Alarmed by the number of motorists staring at their screens instead of the road, lawmakers are proposing to make Michigan the 15th state to ban driving while holding a hand-held phone.

Police and safety advocates say the current prohibition against texting and driving is outdated, vague and difficult to enforce.

To save lives, they contend, a blanket ban on hand-held devices should be considered - with exceptions for hands-free technology.

Nearly 12,800 crashes in Michigan last year involved distracted driving, a 70 percent spike from 2015.

Tim Evanson via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 /

Legislation that would restrict state courts from enforcing foreign laws has been introduced in Michigan.

The bill proposed Thursday doesn't mention Sharia law that's used in some parts of the Islamic world, but says judges can't apply foreign laws if doing so would violate state or federal constitutional rights.

Wikimedia Commons

Michigan would no longer ban switchblades under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

The Senate voted 36-1 Thursday to repeal a prohibition against selling or possessing a knife with blades that can be opened by the flick of a button, pressure on the handle or "other mechanical contrivance."

A violation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $300 fine.

The sponsor, Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, has said the switchblade ban is unnecessary and is being enforced unevenly across the state.

Tim Evanson via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 /

A new Michigan law requires doctors or hospitals to report deaths of women during pregnancy or within one year of pregnancy.

The requirement starts April 6. The state has been collecting information on maternal deaths for years, but reporting was voluntary.

The goal is to understand the factors associated with the deaths in an effort to prevent more of them.

The state health department says as many as 100 Michigan women a year die during pregnancy or within a year of pregnancy.

Wikimedia Commons / Quinn Dombrowski

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation to let Michigan stores ship wine directly to in-state customers using common carriers such as FedEx or UPS but ban out-of-state retailers from sending beer and wine to Michigan customers.

Beer and wine wholesalers say the law enacted Monday will crack down on illegal wine shipments from online wine retailers and "wine clubs," and customers can still get wines directly shipped from wineries.

But wine sellers say the "poorly written" bill should have been vetoed because it is unconstitutional and will be challenged in court.

marijuana leaf
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia | Public Domain /

The Michigan appeals court says the state's medical marijuana law protects people who are accused of illegally transporting pot. In a 2-1 decision, the court threw out the misdemeanor conviction of a man in Clinton County, north of Lansing.

Callen Latz is a registered medical marijuana user. But he was charged in 2014 with violating a law that requires pot to be stored in a case in the trunk of a vehicle or in a spot that's not easily accessible.

The marijuana transportation law was signed in 2012, four years after voters approved medical marijuana for certain illnesses.

Psyomjesus / Wikimedia Commons

Legislation unanimously approved by the Michigan Senate would prohibit people from hacking into motor vehicles' electronic systems without authorization and subject them to life imprisonment if the hacking leads to a death.

Bills sent to the House Thursday also would lighten existing felony penalties for fraudulently accessing computers, computer systems and computer networks in some cases.

Violators currently can face five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Mika Meyers /

Attorney Kurt Graham from Mika Meyers joins us to talk about the overtime law.  We talk about what it means if the law goes into effect on December 1.

Michigan Supreme Court
Subterranean via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 /

If you hurt yourself while pulling stuff from your parked car, should your insurance company be on the hook for the injuries?

The Michigan Supreme Court is opening a new term with arguments in that case and many others, including alleged misconduct by an Ann Arbor-area judge who could lose his job.

In 2012, truck driver Daniel Kemp tore a calf muscle while unloading items, just 30 seconds after parking at home.

He sought payments under his no-fault policy but Farm Bureau Insurance said no.

Two courts so far have ruled against Kemp.


Jul 29, 2016

Varnum law has committed a second $1 million in free legal services for the MiSpringboard program. We talk about it with Luis Avila.