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.
Lawmakers are considering moving 17-year-old lawbreakers from the adult to the juvenile court system. County officials concede that may be a good idea, but fear the cost of overloading the juvenile court system with a new group of offenders. Michigan is among only four states where 17-year-olds are tried as adults in criminal cases.
Some Michigan residents would have to pay to have their septic tanks inspected and replaced under new uniform standards to protect drinking water, if two bills get through the Legislature. But that cost has proved a stumbling block.
Certain child-proof medicine containers could become adult-proof, too, under legislation sought by a state lawmaker and gaining local support. The idea is to limit access to opioid medicine bottles with a lock requiring a code to open. Experts say a leading contributor to opioid addiction is the theft of small amounts of pills from someone who has a prescription for a legitimate use of the medication. By Lance Cohen.
A state agency charged with protecting children often failed to check a registry of child abuse offenders in the cases reviewed by a state audit. Also, caseworkers in up to 11 percent of the cases examined failed to meet promptly with their charges, according to the Auditor General. Lawmakers are calling for improvements to the Child Protective Services agency and Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed a task force to make recommendations, including a member from Allegan County. Meanwhile child advocates say cases of abuse are increasing.
While state officials propose funding increases for the K-12 education budget, the impact is blunted by two large drains on the fund–pensions and higher education. Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a diversion of the funds into higher education while current and legacy pension costs increase every year, school officials say.
Food poisoning linked to a controversial herb supplement recently sickened four Michigan residents. They are the latest of 39 reports of poisoning linked to kratom, a Southeast Asian herb that proponents claim can fight depression, pain, anxiety and opioid addiction but that federal and state authorities consider a health risk. Efforts to regulate the substance are underway.
Local school districts in October can administer an additional set of student tests to assess student performance beyond the annual M-STEP exams. Officials say the new tests can help measure growth through the year, rather than simply getting the results after it’s too late.