NEWS FROM AROUND THE STATE
Issue 110, July 2005

Table of Contents


  1. Attorney General Investigation Uncovers Hundreds of Criminals
    Working in Adult Residential Care Facilities
  2. Governor Signs Legislation to Protect Great Lakes
    From Threat of Aquatic Nuisance Species
  3. 'Traveling Through Time' Historical Marker Guidebook
    Now Available to the Public
  4. Granholm Accepts Long Term Care Task Force Report,
    Signs EO to Begin Implementing Recommendations
  5. State Police Tackle Identity Theft
  6. Criminal Background Check Legislation
  7. More Cops on the Street Legislation
  8. Governor Signs Legislation Honoring African American History
  9. MDOT Introduces Web Look-Up Guide for Highways
  10. Can Michigan Residents Order Wine Via the Web?
  11. Inmate Hepatitis Funds Cut
  12. Michigan First State in Nation to Launch Child Protection Registry
  13. 2005 High School MEAP Results a Mixed Bag
  14. Can Michigan Residents Order Wine Via the Web? : Update
  15. 2005 Digital Counties Survey Honors Oakland and Washtenaw Counties
  16. 2002 Economic Census Training Sessions in Michigan
  17. The Depository Library Conference and Our Future
  18. Granholm Unveils Blueprint for Preventing Unintended Pregnancies;
    Initiative Includes “Talk Early, Talk Often”
  19. Michigan Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)
    Newsletters Available from State
  20. West Michigan Depository Librarians Meeting Notes
  21. Health Insurance Information Now A Click Away;
    OFIS Creates Internet Resource to Assist Consumers with Health Insurance Decisions
  22. Michigan Will Participate in National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR)
  23. Traffic Crash Purchasing System (TCPS)


(1) Attorney General Investigation Uncovers Hundreds of Criminals
Working in Adult Residential Care Facilities

Attorney General Mike Cox announced today (June 1) the results of two studies conducted by his office that reveal almost 10% of the employees caring for Michigan’s vulnerable adults have criminal backgrounds that include homicide, criminal sexual conduct, weapon charges, and drug offenses. The findings come three years after Michigan’s first law requiring criminal background checks of prospective residential care facility employees went into effect.

AARP of Michigan’s Associate State Director of Government Affairs Bill Knox joined Cox in unveiling a new initiative to address the problems raised in the Attorney General’s report.

"Many of us have had to face the difficult decision of whether or not to place a loved one in a nursing home," said Cox. "In three years, as the first group of 78 million baby boomers begins to retire, the safety of Michigan’s nursing homes should be on all of our minds. When we place our loved ones in these facilities, we expect that our family members will receive the highest standard of care. A system that fails to meet those expectations by allowing hundreds of criminals daily contact with residents must be changed and I am committed to changing it."

"AARP has 1.5 million members in Michigan, many of whom are among the state’s vulnerable adults living in residential facilities," said Knox. "The Attorney General’s report exposes major flaws in Michigan’s current laws and we agree they need to be strengthened to provide our members with the protection they deserve."

Cox commissioned the studies to evaluate the effectiveness of Michigan’s statutes in response to a disturbing series of cases uncovered by his Health Care Fraud Division. The division, which investigates and prosecutes Medicaid provider fraud and residential care facility abuse and neglect, uncovered that 43% of individuals and 25% of employees charged for crimes against residents in the past three years had past criminal convictions.

The results of the two studies completed in 2005 were equally disturbing. The first reviewed the criminal backgrounds of a statewide sample of Michigan’s 40,000 Certified Nurse’s Aides (CNAs), the single-largest group of certified workers providing direct care to residents. Of the more than 5,500 CNAs studied, 9% had a total of 836 outstanding criminal warrants and 3%, or 170, had past criminal convictions.

The second study checked the backgrounds of entire employee populations – from CNAs to administrators – at four nursing homes in different regions across Michigan. A total of 618 employees were checked and 58, or more than 9%, had 101 outstanding warrants; 68, or 11%, of the staff had past criminal convictions.

In both studies, the criminal histories included homicides, armed robberies, criminal sexual conduct, weapons violations, drug charges, and retail fraud.

"The owners, operators, and employees of Michigan’s almost 5,000 residential care facilities are the people we entrust to care for Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens," said Cox. "When one out of ten of these employees have serious criminal histories, it is clear that we need to do more to protect Michigan seniors."

On Friday, Cox notified each of the State’s approximately 5,000 residential care facilities of the report’s findings and submitted a comprehensive proposal to the Legislature that would enhance Michigan’s criminal background statutes. In addition, the Health Care Fraud Division has requested information from facilities regarding employees with criminal histories.

"It is only through our combined efforts that we can reform the system and effectively achieve the level of protection Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens deserve and that we all expect," said Cox.

The Attorney General's Health Care Fraud Division is one of 49 federally certified Medicaid Fraud Control Units. Medicaid fraud investigations and prosecutions include false billings, unlawful delivery of controlled substances, practicing medicine without a license, kickbacks, and bribery schemes. Abuse and neglect investigations and prosecutions include physical assault, criminal sexual conduct, identity theft, theft of residents' property and funds, and harmful neglect in Michigan residential care facilities. The division also initiates civil actions, including asset forfeiture and claims for Medicaid overpayments.

In conducting its activities, the division works closely with other agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice, Michigan State Police, state regulatory agencies, local law enforcement agencies, and private health insurance companies.

To report Medicaid provider fraud or identity theft/patient abuse in a resident care facility, call the Attorney General’s 24-hour Hotline at 800 24-ABUSE (800-242-2873); e-mail hcf@michigan.gov; or visit the Attorney General’s Web site at http://www.michigan.gov/ag.

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 1, 2005.

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(2) Governor Signs Legislation to Protect Great Lakes
From Threat of Aquatic Nuisance Species

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has signed legislation that will help protect the Great Lakes from the dangers of non-native aquatic invaders by requiring permits for all oceangoing ships that dock in Michigan ports. The bill-signings come at the beginning of Aquatic Invasive Species Week in Michigan.

“Those who rely on the Great Lakes for economic and recreational activities have a responsibility to protect them,” Granholm said. “Requiring ships to prove they pose no threat to our health and safety will help protect our people, our environment and our economy.”

Vessels often take in thousands of gallons of ballast water to stabilize the ship when traveling without cargo. The ballast water is then released in port as new cargo is loaded, potentially releasing millions of live organisms into the lake. Often these invasive species have no natural predators in their new environment and can crowd out native species, cause environmental damage, or transport foreign disease or parasites. There are currently more than 160 identified non-native species in the Great Lakes, including sea lampreys and zebra mussels . Damage estimates from zebra mussels alone exceed $3 billion over the past ten years.

“Invasive species cost literally billions of dollars to control once they are introduced to the Great Lakes ecosystem, and often, trying to control them is a losing battle,” said Ken DeBeaussaert, director of the Office of Great Lakes.

“These new laws are the right thing to do to protect the lakes, and it makes economic sense to spend money on keeping invasive species out, rather than the much larger cost of trying to control them once they are here,” added Steven Chester, director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

House Bill 4603 (Public Act 32 of 2005) and Senate Bill 332 (Public Act 33 of 2005) mandate that all oceangoing vessels apply for a permit from the DEQ before being allowed to use Michigan ports. To qualify for the permit, ships must prove they either will not discharge ballast water or they are equipped to prevent discharge of aquatic nuisance species. Failure to comply with permitting requirements could result in a fine of up to $25,000 per day. The bills also require DEQ to form a coalition with our Great Lakes’ neighbors to implement policies to protect the waters.

Granholm commended Representatives Kathleen Law (D-Gibraltar) and Matt Gillard (D-Alpena) and Senators Ray Basham (D-Taylor) and Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor) for their work on this issue. Each has introduced a resolution calling on the Coast Guard to join in this fight by eliminating exemptions that allow many ships to enter the Great Lakes without inspection under federal law.

HB 4603 was sponsored by Representative David Palsrok (R-Manistee). SB 332 was sponsored by Senator Patty Birkholz (R-Saugatuck Township).

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 6, 2005.

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(3) 'Traveling Through Time' Historical Marker Guidebook Now Available to the Public

The Department of History, Arts and Libraries today announced the publication of "Traveling Through Time: A Guide to Michigan's Historical Markers," a new guidebook listing the official state historical markers in Michigan. "Traveling Through Time" is the definitive illustrated guide to nearly 1,500 Michigan historic sites. Aided by this book, travelers can journey through the state, discovering the many historical sites in Michigan's neighborhoods, along its highways, and in city centers.

"Michigan's rich and diverse history makes it an ideal place for people of all interests to visit and explore," said Governor Jennifer Granholm. "I encourage every family traveling in Michigan this summer to pick up a copy of 'Traveling Through Time' and stop by some of the many historical markers across the state."

Michigan has designated close to 1,500 historical markers throughout the Upper and Lower peninsulas since 1955. In this revised edition of "Traveling Through Time," the program's coordinator, Laura Rose Ashlee, has collected the histories that appear on these markers together into one convenient guidebook. Some of the book's special features include:

"Traveling Through Time: A Guide to Michigan's Historical Markers" is published by the University of Michigan Press. It is available at booksellers, on the Web, or by calling (517) 373-1663. For more information about the book or the state's historical marker program, call (517) 335-2725.

Proceeds from the sale of "Traveling Through Time" support the programs of the State Historic Preservation Office, which administers the Michigan Historical Marker Program. The State Historic Preservation Office is part of the Michigan Historical Center, Department of History, Arts and Libraries.

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 6, 2005.

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(4) Granholm Accepts Long Term Care Task Force Report,
Signs EO to Begin Implementing Recommendations

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed an executive order that will immediately implement several recommendations from the Long Term Care Task Force, fulfilling a promise to thousands of citizens that Michigan will improve its long term care system.

“This is a landmark day for the people of Michigan who need and depend on long term care services,” Granholm said. “We are taking the essential first steps to ensure that Michigan’s seniors and our most vulnerable citizens are protected and cared for.”

Executive Order 2005-14 creates a Long Term Care Supports and Services Office to assist in the development and implementation of policy and strategies for the task force recommendations. The office also will coordinate Michigan’s state-supported long term care supports and services efforts. The office will be part of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), which is responsible for reviewing and implementing the task force recommendations.

The executive order creates a Long Term Care Supports and Services Advisory Commission that will provide guidance and advice to the Long Term Care Supports and Services Office. More than 50 percent of the commission will be consumers of long term care supports or services, Granholm said.

The third part of the order directs MDCH to immediately begin the process of identifying and selecting three demonstration projects to implement a key recommendation from the Long Term Care Task Force report: creation of a Long Term Care Single Point of Entry. The Single Point of Entry will ensure that Michigan citizens in need of long term care supports and services have a range of options, including home and community-based services and an easy way to access those services.

Granholm also accepted the final report of the 21-member Long Term Care Task Force, which is available on the MDCH website at http://www.ihcs.msu.edu/LTC/Reports/Final_LTC_Task_Force_Report.doc.

“The task force has worked tirelessly over the last year to encapsulate and analyze the challenges facing Michigan’s long term care system of supports and services,” Granholm said. “This first step toward improving long term care in Michigan is a direct result of that work.”

Over the last two years, Michigan – under the Granholm Administration – has made considerable progress related to long term care issues.

In 2003, Granholm – with strong bi-partisan support – initiated a Freedom to Work “Medicaid buy in” program that allows the disabled on Medicaid to have a job without fear of losing their health insurance.

Last fall, MDCH – in full partnership with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – applied for and received a $5 million grant to strengthen and improve Michigan’s long term care criminal background check laws and to provide $1.5 million in additional abuse and neglect training to thousands of Michigan long term care workers.

In May, Granholm also announced a Jobs Today initiative to modernize 75 of Michigan’s oldest nursing homes and replace them with new models that permit more privacy, dignity, and family friendly designs.

Recently, Granholm also created the Elder Abuse and Neglect Task Force to make recommendations to ensure that elder abuse and neglect – as well as financial exploitation – is dealt with in a forceful and effective manner.

“Today, the task force has given Michigan a roadmap for making Michigan the best that it can be in serving the long term care needs of our elderly and disabled citizens,” Granholm said. “With the task force report, the executive order I have signed, and most importantly, your continued support and effort, we begin the next leg of our journey together.

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 9, 2005.

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(5) State Police Tackle Identity Theft

The Michigan State Police (MSP) Region I Special Investigation Division is now better prepared to combat the fastest growing crime in the nation with the creation of a full-time Identity Theft Team.

"The creation of this Identity Theft Team is an example of the Michigan State Police effectively responding to emerging crime trends with new techniques and new solutions," said Detective First Lieutenant David Peltomaa, commander of the Special Investigation Section, which oversees the Identity Theft Team. "Identity theft is a national problem; it is happening here in Michigan and this team is prepared and committed to addressing it."

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Michigan is ranked 16th nationwide for identity theft victims (per 100,000 population), however, the FTC also believes that less than 20 percent of victims report the crime. In addition, the number of identity theft complaints in Michigan grew from 6,566 in 2003 to 7,307 in 2004. The state’s identity theft growth rate involving victims over 40 years old exceeds the national average.

"As the types of crimes change, Michigan law enforcement must evolve to keep pace," said Peltomaa. "By being proactive and developing an Identity Theft Team we hope to turn these numbers around and make the identities of Michigan citizens more secure."

The Identity Theft Team investigates cases involving the theft or misuse of personal identification information to obtain goods, services, credit and fraudulent bank accounts or to facilitate other criminal activity. The most common type of personal identification information misused is the numbers from Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, credit and debit cards and bank accounts. The Team’s primary focus is assisting law enforcement officers and agencies with large scale investigations, as well as investigating cases with out of state victims where the suspect resides in Michigan.

Within the first month of the Team’s operation, detectives executed search warrants in Jackson and Muskegon where numerous items of fraudulently obtained property were discovered, as well as the personal information of over 100 individuals, presumed to be stolen. The investigations have resulted in 8 arrests.

One of the Team’s goals is to make reporting identity theft easier. To accomplish this, the Team created a toll-free phone number, 1-877-MI-ID-THEFT (1-877-644-3843). Citizens can call the number to receive information on how to report identity theft when they believe they may be a victim.

The Team’s Web site, http://www.michigan.gov/identity-theft, contains information and resources to assist law enforcement officers and victims, including forms that will assist with investigations.

On the Web site, the Team offers tips for avoiding identity theft including a yearly review of your credit report; monthly review of financial and credit statements; withholding identifying information during unsolicited offers by phone, mail, Internet or in person; and the shredding or tearing up of identifying paperwork before discarding.

By nature, identity theft investigations cross jurisdictional boundaries and require cooperation from multiple law enforcement agencies. To facilitate this, the Identity Theft Team works with representatives from local and county law enforcement, as well as the United States Postal Inspectors Office, United States Secret Service, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Secretary of State Investigation Division and the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.

For additional information, contact :

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 15, 2005.

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(6) Criminal Background Check Legislation Introduced

Attorney General Mike Cox, Sen. Patricia Birkholz (R – Saugatuck Twp.), Sen. Tony Stamas (R – Midland), and Sen. Jud Gilbert (R – Algonac) today unveiled legislation to enhance Michigan’s criminal background statutes for prospective residential care facility employees. The legislation comes two weeks after Cox announced the results of two studies conducted by his office that reveal almost 10% of the employees caring for approximately 100,000 Michigan seniors and vulnerable adults have criminal backgrounds.

“The results of the studies conducted by my office were shocking and we are taking immediate steps to improve the protections offered by Michigan’s residential care system,” said Cox. “I will do everything in my power to safeguard the residents in these facilities from preventable risk. I appreciate Senators Birkholz, Stamas, and Gilbert for taking the necessary measures to protect Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens.”

The three-bill package expands the scope of the Adult Foster Care Facility Licensing Act and the Public Health Code by requiring Michigan’s almost 5,000 residential care facilities to conduct criminal background checks of all employees and to conduct the checks annually. The legislation also enhances the criminal sanctions for failing to comply with the requirements of the criminal background check statutes.

“It is critical that we protect some of our most vulnerable citizens, our senior citizens, from this kind of predatory behavior,” said Birkholz. “And I am very proud that my original legislation, Public Act 303 of 2002, has taken another step forward.”

After Cox’s Health Care Fraud Division uncovered that 25% of residential care facility employees committing crimes against residents since 2002 had past criminal convictions, he commissioned the statewide studies. Of the more than 5,500 Certified Nurse’s Aides (CNAs) studied, 9% had a total of 836 outstanding criminal warrants and 3%, or 170, had past criminal convictions. These results were confirmed when the backgrounds of entire employee populations at four nursing homes across Michigan revealed 58 of 618 employees, or more than 9%, had 101 outstanding warrants, and that 68, or 11%, of the staffs had past criminal convictions.

“I want nursing homes residents to feel safe,” said Stamas. “This bill provides one more tool to remove workers who might pose a threat to this vulnerable population.”

All six of Cox’s proposed enhancements are included in the legislation, including:

“It is important that we take this action to protect the residents of our state’s nursing homes,” said Gilbert. “Michigan must be a leader in ensuring that potentially dangerous individuals are not allowed to care for our most vulnerable citizens.”

Cox’s Health Care Fraud Division has shared the report’s findings with each of the State’s approximately 5,000 residential care facilities. In addition, Cox’s attorneys have notified local authorities about nursing homes employees with outstanding warrants. The Health Care Fraud Division has also requested and received information from nursing homes regarding those employees with criminal histories. That information is currently being reviewed.

On June 1, Attorney General investigators arrested Charles Arthur Terry, 34, of Detroit, a licensed nurse practitioner for falsifying medical records while employed at Beaconshire Nursing Centre in 2004. Terry was arraigned in Detroit’s 36th Judicial District Court on two four-year felony counts and posted a $5,000 bond. He waived his preliminary examination and will be arraigned on the charges in Detroit’s 3rd Judicial Circuit Court on June 20. He is no longer employed at the Centre.

The Attorney General's Health Care Fraud Division is one of 49 federally certified Medicaid Fraud Control Units. Medicaid fraud investigations and prosecutions include false billings, unlawful delivery of controlled substances, practicing medicine without a license, kickbacks, and bribery schemes. Abuse and neglect investigations and prosecutions include physical assault, criminal sexual conduct, identity theft, theft of residents' property and funds, and harmful neglect in Michigan residential care facilities. The division also initiates civil actions, including asset forfeiture and claims for Medicaid overpayments.

In conducting its activities, the division works closely with other agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice, Michigan State Police, state regulatory agencies, local law enforcement agencies, and private health insurance companies.

To report Medicaid provider fraud or identity theft/patient abuse in a resident care facility, call the Attorney General’s 24-hour Hotline at 800 24-ABUSE (800-242-2873); e-mail hcf@michigan.gov; or visit the Attorney General’s Web site at http://www.michigan.gov/ag.

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 15, 2005.

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(7) More Cops on the Street Legislation

Attorney General Mike Cox, Eaton County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sauter, Jackson City Police Chief Irvin Portis, and Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Tom Hendrickson testified today before the Michigan House Judiciary Committee in support of the More Cops on the Street legislation.

“More Cops on the Street will put more police officers in our neighborhoods, reduce jail costs and overcrowding, get defendants to plea deals and trials more quickly, and save local governments millions of dollars,” said Cox.

Sponsored by House Judiciary Chair Rep. William VanRegenmorter (R - Georgetown Twshp.), and committee member Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer (R – Bellaire), the legislation will reform Michigan’s criminal justice system and help local communities better use their law enforcement resources by reducing the number of cases requiring preliminary examinations.

“More Cops on the Street provides much-needed reform for our state’s criminal justice system to better reflect modern day realities and priorities,” said Cox. “As a county prosecutor for 14 years, I experienced firsthand the inefficiencies of the current system. This legislation will return to the system the fundamental fairness for all parties that we all expect.”

For months, Cox and a broad, bipartisan coalition of statewide leaders including sheriffs, police officers, prosecutors, elected officials, and judges studied Michigan’s current criminal justice system. Their efforts revealed tremendous procedural inefficiencies, in particular those caused by the preliminary examination hearing.

According to the State Court Administrators Office, an average of 75,000 felony cases are filed in Michigan every year. Defendants waive their right to a preliminary exam in 75% of these cases. Additionally, more than 90% of defendants choose to plea bargain rather than go to trial. The current law allows defendants to waive their right to a preliminary exam without prior notice to the prosecution, subpoenaed witnesses, and police officers -- causing a tremendous waste of time and resources for all parties involved.

The More Cops on the Street legislation presents an alternative charging procedure for all less-serious felonies that is less expensive, less time-consuming, and more efficient. The proposal would retain the current preliminary exam procedure for serious felonies.

A survey of police agencies revealed alarming data about how much time police officers wasted in courts waiting to testify in preliminary exams that were ultimately waived. For example:

In addition to saving time and money for police agencies and court systems, the legislation would also save local governments millions of dollars each year in county jail costs by moving defendants through the system more quickly. According to the most recent data from the Michigan Sheriff’s Association, there are 4,289 unsentenced felons sitting in jails across the state on any given day. The average cost to house one of these prisoners in jail is $45.00 per day. Thus, unsentenced felons cost Michigan counties approximately $193,000.00 per day, or $70,445,000 annually.

For more information on the legislation introduced today and a complete transcript of Attorney General Cox’s testimony, visit the Attorney General Web site at http://www.michigan.gov/ag.

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 15, 2005.

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(8) Governor Signs Legislation Honoring African American History

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed legislation honoring two important pieces of African American history. Senate Bill 384 (PA 48) officially designates the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth National Freedom Day and November 26 as Sojourner Truth Day in Michigan.

“I am honored to officially declare Juneteenth National Freedom Day and Sojourner Truth Day in Michigan,” said Granholm. “These days will call us each year to celebrate freedom and to honor the heroic men and women who fought to ensure that the principles of liberty and equality apply to everyone.”

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in America. The first festivities, held 140 years ago in Galveston, Texas, were a spontaneous celebration of the news that Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, giving slaves their freedom. The news didn’t reach Texas until more than two years after Lincoln’s actions, but the delay didn’t dampen the festivities. Michigan is the 18th state to officially recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday. Celebrations are planned in communities across Michigan this weekend.

“Juneteenth is a celebration of African American history and culture,” said Senator Martha G. Scott who sponsored the legislation. “It is important that we promote understanding, freedom and a strong sense of community.”

Sojourner Truth was born a slave in the late 18th century. After escaping the bonds of slavery, Truth became a tireless advocate for freedom and equality, once meeting with President Lincoln in her quest for economic opportunities for newly-freed slaves. Truth settled in Battle Creek in 1858 where she began a job placement program to match former slaves with job openings in the area.

“Sojourner Truth is a hero in my community, and this recognition is long overdue,” said Senator Mark Schauer, who has long advocated for a day honoring the legendary woman. “Because of this new law, each November 26 will be set aside for us to remember Sojourner Truth’s courage and eloquence on behalf of the rights and dignity of all people.”

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 18, 2005.

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(9) MDOT Introduces Web Look-Up Guide for Highways

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) today announced the creation of a Web link designed to help motorists locate the local names of state trunkline roads and highways (M, I and US roads). The Highways and Local Names page is available under "Roads and Travel" on the MDOT Web site at http://www.michigan.gov/mdot.

The link provides users with a database of more than 3,000 records, listed in numerical order by MDOT region. Each entry is then displayed by highway number, local name and county. A color-coded map makes it easy to locate regions. The database also can be sorted by county.

State Transportation Director Gloria J. Jeff noted that the local name database is the latest tool on the MDOT Web site, joining the popular Lane Closure Report, Director's Pothole Hotline, and Projects Under Construction features that have been added to the MDOT Web site since she became director of the department.

"We created this database as a service to the motoring public," said Jeff. "Details are just a mouse click away."

MDOT is responsible for approximately 9,700 miles of state trunkline, which includes Michigan's 1,240 miles of interstate highways.

MDOT: Celebrating 100 years of transportation innovation, 1905-2005

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 17, 2005.

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(10) Can Michigan Residents Order Wine Via the Web?

In the past Michign law allowed Michigan residents to buy wine directly from Michigan wineries, but not from wineries outside the state borders. The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down this law, claiming discrimination.

Since the court's decision, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission is no longer enforcing the rule that barred non-Michigan wineries from selling to residents; however out-of-state wineries are still fearful of testing the waters.

Two state senators have proposed bills that would prevent any winery from dealing directly with Michigan consumers. A third senator and a representative have introduced bills that would allow the practice, with limitations.

Source: Christine Rook, "Sour Grapes", Lansing State Journal, June 23, 2005, p. 1D & 3D.

For more information, see Liquor Commission and Legislature Reviewing Options Following Supreme Court Ruling on Direct Shipment of Wine.

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(11) Inmate Hepatitis Funds Cut

Funding to test and treat Michigan prisoners for hepatitis C has been eliminated in House and Senate spending plans for 2005-6, effectively killing a plan to attack the potentially fatal and communicable disease festering inside the state's 42 prisons.

A 2003 Lansing State Journal investigtive report found that up to 18,000 of Michigan's 48,000 prisoners are believed to harbor the virus. Without money for diagnosis and treatment, the disease will likely spread more quickly and may threaten the public once inmates are released.

Source: Lansing State Journal, June 23, 2005, pp.1B & 3B.

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(12) Michigan First State in Nation to Launch Child Protection Registry

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) J. Peter Lark today announced that on July 1, Michigan will become the first state in the nation to launch a child protection registry that will enable parents to guard children from unwanted electronic messages.

“Michigan’s child protection registry is a great way parents can shield their children from inappropriate email,” said Granholm. “I’m proud that Michigan is the first state in the nation to develop this registry and provide a way for parents and teachers to protect our children from unsuitable emails.”

Michigan’s child protection registry, called the Protect MI Child Registry, will allow individuals and schools to register email addresses to which minors have access. In the near future, instant message IDs, mobile phone numbers, fax numbers, pager numbers, and other contact points can also be registered. There is no cost to register.

On July 21, 2004, the Governor signed SB 1025, creating the Michigan Children’s Protection Registry Act (Public Act 241).

Public Act 241 prohibits persons from sending to registered addresses messages about products or services that are legally prohibited for children. Examples include pornography, tobacco, gambling, alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs, firearms, and fireworks. Senders of material are required to remove registered email addresses from their mailing lists within 30 days.

If a registered contact receives a prohibited message, a complaint may be filed with the Michigan Attorney General’s office. A first violation is a misdemeanor; subsequent violations are felonies. Civil penalties may also be sought.

“The Protect MI Child Registry has been designed to be very user-friendly,” said MPSC Chairman J. Peter Lark. “Parents and others who have expressed outrage and frustration at the endless stream of unwanted messages to which their children have access now have a way to reduce those messages.”

The registry was created and will be operated by Unspam Registry Services. For more details on the registry, visit http://www.michigan.gov/protectmichild . The site will go live for registrations at 7 a.m. (EST) on July 1.

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 30, 2005

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(13) 2005 High School MEAP Results a Mixed Bag

State assessment scores in Reading for the Michigan high school Class of 2005 showed improvement in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards, however, scores in Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies dipped compared to scores from the previous year’s graduating class, the Michigan Department of Education reported today (July 1, 2005).

Reading test scores, which jumped by nearly 10 percentage points for the Class of 2004 compared to 2003, showed a continued increase for the Class of 2005. The 84,729 students (77.9 percent) from the Class of 2005 who met or exceeded state reading standards increased nearly two percentage points over the Class of 2004, 80,214 students (76.2 percent).

“We obviously are seeing a tremendous effort in our schools to improve student reading skills,” said State Board of Education President Kathleen N. Straus. “We saw reading scores improve at the elementary and middle school levels earlier this year, and now at the high school level.

“But we need to continue addressing the academic challenges our high schools are facing. The State Board is vigorously engaged in high school reform efforts, as is Governor Granholm. We need to increase standards, increase resources, and increase opportunities for our students,” she said.

In addition, there were fewer students who scored in the lowest band, or "not endorsed" category, on the Reading test. Only 8,504 students (7.8 percent) of the 108,791 test takers scored in this band, compared to 10,004 (9.5 percent) from the previous class.

Results in the other subject areas assessed show declines as compared to previous classes. In Writing, 62,604 students (57.2 percent) of the Class of 2005 met or exceeded state standards compared to 60,979 (57.8 percent) of the Class of 2004. In Mathematics, 62,135 students (56.9 percent) of the Class of 2005 met or exceeded state standards compared to 62,109 (58.7 percent) from the previous class.

In Science, 63,102 students (58.0 percent) of the Class of 2005 met or exceeded state standards compared to 66,901 (63.4 percent) of the Class of 2004. The number of students in the Class of 2005 who met or exceeded state standards in Social Studies was 36,151 (33.8 percent) compared to 36,026 (35.0 percent) for the class of 2004.

This year marks the fourth consecutive year that the number of high school students taking the MEAP test has increased. Over 109,000 students from the Class of 2005 took assessments in one or more subject areas, compared 105,000 in last year’s class, and 102,000 in the Class of 2003.

“Testing more students each year gives high schools a broader understanding of their curriculum strengths and weaknesses,” said Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jeremy Hughes. “In addition, it helps us recognize specific challenges that traditional high schools face as we continue Governor Granholm’s and the State Board of Education’s urgent focus to develop high schools that prepare every student to succeed in college or trade school.”

Summary Reports for each of the state’s public school districts and both public and non-public high schools have been posted on the Michigan Department of Education web site. You can access that information by logging on to http://www.michigan.gov/mde and MEAP test results page.

Source: Michigan Newswire, July 1, 2005.

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(14) Can Michigan Residents Order Wine Via the Web? : Update

Despite pleas from a number of small Michigan wine makers, wine drinkers in the state may soon lose their chance to get merlot or chardonnay shipped to them from their favorite wineries.

The State House Regulatory Reform Committee voted 5-1 on June 28th to endorse a ban on wine shipments from both Michigan and out-of-state wineries to bring Michigan in compliance with a recent Supreme Court opinion (Granholm v. Heald).

Local newspapers have pointed out the impact of lobbyists on this issue.

The Detroit Free Press, for instance, released an article by Jennifer Dixon Under the Influence back on Feb. 10, 2005 as a result of a special investigation. The annotation : Michigan beer and wine distributors have it made. And they wine, dine and finance legislators to keep it that way.

More recent articles include: Amy F. Bailey, "House Panel Backs Ban on Wine Shipments", Lansing State Journal, June 29, 2005; Dawson Bell, "Panel Getting Tough on Wine", Detroit Free Press, June 29, 2005; and Brian Kickerson, "Follow Money on Wine Trail", Detroit Free Press, July 1, 2005.

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(15) 2005 Digital Counties Survey Honors Oakland and Washtenaw Counties

Information technology (IT) is being deployed on a grand scale by county governments across the U.S. to better serve citizens, according to the 2005 Digital Counties Survey, an annual study by the Center for Digital Government (Center) and National Association of Counties (NACo). In recognition of their work and innovations, the top ten counties in various population sizes are honored each year.

In 2005, Oakland County placed 6th in counties 500,000 or more. Washtenaw County placed 9th in all counties 250,000-499,999 in size.

For more information, see the Center for Digital Government news release, June 2005.

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(16) 2002 Economic Census Training Sessions in Michigan

The Census Bureau will be holding three workshops on the 2002 Economic Census in Michigan, September 19 and 20.

The State Data Center is sponsoring the two half-day sessions on September 19 for local affiliates. See: http://www.census.gov/econ/census02/guide/ec02conf.htm.

The Southeast Michigan Census Council is holding an open session for all non SDC affiliates on September 20, 12-4:30. Registration information is available at: http://www.semcc.org//

Source: Grace York, University of Michigan Documents Center, GOVDOC-M, July 6, 2005.

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(17) The Depository Library Conference and Our Future

The Federal Depository Library Conference is being held October 16-19 (Sunday-Wednesday Noon) in Washington. Registration information is available at:

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fdlp/pubs/adnotes/ad06_061505.html#2

Right now Northwest Airlines is selling tickets, Detroit-DC, Sunday-Wednesday, for $158 + tax. Not a bad deal.

Either Monday or Tuesday of the conference will be devoted to brainstorming on the future of the depository library system. Shawn Nicholson (MSU) and I MAY also be attending an Association of Research Libraries workshop in September on the future of depositories.

So I wonder if we shouldn't be brainstorming as a state and creating our own world before all of these official events.

Catherine, Frank and I are going to start brainstorming tomorrow afternoon about the Documents Center. What do we need on campus? What would you like us to do?

There are lots of other questions. Should we have a directory of who has access to which data base (Statistical Universe, Historical Serial Set, Geolytics?) Who has expertise in what area (e.g. Monroe Public on Fermi and nuclear power, DPL on patents)? Do any of the public libraries provide meet-a-lawyer nights? [Our most frequent e-mail question is about Michigan law relating to alimony, child custody, and teenage rights.]

Just some fuel for the fodder.

Source: Grace York, University of Michigan Documents Center, E-Mail Address: graceyor@umich.edu, GOVDOC-M, July 6, 2005.

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(18) Granholm Unveils Blueprint for Preventing Unintended Pregnancies;
Initiative Includes “Talk Early, Talk Often”

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today (July 6) unveiled a new pilot program entitled, “Talk Early, Talk Often,” designed to offer parents a resource for talking with their middle school-age children about abstinence and sexuality issues. The “Talk Early, Talk Often” pilot is part of the Granholm Administration’s Blueprint for Preventing Unintended Pregnancies that includes two other initiatives: increased access to family planning services for low income women and contraceptive equity for men and women.

“Parents should be the primary sex educators of their children, and we want to lead the way by giving them the tools they need to talk frankly about issues involving abstinence and sexuality,” Granholm said. “When armed with information and the tools they need to communicate effectively, parents can be instrumental in providing critical messages to their children that can help them abstain from sexual intercourse. By doing so, they can help them avoid early and unintended pregnancy as well as the threat of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

“If all pregnancies were intended, the state would see significant reductions in infant mortality, child abuse, child neglect, and abortion,” Granholm added.

The Michigan Parent Teacher Student Association (MPTSA) has been instrumental in the creation of the pilot program, which will be shared with parents in a series of school district-sponsored meetings this fall.

The Michigan Department of Community Health has submitted a request to obtain federal approval for a waiver to expand eligibility for family planning services for low-income families. The waiver would ensure that all men and women of child bearing age have access to family planning services by expanding Medicaid eligibility to low-income women of child bearing age without insurance coverage.

It is estimated that each public dollar spent to provide family planning services saves an estimated $3 that would otherwise be spent in Medicaid costs for pregnancy-related care and medical care for newborns, according to national Medicaid research.

Finally, Granholm said that all women and men should have ready access to the full range of contraceptive options, thus increasing the likelihood that each sexually active man or woman has an available contraceptive method that is most convenient and which she/he is willing to use.

Granholm said she supports passing contraceptive equity legislation. Senators Beverly Hammerstrom (R-Temperance) and Martha Scott (D-Highland Park) have introduced Senate Bills 431 and 432 that, if passed, would require insurers who provide prescription drug coverage to include all U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved contraceptives.

“Unintended pregnancy is an issue that affects public health, our economy, and our society, because one way or another, we are all affected by its impact,” said Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan Surgeon General. “Working together, we can ensure that every pregnancy is an intended pregnancy.”

The Michigan Department of Community Health’s Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) -- a survey of maternal experiences and behaviors before and during a woman's pregnancy data for the year 2001 shows that 40.6 percent of pregnancies were unintended.

The total cost to Medicaid for the delivery of a baby and first year of life is $11,528 – with the cost of delivery averaging $6,197 and the cost of first year of life services averaging $5,331. In FY 2000, the state Medicaid program paid for prenatal, delivery and post-natal care of roughly 26,000 unintended births. Each birth cost Medicaid $11,000, which translates to $286 million in costs for Michigan.

If Michigan can reduce the number of unintended pregnancies by 10 percent, it would save the state over $27 million in Medicaid expenditures annually.

Source: Michigan Newswire, July 6, 2005

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(19) Michigan Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)
Newsletters Available from State

The Michigan Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is an ongoing survey project of mothers who deliver live births in Michigan. PRAMS is part of an effort to reduce infant mortality and adverse birth outcomes by providing information useful for developing and implementing intervention programs and for evaluating existing programs. This data is used to monitor progress toward national and state pregnancy-related health objectives, including the increase of positive birth outcomes. PRAMS is also used to identify and monitor selected self-reported maternal behaviors and experiences that occur before, during, and after pregnancy among women who deliver live-born infants.

The PRAMS survey was developed in 1987 through the cooperative effort of the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), the District of Columbia and the states of Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.

PRAMS generates statewide estimates of important perinatal health indicators among women delivering a live infant. PRAMS staff collect data through a mailed survey with follow-up of non-respondents by telephone.

Current PRAMS newsletters available on the PRAMS web page include:

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(20) West Michigan Depository Librarians Meeting Notes

The West Michigan Depository Librarians Meeting was held at the Hekman Library at Calvin College, on June 10, 2005. Diane VanderPol graciously shared her minutes from the meeting.

News From Around the Region

Report from Ann Sanders :

A. State of the State

  1. Funds are tight at the Library of Michigan – in March they lost all student help (350 hours per week); library is closed to the public on Monday and Thursday mornings; the documents staff is doing all the documents shelving; there is a plan to move the law library back into the main building onto compact shelving and the documents collection will move (should happen before October); weeding superseded items; doing an orientation next Friday.
  2. Detroit Public Library is on hiatus as a regional; MelCat is moving forward; librarians like emailing disposal lists; public service reference requests are doubling each year.
  3. Will be working on the state plan and council election.
B. News from the Depository Library Conference in Albuquerque : There will be a combined Instructions to Depository Libraries/Depository Library Manual, and volunteers are needed; Print on Demand survey will be revisited; the GPO’s ILS should be up by ALA this summer.

Report from Sally Lawler

A. News from the Depository Library Conference in Albuquerque – questions at the conference were written on cards and then put into PowerPoint so that the audience could see them; a letter in favor of the electronic depository system was received from Ridley Kessler; the GPO has lost access to people with an institutional history of the program.

B. Library Consultant Position – she is appreciative for the surveys which have been returned and still welcomes others to return surveys, and she distributed a summary of results that she has collected so far; she is converting training to an electronic tutorials (a basic and a follow-up) which will be piloted in Michigan and then will go national; she is on the GODORT Education Committee for ALA which will be discussing competencies and looking at what depository libraries are already doing; another idea is an FDLP College which would be a certification program; Public Health Information and Data, a training manual for continuing education, is a model for competency training and delivery.

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(21) Health Insurance Information Now A Click Away; OFIS Creates Internet Resource to Assist Consumers with Health Insurance Decisions

Selecting, purchasing and understanding health insurance and health coverage options can be a complex experience. To assist consumers in making informed decisions when choosing health care coverage, the Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) has added a new section to its web page that provides basic information regarding health insurance and health coverage in Michigan. In addition to overseeing commercial health insurers, OFIS is also responsible for the regulation of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and for Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) in Michigan.

OFIS Commissioner Linda A. Watters said, “Access to accurate health care information is a top priority for Michigan citizens. Patients and consumers must have access to all available information before they tackle the selection and purchase of health care insurance. We have simplified the experience by providing this easy-to-use resource.”

The health care section covers the following areas for consumers:

“OFIS staff always has consumer protection and education in mind,” said Watters. “This is just the latest example of our hard work on behalf of Michigan consumers.”

The health care section can be found at the OFIS website at http://www.michigan.gov/ofis/. There is a direct link to the health insurance section on the home page (a blue box that says “Health Insurance Information”). Consumers can also find this section in the menu box on the left side of the page under Consumer Services. OFIS staff can also be reached for assistance toll-free at 1-877-999-6442 or by email at ofis-ins-info@michigan.gov.

Source: Michigan Newswire, July 11, 2005.

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(22) Michigan Will Participate in National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR)

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that Michigan will participate in the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) to give state residents a new tool to help protect their children. The registry will use the Department of Justice’s computer technology to link state and territory public sex offender registries, allowing citizens a one-stop shop to access information beyond their own state boundaries.

“As sex offenders move from state to state, we must ensure that we are using every available technology to track them,” said Granholm. “This national registry will help protect Michigan children from anyone who might enter this state with intent to harm.”

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that as sex offenders travel across state lines, providing access to offender information beyond one’s own state increases the likelihood of identifying sex offenders in the area. The new NSOPR will allow concerned parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends to conduct a single search to identify sex offenders nationwide. To receive the same information now, a user would have to access each state’s registry.

The NSOPR will not require Michigan to develop any new technology and will be available to citizens at no cost. The site is expected to be available for public searches by August 1. The Department of Justice’s goal is to have 20 states, including Michigan, participating at the time of the site’s launch with additional states linked in the coming months.

Granholm has long advocated for increased protections for Michigan’s children. In May, the Governor asked the Legislature to:

The Governor reiterated her call for increased protections for children in a July 5 letter to lawmakers, which called for action on critical issues pending before the Legislature prior to the end of summer.

“We cannot rest until we are doing everything we can to protect our children,” Granholm said. “This national registry will help our citizens to be vigilant about protecting our kids. We must act at the state level as well to ensure that sex offenders are nowhere near our children and ensure that new penalties are in place to show them we mean business.”

Source: Michigan Newswire, July 8, 2005.

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(23) MSP Launches Traffic Crash Purchasing System (TCPS)

With a few clicks of a mouse, motorists can now access traffic crash reports at their convenience, thanks to a new state web site.

The Traffic Crash Purchasing System (TCPS) was launched in June by the Michigan State Police (MSP) and the Crash Process Redesign Team, which is a multi-agency initiative to redesign and upgrade the state’s traffic crash processing system. TCPS allows persons involved in crashes and insurance agents to purchase a copy of the accident report, commonly called a UD-10, online.

"This system creates a central location for accessing the state’s crash reports," said Lieutenant Colonel Tom Miller, MSP deputy director and commander of the Administrative Services Bureau. "Involved parties no longer have to travel to the agency that handled the crash, but instead can access their report 24-7, right from their computer."

The system complies with the Driver Privacy Protection Act and Freedom of Information standards to ensure the purchase of crash data is secure. An involved party or insurance company will need specific information pertaining to the crash, including the crash date, driver’s license number of the involved party and the serial or incident/case number, to purchase the $10 report. No credit card information will be kept on file.

Insurance agencies can register with TCPS and choose one of three payment methods, including credit card, electronic funds transfer or monthly billings.

TCPS has benefits for law enforcement agencies, as well. A percentage of every crash report purchased goes to the supplying agency, and purchasing reports online reduces personnel time spent processing requests.

Ten years of crash data is currently available through TCPS. New crash reports are available for download 10 days after receipt of the report from the law enforcement agency handling the crash.

The Crash Process Redesign Team consists of the Michigan Department of Information Technology, Michigan Department of State, Michigan Department of Transportation and MSP. Its goal is to improve the timeliness, accuracy and availability of crash data.

The Traffic Crash Purchasing System can also be accessed by going to the Michigan State Police home page and clicking on the TCPS icon on the bottom left or by clicking on the link under Online Services.

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