Rick Pluta

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state medical marijuana board has deadlocked on the first two applications for licenses. 

The issue was how to deal with old criminal convictions. 

One applicant thought his marijuana conviction had been expunged from the record. In another case, the applicant had a 20-year-old misdemeanor. 

Michael Densmore says it’s all a misunderstanding. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state House has approved a bill to require vehicles to keep a distance of at least three feet when passing bicyclists. 

The legislation is largely a response to a fatal accident two years ago near Kalamazoo.

Five bicyclists were killed and four injured when a truck plowed into the group cycling in Cooper Township. That same year, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning says 38 bicyclists died in crashes.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state schools chief wants to let local districts experiment with student testing.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston says Michigan will file for a federal waiver to allow five percent of the state’s school districts to opt out of the M-STEP and try their own tests.

Whiston says technology and social media are changing how kids learn, and student testing should reflect that.

“And kids are going to do very well at it because it’s where they’re at,” he says.

Whiston notes student testing has not kept up with how kids think.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   State schools superintendent Brian Whiston is stepping down to concentrate on his battle with cancer. 

Whiston was named superintendent in 2015, and set a goal of making Michigan one of the nation’s top 10 states when it comes to the quality of schools within 10 years.  He says plans that have been put in place to turn around struggling schools make that possible.

“They’re just now in progress,” he said, “and it’s just very sad to me that I won’t be part of seeing whether they all worked or not.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Bills to address campus sexual misconduct have stalled in the state Senate.

The bills are the Legislature’s response to Michigan State University’s handling of the sexual abuse allegations against disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar and complaints about sexual misconduct on college campuses.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Bills to lift time limits to file sex assault lawsuits have cleared a state Senate committee. 

It’s part of the state’s response to the Larry Nassar scandal and the issue of sexual misconduct on college campuses.

Survivors of the former MSU sports doctor’s abuse were among those who testified for the bills. The legislation would also require adults who work with student athletes to report suspicions of abuse.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to spend his last year in office focused on creating a workforce to fill more than 800,000 current and future openings. 

He calls it a “Marshall Plan” for developing talent. The governor’s proposal to invest in training for jobs in skilled trades, information technology, and health care is named for the massive effort to rebuild Europe after World War II. He made the announcement at a science museum in Detroit.

The governor’s said he’s made filling positions in sought-after high-tech fields a priority already.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   A bill to make English Michigan’s official language cleared the state House Thursday, and the debate got fierce at times. 

The bill passed on a mostly-party line vote. Republicans say Michigan should join 32 other states that have declared English their official language. Democrats say the bill sends the wrong message to foreigners and immigrants.

Democratic state Representative Abdullah Hammoud said the bill taps into a dark place in current politics, and is a distraction from real issues.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Existing medical marijuana dispensaries had until Thursday to submit applications in to a state licensing board. 

The applications had to include proof their local governments allow them to operate.

The filing allows more than 75 existing medical marijuana operations to stay in business while they wait on word whether they get state licenses. David Harns with the state medical marijuana licensing board says dispensaries that didn’t meet the deadline are probably out of luck.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Public universities might risk losing a portion of their state funding for failing to meet benchmarks to prevent campus sexual misconduct.

It’s part of a budget proposal that’s begun working its way through the Legislature. The plan is to hold back funding for universities that don’t meet all the requirements of Title Nine and other programs to prevent campus sexual misconduct.