Michigan Legislature

LANSING, MI (AP)--   A bill advancing in Michigan's Legislature would eliminate or lengthen the statute of limitations for filing charges in sexual assault cases. 

The legislation approved unanimously by the Senate Tuesday would allow a prosecution at any time for second-degree sexual conduct if the victim was younger than 16. In cases of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, the statute of limitations would rise to 20 years after the offense or the victim's 31st birthday, whichever is later.

That's 10 years longer than now.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan would authorize and license midlevel "dental therapists" to do work now performed by dentists under a bill advancing in the Legislature. 

The legislation won Senate approval 21-15 Wednesday. The House will consider it next.

Under the bill, dental therapists could practice if they reach an agreement with a supervising dentist.

They could perform more common procedures than dental hygienists, such as filling cavities.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Michigan Legislature has given final approval to legislation to coax more newly hired school employees into a 401(k)-only benefit instead of one that includes a traditional pension.

The Republican-controlled House approved the bill 55-51 Tuesday. It will go to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk for his expected signature after a procedural step in the GOP-led Senate.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Some Republicans in the Michigan Senate are hoping to restore tax credits eliminated in 2011 that benefited taxpayers making charitable donations to food banks, homeless shelters and certain nonprofits.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and the GOP-led Legislature made the changes in 2011 to help balance the state's budget. That year, about 234,000 Michigan taxpayers claimed $19.5 million in tax credits through donations to homeless shelters and food banks.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Human trafficking victims forced or coerced into prostitution could get certain criminal charges deferred or dismissed under a bill approved by the Michigan Legislature. 

The state Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would allow some prostitution-related charges to be dropped regardless of any prior convictions.

State Rep. Bronna Kahle, R-Adrian, says currently human trafficking victims currently are not eligible for deferrals or dismissals if they have previous prostitution-related convictions.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Utilities would be forced to more quickly warn customers if there is too much lead in their water under legislation approved in Michigan's Legislature. 

The bill, which was spurred by Flint's water crisis, would require public water systems to issue a public advisory within three business days of being notified by state regulators that lead exceeds the "action level." The current deadline is 30 days.

The House passed the legislation unanimously Thursday.

It goes to the Senate, which could act next week before the end of a two-year session.

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.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Michigan Legislature is eliminating a deadline for people convicted of felonies to petition a judge for new DNA testing and a new trial.  

Michigan in 2001 began allowing post-conviction requests for DNA testing, which has resulted in innocent inmates being set free. There was a deadline to file, which has been delayed several times.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan is planning a "Sunshine Squad" campaign that aims to make the Michigan legislature more accountable. 

The group says a new website is part of the effort, which seeks to improve ethics and transparency at the state government level.

The website features current members of the Michigan legislature broken down by committee assignment and House or Senate district. Each legislator-specific page features committee assignments and searchable financial contributions so residents can examine donations.

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