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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Feb 5, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Governor wants energy supply report following last week’s cold snap

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking the Michigan Public Service Commission to study the adequacy of the state's energy supply and its ability to deliver natural gas, electricity and propane.

Whitmer's request to the Michigan Public Service Commission on Monday followed a bitterly cold week, with temperatures dipping well below zero.

Consumers Energy asked customers to temporarily lower thermostats to 65 degrees after a compressor station fire near Detroit raised concerns about keeping gas flowing. DTE Energy requested voluntary reductions in electricity use.

Whitmer asked the public service commission for a report by July 1. The Democratic governor said it should include information about plans for distributing energy during emergencies, areas or systems most at risk, and how to prepare for extreme weather that seems increasingly likely as the climate changes.

Caregiver-produced medical marijuana recalled in Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — Health and industry experts in Michigan are raising concerns about caregiver-produced medical marijuana following the discovery of more than 50 pounds of contaminated product.

Patient caregivers grew a majority of the marijuana that was recalled in January from provisioning centers in Detroit, Lansing, Jackson, Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti, The Detroit News reported. The products — such as marijuana flower, concentrate, patches and tinctures — contained chemical residue, E. coli, arsenic, cadmium and salmonella.

The Medical Marijuana Licensing Board is allowing licensed facilities to continue purchasing caregiver-produced product through March 31 to close a supply gap. Registered caregivers have been supplying a limited number of patients for about a decade.

Patients must sign a release if they purchase caregiver-produced marijuana, said David Harns, a spokesman for the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Patients can have the products examined at a safety compliance facility, he said.

The Michigan Coalition of Independent Cannabis Testing Laboratories, which is made up of licensed testers, growers and processors, said the selective enforcement of safety regulations doesn't ensure patients have access to safe medical marijuana.

Judicial watchdog agency again seeks judge's suspension

BRIGHTON (AP) — The Judicial Tenure Commission has filed a new petition with the Michigan Supreme Court seeking the suspension of a Livingston County judge who faces criminal charges.

The Livingston Daily Press & Argus reported the commission took the action Monday against Judge Theresa Brennan after the court threw out its initial request Jan. 25 on a technicality.

Brennan faces misconduct charges and a separate criminal case. She's already barred from hearing cases, but a suspension could stop her pay.

Brennan's accused of perjury and destroying evidence in her divorce case. In the misconduct matter, she's accused of many ethics violations in how she ran her office as well as for a relationship with a state police detective during a murder trial.

She has two weeks to respond to the commission's request.

Supreme Court justice rejects delay of Michigan redistricting trial

LANSING (AP) — A U.S. Supreme Court justice has denied Republicans' request to delay a trial over whether Michigan's congressional and legislative districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

Monday's decision by Justice Sonia Sotomayor means federal judges will start the trial Tuesday.

GOP lawmakers had asked the high court to stay the proceeding until it rules in redistricting cases from Maryland and North Carolina.

The League of Women Voters and Democratic voters claim districts were shaped by Republican operatives to guarantee the party's dominance after the 2010 census. They say constitutional rights were violated when Democratic areas were packed in certain districts or diluted elsewhere.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, proposed a settlement under which some state House districts would be redrawn for the 2020 election, but the judges rejected it Friday.

Policy requires U of Michigan employees to disclose felonies

ANN ARBOR (AP) — The University of Michigan is requiring faculty, staff, student employees, volunteers and visiting scholars to disclose if they've been newly charged with or convicted of a felony.

The Ann Arbor News reported the new policy requires them to inform the university within one week of a charge or conviction that occurs on or after Feb. 1. The school's human resources department will assess the information on a case-by-case basis.

Those who fail to disclose felony charges and convictions could face disciplinary actions including the loss of their job. Currently, job applicants at the university must answer criminal history questions on their applications and go through a background check before they begin employment.

The newspaper said the new policy doesn't apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

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