Southwest Michigan Today: Wednesday July 17, 2019

Jul 17, 2019

Capitol Hill - file photo
Credit iStock/Svetlana Larina

West Michigan Republican Fred Upton and Independent Justin Amash join Democrats in voting for a resolution condemning President Trump’s racist tweets. The Attorney General’s office will have attorneys on both sides before the state Supreme Court. A recall election is set in Albion.

West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton is one of four Republicans who voted for a House resolution Tuesday condemning President Trump’s racist tweets about four members of Congress. In a statement, Upton says the resolution targets specific words that are not acceptable in any workplace, big or small. The Saint Joseph Republican says speaking out against inflammatory rhetoric is necessary to bring civility back to politics. Congressman Justin Amash, who recently left the Republican Party to become an independent, also voted for the resolution. It condemns the President’s call for the four Congresswoman to “go back where they came from.” Three of the women, including Detroit area representative Rashida Talib, were born in the United States. One is a naturalized citizen from Somalia.

(MPRN) The state Attorney General’s office will have attorneys argue both sides of an issue in front of the Michigan Supreme Court Wednesday. The Attorney General’s office says this move is part of its dual role. The office represents both the people of Michigan as well as the state. The case involves whether or not it was OK for the state Legislature to adopt and amend two ballot initiatives in the same session. The state Solicitor General and a Deputy Solicitor General will each take a side during today’s arguments. A spokesperson for the office says a conflict wall has been put in place.

(Battle Creek Enquirer) An Albion City Councilwoman will face a recall election this fall. Mayor Pro Tem Sonya Brown represents Precinct Three in Albion. Voters in that precinct will vote on the recall in November. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that the Calhoun County Clerk determined that recall petitions contain the minimum number of signatures needed for a recall election. A precinct three resident initiated the effort to recall Brown. Bruce Nelson says electronic messages that Brown sent to former city manager LaTonya Rufus show Brown telling Rufus to get rid the head of Albion’s Public Safety Department Scott Kipp. Brown admits sending the message, but says she wasn’t directing Rufus to fire Kipp. Brown says she was pointing out to Rufus that it was her prerogative to dismiss Kipp from the job.

(MPRN) A state lawmaker has proposed clearing the criminal records of people convicted of possessing or using marijuana. State Senator Jeff Irwin says it would apply to misdemeanor convictions prior to voter approval of a ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana in Michigan. The Ann Arbor Democrat says 235 thousand people would automatically have their records expunged. Others would have to ask a court to wipe away their marijuana convictions. The state Senate’s Republican leaders say they don’t have a position yet on the legislation.

The Kalamazoo Public Safety Department says fire hydrants will be opened in the city’s Edison, Eastside and Northside neighborhoods this week. A social media post says the hydrants will be opened from 1p.m. to 9p.m. to help people beat the heat. Drinking plenty of fluids, limiting outdoor activities and wearing lightweight loose fitting clothing are all recommended. High temperatures are expected through the weekend.

(WCMU) Some state lawmakers say it's time to reform Michigan's tax foreclosure system. They say county officials shouldn't be able to keep the full value of homes auctioned because of back taxes. New bills would require that excess equity to be paid back to homeowners. A representative with the Michigan Association of Counties says homeowners get plenty of due process before their house is taken, and any excess equity helps local governments deal with blighted buildings. Opponents of the current law says it's wrong to make people who lose their homes pay for that work.

(Michigan Radio) Oscoda residents aren’t happy with the pace of cleaning up PFAS contamination at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. PFASes are in the fire-fighting foam used on the air field. The chemicals are seeping into the groundwater and nearby waterways. Some kinds of PFASes have been linked to cancer and other health problems.