Critics say lame ducks make lame laws

Capital News Service

LANSING — Before the end of the year, Michigan lawmakers will take up some of the most controversial bills that would:

Delay the minimum wage hike of $12 per hour until 2030 instead of 2022. Exempt employers with less than 50 employees from having to provide paid sick leave. Make provisions to the anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment that passed in November
Move oversight responsibilities on a proposed tunnel to house the Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac
Bar state agencies from disclosing information about nonprofit supporters and donors. Remove regulations from 70,000 wetlands statewide. Alter same-day and automatic voting registration standards that passed in November.

Joe Biden makes an appearance in Lansing before election

The Democratic rally got started an hour and a half late, but local residents patiently awaited Former Vice President Joe Biden’s arrival. “It’s been a rough couple of months,” Biden said. “Folks, we’ve gotta turn this around”. Democrats Gretchen Whitmer and Elissa Slotkin were among the candidates attending the rally at Lansing Community College. “I am running because it is time for a new generations of leaders,” Slotkin said.

WATCH: Midterm Election Recap, Trump and CNN reporter, first black Massachusetts congresswomen, California Daylight Savings Proposal

This week on the Spartan News Update: Midterm election results and Michigan elections including Gretchen Whitmer wins Michigan Governor. President Donald Trump and CNN reporter feud. A school in New York gets tip of bomb threat. Ayanna Pressley was elected as first black women to represent Massachusetts in Congress and California voted on ending Daylight Savings Time.

Watch Focal Point: Special Election Coverage

On this special election episode of Focal Point News, we break down everything leading up one of the most anticipated midterm election in years. From campaign trails to ballot proposals, Focal Point dissects each candidate, their values and what they would bring to Michigan’s leadership. The state was star-studded the weeks leading up to the election with appearances from past and present government officials including Vice President Mike Pence and former President Barack Obama. Some of the proposals on the ballot this year revolved around gerrymandering, the legalization of recreational marijuana and easier voting registration. All this and more on this election edition of Focal Point News.

Private police bill looms over lame duck session

LANSING — Companies would be able to create their own private police forces if a bill stalled in committee is somehow resurrected and passed during this year’s post-election lame-duck session.

“Under this law, the KKK would be able to create their own private police force,” said Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. But supporters say that the law would allow for private police to serve as additional police on the street and give more security options to business groups. The Enhanced Security and Public Safety Act would allow privately funded police forces. The bill, introduced in 2017, is in the Senate Government Operations Committee.

New state fund aids veterans programs but not all counties will apply

County veteran services are poised to get an additional $2 million this year that could lead to more counties opening offices and counties with offices expanding their services. The new County Veteran Service Fund will give at least $25,000 to each county that fund veteran service programs or open new offices and that apply. But some counties have suggested that the paperwork is too demanding.

Michigan lawmakers look to make schools safer with legislation

Over the past few months, Michigan lawmakers have been hard at work, even across the aisle, in an effort to make schools safer. In early June, a package containing seven bills focusing on school safety was passed in the Senate.  The bills target a wide range of topics, including inspecting new school buildings or renovations to existing buildings, developing emergency operations plans for every school and increasing funding to school resource officers and mental health counselors. Senate Bill 983, which was passed June 7, would require school districts to work with law enforcement to conduct a review of the school’s emergency operations plan.  Each school would have its own plan should a potentially dangerous event occur, including threats of school violence and attacks, bomb threats, fires, intruders and several others.

Alternative to opioids: Mail-in synthetics

As Michigan’s war on opioids rages along, legislation has passed in order to protect citizens from an unregulated alternative — imported synthetic opioids. U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., is a sponsor of the recently passed Synthetic Trafficking and Opioid Prevention (STOP) Act of 2018 which aims to alleviate this once unseen problem. “We didn’t know about this before; now that we do know, we have the opportunity to stop it,” Bishop said. Bishop noted that these synthetic versions of opioids are not regulated and, in many cases, are much more potent than street drugs or even the hardest of prescribed painkillers. “The synthetic opioids out there are up to 500 times more powerful than regular doses of heroin,” said Bishop.