Michigan wins appeal on driver's license suspensions

May 9, 2019

An appeals court has overturned an injunction that stopped Michigan from suspending the licenses of people who can't afford to pay traffic fines. The federal court says the state's policy doesn't conflict with certain rights under the U.S. Constitution.

The court said Wednesday that the policy might be "counterproductive," especially if a driver's license suspension prevents someone from traveling to a job and making money. But in a 2-1 decision, the court also says the policy is "rationally related" to the state's interest in promptly collecting fines.

The state of Michigan has reached a court settlement that allows voters to take pictures of their ballots and post them on social media.

   The deal says voters can snap and share pictures of their ballots as long as it’s done in the privacy of the voting booth.

Patrick Jaicomo  is the attorney representing the voter who sued in federal court to overturn the ban. He says this a victory for political free speech.

picture of officer helping batter

With the weather finally starting to cooperate, all things spring and summer are starting to bloom.  And that includes the Grand Rapids Police Department’s annual kids’ baseball program entitled, “On Base”.  Last year about 100 youth signed up and officials are encouraging gets to get registered now if they want to “play ball”.

“We have many returning kids that have been beating down our door, saying when is registration going to open, well its open. And we’ve already had, overnight, we had 30 students that signed up for the program.”

Ballot booth photo

Michigan voters are free to take a picture of their ballot before they leave a voting booth.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has settled a 2016 lawsuit that challenged a ban on so-called ballot selfies. The ban on displaying completed ballots has been around since 1891.

Benson's office and Joel Crookston, a voter in the Kalamazoo area, reached a deal in April. But no details were released until Wednesday, a day after local elections around Michigan.

Great Lakes satellite photo

Members of Congress want to modernize computer maps that assess which natural resources and infrastructure in the Great Lakes region are most vulnerable to disasters.

Environmental Sensitivity Index maps are developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They provide information that supports advance planning to deal with oil spills, major storms and other calamities.

Grand Rapids Police Department

Agustin Arbulu from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights announced on Tuesday that they will be launching an investigation into the Grand Rapids Police Department. According to Arbulu twice as many complaints have been made this year about GRPD. 

“We do believe they warrant thorough investigation” 

A little over a month ago, the state civil rights department held two listening sessions in Grand Rapid where more than 80 residents shared their complaints about GRPD. Arbulu said the department is looking into 23 complaints of discrimination against the police department. 


Tuesday, May 7th @ 10:00 on WGVU Public Television - PBS FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the history of U.S.-China trade relations and the current case for the Trump administration’s tariffs imposed on Chinese made products in the documentary Trump’s Trade War.

WGVU talks with NPR’s correspondent who visited China for an inside look at the trade divide.

“President Trump has been about tariffs and the trade deficit and China for at least the past two decades.”

Laura Sullivan is correspondent for FRONTLINE and NPR’s film Trump’s Trade War.

Michael Rice, Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent photo

Michigan's Board of Education has selected Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Michael Rice to be the next state superintendent.

The board voted 5-3 for Rice on Tuesday after conducting final interviews with three candidates. Once a contract is signed, he will lead the state Department of Education, starting in July and making $216,000 a year.

Board members say they liked Rice's focus on addressing the achievement gap among students and his experience as an educator in other states.

National Foster Care Month logo

Advocates for children in foster care are raising awareness by observing a special day in Michigan, including by turning buildings, bridges and other public places purple.

Tuesday is Foster Care Awareness Day, as declared in a resolution passed by the state Senate.

Advocates are bringing attention to the need for foster parents. They say the number of children in foster care nationwide has grown since hitting a low in 2012.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

A 19-year-old man suspected of defacing the gravesite of former President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Christian Johnson entered the plea Monday to charges of larceny and malicious destruction of property of tombs or memorials.

Police have said Johnson and a female co-defendant turned themselves in after the March 27 incident and returned a missing letter. Johnson has apologized, saying he didn't know what the gravesite was.