Nov. 22, 2011 CNS Budget

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EFFICIENTCOURTS – State lawmakers are considering funding incentives to encourage courts to consolidate resources and improve use of technology. But county officials fear that a proposed bill containing incentives supported by Gov. Rick Snyder could further threaten their state funding. By Jacob Kanclerz.  FOR ALL POINTS
BRIDGECARDFRAUD – To prevent abuse of welfare funds, Michigan lawmakers want to charge Bridge Card holders for replacement costs if they lose the cards a second time. The approximately $4 cost would cover replacement costs but some experts question if it would have any impact on curbing fraud. By Shannan O’Neil. FOR HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS
SMOKINGBAN – State health authorities say Michigan’s ban on smoking in restaurants and casinos has cut indoor air pollutants by 93 percent. They are also launching a study of whether it has cut health care costs and the rate of hospitalizations for heart problems. By Courtney Culey. EDITORS NOTE LIST OF CITIES WHERE AIR WAS TESTED; FOR ALL POINTS.
UNEMPLOYMENT – Michigan workers have the Midwest’s highest unemployment rate while at the same time having the region’s lowest unemployment benefits. A new report details the double whammy faced by the state’s workers. By Nick McWherter. FOR ALL POINTS
MARIJUANAAWARENESS – Are police really considered drug dealers if they return confiscated medical marijuana to patients? Would patients have to file a civil suit to get their confiscated property returned? Students and others seek clarity on Michigan’s medical marijuana laws. By Alex Mitchell. FOR ALL POINTS
ALTERNATIVEPRESS – Vietnam-era underground newspapers in East Lansing and Detroit and a later one in Flint were part of a national alternative press movement that preceded today’s use of Internet and social media for political activism. An Ann Arbor expert calls such underground papers “the vehicle for the liberation movements of the day.” By Eric Freedman. FOR LANSING, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, ANN ARBOR, LAPEER & ALL POINTS.
w/ALTERNATIVEPRESSPHOTO: Cover of “My Odyssey through the Underground Press.”
BIOFUELS – Michigan State University researchers may have found an easier way to unlock energy from yard clippings, corn stalks and leaves. That could help producers switch to cheaper sources of biofuel that cause fewer environmental headaches. What’s more, it may mean less reliance on the plants that people eat. By Brian Bienkowski. FOR ALL POINTS

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