Southwest Michigan Today: Wednesday May 1, 2019

May 1, 2019

Kalamazoo City Hall - file photo
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Legislation to forgive more snow days is stalled in the Michigan Legislature. A Kalamazoo native joins the race for City Commission. A bill in Congress would require an enforceable drinking water standard for PFAS’s. 

(MPRN) Michigan students may not get any additional snow days forgiven this year. The state Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would have forgiven four state declared emergency snow days. But after that vote, several Democrats voted to not give the bill immediate effect. It’s a procedural move which renders the bill useless because it would not take effect until well after the school year has ended. Senate Majority Leader, Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) accused Democrats of placing unions over students. But Democrats say they want assurances that hourly workers will be paid for the forgiven days. The House could make changes to the bill and send it back to the Senate for another vote on whether to give the bill immediate effect. But Republicans in the House say it’s unlikely they’ll come to a consensus before the end of the school year.

A Kalamazoo native says he is running for Kalamazoo City Commission. Chris Praedel announced his campaign through a website and social media Tuesday. Paedel currently works in Western Michigan University’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations. He was also a member of the city’s blue ribbon panel on revenue appointed in 2015. Kalamazoo voters will elect three city commissioners in November. One of the commissioners who would have been up for election this year, Shannon Sykes Nehring, is stepping down from the commission because she is moving out of the city.

The Kalamazoo Nature Center has a rare visitor this week. It says a barn owl was first spotted at the center north of Kalamazoo last Thursday. The Nature Center says there have been only 13 confirmed sightings of barn owls in Michigan over the last 35 years - and none in Kalamazoo County - until now. The barn owl is considered an endangered species in the Midwest because of loss of habitat and farming practices.

(WCMU) Under legislation introduced this week the U.S. EPA would be required to set an enforceable drinking water standard for PFAS’s within two years. The family of chemicals has been found across the state and are linked to a number of health problems including cancer. Recent studies have raised concerns about whether the current advisory levels for the chemicals are low enough to protect public health. U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee introduced the legislation. He says his bill would not set requirements for how low the standard should be. Kildee says his concern is that if the legislation set specific guidelines for the chemical, Congress would be required to introduce new legislation every time the science changed. Kildee says the legislation has bipartisan support.

(WKAR) A bipartisan group of Michigan’s congressional delegation, including West Michigan Republican Fred Upton, announced two bills Tuesday that would require reports of sexual assault involving a university employee be reviewed by the highest levels of college administrators. Lawmakers say the legislation is a direct response to the Nassar abuse scandal at Michigan State University. The ALERT Act would require that a university president and at least one member of the board of trustees annually review all title IX investigations involving a university employee. College administrators would then have to certify that they reviewed all reports to the Secretary of Education, or risk losing federal funding. A companion bill has also been introduced in the U.S. House.

(WCMU) Attorney General Dana Nessel says she hopes Governor Gretchen Whitmer releases a plan for decommissioning the line 5 pipeline by June. On Monday, the Attorney General said she respects the Governor’s efforts to reach a resolution on the pipeline, but she says, if those efforts aren’t successful she will use every tool available to shut down the pipeline. Supporters of the tunnel project say it will be essential to providing the Upper Peninsula’s energy needs. A spokesperson for Governor Whitmer says she is committed to finding a solution that protects the Great Lakes, removes pipelines from the straits, and provides for the Upper Peninsula’s energy needs.

Western Michigan played its final home softball games of the season Tuesday. The Broncos split a double header with Oakland, winning the opener 15-3, and losing the second game to the Golden Grizzlies 7-2. Western will try to clinch a spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament when they close out the regular season at Northern Illinois Friday and Saturday.