State Briefs

Associated Press • Oct 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Michigan's top cop 'truly sorry' for knocking NFL protests

LANSING (AP) — The director of the Michigan State Police has met privately with black lawmakers more than a week after she shared a Facebook post that called NFL players kneeling during the national anthem "anti-American degenerates."

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue emerged from the meeting Thursday and told reporters that she isn't resigning, despite calls from civil rights activists and many Democrats for her to do so. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said her job is safe.

Etue said she's "truly sorry" if she offended anyone and will stay focused on making Michigan "a safer place." She said "we have some work to do" with minorities. She didn't elaborate.

Etue shared a meme on her personal Facebook page that called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem "millionaire ingrates who hate America."

Lobbyist with longtime ties to Kellogg seeks House seat

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A lobbyist who formerly worked at Kellogg Co. said he's seeking the Democratic nomination for a congressional seat in southwestern Michigan.

George Franklin wants the job now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton. He said he wants to "to keep making a difference and improving lives" in the 6th District.

Franklin was vice president of government relations at Kellogg until 2005 when he started his own public affairs shop. His website says Kellogg is a client.

Upton's name has come up as a possible candidate for U.S. Senate if he doesn't seek another term in the House. He's been in Congress since 1987 and has given no signal that he plans to retire.

Michigan Senate OKs ban on local rules for job interviews

LANSING (AP) — The Republican-led state Senate voted along party lines Thursday to prohibit municipalities from regulating what information employers must request, require or exclude during job interviews — a backlash against some bans on salary history questions in other parts of the country.

State law already prohibits local rules on what information is required or excluded in job applications. But business groups say the legislation is needed to head off any future efforts to restrict the interview process itself, even if no local governments in Michigan are currently considering such ordinances.

Massachusetts, New York City and Philadelphia have passed laws blocking employers from asking applicants about wage history in interviews or on applications. Supporters say the bans are one way to help close the wage gap between men and women.

The bill won approval 27-9, with every Republican in support and every Democrat opposed. It was sent to the GOP-controlled House for consideration next.

No senator spoke about the bill before the vote Thursday. In committee testimony in June, groups such as the National Federation of Independent Business said labor laws are the purview of the state and federal governments, and "local micro-management of the hiring process is particularly egregious to small business and employers."

Organizations opposing the legislation said it would cause unintended consequences by hurting efforts to pass sensible "fair chance" policies designed to help offenders get jobs after their incarceration and not commit new crimes. Many private employers have strict policies against hiring people with criminal records.

If the state is not going to consider limiting how and when applicants can be questioned about their criminal history, "it should be done at the local level," said Kimberly Buddin, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

2 fired Kroger workers lose appeal in court

MILAN (AP) — Two Kroger employees who were fired for making purchases while at work have lost their case at a federal appeals court.

Tammy Crampton and Mary Beth Savage worked at a Kroger store in Milan in southeastern Michigan. They sued the grocer and a labor union, arguing the union should have taken the firings through an arbitration process.

Crampton and Savage said their dismissals were too severe. The appeals court said it may seem "profoundly unfair" that a union wouldn't exhaust every avenue. But it also said the United Food and Commercial Workers union had the right to decline arbitration.

The union said Kroger's purchase rule was reasonable and consistently enforced. The court's 3-0 decision was released Thursday.

Michigan judge gets Senate committee approval for U.S. court

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen is a step closer to a new job on a federal appeals court.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved her nomination Thursday and sent it to the full Senate. All nine Democrats on the committee voted no.

The 48-year-old Larsen was nominated to the Cincinnati-based appeals court by President Donald Trump. The court hears cases from federal courts in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Larsen has been on the Michigan Supreme Court for two years. She was on the faculty at University of Michigan law school when Gov. Rick Snyder picked her to fill a vacancy in 2015.

Chinese student whose plane crashed in Canada declared dead

ANN ARBOR (AP) — A judge has declared a University of Michigan doctoral student from China dead more than six months after he disappeared before his plane crashed in Canada.

The Detroit Free Press reports Washtenaw County Probate Judge Julia Owdziej signed an order Thursday establishing that 27-year-old Xin Rong died March 15, the day he rented an airplane in Ann Arbor. The plane was found crashed in a densely wooded area of Ontario.

His wife, Surong Ruan, filed a court petition seeking the order.

Authorities have said they found no signs of Rong at the crash site or footprints in the snow, and the plane was out of fuel. An Ontario Provincial Police spokesman has said authorities believe Rong jumped out at some point during the flight.

Rong was studying artificial intelligence.

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