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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • May 23, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Amazon gets $4M to put 1,000-job warehouse near Grand Rapids

LANSING (AP) — Michigan is giving online retailer Amazon $4 million to ensure it opens another facility in the state.

The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved the incentive Tuesday. Seattle-based Amazon plans to create 1,000 full-time jobs at the $150 million fulfillment center in Gaines Township near Grand Rapids.

It will be Amazon's fourth warehouse in Michigan and first in the western part of the state. The state has authorized grants to each since late 2016.

Amazon will lease space on land owned by furniture maker Steelcase. A third party will build the center.

Economic development officials said Amazon chose the Grand Rapids-area site over competing sites in the Midwest. Gaines Township is providing a 50 percent property tax abatement.

Man found guilty in killing of Western Michigan University student

KALAMAZOO (AP) — A jury has convicted a man in the killing of a Western Michigan University student during a robbery.

The Kalamazoo County Circuit Court jury found Jordan Waire of Muskegon guilty Tuesday of felony murder, armed robbery, felon in possession of a firearm and three felony firearm counts.

Nineteen-year-old Jacob Jones was shot dead in his apartment near the campus on Dec. 8, 2016. His family and friends cried and hugged each other as the verdict was read.

Former WMU basketball player Joeviair Kennedy also is charged with murder, armed robbery and weapons offenses in the case. He's expected to go to trial June 5.

During a preliminary examination for Waire's case, Kennedy said it was Waire who pulled the trigger. Kennedy said they got marijuana and about $25.

Protesters gather in lobby of governor's office to demand water

LANSING (AP) — About 100 people crowded into Gov. Rick Snyder's office lobby to demand the state continue to provide bottled water to Flint residents.

The protesters gathered Tuesday for about 40 minutes until they said they were denied a meeting, MLive reported. Their chants included "Flint is under class war" and "no Nestle water for Flint."

Snyder ended Flint water distribution last month, saying the city's water quality had significantly improved since a lead crisis.

The governor's office had no comment about the protest Tuesday afternoon.

Nestle Waters North America, which recently drew public opposition for its permit to increase water withdrawal in West Michigan, sends bottled water to Flint.

The protesters have convened in Lansing as part of "The People's Lobby Day," organized by the statewide advocacy coalition Michigan United.

House votes to create private industry panel to advise DEQ

LANSING (AP) — A Senate bill to bring private business stakeholders into the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's rule-making process has passed the Republican-controlled state House.

Lawmakers voted Tuesday on a three-bill package to create an environmental rules review committee stacked with private industry representatives able to weigh in during the DEQ's rule-making process.

The bills also would establish a permit appeal panel and an advisory board of scientific experts.

The first bill was approved 57-51. It originally granted the committee veto power over the DEQ, but now states the department director can seek final rulings from the governor.

The legislation now returns to the Senate. It was criticized on the House floor by Democrats evoking past disasters such as Flint's 2014 lead-poisoning crisis.

Elections bureau says redistricting ballot drive has enough signatures

LANSING (AP) — The Michigan elections bureau is recommending certification of a ballot initiative that aims to end political gerrymandering by having an independent commission draw congressional and legislative districts instead of state lawmakers.

In a report filed Tuesday, bureau staff estimated that 394,000 signatures submitted by Voters Not Politicians are valid. That's more than the 315,000 needed.

The Board of State Canvassers is scheduled to meet Thursday to consider the proposal.

Opponents of the measure have sued. They contend the measure would amend so many parts of the state Constitution that a constitutional convention is required and that the proposal doesn't list all of the sections of the Constitution that would be abrogated.

The elections bureau is urging certification while legal issues are before the courts.

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