Southwest Michigan Today: Friday April 26, 2019

Apr 26, 2019

Waldo Library at Western Michigan University - file photo
Credit WMUK

Computer networks are back online at WMU after a massive outage. A federal judge calls for some special state Senate elections in 2020. Civil Asset forfeiture reform passes the Michigan Legislature over the objection of some law enforcement officials. 

Western Michigan University says its computer networks are back online after a massive outage Thursday. The university says hardware failure of equipment serviced by an outside vendor caused the network outage. The outage came during final exams. Western says students should not be penalized for not completing exams or submitting assignments during the network failure.

(MPRN) A federal judge says Michigan has to hold a special election in 2020 for certain state Senate districts. And the Legislature and governor have to come up with new political lines for the US House, state Senate and state House districts by August. The League of Women Voters of Michigan sued the state. They said Republicans had drawn political district lines to disadvantage Democrats. A panel of federal judges agreed. The court says the Legislature has to come up with new lines for those districts. And if the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic governor can’t come to a consensus – then the court will draw new maps itself.

(MPRN) Some members of law enforcement hope Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoes legislation headed for her desk. The Legislature passed bills to change the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws Thursday. The bills would require a criminal conviction before law enforcement can keep a person’s property worth less than 50-thousand dollars. Law enforcement only needs probable cause in order to take it. Some law enforcement say this would allow drug enterprises to thrive because they’ll be able to keep their money. Supporters of the changes say there must be due process before law enforcement can keep someone’s property.

(MPRN) Money to make sure the wrongfully convicted are reimbursed is a signature away from being added to a state fund. Michigan law says that a wrongfully convicted person is owed $50,000 for every year they spent in prison. But the money originally put into the fund is running out. The bill would add $10-million to the fund. Lawmakers say that’s enough to hold the fund over until the next spending year.