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Three-story criminal justice package:
STEPPINGUP: Despite recent efforts, the incarceration of people with mental illness still plagues Michigan. A lack of attention to mental health services provided in prisons and jails can lead to higher recidivism rates and costs to all parties. We speak with representatives of the Michigan Association of Counties, the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, the Michigan Department of Corrections and Citizens for Prison Reform on why the problem persists. By Isaac Constans. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, TRAVERSE CITY, MARQUETTE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LUDINGTON, LEELANAU, GREENVILLE, MANISTEE & ALL POINTS.
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CRIMINALJUSTICELAWS: Gov. Snyder signed an 18-bill legislative package last month that aims to shore up efficiency in Michigan’s criminal justice system and cut down on the state’s overall recidivism rate. The Department of Corrections is now working to implement these new laws, with help from national research groups and Michigan’s court system, among others. To see how these plans are shaping up, we speak to a Department of Corrections spokesperson, judges from Ingham and Wayne counties. By Laina Stebbins. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
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JUVENILEAGEINCREASE: Raising the age of juvenile offenders by a year could reduce crime, cost little, and lead to better lives for thousands of young people, a recent report concludes. In Michigan, 17-year-olds can be tried as adults in court, and the D.C.-based Justice Policy Institute said placing juveniles in adult detention centers can create problems, like kids committing more serious crimes more often after being incarcerated with adults. We hear from a Northern Michigan University expert and a Mancelona legislator. By Laura Bohannon. FOR MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIIE, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, LANSING CITY PULSE, GREENVILLE & ALL POINTS.
DEATHWITHDIGNITY: An Ingham County lawmaker has reintroduced the “Death with Dignity Act” to legalize assisted suicide in Michigan.The bill contains provisions similar to the states that have legalized physician-assisted suicide. We speak with the sponsor, the Michigan State Medical Society, which opposes the bill; and the director of the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the life sciences at MSU. By Chao Yan. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE. TRAVERSE CITY, LUDINGTON, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
MIDWIFELICENSING: Midwife associations were pleased when Gov. Rick Snyder signed new midwife licensing legislation into law at the beginning of the year. The law requires midwives to apply for a license with the newly created Michigan Board of Licensed Midwifery, operating through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. We talk to LARA, president of Michigan Midwives Association, vice president of Friends of Michigan Midwives, president of the Michigan Affiliate of American College of Nurse-Midwives and a health policy nurse from Dorr Township. By Caitlin Taylor. FOR THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
REVENUESHARING: Local units of government that have been struggling financially could finally see an increase in revenue sharing after three years of flatlining, thanks to proposed budgets from the House and Senate that would add additional funds to Gov. Snyder’s original budget recommendation. Many cities, villages, townships and counties that lack the funds for basic public services like infrastructure repair view any increase in revenue sharing payments as long overdue. We speak with the Michigan Municipal League, Townships Association and Association of Counties. By Laina Stebbins. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS
MICHIGANROADS: In light of a recent study on Michigan’s increasing road needs, some legislators are hoping to see roads become a bigger priority for the state. The House Transportation and Infrastructure chair, from Mancelona, said while some programs are beneficial, they aren’t a constitutional right for constituents, whereas roads and infrastructure are constitutionally part of the government. He said focusing on the government’s main responsibilities would free up cash for roads. By Laura Bohannon. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, MARQUETTE, ALCONA, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
OK2SAY: In 2013, legislation passed that would allow students to anonymously send tips regarding bullying and crime in their schools to help improve safety. Recently, legislation was introduced by a Sheridan senator that would keep the program alive. The OK2Say program allows students in any school to anonymously report incidents of crime, bullying, intimidation, incidents of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or other things. We speak with the sponsor and school officials in Sault Ste. Marie. By Laura Bohannon. FOR SAULT STE. MARIE, CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, MARQUETTE, ALCONA, CRAWFORD COUNTY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE & ALL POINTS.
TAXIDERMYCHAMP: Mesick native Jonathan Wright is a champion taxidermist who relishes mounting birds for the Lakeshore Museum Center in Muskegon. Among than was a road-killed snowy owl found by a raptor sanctuary in Empire. We also talk to a Ludington photographer. By Karen Hopper Usher. FOR CADILLAC, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, LEELANAU, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.
w/TAXIDERMYCHAMPOWLPHOTO1: This snowy owl is owned by the Lakeshore Museum Center. Jonathan Wright, the taxidermist, takes it to taxidermy competitions. Credit: Karen Hopper Usher
w/TAXIDERMYCHAMPWRIGHT PHOTO2. Jonathan Wright poses with the snowy owl he entered in the Michigan Taxidermy Association’s state competition. Credit: Karen Hopper Usher