Michigan Legislature

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Doctors will be required to check a prescription database before prescribing painkillers and other powerful drugs under legislation that has won final approval in Michigan's Legislature. 

The bill was passed Wednesday. Other bills winning passage would limit the amount of opioids that can be prescribed and require a "bona fide" physician-patient relationship to dispense drugs.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Michigan Legislature has unanimously voted to cut high financial penalties for collecting excessive unemployment benefits while easing the ability for employers and claimants to report cases of identity theft.

The legislation was approved Wednesday and will soon reach Gov. Rick Snyder. The bills are a response to thousands of people being wrongly accused of fraudulently receiving benefits.

In many cases between 2013 and 2015, claimants did not commit fraud and were hit with interest along with penalties above the overpayment.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan legislators are proposing new laws designed to better protect victims of domestic violence and stalking. 

Bills introduced this past week would create an address confidentiality program, which supporters say exists in 37 states. Those subject to personal protection orders would have to relinquish their guns. Other measures are aimed at addressing housing- or job-related factors that keep victims with their abusers.

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.

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