Southwest Michigan Today: Thursday June 6, 2019

Jun 6, 2019

Michigan Senate Chamber - file photo
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

John James makes another run at a Senate seat in Michigan. Benton Harbor schools get more time to submit a plan to the state. A “fetal heartbeat” bill is introduced in the Michigan Senate. 

(MPRN) Republican John James will make a second attempt to become one of Michigan’s U.S. Senators. James announced on the Fox News network that he will seek the GOP nomination to run next year against Democratic Senator Gary Peters. James lost a bid last year to unseat Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow.

(MPRN) New measures would ban abortions after a doctor detects a fetus’s heartbeat. The bills were introduced Wednesday in the state Senate. A fetal heartbeat is usually detected at around 6 to 8 weeks. Currently, a woman can get an abortion up to around 24 weeks of gestation. The bills would make it a felony for a physician to administer an abortion after a heartbeat has been detected. There is an exception if there is an emergency that puts the life of the mother is at risk.

(WVPE) Leaders of Benton Harbor Area Schools got a brief extension to come up with a plan to keep the city’s high school open. Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the district can have until the first week of July to submit a plan with the state. The state says the district is 18 million dollars in debt and could run out of money by next spring. Whitmer held a town hall last night and heard comments for two hours from residents who want to keep the high school open.

(MPRN) The Republican leadership in the state House and Senate has filed a challenge to a recent opinion by Democratic Attorney General, Dana Nessel. The law in question makes it more difficult to put a measure on the state’s ballot. The law was enacted during a hectic lame duck session last year. Last month, Attorney General Nessel issued a formal opinion that said that the law was unconstitutional – in particular a portion that limits the number of signatures a measure can have from a given geographic area. Supporters of the law say it increases transparency and makes sure that a wide range of people sign off on a ballot measure.

(MPRN) The National Transportation Safety Board blames human error and equipment failures for an anchor strike that dented the Line Five pipelines. Attorney General Dana Nessel says the report is evidence the twin pipelines needs to be removed from the Great Lakes. The NTSB report says the vessel was short-staffed during the Easter weekend as a technical malfunction allowed an anchor to drag on the lakebed. It struck Line Five and the pipelines were dented. An Enbridge spokesman says the company is standing by its proposal to replace a section of Line 5 and encase it in a tunnel under the lakebed. Governor Whitmer says she wants a deal on the future of Line 5 by June 10th.

(Kalamazoo Gazette) Portage City Manager Larry Shaffer plans to retire later this year. The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the Portage City Council has begun the recruitment process and is working with the same firm that helped them hire Shaffer in 2014. Shaffer says he told city council members last year that he would not be renewing his contract in November. He says he will work for a smooth transition to a new Portage City Manager.

In baseball, Kalamazoo beat Battle Creek Wednesday night 6-4. It was the fifth straight win for the Growlers and the fifth straight loss for the Bombers. The two teams will finish their two game series Thursday night at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek.