Michigan changes transgender policy for driver’s licenses

FERNDALE (AP) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says her department is making it easier for transgender people to get a driver’s license or state ID card.

Beginning this week, those wanting to correct the sex designation on their license can go to a Secretary of State branch office to have their photo taken, fill out a form and pay $9. They no longer will need to provide a birth certificate, passport or court order.

Benson announced the policy change at a news conference in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, where she was joined by LGBT advocates.

Benson said studies show that about 80 percent of Michigan’s transgender population lacks proper identification. Benson, a Democrat, said the change returns to a policy that was in place before the issue was “politicized.”

Leaders back legislation that could expand regional transit

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, two county executives and a commissioner from Washtenaw County say they support proposed legislation that could lead to expanding regional transit.

Revisions to Michigan’s Municipal Partnership Act would allow Detroit and Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw counties to enter into a transit agreement prior to a ballot proposal for a property tax increase.

Duggan, Washtenaw Commission Chairman Jason Morgan, and Wayne and Oakland executives Warren Evans and Dave Coulter said Monday they back the proposal which is pending before the House Transportation Committee. If approved, Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland and Detroit would be able to work with a regional authority to negotiate a partnership. Macomb County could join later.

A tax for a regional transportation plan narrowly was voted down in 2016.

Ex-Marine held by Iran seeks victim’s fund payment, attorney says

FLINT (AP) — A former Marine raised in Michigan and who was imprisoned by Iran on suspicion of spying is seeking payment from a fund intended for victims of state-sponsored terrorism.

Attorney Scott Gilbert said he filed the lawsuit Monday in federal claims court on behalf of Amir Hekmati.

Hekmati was born in Arizona and raised in Michigan. He was detained in 2011 and released in 2016 in a prisoner exchange. Hekmati alleges he was falsely imprisoned and tortured.

A federal judge ruled in 2017 that Iran must pay Hekmati $63.5 million.

Gilbert said the U.S. Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund has refused to pay compensation. The Justice Department said in October that it was suspending payment and asking the fund’s administrator to reconsider if he’s eligible.

The Justice Department declined to comment Monday on the lawsuit.

Holland police investigating two 'suspicious' fires

HOLLAND (WZZM-TV) — Holland police detectives and the Holland fire marshal are investigating two early morning fires that have been deemed suspicious.

The first fire was reported at about 3:30 a.m. Monday at 17 W. 16th St. Police said it was quickly extinguished without significant damage.

Crews responded to a second fire at 7:30 a.m. Monday at 87 E. 18th St. That blaze caused significant damage and a firefighter suffered a minor injury.

Police said the fires are believed to be connected.

Anyone with information related to the fires is asked to send an email to policetips@cityofholland.com or call detectives at 616-355-1150.


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