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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Nov 16, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Michigan unemployment rate down to 3.9 percent in October

LANSING (AP) — Michigan's unemployment rate fell by a tenth of a percentage point to 3.9 percent in October.

Figures released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget show Michigan's jobless rate was two-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national rate of 3.7 percent last month and eight-tenths of a percentage point lower than the state's October 2017 rate of 4.7 percent.

The agency said the state's labor force was flat, with total employment in Michigan rising by about 2,000 in October and the number of unemployed declining by about 2,000.

Gov. Rick Snyder noted that the last time Michigan's unemployment rate was 3.9 percent was October 2000. He said, however, that "this is no time to stand still or become complacent."

Michigan to develop online voter registration under new laws

LANSING (AP) — Michigan residents will be able to use the internet to register to vote under laws signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday.

The measures require the state to develop an interface so voter registration applications can be submitted on the secretary of state's website. The system will be off limits to people without a valid driver's license or state identification card or those who submit a change of address within the previous 10 days.

People wishing to register to vote currently must complete a form by hand and mail or deliver it to their local clerk.

About 95 percent of Michigan's voting-age population is registered to vote.

Drivers must slow by 10 mph to pass emergency vehicles

LANSING (AP) — Michigan drivers will be required to slow down when passing an emergency, maintenance or utility vehicle that is on the side of the road.

A law signed Thursday by Gov. Rick Snyder mandates that motorists slow by 10 mph below the posted speed limit and, if possible, move over a lane when passing a police or emergency vehicle on the side of the road.

The law takes effect in mid-February and replaces a current requirement that drivers proceed with caution and move over when passing such vehicles.

Violators will be subject to a $400 fine.

Snyder said the new law will better protect emergency responders and workers on busy roadways. He said he hopes more Michiganders "will slow down and give a lane."

Muskegon Community College to keep graduation prayer, with changes

MUSKEGON (AP) — A West Michigan college will exclude specific religious references from prayers said during graduation ceremonies after a civil rights group complained.

Muskegon Community College's Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to offer an invocation "to the extent permitted by separation of church and state law," The Muskegon Chronicle reported.

The board acted in response to a complaint filed last month by the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists. The complaint stemmed from a prayer said in May by the Rev. Ann Oakes, a college trustee. Her prayer included a reference to Jesus.

MCC Board President Donald Crandall said the prayers should be brief, non-sectarian and "not entangle the college with religion."

Mitch Kahle of the association said his group won't object to what he calls "a very civic invocation."

Ex-township supervisor gets 2 years in prison for bribes

CHESTERFIELD TWP. (AP) — The former leader of a Detroit suburb has been sentenced to two years in prison for taking $30,000 in bribes from a trash hauler.

Michael Lovelock was supervisor of Chesterfield Township, the highest-ranking official in a growing community of more than 40,000 residents. He lost a 2016 election, a week before he was arrested in an investigation of corruption in Macomb County.

Lovelock admits he took bribes from Charles Rizzo in exchange for favorable treatment from Chesterfield Township. He turned to his family in court Thursday and apologized.

Defense attorney Jerome Sabotta said Lovelock had a gambling problem and "sold his soul as an elected official."

Federal Judge Robert Cleland told Lovelock that he cheated the public, which expected "good government."

Police chief accidentally shot in foot after slipping on ice

CARLETON (AP) — The police chief of a small southeastern Michigan community was accidentally shot in the foot after he slipped on ice and his gun discharged.

Carleton Village President Larry Buckingham told the Monroe News that Chief Roy Johnson was taken to a hospital Thursday with what was described as a "minor gunshot wound." The newspaper said he's expected to be OK.

Carleton police were responding to a breaking and entering call in the village about 25 miles southwest of Detroit when Johnson slipped.

A suspect in the break-in was apprehended.

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