Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

February 13, 2014

Michigan in Brief: 02/13/2014

Sentencing rules for young killers OK’d

LANSING — Michigan lawmakers have given final approval to new sentencing rules after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down mandatory life imprisonment for juveniles.

Bills approved Wednesday by the Senate head to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

The legislation applies to future cases and not retroactively to more than 350 Michigan inmates under 18 when they committed crimes.

Juveniles can still be sentenced to life without parole. The sentence just can’t be mandatory on judges, who must consider factors such as defendants’ immaturity.

Legislators are divided over whether current inmates sentenced as juveniles should have a chance at parole.

A federal judge recently directed Michigan to give juvenile lifers an opportunity to apply for release. The ruling was appealed.

New laws bar felons from having ammo

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws prohibiting felons from possessing ammunition until three to five years after they have served their time and finished probation or parole.

Michigan already prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms for a certain amount of time. The governor said the new laws close a loophole to apply similar provisions to ammunition possession and simplify sentencing procedures.

The main bill signed Tuesday was sponsored by Republican Rep. Kurt Heise of Wayne County’s Plymouth Township.

Bills: Give tuition in trade for future pay

LANSING — Some Democrats in Michigan’s Legislature are proposing a pilot program for 200 high school graduates a year to get free college tuition if they give 4 percent of future earnings to the state for 20 years.

Bills announced Tuesday are being called “pay it forward” legislation. Participants’ earnings would be used to help future students also attend public universities or community colleges without upfront financial obstacles.

Democratic Rep. David Knezek of Dearborn Heights is hoping Michigan could secure federal funding for the program he says would cost $2 million a year initially.

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