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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • May 15, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Michigan lawmakers OK ban on abortion procedure; governor vows veto

LANSING (AP) — Michigan's Republican-led Legislature voted Tuesday to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure, pushing ahead with legislation Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she would veto.

The bills would prohibit physicians from performing abortion by dilation and evacuation except to save a woman's life. Anti-abortion advocates refer to the procedure by the non-medical term "dismemberment abortion."

The procedure, in which the fetus is removed in pieces with a surgical instrument such as forceps, was used in 1,777, or 6.7 percent, of abortions in the state in 2017. It accounted for half of all second-trimester abortions, including 78 percent done after the 16th week of pregnancy.

The Senate and House passed identical legislation, on 22-16 and 58-51 party-line votes, at a time Republicans across the U.S. are advancing tough anti-abortion bills they hope can pass muster with the Supreme Court.

With Whitmer vowing to veto the measures when they are sent to her desk — as soon as next week — Right to Life is preparing to launch a citizens' initiative that could be enacted by lawmakers without her signature.

High water in Great Lakes spells trouble for endangered bird

EAST LANSING (AP) — High water in the Great Lakes may spell trouble for the piping plover, an endangered bird that builds its nests on shorelines.

Water levels have surged in recent years as the lakes bounced back from record-setting lows. Vincent Cavalieri of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that means narrower beaches and less room for the plover.

The most recent count last year turned up 67 breeding pairs of the sand-colored birds. That's an improvement from the low point of 12 pairs in 1990, but a slight drop from 76 pairs two years ago.

Cavalieri says when plovers nest farther from the water and closer to trees and bushes, they're more vulnerable to predators such as skunks and raccoons.

Other beach-nesting species such as terns could be affected, as well.

Michigan man charged with murder in fatal beating of 2 women

MASON (AP) — A man has been charged in the killings of two women who were found fatally beaten after he showed cellphone photos of their bodies to sheriff's deputies during a traffic stop in central Michigan.

Kiernan Brown, of Delta Township, was arraigned Tuesday on two counts each of open murder and armed robbery. He entered not-guilty pleas and was ordered held without bond.

The 27-year-old is accused in the deaths of 26-year-old Kaylee Ann Brock, of Holt, and 32-year-old Julie Ann Mooney, of Williamston. Police found their bodies Friday in Lansing-area communities.

Authorities said Brown was arrested early Friday on I-69, after a former girlfriend reported that he had been violating a personal protection order by banging on her door and sending disturbing texts. She is not among the victims.

Man sentenced to time served in church vandalism case

OCEOLA TWP. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to 77 days in jail for spray-painting graffiti on a Roman Catholic church in southeastern Michigan.

Matthew Miller, 29, of Brighton Township learned his sentence Tuesday after pleading guilty to two counts of malicious destruction of property in Livingston County District Court earlier this month. The sentence amounted to the time Miller already has served in jail.

The Livingston Daily Press & Argus reported the words "white devil" were painted in one spot at St. John Catholic Church in Oceola Township in February and a slur was painted in another.

Miller also has been ordered to pay more than $153 in restitution plus court fees.

State police search home of Macomb County prosecutor

MACOMB TWP. (AP) — State police armed with tools have searched the home of the Macomb County prosecutor in an investigation of how his office spent money.

Investigators on a ladder outside Eric Smith's home removed a surveillance camera from under a gutter Tuesday.

Lt. Darren Green said the four-hour search in Macomb Township is part of learning how Smith spent money from forfeited assets tied to alleged crimes.

Smith, who was home at the time, said he "cooperated fully." He insists he has nothing to hide.

Many Macomb County officials have raised questions about how Smith’s office has spent thousands of dollars. Records show the money was used to support certain charities and to pay for credit card bills and other expenses.

The search at Smith's home occurred a month after police searched his office in Mount Clemens.

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