The Grand Rapids Public Library in downtown Grand Rapids

Michigan libraries seek to stock opioid overdose meds

Opioid overdoses have increased dramatically in America over the last two decades. A pair of bills moving through the Michigan Legislature would allow librarians to store and administer opioid overdose antidotes with legal immunity, an option many are eager to have.

Proposed ban on shooting while high hard to enforce

By MAXWELL EVANS

Capital News Service

 

LANSING — A proposal to ban people high on marijuana from possessing firearms is pending in the House, but some law enforcement experts say there are too many questions around how marijuana affects the body to make such a move. Bills sponsored by Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, would criminalize possessing a firearm if a person has more than two nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter in their blood. THC is the chemical in marijuana that makes you high. Six states and Canada have set impaired driving thresholds for THC blood levels. None have set such limits on firearm possession, although the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2016 that a federal ban on gun sales to medical marijuana patients does not violate the Second Amendment.

ACLU lawsuit doubles down on legislative bail reform efforts

By ZARIA PHILLIPS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Advocates are launching a two-prong effort to reform Michigan’s system of bail that they say is too high for low-income people and forces them into jail while awaiting trial. The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union recently sued the 36th District Court in Detroit over excessive bail. The action came just after state lawmakers in March proposed a package of bail reforms.

Bail is money pledged to release an individual charged with a crime but ensure that they will appear in court. The money is forfeited if they don’t appear. Supporters of reform say that too often people cannot afford to bail their family members out of jail, even if the evidence against them is scant.

Judge rejects hunter’s claim of unconstitutional search

By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service

LANSING – A federal judge has tossed out a suit accusing Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers of illegally arresting and prosecuting a hunter who admitted “shining” – using artificial light – for deer at a private Alpena County hunting camp. U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington found no grounds for Trent Sherman’s claims against the DNR, the officers and department officials. Sherman’s lawyer, Racine Miller of Southfield, said her client will take the case to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. According to Ludington’s decision, a DNR pilot saw a vehicle shining along a two-track road at the Fleco Camp in Green Township late one night in October 2015. Two DNR officers on “shining patrol” responded and found Sherman and a second man there.

MSU professor takes bugs to national television

For those who are fans of the Oxygen Network, an MSU professor is the channel’s newest star. Dr. Eric Benbow, a forensic entomologist at Michigan State University, was called upon to work on the Oxygen series “Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice.” The episode centers around Todd Geib, a 22-year-old who was found in a lake north of Grand Rapids. The autopsy concluded it was death by drowning, but bugs found on the body said otherwise. That’s where Dr. Benbow comes in.

Mobile homeowners say their landlords unfairly sell their homes

By ZARIA PHILLIPS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Mobile home parks are selling the homes on the lot after the owners of those units have moved out, according to a lawsuit. But although those owners may have been evicted for not paying rent on the land owned by the park, they should still keep ownership of their home, according to a class-action suit filed by the Center for Civil Justice on behalf of families that have lost their homes to park owners. Those families claim they should be compensated for the sale of property they still own. Here’s what happens:

People in some parks own their mobile homes but rent the land on which they sit from the park owners. When they are evicted or can’t pay their rent, they have to leave their mobile home while they wait to sell it, said Mario Azzi, an attorney for the Center for Civil Justice.

Fire chiefs seek rules for disposal of risky firefighting foam

By MAXWELL EVANS
Capital News Service

LANSING — Fifteen years ago, “way before anyone knew” about the dangers of the PFAS chemicals within, the Walker Fire Department purchased a stash of firefighting foam from the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids to be used during training. Now, roughly 100 gallons of foam purchased from the airport — stored in plastic in an unused building — have nowhere to go, said Walker Fire Chief Bob Walker. That makes it crucial that a bill package to limit the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams sets up a clear disposal mechanism for the materials, some fire chiefs say. PFAS chemicals are linked to cancer, immune system dysfunction and issues with child development, according to the National Institutes of Health. They were included in firefighting foams used on fuel or petroleum fires, said Pat Parker, the fire chief of the Grand Traverse Metro Emergency Services Authority.