Associated Press

Auto insurance policy art
flickr

The Republican-led state House early Thursday approved an overhaul that would let people opt out of mandatory unlimited medical coverage for car crashes. The Senate passed a plan earlier in the week, setting up a potential showdown with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer if a bill reaches her desk.

Ballot booth photo
flickr

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
flickr

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.

Michael Rice, Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent photo
WMUK

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
fostercare

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.

usatoday.com

A Michigan city is asking a federal appeals court to reconsider a ruling that found it unconstitutional to mark tires to keep track of illegally parked cars.
 
     A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that Saginaw's marking of tires qualified as a search of property and might violate the Fourth Amendment. The panel said two key exceptions to getting a search warrant didn't apply.
 

cbc.ca

Federal officials predict water levels will surge to record highs in some areas of the Great Lakes over the next six months.
 
     A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report released Monday says the lakes have been rising steadily for several years and are getting an extra boost as winter's melting snow mingles with recent heavy rainfall.
 
     The Corps' Detroit district office says levels on Lake Superior and Lake Erie are expected to break records set decades ago.
 

Mazda logo
Pngimg.com

U.S. safety regulators are investigating reports that side curtain air bags can inflate for no reason on some Mazda CX-9 large SUVs.

Documents posted Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say two owners have complained about the problem. Four people were hurt in one of the cases.

In both complaints owners told the agency that the left and right air bags went off for no reason while the SUVs were moving.

The probe covers CX-9s from the 2010 through 2013 model years. Mazda sold just over 112,000 of the SUVs from 2010 through 2013.

Unemployment Insurance Claims Office photo
flickr

A legal aid professor will lead Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency after he helped create legislation aimed at improving it in the wake of a scandal in which people were falsely accused of fraud.

The hiring of Steve Gray was announced Monday. He starts June 3.

Gray is director and founder of the University of Michigan Law School's Unemployment Insurance Clinic, which helps families navigate the unemployment benefits system. He participated in a workgroup that crafted new unemployment insurance laws in 2017.

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