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       Michigan cities are getting behind legislation to create local stock exchanges allowing residents to invest in smaller businesses.

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The debate over reviving medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan starts up again in Lansing this week.  A state Senate panel will hear public testimony on House Bill 4271, which would let communities decide whether to allow dispensaries and how to regulate them. It is also expected to take up House Bill 5104, which would allow patients to use edible and other non-smokable forms of cannabis.

The bills come in response to recent Michigan Supreme Court rulings that shut down marijuana distribution through dispensaries in the state and effectively outlawed any forms of medical cannabis other than smokable forms. 

Supporters of the legislation say reviving and regulating dispensaries will ensure patients have safe and consistent access to treatment. And they say patients who are children or who suffer from respiratory illnesses should not have to smoke marijuana.

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Actress Mariska Hargitay plans to join Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to discuss proposed legislation that would speed up sexual assault kit testing.  Worthy's office also says the Detroit Rape Kit Project will be discussed at the press conference later today. She has been pushing for more funding to process the backlog of kits. 

Hargitay stars on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." She also is founder and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation. The foundation works with police and prosecutors on eliminating the backlog of testing for sexual assault kits. 

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William Clay Ford Senior, who helped steer Ford Motor Company for more than five decades and owned the NFL's Detroit Lions, has died at the age of 88.  The company said in a statement Sunday that Ford died of pneumonia at his home. He was the last surviving grandson of company founder Henry Ford.  Ford served as an employee and board member of the automaker for more than half of its 100-year history. The company says in a statement that he was instrumental in setting the design direction for the company's vehicles. CEO Alan Mulally says in a statement that Ford had a profound impact on the company.

     

 Closing arguments have ended in a challenge to Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage, which was approved by voters in 2004.

     Detroit federal Judge Bernard Friedman says Friday he expects to make a decision within two weeks.

     The trial was dominated by different views from scholars about the welfare of children raised by same-sex parents. Two Detroit-area women are trying to convince the judge that there's no "rational" basis under law for Michigan to ban same-sex marriage.

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        Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has signed legislation designed to offer more treatment options in Michigan for people with mental illness, including those who are jailed or at risk of being imprisoned.

Dakota Serna served in the Marines during the Iraq War. He says memories of seeing friends and children killed left him suicidal after he came home. Serna says the only thing that has helped him get his life back on track is using marijuana. 


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State Senate votes to ban e-cigarette sales to minors

It could soon be illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to children in Michigan. The state Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday meant to keep the smokeless devices out of the hands of minors. 

So-called "e-cigarettes" deliver a nicotine-laced vapor, but don't contain tobacco. That means the state cannot currently regulate them along with regular cigarettes and other tobacco products.

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      A person familiar with the event says that new General Motors chief executive Mary Barra is expected to speak at the University of Michigan's spring commencement in May.      The person asked not to be identified Wednesday because the speaker hasn't been officially announced. Barra is the first woman to head a major U.S. automaker.

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        Books, furnishings and other contents from the suburban Detroit home of the late author Elmore Leonard are being sold at a three-day estate sale. The sale at the home in Oakland County's Bloomfield Township runs Thursday through Saturday. A listing on the website EstateSales.net says items include first edition "and/or signed books, furniture, lamps, linens, rugs, garden accessories, outdoor furniture and more."

Michigan Edging Toward Year-Round School

Mar 5, 2014
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Lawmakers in the state House have approved a $2 million program to encourage schools to go year-round. Schools in mostly low-income areas could get money from the state to add air-conditioning and other things allowing them to operate in the summer.

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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan hopes to renew state lawmakers’ interest in curbing scrap metal theft across the state. Duggan met with Democrats and Republicans in the state House on Wednesday.     

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The state House and Senate have not been able to agree on a mid-year budget bill. 

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The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether more than 350 inmates sent to prison for murder as juveniles for life without parole will get a chance someday at freedom.

Texting While Driving On the Rise In Michigan

Mar 5, 2014
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 A poll reports a doubling in the percentage of Michigan drivers who acknowledge they text or use email while behind the wheel since the previous survey two years earlier.

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 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Great Lakes water levels rebounded sharply last year after a prolonged low period dating from the late 1990s.

Same Sex Parents
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 A university economist says children raised by heterosexual couples have a much greater chance of making normal progress through school than kids living with same-sex parents.

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       Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law changing sentencing rules for juvenile defendants convicted of murder and other serious crimes.

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       Congress has given final approval to a bill designating 32,000 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as wilderness.      With U.S. House passage of the bill, it now heads to President Barack Obama for signature. The U.S. Senate passed it in June 2013.      The lakeshore is headquartered in Empire in the northwestern Lower Peninsula.      Hunting and fishing would be permitted in the wilderness areas.      More than 1.4 million people visited Sleeping Bear Dunes in 2011, pumping about $120 million into the local economy.      Democratic Michigan U.S.

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There is an effort afoot in Lansing to regulate smokeless electronic cigarettes - and ban their sale to minors. But there is a difference of opinion on how to go about it. 

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Legislation to repeal and replace a tax on business equipment has cleared the state Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bills seek to make sure local governments are not hit hard by a repeal of Michigan's Personal Property Tax (PPT). 

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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Great Lakes advocates are meeting in Washington, D.C., this week to lobby for funding of environmental projects and to discuss strategies for dealing with challenges such as invasive species.  More than 100 people from the eight-state region are attending the Great Lakes Commission's semiannual meeting and other activities.

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(Detroit)-A University of Texas professor will face a vigorous cross-examination in the trial over Michigan's gay-marriage ban.  Mark Regnerus is returning to the witness chair this morning in Detroit federal court. He testified Monday for the state of Michigan. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette  is defending a 2004 constitutional amendment that recognizes marriage as only between a man and a woman. 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are looking to remove the terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" from state law.  The legislation in Lansing incorporates some recent recommendations from a mental health commission appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder. 

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The state's defense of Michigan's same-sex marriage ban got off to a rocky start Monday.

Federal Judge Bernard Friedman tossed out the state's first witness in the case. He said Yale law student Sherif Girgis did not qualify as an expert witness. The plaintiffs' attorneys pointed to the fact that Girgis is still a student, and said he would only be expressing his opinion on gay marriage - not actual evidence. 

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