morning news roundup
6:49 am
Wed August 1, 2012

In this morning's state news headlines. . .

Michigan sued over late absentee ballots

The federal government is suing Michigan over a delay in sending absentee ballots to military serving overseas. The lawsuit says many local clerks missed a deadline to send military voters their ballots 45 days before the primary. But one political analyst says it's a big to-do about almost nothing. Mark Grebner is a Democratic political consultant based in East Lansing. He says Secretary of State records indicate only eight absentee ballots were sent out a day or two late, to overseas military addresses. And Grebner thinks the 45-day rule is outdated. A spokeswoman for the Secretary of State says in the past, the federal government has ordered local clerks who missed the deadline to wait a few extra days before issuing a final count. A judge has ordered an emergency hearing on the issue for this Friday.  The primary is August 7th.

Close to 1-million federal dollars unused by Pontiac Police

Officials in Pontiac have found close to a million dollars in unspent federal money. The money will be used to pay overtime to Oakland County sheriff deputies to patrol high-crime areas, and work on "quality of life" issues like abandoned cars. Pontiac is under a state-appointed emergency manager, and the county has a contract to provide police services to the city.

No online exchanges for health coverage yet

There's been no action by the state House yet on creating online exchanges for people to comparison shop for health coverage. That’s after another day of hearings by 2 state House committees on the question. Governor Rick Snyder is pushing the Legislature to act quickly so Michigan qualifies for federal planning grants, and does not risk being forced into a federal system. Insurance experts told the committees that creating the online exchanges is complicated and the state should move quickly or risk missing critical deadlines.  Many Republicans want to wait until after the November election to see if the next Congress might reverse the federal healthcare law. It was upheld last month by the U-S Supreme Court.