Daily Briefs

Michigan’s 100th Legislature kicks off 2-year term


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s 100th Legislature has begun its two-year session.

Republicans opened the term Wednesday with smaller majorities in both chambers following the November election. They will have to contend with a Democratic governor for the first time since 2009-10, the last time Michigan had a divided government.

Legislative work is unlikely to progress much until Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her first State of the State address on Feb. 5 and proposes her first budget in early March. There are also a lot of new lawmakers who need to learn the ropes.

A record number of women, 53, are serving in the Legislature.

Legislators’ families joined them in the House and Senate during ceremonial swearing-in events. The House was set to officially elect Rep. Lee Chatfield as speaker.

Whitmer’s speech is scheduled for 7 p.m. during a joint session of the Republican-led Legislature at the Michigan Capitol building.

 

Police: Reporter who helped foil robbery finds missing woman
 

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A reporter who helped police catch a robbery suspect last week followed up with another good deed by finding an 89-year-old suburban Detroit woman with dementia who had wandered away from home in sub-freezing temperatures.

WWJ reporter Mike Campbell was covering Barbara Kasler’s disappearance when he spotted her Wednesday morning in her pajamas and slippers along a street in Shelby Township.

Campbell took Kasler into his vehicle and cranked up the heat until police arrived. She was taken to a hospital for observation.

Campbell says he was just “in the right place at the right time,” but police tweeted that “We owe you lunch!”

Last week, Campbell helped police apprehend a man suspected of looting a fire-damaged shopping center in the Detroit suburb of Warren.

 

Man convicted in 2008 slaying wins new trial
 

BRIGHTON, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man convicted of killing his brother and sister-in-law in 2008 has won a new trial following allegations of misconduct against the judge who presided over his 2013 trial.

A Shiawassee County judge signed an order Tuesday vacating Jerome Kowalski’s convictions. His lawyer calls it a victory.

A report last month by a retired judge appointed to oversee misconduct complaints against Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa Brennan found violations. The report said Brennan’s concealment of a relationship with a detective who was a key investigator in Kowalski’s case was “gross misconduct.”

After the report’s release, Livingston County’s prosecutor said he’d seek an order to vacate Kowalski’s convictions.

Brennan was charged last month with perjury and destroying evidence in her divorce case. She’s not expected to face additional charges.

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