At a Glance ...

Whitmer orders jail study, says status quo ‘isn’t working’

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is ordering a comprehensive review of Michigan’s jail and pretrial incarceration system, saying the status quo “isn’t working.”

Whitmer on Wednesday signed an executive order to begin a bipartisan study of jail and court data. She says jail populations have nearly tripled in the last 35 years and crime is at a 50-year low.

A 21-member task force will work with The Pew Charitable Trusts and make recommendations by year’s end.

Joining the Democratic governor at the signing were Chief Justice Bridge McCormack, Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield, Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel, sheriffs and county officials.
McCormack and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist will lead the task force.


House OKs bill to forgive schools from making up snow days

LANSING (AP) — School districts would not have to make up snow days that occur during state-declared emergencies under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

The House approved the measure on a 101-7 vote Wednesday. It goes to the Senate for consideration next.

The legislation is intended to address the high number of canceled schools days.

State law forgives districts from making up six days canceled for emergencies, and schools can get a waiver for three additional days. Legislators say the wintry weather has been so extreme that the law should be loosened.

The five-day period from Jan. 28 through Feb. 1 — when an arctic deep freeze shut down many normal activities, including school — would be forgiven statewide. States of emergencies also have been declared in certain counties.


Text message reminders help divorce, parenting cases

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s judicial branch says that its pilot program offering text message reminders to people involved in a divorce or parenting case reduced the failure-to-appear rate by 40 percent in a six-month period.

The circuit court launched the program last summer.

People who chose to provide a cellphone number received three simple text messages reminding them of their mediation day and time: one each at seven days, three days, and one day before the event.

The judicial branch hopes to expand the availability of text message reminders to other case types within the circuit court, as well as to superior court cases.

Criminal cases are under consideration.


Harvard dorm ends decades-old goat roast tradition

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A Harvard University residence hall is ending a decades-old tradition of skinning and barbecuing a goat in the courtyard.

The Harvard Crimson student newspaper reports that Dunster House Faculty Deans Cheryl Chen and Sean Kelly informed students of the decision in an recent email, citing student discomfort with the tradition and health concerns.

They say Dunster will continue to hold a “goat roast,” just without an actual goat.

The annual event began in the 1980s as a spinoff of a primitive survival course taught by human and evolutionary biology professor Daniel Lieberman.
 

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