Rick Pluta

Michigan State University will face an outside investigation into how it handled complaints that disgraced sports doctor Larry Nasser abused girls and women.

   It will include an inquiry into who was told about Nassar and when.

MSU President Lou Anna Simon and the university Board of Trustees went into a closed-door meeting. That’s following a growing chorus of calls for Simon to resign or be fired.

   Simon and the board asked state Attorney General Bill Schuette to open an investigation.

freep.com

Republican and Democratic leaders in the state Legislature are all calling for the removal of Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon.

   Lawmakers say they’ve lost confidence in her leadership because of the handling of the Larry Nassar scandal.

Support for Simon in the Legislature collapsed as, Nassar, the former MSU sports doctor faces sentencing for abusing athletes. For many hours this week in open court, women directed emotional statements to the man who abused them as children, and toward MSU officials who they say ignored the problem.

The state treasurer says caution should be the watchword as the Legislature develops plans to deal with a glitch in the federal tax overhaul. If they don’t that glitch could cost Michigan taxpayers more in state income taxes.

   But there are differences among Republicans on what should happen next.

Governor Rick Snyder has proposed guaranteeing taxpayers can continue to claim the personal exemption. He even wants a modest increase, so it amounts to a small tax cut. 

   The Legislature is back in session for 2018, and an early priority is dealing with taxes.

   Talks are underway to figure out how to make sure the federal tax overhaul doesn’t cause a spike in state income taxes

There appears to be bipartisan agreement that a fix is needed. The new federal tax law zeroes out the personal exemption. That means Michigan income taxpayers can’t claim the state personal exemption.

   But Republicans still don’t agree on exactly how to deal with it.

Governor Rick Snyder has proposed a plan to offset higher costs that could be forced on Michigan taxpayers as a result of the federal tax overhaul.

   The biggest issue is the elimination of the federal personal exemption.

   Michigan tax forms allow taxpayers to claim the same number of personal exemptions they claim on federal forms. But that federal exemption was eliminated as part of the tax overhaul adopted by Congress and signed by President Trump.

   That’s expected to cost a typical Michigan family of four about 680 dollars on their 2018 Michigan taxes.

The state is processing the first applications for medical marijuana licenses. More than a hundred background checks are already underway. Another 400 or so businesses are in different stages of applying. Most are waiting on local approval before moving ahead with the state process.

David Harns is with the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. He says the new directive from the US Justice Department that clears the way for federal prosecutors to enforce marijuana laws will not affect the state’s licensing program.

A bill to close a loophole in Michigan’s concealed gun law is expected to get a House committee hearing when the Legislature reconvenes next month.

   The result will determine who can carry a firearm into a school building.

Concealed guns are not allowed in schools. But a confusing loophole allows people with a concealed pistol license to openly carry a firearm on school property.

flickr.com

The state is appealing a federal court order that says it cannot suspend the driver’s licenses of people who don’t pay traffic fines. The state says it’s not possible to comply with the decision.

A federal judge ruled earlier this month the state is unconstitutionally suspending licenses of people who cannot afford to pay fines imposed by a court.

The state says complying would take months of re-programming computer systems and connecting with more than 100 local courts.

Nine cities and counties from across Michigan are taking drug companies to court.

They are trying to recover many millions of dollars in costs related to the opioid crisis.

The lawsuits filed in federal courts claim manufacturers, distributors and pharmacy chains misled doctors and the public about the dangers of opioids. And the legal actions also say the drug companies failed to follow safeguards that would have reduced the number of people addicted to opioids.

Mark Bernstein is the lawyer for the local governments.

A couple hundred volunteers showed up at the state Bureau of Elections today. They dropped off petitions to get a redistricting overhaul on the November ballot. 

People formed a line, and stood shoulder to shoulder as they passed 188 boxes containing petitions from the back of a truck to the front door of the elections bureau.

   The “Voters Not Politicians” proposal would create a 13-person independent redistricting commission, which would take the job of drawing congressional and legislative district lines from the Legislature.    

Pages