Thursday State News Summary
Thu, 03 Jun 2021 05:36:40 EDT


The Michigan House has approved legislation to ban local and state government
leaders from issuing or encouraging the use of vaccine passports. The vote was 62 to
47. The legislation now heads to the Michigan Senate. If approved by Senators, it
would have to be signed by Governor Whitmer to take effect. Whitmer's office tells
the Associated Press instead of collaborating on methods to promote vaccines and
save lives, Republicans are wasting time trying to ban something that doesn't exist.
Supporters of the bill say they are concerned that one day the governor may consider
vaccine mandates.


Legislation dealing with voter identification is headed to the full Michigan Senate. The
Senate Elections Committee voted three-to-one Wednesday afternoon on three bills
that are part of an election reform package introduced by Senate Republicans earlier
this year. All of the bills approved yesterday deal with issuing provisional ballots to
voters who don't have a photo ID. Supporters say the legislation will make sure the
individual voting is who they say they are. Opponents say the bills call for voters to
provide more documentation than is currently required by law.


The School Finance Research Collaborative has released an update of its landmark
2018 school adequacy study to reflect the increased cost to educate a Michigan child
during and post-COVID-19. The revised study, “Update to Costing Out the Base
Resources Needed to Meet Michigan’s Standards and Requirements” determined an
updated base per-student cost to meet increased needs posed by the pandemic and
implement new state academic standards and education-related legislation. The group
says they found is the needs of schools have only continued to grow while funding has
struggled to keep up. They add while federal funding is temporarily filling in those gaps
in the state’s K-12 funding model, it’s time to act to replace that broken system with one
that meets the unique needs of every school and every student.


With the boating season upon us, County Sheriffs want to remind boaters of several
safety recommendations. They want boaters to be careful, use common sense, take
the steps necessary to avoid tragedy and have a fun and safe boating season. Sheriffs
offer six safety tips: wear an approved life jacket; make sure your boat is in good
working condition; avoid alcohol; file a float plan; maintain a sharp outlook; and carry a
marine radio or cell phone. County Sheriff Department Marine Divisions will be out on
the waters this summer to make sure boaters are safe and lawful.


A bipartisan group of lawmakers have a behavioral health package to redesign
Michigan’s behavioral health delivery system. The bills aim to have the Michigan
Department of Health and Human Services implement and oversee a single
administrative services organization to improve the care provided to Michiganders
suffering from mental health disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and
substance abuse disorders – replacing the expensive and confusing administrative
structure currently in place. The package was referred to the House Health Policy
Committee for further consideration.


It's an attempt to get high-speed internet service to more families in Michigan.
Governor Whitmer announced Wednesday that she is setting up the Michigan HighSpeed Internet Office to make the internet more affordable and accessible. The
Governor said the coronavirus pandemic only confirmed how the lack of high-speed
internet access can cause many residents to struggle with online learning, to use telemedicine to seek needed health care and to search for jobs. The Governor's office says
there are more than 800-thousand households that are disconnected due to the cost of
the internet and hundreds-of-thousands of other homes that don't have access to highspeed service.


Mackinac Island is getting ready to welcome back visitors for its 73rd Lilac Festival! The
festival will be held from Friday, June 4 to Sunday, June 13. Visitors to the island will be
able to enjoy the coronation of the Lilac Festival Queen, Court and Princess, Lilac
Festival poster reveal, daily walking tours and planting session with Lilac Expert Jeff
Young, the Lilac Festival Run/Walk and the Michigan Cornhole Tournament. Due to
COVID-19 guidelines, the 2021 festival will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual events.
Because of the pandemic, certain events have been canceled including the West
Michigan Bootscooter’s dance, Mackin-Paw Dog Day and Grand Stationary Parade.


A prescribed burn will be taking place in Mackinac County today starting at 11:00am.
The burn will be happening in Garfield Township. DNR officials said the burn is
intended to get rid of red pine slash, or woody debris left over from logging operations,
on about 40 acres. Prescribed burns are conducted by highly trained DNR personnel in
designated state-managed areas during appropriate weather conditions and in
cooperation with the proper authorities and local units of government.


Mackinac State Historic Parks’ archaeological program began its 63rd consecutive
season of work at Colonial Michilimackinac, in Mackinaw City, on Monday, May 24,
with the cleaning and preparation of the dig site, and the season kicked-off in full on
June 1. Current work inside Colonial Michilimackinac is at House E in the Southeast
Rowhouse, a project that enters its 14th season in 2021. Notable finds include a
complete creamware plate utilizing pieces uncovered during the 2018 and 2019 field
seasons; a bone-handled table knife; a brass serpentine sideplate for a British trade
gun; a brass sleeve button with an intaglio bust; an engraved “Jesuit” ring; the
remnants of a second cellar; an isolated structural post that could be a support post or
potentially a remnant of the 1715 fort; and much, much more.


The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state of Michigan is now 889,001
with total deaths at 19,209. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
reported 420 more cases and 33 deaths on Wednesday.


The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has announced that they are
looking for participants for phase one of a new trial testing. The National Institute is
hoping to gather 150 fully vaccinated volunteers. They say volunteers must be at least
18-years-old and must have already received the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson &
Johnson vaccine. Researchers are testing to see if it is safe to mix Covid-19 vaccines
from different manufacturers. During the trial, volunteers will receive doses from
different vaccines to review the effects of mixing boosters.


Microsoft is expanding a program designed to improve high-speed internet access in
Detroit and seven other U.S. cities. The technology giant said its Airband Initiative is
working to provide affordable broadband, devices and other resources in Black and
Latino communities. Along with Detroit, other cities involved in the effort include
Atlanta, New York, Memphis, Cleveland, El Paso, Los Angeles and Milwaukee.


A series of bills in Lansing would allow neighbors to report concerns about a dangerous
dog before anyone is hurt. Under the legislation proposed by State Senator Sean
McCann, animal control would investigate complaints about dogs feared to be
dangerous. If the investigation shows concerns, a judge would get involved and the
owner would be required to keep the animal away from people and warn utility works
and mail carriers. Dog owners who don't comply could face a felony.


The Mayor of Windsor is apparently serious about a plan to shut down the Detroit
Windsor Tunnel - so that Canadians can get the U.S. vaccine.
Reports in Canada says that the Windsor Tunnel Corporation has agreed to shut down
the Canadian side if necessary. Mayor Drew Dilkins is frustrated by rules that prevent
Canadians from crossing into the U.S. for the vaccine. The idea, would be to set up a
vaccination site at the border right in the center of the tunnel. 6-thousand people have
signed up on a waiting list if the vaccination program gets underway.


State Health Director Elizabeth Hertel may be on the hot seat today as lawmakers
investigate how Michigan handled the COVID crisis in nursing homes. The House
Oversight Committee is investigating whether Michigan is undercounting COVID deaths
in the homes.
The panel will also hear testimony on a proposed bill to prohibit disciplinary action
against a state employee for communicating with a member of the Legislature.


A city in west Michigan plans to hire a diversity consultant. The city of Holland is
accepting applications for a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant. City downtown
marketing coordinator, Kara de Alvare (Day-Al-vuh-Ray), says they want to improve
representation.


Who's your Tiger .. ?
How about ... Paws!
The Detroit Tigers' record may be nothing to crow about - but their mascot is tops in the
Central Division. That's according to a new survey by Play USA of about 2-thousand
baseball fans across the country. Paws ranked second favorite across all teams,
behind only Chicago's Clark the Cub.
Worst mascot in the majors...? That goes to Cleveland's Slider


   

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