Daily Briefs

Michigan Senate OKs $175M infusion into roads, bridges

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a $175 million infusion into the state’s roads, a 7 percent boost over existing spending and a bid by lawmakers to accelerate a two-year-old deal to improve deteriorating transportation infrastructure.

The bill is expected to win final passage from the House in the afternoon and Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature soon.

The legislation also includes $1 million for state Attorney General Bill Schuette’s investigation into how Michigan State University handled past allegations against now-imprisoned Larry Nassar, a campus sports doctor who molested gymnasts and others under the guise of treatment.

State and local road agencies were due to receive $2.5 billion for road and bridge work this fiscal year. Under the measure, they would get $175 million more — with the state and counties receiving 39 percent each and cities and villages getting 22 percent.

Before voting, senators debated the effectiveness of a $1.2 billion road-funding deal that was enacted in 2015 and is being phased in by 2021. It includes a mix of higher fuel taxes, registration fees and — starting later this year — annual transfers of general funds to the transportation budget.

Republicans rejected a Democratic proposal to shift $275 million from savings to infuse a combined $450 million this year.

“As potholes wreak havoc on vehicles and jeopardize driver safety, we cannot afford to wait until 2021 to fully fund this problem,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., an East Lansing Democrat. He said the $175 million in additional spending — which was first proposed in Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2018-19 budget blueprint last month — is “a day late and a dollar short.”

Majority Republicans countered that it will take time to smooth roads after years of disinvestment.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Dave Hildenbrand of Lowell said the current budget already includes $600 million more for roads and bridges thanks to the 2015 laws, and next year there will be at least $750 million more than a couple years ago.

“The problems with our infrastructure took decades to create. It’s going to take some time to get (the roads) back in good condition,” he said.


Michigan Supreme Court welcomes  new Court Crier

LANSING, MI, February 28, 2018 – The Michigan Supreme Court has welcomed Jeff Mills as the Court’s new crier.  Mills is a veteran of both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, having worked as the records clerk/manager for the Court of Appeals from 1981 to 1998, and as the data administrator in the Supreme Court since 1998.

“We are pleased to announce Jeff Mills has accepted the position of Court Crier,” said Chief Justice Stephen Markman. “Jeff’s experience, dedication to quality, and knowledge of the Court will be an invaluable asset to the justices and to all the staff at the Hall of Justice.”

Mills and his wife live in the Mason area and have three children and seven grandchildren.

Mills replaces former long-time crier, David Palazzolo, who passed away last year.