Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 1, 2013

Michigan in Brief: 03/01/2013


Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — House OKs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul

LANSING — The Michigan House has approved legislation to transform Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan from a charitable trust into a customer-owned nonprofit.

The legislation passed Thursday to overhaul the state’s largest health care insurer does not include the abortion provisions that caused Republican Gov. Rick Snyder veto the bill in January.

Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger says the changes are important because they will allow other insurance companies to better compete with Blue Cross and will make the company pay taxes to the state.

Attorney General Bill Schuette says the overhaul will hurt the more than 200,000 Michigan seniors who currently rely on Medigap coverage.

The Republican-led Senate approved the bills in late January. The bills will return to the Senate for approval of minor changes made in the House.

Snyder to announce Detroit manager plans

DETROIT — Gov. Rick Snyder plans to announce today whether he will appoint an emergency manager for Detroit but likely won’t immediately name the person if he does, Mayor Dave Bing said.

Bing, who spoke with Snyder by phone earlier in the day, signaled the Republican governor had decided to take the extraordinary step of choosing an independent overseer to confront the city’s $327 million budget deficit and $14 billion in long-term debt.

He stopped short of confirming the decision, saying the announcement was Snyder’s to make.

“Everybody’s got a pretty good idea of what the announcement will be,” Bing said.

Speaking briefly to reporters Thursday evening from Lansing, Snyder only said that no specific individual would be announced during a forum he scheduled for mid-day Friday to discuss the city’s financial situation. If a manager is appointed, there would be a lengthy appeals process, he said.

“There’s a 10-day appeals period,” he said. “There’s potentially a hearing. Then after that, I would need to reaffirm my decision or change my decision. Depending on if I reaffirm my decision then it could lead to an emergency manager announcement.”

A state-appointed review team made public on Feb. 19 its determination that Detroit is in a financial emergency and submitted its report to Snyder. The team found that “no satisfactory plan exists to resolve a serious financial problem” in the city, leaving Snyder to mull over whether to appoint a manager.

Man charged with shooting at cars on Mich. highway

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP — A man accused of firing shots at motorists along a highway near Ann Arbor has been charged with four counts of attempted murder.

Elmore Ray also faces weapons and other charges.

The 28-year-old was arraigned Thursday and remained jailed Thursday afternoon on a $20,000 bond. Authorities couldn’t say if he has a lawyer yet.

Police in Washtenaw County’s Pittsfield Township responded early Wednesday to a wooded area near U.S. 23 after a 911 caller reported a man dressed in a black trench coat was standing near a bridge and shooting at traffic.

Police say they spotted Ray walking nearby and took him into custody. They tracked his footprints in the snow and found a sawed-off shotgun.

No injuries were reported, and police say no vehicles were struck.