March 31, 2017 CNS Budget

March 31, 2017

To: CNS Editors

From: Perry Parks and Sheila Schimpf

For technical problems, contact CNS technical manager Pechulano Ali, (517) 940-2313,

For other issues contact Perry Parks,, (517) 388-8627.

Here is your file:

CYBERATTACK: Small businesses are vulnerable to a wide variety of cyberthreats, like web-based attacks, scripting, phishing and ransomware. According to a 2016 report, 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses. We talk to small business development experts, people working in information companies and a nonprofit network, including ones in Traverse City and Grand Rapids. They all see the lack of awareness and knowledge among small business companies when it comes to cyberattacks. There are low-cost resources available to help small business boost its cybersecurity. By Chao Yan. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU & ALL POINTS. Continue reading

Care centers may see more regulations for reporting injuries


Capital News Service

LANSING — Day care centers, adult care centers and foster homes would have to meet higher standards for reporting injuries on an online database, under bills introduced in the state House.

Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, who sponsored the bills, said the increased record-keeping will make it easier for people to evaluate centers when choosing one.

Although those institutions already face state reporting requirements, Lucido said his bills would ensure that patterns of more minor incidents would not be overlooked.

Lucido said, “I don’t think a registry or database is so wrong when dealing with loved ones, people we’re trying to protect.” Continue reading

New laws expand medical marijuana industry – if cities allow it

Capital News Service

LANSING — Depending on who’s talking, Michigan’s new medical marijuana laws could streamline marijuana operations into a lucrative source of local revenue, or allow for an unnecessary expansion of the medical marijuana industry in the state.

Still another group says the laws overlook confusion about dispensaries’ legality, which has led to police raids and facilities going out of business.

The new legislation — which was signed into law in December 2016 and takes effect in December 2017 — creates three classes of medical marijuana growers, allows dispensaries to apply for licenses according to the new three-tiered class system, creates a statewide tracking system for commercial marijuana and sets a state tax on dispensaries. Continue reading

Where people are, wrens aren’t


Capital News Service

LANSING — That short burst of tweets you hear from wrens might be the best way to tell if they’re near, but it isn’t the only way.

A good way to predict the bird populations in the Great Lakes is to listen not for the songs of wrens, but for the roar of car engines. A recent study in the Journal of the Society of Wetland Scientists shows where humans are and where wren populations should be – but aren’t.

One of the broadest research projects on two species of wrens in the Great Lakes region found that urban development has a primary influence on where the birds live.

For the most part, where you find people is where you likely won’t find wrens. And the Department of Environmental Quality identifies human development, like agriculture and industry, as key factors in the loss of wetlands, the primary habitat for these birds.

“Human development of the landscape proved to be the best model for predicting where these species can be found,” said Hannah Panci, a member of the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the study’s lead researcher.   Continue reading

Small businesses warned against cyberattacks


Capital News Service

LANSING — An unwitting business employee clicks the wrong link and suddenly finds her files have been locked. A message flashes on the screen: You can have your data back, for a price.

Small businesses are falling prey to such “ransomware,” a type of cyber attack and one of a variety of networking threats companies now face.

“Small business is vulnerable to a wide variety of cyber threats, like web-based attack, scripting, phishing, ransomware…and ransomware is huge in Michigan currently,” said Zara Smith, the strategic programs manager for the Michigan Small Business Development Center. Continue reading

Gender imbalance in Michigan Legislature persists

Capital News Service

LANSING — There are 148 members of the Legislature. Just 34 are women. One is in a leadership position.

“You’re not getting kind of that balance between who your representatives are and who your constituents are,” said Rep. Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, the House minority floor leader. “That is a problem, and I think that’s what skews the issues that get talked about.”

The House includes 15 Democratic and 15 Republican women, while four women — three Republicans and one Democrat — are in the Senate. Much of the diversity in both gender and race comes from the southeastern region of the state.

As imbalanced as gender representation is in Michigan, policy can be even more male-dominated. Continue reading

“Tampon tax” bills a move toward equity, advocates say


Capital News Service

LANSING — An average American woman will spend $3,600 on feminine hygiene in her lifetime. That’s roughly $7 per month for about 40 years.

In Michigan, around $200 of that cost is spent in sales tax alone.

That’s the cost of nearly 67 boxes of breakfast cereal.

Or the cost of 40 jugs of laundry detergent.

Or if you ask gender equality advocate Jenny Kinne, that’s the cost of being a woman.

And women are already at a disadvantage. In 2016, Michigan women earned an average of 74 cents to a man’s dollar, according to the American Association of University Women, and the gap was even larger for women of color. Continue reading

Proposed WIC cuts unclear for local health agencies


Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan public health officials are uncertain how President Donald Trump’s proposed $150 million cut to a federal women’s food assistance program will impact local agencies.

Trump’s budget allocates $6.2 billion to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) assistance program, according to the National WIC Association. The association requested approximately $6.4 billion, matching appropriations for the past two years.

“At this point, it would be difficult to give any specifics about what would happen to programs at the state level because we don’t know for sure what the federal changes may be,” Jennifer Eisner, a public information officer for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email.

Eisner didn’t provide details about specific agency concerns. In a March interview, department Director Nick Lyon said he would be particularly concerned about any changes affecting WIC. Continue reading

Need a job? How about engineering a driverless car?


Capital News Service

LANSING — As Michigan accelerates toward leadership in the emerging driverless car technology, industry experts say its workforce needs to catch up.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation in December allowing the public to buy and use fully self-driving cars when they are available — a package of four bills that is “leading the way in transforming the auto industry,” Snyder said in a statement.

Michigan, led by Detroit, has a 100-year history as the heart of the U.S. auto industry, but to be the first is not always easy.

“As the industry evolves and more information is available, we have a disconnection in workforce,” said Elaina Farnsworth, the chief executive officer of Mobile Comply and a member of the state’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Task Force. Continue reading

Bills would create opioid education program for schools


Capital News Service

LANSING — In his 32 years of recovery from cocaine, marijuana and alcohol abuse, Rep. Joseph Bellino, R-Monroe, has seen coworkers, friends and constituents fall victim to his former vice.

Recently, he’s seen more preventable deaths than before, as the lure of opioids in his community has intensified.

“I being a man who lost a cousin a few years ago to a heroin overdose — it started with pills after a surgery. I have a small store in Monroe. I lost a bottle boy,” Bellino, who owns an alcohol shop, said. “He took opioids, he couldn’t get them anymore, he tried heroin and bam, he’s dead.

“It’s touched my city of Monroe big time. We’ve lost a couple of hundred of kids in the past 10 years.” Continue reading