Southwest Michigan Today: May 16, 2018

May 16, 2018

State Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a complaint against physician William Strampel. He’s Larry Nassar’s former boss at MSU. As the Dean of the university’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, Strampel is alleged to have made sexual remarks to students. He’s also accused of storing pornography on his work computer and failing to properly supervise Nassar. The complaint filed by Schuette claims that Strampel violated state health codes. If a state panel agrees with him, it could fine Strampel, suspend his license or revoke it.

The chairwoman of the Kalamazoo County Commission says the county has a problem with racism. The Kalamazoo Gazette says Stephanie Moore’s comments last night came after the firing of a county attorney who is black. Amber Beebe says she was terminated because she planned to file a discrimination complaint. County officials said she was fired for misconduct – a charge Beebe denies. Moore, the first African-American to chair the county board, said Tuesday night that she has been treated differently because of her race but didn’t mention Beebe by name.

Two bicycle safety bills are waiting for action in the State Senate. Both cleared the House in March. One would require drivers-ed students to spend at least an hour learning to drive safely around “vulnerable” road users. The other would require drivers to pass cyclists with at least three feet of clearance when possible. Republican Senator Margaret O’Brien of Portage says the proposals are part of a larger package aimed at protecting “vulnerable” road users. “There’s one more the House is going to be sending to us. I’m working weekly with the Speaker’s office. And so we’re working to send them our package and then we can start fine-tuning everything. It’s really about just timing everything correctly.” O’Brien says she hopes the bills will get a vote before summer.

A petition campaign to repeal wage protections for workers on government construction projects is on hold. That gives the Michigan Supreme Court time to hear a challenge filed by unions. The Supreme Court's order Tuesday came less than an hour before a state board was going to certify the petition campaign and send the question to the legislature. Business groups and non-union construction companies are leading the campaign against prevailing wage rules. A spokesman says people who signed their petitions deserve to have their signatures counted. But critics say many people who circulated those petitions violated state law by lying about their home addresses.

State lawmakers say they want to give crime victims more rights and protections. A bill on its way to Governor Rick Snyder would force convicted offenders to listen to statements by victims and families in court. And bills approved Tuesday by the State Senate would let victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking keep their home addresses private. Dozens of other states offer similar confidentiality programs. The measure now goes to the State House.

Michigan teachers aren't happy about proposals to give some teachers guns. The Gongwer News Service says that's according to a new survey by the Michigan Education Association. The teacher's union says over half of those who responded say they're worried about a possible mass shooting at their school. But 71-percent say arming teachers isn't the solution and 62-percent don't want concealed guns at school. The survey found strong support for increased funding of mental health programs to help deal with gun-related violence.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is joining a lawsuit over funding for Planned Parenthood in Ohio. The Gongwer News Service says Schuette has joined colleagues in 12 other states in filing a brief in the case. The U-S Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled that Ohio could not block federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Schuette - who's seeking the Republican nomination for governor - says that means public money could be used for elective abortions. Planned Parenthood of Ohio says the money is only used for health education programs.(P)

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