Southwest Michigan Today: Tuesday June 25, 2019

Jun 25, 2019

The governor signs a spending bill with money for drinking water and an investigation into clergy sex abuse. A technology upgrade could shut down the tethers used to keep track of released prisoners. An increase in travel is forecast for Independence Day. 

(MPRN) Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a spending bill worth more than $28-million. The money will be distributed to a variety of areas. That includes funding for implementing parts of the new Lead and Copper Rule for drinking water. The $3-million for the Lead and Copper Rule will be used for things like water filters and drinking water investigations in homes. The money is also being used for the Double Up Food Bucks program and the state’s Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation fund. The state Attorney General’s office will also get some money to help with a major, statewide investigation. Attorney General Dana Nessel has been looking into every Catholic Diocese in the state for potential physical and sexual abuse by clergy. So far, the office has charged five current and former priests. Now the office will get an additional $635,000 to use for that work. The full spending plan for the 2019 to 2020 spending year has yet to be completed, and its September 30th deadline is fast approaching. The House and Senate have tentative session days scheduled – but no clear plans yet to meet and vote.

(MPRN) A technology upgrade that’s supposed to be good for consumers threatens to shut down the state’s system for keeping track of felons on parole or probation. The state Department of Correction’s electronic tethers are on Verizon’s 3-G network. It’s expected to go dark by the end of the year and be replaced with a 4-G system. Chris Gautz with the state Department of Corrections says that means 46 hundred tethers need to be replaced. Republican leaders say they expect to reach a bargain with the Whitmer administration. That would be in time to ensure the tether system won’t shut down. And that the corrections department won’t lose track of 46 hundred offenders.

(WGVU) A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found there is a growing misconception about the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana. The study found that nearly 15 million drivers reported getting behind the wheel within one hour after using marijuana in the past 30 days, despite the fact that a marijuana high typically lasts 2-3 hours, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Lieutenant Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police says marijuana impairs the users’ ability to drive. Shaw says just because Michigan voters decriminalized marijuana last November, does not mean it is safe to drive while under the influence.

AAA is predicting that more Michigan residents will hit the road for the Fourth of July, compared to a year ago. The auto club says one-point-seven million people are expected to travel for the Independence Day holiday. That’s up four-point-four percent over last year. AAA says about one and a half million people in Michigan will make a road trip for the Fourth of July.