Daily Briefs

State Supreme Court will settle redistricting ballot dispute


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court will hold a rare summer session to determine whether voters will get a chance to change the way legislative districts are created.

The Legislature now draws districts for Congress and the Michigan House and Senate every 10 years. But critics submitted enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. They want to change the state Constitution and give the job to a 13-member commission.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on July 18. Opponents of the ballot question say it’s so significant that it should go to a constitutional convention, not the ballot box.

The state appeals court in June said the proposed change could be presented to voters.

Critics of the current system say districts are drawn to benefit the political party that’s in power in Lansing.

 

Group submits 420,000 signatures for Michigan voting measure
 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A group has submitted more than 420,000 signatures for a proposed Michigan ballot initiative to expand access to voting.

Organizers of the constitutional amendment include the League of Women Voters, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the NAACP’s state and Detroit branches. The Promote the Vote ballot committee turned in petitions Monday.

The proposal — if confirmed for the November ballot by elections officials — would let voters cast an absentee ballot for any reason, allow citizens to register by mail closer to Election Day and in person at any time, and automatically register citizens when they obtain a driver’s license.

Another provision would reinstate straight-ticket voting, which Republican lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder banned in 2016 but has been allowed to continue during a legal challenge.

 

Court looking at judge’s home visit in parental rights case


GAYLORD, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court is considering whether it’s appropriate for a judge to see the conditions of a home before terminating someone’s parental rights.

The court on Thursday told lawyers for an Otsego County couple and the state of Michigan to file briefs on that issue as well as others. The court will hear arguments in the months ahead.

Judge Michael Cooper terminated the parental rights of a couple whose daughter has a chronic kidney disease.  He made the decision based partly on a personal visit to the home. He was joined by lawyers from both sides, but they weren’t allowed to ask questions or explain the conditions of the mobile home.

The appeals court said the visit isn’t permitted under law, but it affirmed the termination of parental rights.

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