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.

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.

East Lansing prepares for Final Four

East Lansing bars and area police have made plans for Saturday night’s Final Four game between Michigan Stat University and Texas Tech. They are asking people to stay celebrate smartly and warning that, if trouble occurs, even bystanders can be subject to arrest.

WATCH: A Michigan lawmaker wants to change Michigan’s drunk driving law, all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and more.

This week on the Spartan Newsroom Update, a Michigan lawmaker wants to make changes to Michigan’s drunk driving law. A former priest from Freeland, Mich. plead “no contest” to sexual abuse allegations and all charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped. Watch all this and more on the Spartan Newsroom Update.

Michigan vehicle thefts drop

By ZARIA PHILLIPS
Capital News Service

LANSING —  Michigan vehicle thefts dropped from 50,000 in 2006 to less than 20,000 in 2017, according to a recent auditor general’s report. Michigan’s vehicle theft peaked in the 1980s, prompting former Gov. James Blanchard to implement the Auto Theft Prevention Authority, a program that combines community and law enforcement efforts to decrease vehicle thefts. The program awarded $4 million in grants to 20 organizations in 2018 to investigate, apprehend, prosecute and prevent vehicle theft, said Kelly Miller, state relations officer for the Auditor General’s Office. “The money comes from auto insurance assessments,” Miller said. ”One dollar is allocated to the fund for every personal, passenger and commercial vehicle receiving insurance.”

The program’s board of directors decides how that money is allocated to law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, nonprofit organizations and state departments.