Government

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Governor Rick Snyder's administration plans to hire a monitor to scrutinize Flint aid and ensure state appropriations are being appropriately used to address the city's crisis with lead-tainted water.

The Detroit News reports the state's Department of Technology, Management and Budget last week issued a request seeking bids from private vendors for the job, which would supplement work by the state Office of Auditor General and Office of Internal Audit Services.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Michigan Legislature has given final approval to a bill that would provide the survivors of fallen police officers, firefighters and publicly employed paramedics with up to five years of medical insurance. 

The surviving spouse and dependents now are eligible for $25,000.

The legislation won approval 35-0 in the Senate Wednesday and 99-6 in the House.

Providing the health coverage could cost the state up to $400,000 a year, according to legislative fiscal projections. 

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Efforts to rid Michigan communities of plastic shopping bags would be banned under legislation close to final approval in the Republican-led Legislature. 

The House Commerce and Trade Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote Tuesday. The measure, which won Senate passage in May, next moves to the full House.

NORWAY, MI (AP)--   Golf carts have the green light in a Dickinson County community.  

Norway will allow golf carts on residential streets during daylight hours. The Daily News says top speed is 15 mph and drivers must be at least 16 and possess a regular driver's license.

Norway City Manager Ray Anderson says a new state law allows golf carts on streets if the local government approves. The City Council unanimously voted in favor of golf carts this week. 

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Anyone in Michigan could report drug overdoses without fear of being prosecuted for illegal possession under legislation nearing Governor Rick Snyder's desk.  

The Senate voted 30-7 for legislation Thursday to expand a law exempting people from prosecution if they report an overdose from an illegal substance. The bills won House approval in May and could get a final vote next week.

huffingtonpost.com

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan would tax and regulate medical marijuana in a tiered licensing system under legislation that has cleared a big hurdle in the Legislature.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 25-12 for a bill Thursday to require a state operating license to grow, process, sell, transport or test marijuana used for medical purposes. Another bill clarifies that allowable marijuana includes non-smokable forms such as oils, food items and pills.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Republican-led Senate will not block Governor Rick Snyder's pick to lead Michigan's embattled Department of Environmental Quality in the wake of Flint's water crisis.

Heidi Grether, a former BP lobbyist whose appointment has come under criticism from environmentalists and Democrats, took questions Wednesday from the Senate Natural Resources Committee. The panel didn't vote, which means Grether's appointment will take effect automatically Tuesday as expected.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Patrons could bring their dog along while eating in an outdoor area of a restaurant under legislation up for a vote in the Michigan Senate.  

State law generally prohibits live animals at restaurants.

The bill which supporters say could boost tourism is expected to be approved by senators Wednesday and sent to the House.

It would allow dogs on restaurant patios under certain circumstances.

npr.org

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan would no longer require that someone be inside a self-driving car while testing it on public roads under bills up for a vote in the Legislature.  

The change is expected to win Senate approval Wednesday and likely reach Gov. Rick Snyder's desk within months.

The legislation is designed to keep the U.S. auto industry's home state ahead of the curve on autonomous vehicles.

A researcher wouldn't have to be present in a self-driving test car. But he or she would be required to "promptly" take control of its movements if necessary.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Republican-led Michigan Legislature returns for voting this week after a three-month summer break, with plans for an abbreviated calendar before the crucial November election 

determines which party controls the House.

Both chambers will have three weeks in session before the election, or nine days.

There could be a lot on the docket, but lawmakers may leave until the post-election "lame duck" period final resolution of high-priority items such as energy and criminal justice legislation.

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