Southwest Michigan Today: Thursday May 2, 2019

May 2, 2019

Michigan’s corrections budget could penalize counties that don’t hold undocumented people for federal authorities. State health officials say don’t touch foam with PFAS’s. A new cybersecurity institute opens in the Upper Peninsula.

(MPRN) A state Senate committee approved a budget provision to financially penalize communities with sanctuary city policies. The committee passed a corrections budget Wednesday. It added language to the budget that would withhold jail dollars for communities that enact or enforce policies that prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal officials on immigration matters. But the Michigan Department of Corrections is not on board with the proposal. A department spokesman says if the counties lose the money, they’ll stop housing those inmates – and that means the prisons will have to take them. Kalamazoo County Commissioners approved a resolution last year that says the county won’t hold an undocumented person for federal authorities. Other counties have enacted similar policies. The corrections budget is now waiting for a full Senate vote.

(Michigan Radio) Toxicologists at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are recommending people avoid any skin contact with foam containing industrial chemicals known as PFAS’s. The foam has been found in rivers and lakes around the Lower Peninsula. In the past, the health department emphasized not swallowing the foam. But it's now saying: just don't touch it. Officials say one or two skin exposures to the foam are not a big deal, but they are concerned about chronic, long-term contact.

(MPRN) The leader of the state Senate says he’s starting to work on potential, major changes to Michigan’s district lines. Last week a federal court said that the Legislature and governor must agree on new political district lines for Congressional and state elections by August. The Republicans are appealing the decision to the U-S Supreme Court. Senate Republican leader Mike Shirkey says despite the appeal they’re working on carrying out the court order. The court said the current lines – which were drawn and approved by Republicans – unfairly disadvantage Democrats.

(WNMU) Northern Michigan University has opened an institute designed to educate students and train workers in cybersecurity. The Upper Peninsula Cybersecurity Institute is a new hub on Michigan’s Cyber Range. That’s an alternate version of the internet where businesses can test their web security plans and students can train for cybersecurity careers. The institute is the only Cyber Range hub in the U.P.

(Interlochen Public Radio) The hospital in Manistee will close their maternity unit at the end of the month. The CEO for Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital says the number of births has declined there in recent years. He says providing maternity services is challenging for rural hospitals. But patients in Manistee will still be able to get pre-and-postnatal care. A report from Bridge Magazine found that the number of birthing centers in northern Michigan has been declining over the past four decades.