

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

FLINT, MI (MPRN)--   President Obama flew from Washington to Flint Wednesday to meet with families affected by the city’s drinking water crisis, to check in on relief efforts, and to reassure residents that their problems are fixable, even if it’s not right away.  

Obama cautioned it would take a while, two years or more, for the city’s lead pipes to be replaced. But he said he’s been assured by federal experts that filtered water is safe to drink.

MADISON, WI (AP)--   Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has approved a rule implementing drug screening requirements for unemployment benefits. 

The rule implements provisions in the state budget. Under the rule, those who fail an employer drug test or refuse to take one can be denied unemployment benefits.

Those who fail would get taxpayer-funded treatment.

Walker announced the new rule Wednesday, saying it brings the state one step closer to moving residents from government dependence to independence.

The rule will take effect later this week.

soolocks.com

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI--   U.S. Senator Gary Peters will tour the Soo Locks on Thursday afternoon. 

The Michigan Democrat is a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force.  He’ll be in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday to draw attention to efforts to replace the Davis and Sabin Locks. Only the Poe Lock is large enough to handle the ships that carry 70 percent of the cargo moving through the complex.

Peters says the Soo Locks play a critical role in Michigan’s economy and national security. 

un.org

  GENEVA (AP) — U.N. experts say residents of Flint, Michigan, may have had their human rights violated because of a lack of regular access to safe drinking water over the last two years.
Three experts working with the U.N. human rights office in Geneva called on authorities Tuesday to "map out a human rights complaint strategy" to make sure other parts of the U.S. don't face events like Flint's water crisis.
President Barack Obama will visit the city, which is grappling with effects of a lead-contaminated water supply, on Wednesday.

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