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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Apr 25, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Michigan House OKs $56.7B budget with per-pupil funding hike

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan House approved a $56.7 billion budget plan Tuesday that would boost spending on school security after the Florida high school shooting and cut funding for universities that fail to comply with proposed sexual misconduct rules in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal.

The two spending measures cleared the Republican-controlled chamber on 71-36 and 66-41 votes, mostly along party lines.

After the GOP-led Senate OKs its own budget blueprint and new revenue estimates are released in mid-May, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder will likely finalize a budget in June — months before the next fiscal year starts in the fall.

GOP leaders touted what would be the largest increase in base per-student funding in 17 years. The $120 to $240 hike aligns with Snyder's plan, including record-high spending on road repairs, investments in workforce development, and school and campus safety, and general fund spending that would be smaller than in the current year.

Democrats, however, said more must be spent on deteriorating roads and financially struggling local governments.

Enough signatures collected for Michigan pot, wage measures

LANSING (AP) — Michigan's elections bureau says enough signatures have been gathered for ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana for recreational use and repeal a law requiring higher wages on state construction projects.

The Board of State Canvassers will meet Thursday to consider certifying the petitions after the bureau released staff reports Monday. If the bipartisan board agrees with the findings, the proposed legislation will go to the Republican-led Legislature.

If legislators do not act within 40 days, the proposals will get a statewide vote in November.

After the elections bureau pulled a larger sample of the anti-"prevailing" wage initiative petitions, it determined that roughly 277,000 of 362,000 signatures are valid. That is about 25,000 more than is needed. The bureau also estimates that marijuana legalization proponents turned in 277,000 valid signatures.

House passes new Pyramid Promotional Scheme Act

LANSING (AP) — A four-bill package of legislation defining and punishing pyramid schemes has passed the Michigan House.

The chamber voted Tuesday to clarify that a pyramid scheme is any plan that primarily compensates individuals for recruiting others and not through actual product sales. The punishment for intentionally promoting the schemes would be a felony with up to seven years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000.

Pyramid schemes already are illegal under state and federal laws.

The new classification more obviously sets distinctions between pyramid schemes and traditional direct-selling companies such as Amway, which testified in support of the bill. The legislation exempts operations that repurchase unsold inventory from participants at no less than 90 percent of the original cost.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

Woman shared home with decomposing body for months, police say

WARREN (AP) — Police who found a badly decomposed body in bed in a Detroit-area home believe a 62-year-old woman may have shared the home with her dead roommate for months.

Police in Warren found the body of 68-year-old George Curtis on Monday. An autopsy will be performed.

Detroit-area media reported Tuesday that relatives contacted police after hearing nothing from Curtis for months. The woman has been hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation.

Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said "it's just bizarre (that) she stayed in the home like that and didn't report anything."

Police said Curtis may have been dead for months.

Dwyer said the house may have to be condemned and demolished due to the condition inside and the odor.

Truckers aid police in stopping suicide on Michigan freeway

HUNTINGTON WOODS (AP) — More than a dozen semi-trucks lined up beneath a Detroit-area freeway overpass to aid police trying to help a man contemplating suicide.

Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said troopers received a call early Tuesday about the man standing on an overpass above I-696 in Huntington Woods. As officers routed traffic away, they directed truckers to drive into positions to shorten the fall if the man jumped.

Thirteen trucks lined the freeway as police dealt with the man. The incident lasted about four hours until he walked off to waiting officers and to seek medical help.

Shaw said troopers typically work with truckers during such incidents, but it's unusual to have so many involved. He added that there are "many other options out there aside from taking your own life."

No charges after West Michigan officers shoot man who killed himself

WYOMING (AP) — A prosecutor said officers won't face charges after shooting a man who fatally shot himself in the head in a West Michigan cemetery.

Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker announced Monday that two Wyoming Police Department officers and a sergeant had a reasonable fear that 52-year-old Joel Peloquin may have fired at them or bystanders, and they had to make a split-second decision.

Sheriff's officials said an autopsy found the cause of Peloquin's death was a gunshot wound to the head and it was ruled a suicide. The autopsy found officers shot him three times, but those wounds weren't fatal.

Investigators said Peloquin was in the cemetery March 30, threatening to kill himself. A witness has said he tried for 45 minutes to talk Peloquin out of ending his own life.

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