5.26.16:  Bill going to Snyder would make coerced abortion a crime



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Coercing a woman to have an abortion would be a misdemeanor in Michigan, under a bill sent to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Senate approved the legislation, 26-11, Wednesday with all Democrats and one Republican voting against it. The bill would make coercion a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5,000; $10,000 if the accused is the father of the embryo or fetus.

Republicans say the bill will protect women and victims of human trafficking. But Democrats say the legislation is driven by politics and doesn’t do much for women if it doesn’t protect them from other forms of reproductive coercion.

Democrats unsuccessfully urged GOP senators to make it a crime to coerce women to give birth.


5.26.16:  Senator sponsors bill on bathroom use by transgender kids



LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan senator has introduced legislation that could stop transgender students from using bathrooms that don’t match their “biological sex.”

Sen. Tom Casperson,  unveiled a bill Wednesday that would offer accommodations to transgender students with parental consent. But the accommodation can’t include a bathroom, locker room or shower used by students “of the opposite biological sex.”

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says the legislation is not a priority for the Senate. It’s been assigned to a committee.

The bill comes after some lawmakers were outraged by draft guidelines from the State Board of Education that included recommendations on how to address transgender K-12 students.



5.26.16:  Michigan man faces murder charge in 2014 death



MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A man charged with killing a jogger in western Michigan in 2014 has appeared in court to hear the accusations against him.

Jeffrey Willis appeared in court Wednesday without an attorney, which is typical at arraignments. The Muskegon County judge entered not guilty pleas on Willis’ behalf. He will get a court-appointed attorney.

The 46-year-old Willis was arrested last week and charged with kidnapping after a 16-year-old girl says he abducted her and she escaped from his van. Now he’s charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Rebekah Bletsch, who was killed while jogging about two years ago.

Police say they’ve connected a gun seized from Willis’ van to Bletsch’s death. Willis is also a suspect in the 2013 disappearance of a gas station clerk, Jessica Heeringa.


5.26.16:  Genocide education requirement on way to Michigan governor



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A bill to require older schoolchildren to learn about the Holocaust and the 1915 massacre of Armenians has been sent to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

The state House gave final approval on the bill Wednesday. It would require lessons on the Holocaust and the Armenian massacre.

Historians estimate that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks in an event widely viewed by historians as genocide, a term the legislation also uses. But Turkey, a key U.S. partner and NATO ally, denies the deaths constituted genocide and has said the death toll has been inflated.

An estimated 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust during World War II.


5.26.16:  Ford recalls 271K pickups to fix brake fluid leak



DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling some of its top-selling vehicles in the U.S. to fix a fluid leak that can reduce braking power.

The recall covers about 271,000 F-150 pickups in North America from the 2013 and 2014 model years that have 3.5-liter V6 engines.

Ford says brake fluid can leak from the master cylinder. That could reduce the ability of the front brakes to stop the trucks.

The company reports nine crashes with no injuries, but one person was hurt in an unspecified interaction with the brakes.

Dealers will replace the brake master cylinder for free. They’ll also replace the brake booster if they find leaks from the master cylinder.


5.26.16:  Some 1,000 killed in attacks on hospitals in 2 years



WASHINGTON (AP) — The World Health Organization says nearly 1,000 people have been killed worldwide in attacks on medical facilities in conflicts over the past two years in violation of humanitarian norms.

The report released today highlights an alarming disrespect for the protection of health care in wars by governments and armed groups, which has earned fierce condemnation from human rights groups and doctors.

The study by the Geneva-based WHO details 594 attacks on hospitals and clinics in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere in 2014 and 2015, which have left 959 medics, support staff, patients and visitors dead and over 1,500 injured.

Most disturbingly, the report states that over 60 percent of the attacks deliberately targeted medical facilities, while 20 percent were accidental and the rest were undetermined.



5.26.16:  46 states made prison-related reforms in 2014-15



NEW YORK (AP) — A new analysis has found that nearly every state made prison-related reforms in 2014 and 2015.

The Vera Institute of Justice report released today finds that in those two years, 46 states enacted 201 bills, executive orders and ballot initiatives.

The fixes ranged from improving bail systems to supporting recently released former prisoners to curbing the use of solitary confinement.

Other states created specialty courts for veterans, the homeless and drug addicts.

Policymakers nationwide also sought to reduce the number of people who ended up behind bars by shortening jail stays and providing alternative sentences.

The nonprofit says the reforms are the result of expensive correctional systems and a growing consensus that for too many the criminal justice system is unfair.


5.26.16:  Large Tornado hits Kansas



CHAPMAN, Kan. (AP) — The town of Chapman, Kansas, torn apart by a tornado in 2008, has escaped a repeat, but as many as 25 nearby homes have been damaged or destroyed.

The National Weather says a large tornado formed just after 7 p.m. near the Ottawa County community of Niles and stayed on the ground continuously for the next hour and a half, coming within a mile of Chapman, in Dickinson County.

There have been no reports of injuries or fatalities.


5.26.16:  Herrera’s homer helps Phillies to 8-5 win over Tigers



DETROIT (AP) — Odubel Herrera and Peter Bourjos homered off Anibal Sanchez, and the Philadelphia Phillies salvaged the finale of their three-game series with Detroit, beating the Tigers 8-5 Wednesday.

Detroit had won eight of nine, including the first two games of this set, but Herrera’s three-run drive put Philadelphia up 5-1 in the fourth. Aaron Nola (4-3) and the Phillies were able to hold on from there. Jeanmar Gomez pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 17th save in 18 chances.

Sanchez (3-6) allowed three earned runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. The Tigers made two errors in the fourth before Herrera’s two-out homer, so three runs were unearned.

Philadelphia’s Andres Blanco swiped home in the second as part of a double steal, with Bourjos taking second.

Maikel Franco of the Phillies left in the seventh with a sprained right ankle.

Nola allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.



5.25.16:   Budget deal is close, but some issues unresolved



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder says he and Republican legislative leaders are close to brokering a budget agreement, with a “fairly short list” of issues left to be resolved.

The Republican governor left a closed-door meeting at the Capitol Tuesday morning and reported “good progress.” Snyder says the budget and talks about restructuring Detroit’s ailing school district are “two separate issues.”

The House and Senate are at odds over how much to spend on Detroit Public Schools and regulating charter schools in the city. Budget issues to hash out include repealing an inadvertent tax credit awarded to auto insurers and spending on underground infrastructure statewide in the wake of Flint’s water crisis.

House Speaker Kevin Cotter says negotiators are “very, very close” to finalizing spending levels for segments of the budget.