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State Briefs

By The Associated press • Apr 10, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Federal support approved for eligible West Michigan flood victims

LANSING (AP) — The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved a request for an administrative declaration of disaster for parts of West Michigan that suffered through widespread flooding due to heavy rainfall and melting snow.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the declaration means residents and businesses affected by the March 14 flooding are eligible to apply for financial assistance.

The Small Business Administration's disaster assistance program will make low-interest loans available to eligible residents and businesses in Newaygo, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Oceana and Osceola counties.

The loans can help repair or replace real estate, personal property, equipment, inventory and business assets that were damaged or destroyed.

Officials have said more than 130 homes and businesses were damaged. Whitmer declared a state of emergency on March 19 for Newaygo County.

Democrat state rep launches run against Congressman Upton

KALAMAZOO (AP) — Democratic state Rep. Jon Hoadley is launching a campaign to unseat longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan.

Hoadley, who announced his run Monday, has represented the Kalamazoo area since 2015. He said he's tired of "watching those with so much tell the rest of us that we haven't earned anything at all."

Upton has been in Congress for more than 32 years. His 4 percentage point victory in the 6th District last year — the narrowest of his career — has buoyed Democrats before 2020.

Hoadley owns a liberal public affairs business and has organized ballot measures advancing LGBTQ equality. He said it's time to face the country's challenges with "fresh ideas."

Upton's campaign said he's focused on bipartisan issues like improving the economy and combatting contaminated water.

Relatives of Michigan family killed in Ky. suing bars that served driver

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Relatives of a Michigan family who were killed by a wrong-way drunken driver on a Kentucky highway have filed a lawsuit against the bars that served him. He also died in the crash.

News outlets report that family of the five Abbas killed in the January collision are suing Roosters Wings in Georgetown and Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon in Lexington.

The couple and their children were driving home to Michigan from a vacation.

Greg Bubalo, an attorney for the family, said the civil lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Fayette County Circuit Court.

The suit says both bars kept serving 41-year-old Joey Bailey, but would've known he was intoxicated. The Abbas' attorneys are seeking compensation and damages from the bars and Bailey's estate.

Michigan Senate backs longer sentences for child abusers

LANSING (AP) — Legislation advancing in Michigan would prescribe longer sentences for certain repeat child abusers.

Bills approved unanimously by the state Senate on Tuesday would set new maximum prison terms for people convicted of third- or fourth-degree child abuse following a prior conviction.

The max for third-degree child abuse currently is two years. It would rise to five years for a second offense. The max for fourth-degree child abuse is a one-year misdemeanor. The legislation would increase the punishment to two years imprisonment for a second offense.

Sentencing guidelines are advisory, so the tougher sentences would not be compulsory for judges.

The bills head to the House next.

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