Southwest Michigan Today: Friday June 21, 2019

Jun 21, 2019

Credit WMUK

Governor Whitmer says years of moving around money has made Michigan’s roads among the worst in the country. This year’s first case of West Nile Virus in in the state is reported. State lawmakers approve help for farmers. 

(MPRN) Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she has yet to hear a serious alternative to her proposal to boost the fuel tax to pay for road repairs. She says any plan that does not raise new revenue for roads is not acceptable. Whitmer addressed a small business convention, where she said Michigan’s been moving around pots of money without actually increasing spending on roads and bridges. And now she says Michigan’s roads are ranked among the worst in the country. The governor has called for a 45-cent-per-gallon increase in the fuel tax. She says a different plan to divert revenue from the sales tax on fuel to roads is not acceptable. Whitmer says that’s because it would cut money for schools.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says a procedure state lawmakers used with two ballot questions last year is unconstitutional. The Republican-led House and Senate used what's called "adopt and amend" with proposals to increase Michigan's minimum wage and require paid sick leave. Approving them instead of putting the questions on the ballot made it much easier for the legislature to approve weaker versions later. Nessel says the process - in her words - "insults the will of the People." The Michigan Supreme Court will hear the case next month.

State health officials say the West Nile virus has been detected in Michigan for the first time this year. Tests found it in mosquitoes trapped in Saginaw and Oakland counties. Some people who become infected never feel any symptoms. But West Nile can cause fever, muscle weakness, and headaches. And in severe cases it can lead to meningitis or encephalitis. Health officials say the best way to prevent infections is to use insect repellent with DEET and drain areas of standing water around homes and businesses.

(Michigan Radio) The Michigan House of Representatives passed a package of bills introduced in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. One bill would make it a crime when people in positions of authority prevent others from reporting sexual abuse. Another bill would make athletic trainers and physical therapists mandatory reporters. Sponsors of the bill say the package would help protect children.

(MPRN) Michigan farmers could get a little extra help after all the rain the state has been getting lately. The House and Senate approved an extra $15-million for the state disaster loan program Thursday. This is for farmers who have run into problems planting crops with the heavy rainfall. If the bill is signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the money would go toward low-interest loans for farmers who lose their crops. The state will pay the loan origination fees – which reduces the overall cost of the loan.

In baseball, Battle Creek took the lead with three runs in the third inning, and held on for a 4-3 win over Traverse City Thursday night. The Bombers will host the Pit Spitters again Friday night at C.O. Brown Stadium to wrap up the two game series.

The rain got in the way of baseball Thursday night in Kalamazoo. The Growlers game with Kokomo was postponed. The teams will play a double header Friday at Homer Stryker Field. The first of two seven-inning games begins at 5:00.