Daily Briefs

State Senate rejects Whitmer appointee to hunting panel

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's appointee to the state commission that regulates hunting and fishing, which Democrats said was done because the GOP and National Rifle Association oppose a different nominee to the same panel.

It marked the first time in nearly a decade that a governor's nominee was officially rejected by the Senate.

Senators voted 20-16, almost entirely on party lines, to disapprove Anna Mitterling of Mason— . Whitmer named the Lansing Community College biology professor to the Natural Resources Commission in December.

She formerly worked as a wildlife coordinator with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

Whitmer said the Senate GOP rejected Mitterling because they opposed her decision last week to appoint former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell to the commission. The NRA this week criticized Heartwell over his involvement in billionaire Michael Bloomberg's gun-control groups.

A Whitmer spokeswoman said she refused to pull Heartwell's nomination to "save Anna Mitterling, a woman who is uniquely qualified to serve on the Natural Resources Commission."

Asked if the Senate would have been OK with Mitterling if Heartwell had not been appointed, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican, said he had tried "to find a compromise position." He said senators did have concerns with Mitterling's statements to an advise-and-consent committee, however.


State cites problems with police database under construction

LANSING (AP) — Michigan officials ordered a private contractor to halt work on a multimillion-dollar state police database because it isn't working, a newspaper reported.

The contractor, Information Builders, was told to stop by Feb. 10 due to the "inoperable data hub," according to a letter by purchasing official Joe Ernst of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Separately, the attorney general's office disputed a $2.6 million invoice from Information Builders, the Detroit Free Press reported.

"The state will not pay license fees for software that is rendered effectively useless," state attorney Suzanne Hassan said in a Feb. 3 letter.

The $12.2 million contract covers a database with criminal records, traffic crashes and other incidents.

A message seeking comment was left Thursday with New York-based Information Builders.

Two state police employees left government and landed jobs at Information Builders, including Capt. David Kelly, the Free Press reported. Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner said Kelly "has not been affiliated with the contract" since retiring.

Ernst said the stop-work order has exceptions for four software applications that are working.


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