NURSE EXAMINERS: Michigan needs more nurses trained to treat patients traumatized by sexual assault. Advocates of victims want to expand a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program to help them treat victims facing short-term crises and long-term consequences of sexual violence. By Maggie George. FOR ALL POINTS
INCARCERATION: Michigan’s correction budget remains high, even though the prison population has dropped from 52,000 in 2007 to 33,000 in 2021. We speak with prison officials, a prisoner advocacy organization and a state budget analyst. By Maggie George. FOR ALL POINTS
SEXUAL ASSAULT BILLS: Minors would learn about sexual consent as early as sixth grade and young patients could not receive pelvic treatment without parental consent under a package of bills designed to prevent sexual abuse. Another measure requires medical records to report treatment involving penetration and that an additional individual be present during certain medical examinations of minors. By Maggie George. FOR ALL POINTS.
WALKABLE CITIES: Michigan’s business, environmental and transportation officials are all pushing for walkable cities for different reasons. Such communities promote alternative fuels, reliable public transit and more green space for healthy recreation. They even promote cleaner air, which aligns with a recent Columbia University study that reports lower exposure to air pollution reduces mortality in all populations. We talk to a mobility specialist from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Environmental Council. By Maggie George. FOR PLANET DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.
COLLEGE ENROLLMENTS: Enrollment is declining at public and private higher education institutions in the state, a trend that creates financial problems for them as the number of high school students declines. The governor has proposed more state aid to public universities. Small private Finlandia University in the U.P. is closing. We talk to Grand Valley, Lawrence Tech and the associations representing public and private colleges and universities. By Maggie George. FOR IRON MOUNTAIN, MARQUETTE, DETROIT, MIDLAND, DETROIT, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, WKTV, ADRIAN, HILLSDALE, HOLLAND, BIG RAPIDS, SAULT STE. MARIE, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.
MOBILITY ADVANCEMENT: It’s hard for many Michigan adults and children without transportation to get to medical appointments and social services. Some local transit agencies are helping out, including ones in Saginaw, Traverse City, Metro Detroit, Flint, Muskegon and Grand Rapids. To better recruit and retain workers, employers can cover employee bus fares by depositing money in their “mobility wallets.” We hear from MDOT leaders. By Maggie George. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, WKTV, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.
CIVIL RIGHTS EXPANSION: A Senate committee is moving ahead with legislation to expand the state civil rights law to better protect LGBTQ residents. Advocates contend the legislation would reinforce a 2022 state Supreme Court ruling on the scope of the current law in a case brought by businesses in Sturgis and Gwinn. Story includes lawmakers from Detroit, Ann Arbor, Bay City, Southfield, Warren, Flint and Kalamazoo. By Morgan Womack. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MARQUETTE, MIDLAND AND ALL POINTS.
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Voters enshrined a right to abortion in the state constitution, but the ACLU and other reproductive rights advocates say there’s more work to be done to protect women’s right to choose, including easier access to medical services. That also includes repealing a 1931 law that criminalized abortion. References to Trenton and Taylor senators. The Michigan Catholic Conference says it will continue to push to protect the unborn. By Maggie George. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.
CIVIL RIGHTS PRIORITIES: The new Democratic chair of the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, from Detroit, wants the panel to address such issues as gender identity and sexual orientation and advocating for juvenile justice. The GOP vice chair, from White Lake, wants the panel to look at increased transparency of Child Protective Services cases. We also talk to the Michigan Association of Counties. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.