LANSING (AP) — Michigan’s Democratic governor and Republican leaders announced this morning that they’ve reached an agreement on legislation to cut the country’s highest insurance premiums.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement that the “agreement in concept” will “will lower costs and protect coverage for Michigan drivers.” Details weren’t immediately released, but she says the deal will cut rates for drivers and offer choices among coverage levels.
“The deal … establishes more uniform and structured compensation levels for medical providers; and removes the ability of insurance companies to discriminate based on non-driving factors,” she said.
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in a statement that the wait now is over after decades of inaction in Michigan.
“Today’s vote will be a significant victory for the hard-working people of Michigan that will finally fix our broken car insurance system and deliver real, meaningful rate relief for families, seniors and household budgets all over the state,” they said.
The Legislature is convening for a rare session later today, when a bill is scheduled for a vote. The measure previously drew a veto threat from Whitmer . Michigan is the only state to require that drivers buy unlimited personal injury protection, or PIP, benefits with their auto insurance policy.
PIP benefits on average make up half of auto premiums. Voters in 1992 and 1994 defeated insurance industry-backed ballot proposals to cap medical benefits.
By TOM KRISHER
AP Auto Writer
DETROIT — Shares of Tesla, suffering one of the worst stretches in company history, rebounded Thursday after CEO Elon Musk told employees that orders are up.
The company’s stock closed up 1.4% to $195.49 on a volatile day that started out with a loss. Tesla stock has shed 16% in the past three weeks and about 41% since the beginning of the year, and is trading at the lowest levels since late 2016.
Musk told employees in a memo late Wednesday that the company had over 50,000 net new orders so far this quarter, and that based on current trends, Tesla Inc. has a chance of exceeding the record 90,700 deliveries set in the fourth quarter of last year. The memo was circulating on the internet and confirmed as authentic by a person with knowledge of its origin. The person didn’t want to be identified because the memo was confidential.
Musk’s memo said the company needs to sustain production of 1,000 Model 3s each day, something that it has done multiple days. It’s averaging production of 900 vehicles per day, the memo said.
Tesla’s stock was under significant pressure early after Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas told investors on a private call Wednesday that demand for Tesla’s cars was lower than predicted. He says if demand does not recover next year “then this becomes a restructuring story.” A recording of the call was obtained by The Associated Press.
Demand for Tesla vehicles fell by about one third from the fourth quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, Jonas said. At the first-quarter pace, the company will sell about 250,000 vehicles this year, more than 100,000 below the low end of the company’s forecast of 360,000 to 400,000, he told investors.
Tesla reported delivering 63,000 vehicles from January through March, down 31% from 2018’s fourth quarter.
Jonas, who says the stock could go to $10 per share in a worst-case scenario, has predicted deliveries of 82,000 for the second quarter, still behind Tesla projections. Other forecasters, he said, see only around 75,000. He said the company’s gross debt has grown to $13 billion, and as a percentage of revenue, Tesla’s debt is far higher than competing automakers such as General Motors, Ford, BMW and Volkswagen.
By DAVID EGGERT
LANSING — Voting-rights advocates and a campaign-finance ballot drive group sued Michigan’s top election official on Thursday, challenging Republican-enacted requirements that make it harder to qualify proposals for the statewide ballot.
The lawsuit came a day after Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel said that the law passed in December’s lame-duck session is unconstitutional. Her opinion is binding on state election officials, but it is expected that courts will have the final say.
The law says no more than 15% of petition signatures can be counted from any one of the state’s 14 congressional districts. There is no geographic limit in the state constitution.
“Public Act 608 should be declared unconstitutional because it burdens and limits the exercise of self-executing constitutional rights, and because it is an attempt by the legislature to amend the Constitution by statute — arrogating power that is reserved exclusively to the people,” says the complaint brought by the League of Women Voters of Michigan, the ballot committee Michiganders for Fair and Transparent Elections, its founder and two voters.
The 15% requirement will “dramatically increase the cost and difficulty of mounting a successful citizen petition campaign,” according to the suit filed in the Court of Claims, which seeks a permanent injunction against the law. It also challenges other new rules that require circulators to check a box indicating if they are paid or a volunteer, force paid gatherers to file an affidavit with the secretary of state and invalidate signatures that do not meet technical requirements.
To make the ballot in 2020 or 2022, groups proposing a constitutional amendment must submit 425,000 signatures. The threshold is 340,000 for an initiative and 212,000 for a referendum.
The plaintiffs estimate that just 11% to 13.7% of registered voters in any congressional district would have the prospect of their signature being counted.
The law is backed by business groups and GOP lawmakers who say it adds much-need transparency and accountability to the petition-gathering process and ensures statewide input earlier on ballot drives often funded by out-of-state interests.
Former Michigan Solicitor General John Bursch, who spoke last year in favor of the legislation on behalf of a number of business organizations, said the law is constitutional and criticized Nessel’s decision.
“The Michigan Constitution doesn’t say that you only need x number of signatures and then no more. The language sets a floor … and then it gives the Legislature power to implement the section,” he said. “If you just read those words and their ordinary meaning, it suggests that the Legislature does have latitude to make adjustments to make sure that all the people of Michigan are fairly represented in an initiative or referendum context.”
Those suing include Michiganders for Fair and Transparent Elections, a ballot committee that is drafting a constitutional amendment to “strengthen and reform” the state’s campaign-finance reporting and disclosure requirements. The group intended to start its campaign this summer but because of the uncertainty over the new law and anticipated additional costs, may need to raise more money and may be unable to circulate petitions until 2020, according to the suit.
The defendant is Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who is named in her official capacity. Benson, who has criticized the changes to the initiative process, welcomed Nessel’s opinion on Wednesday.
Follow David Eggert on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00
FRANKFORT, Mich. (AP) — Authorities have found the wreckage of a small plane that went missing over Lake Michigan with two men aboard.
The Michigan State Police and Benzie County Sheriff’s Office say searchers found the plane Wednesday about 5 miles from the coastal city of Frankfort, in northern Michigan. They say the plane was in water about 515 feet deep.
Police say searchers used a rover with video equipment to confirm it was the plane and searched the aircraft and surrounding area but didn’t find the men. Authorities earlier identified them as 65-year-old Randal Dippold, of Perry, and 53-year-old Emanuel Manos, of Monroe. The plane took off May 12 from Ontonagon and was heading to Monroe in southeastern Michigan when it reportedly had engine trouble.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Jordan Nwogu drilled a two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to push the Michigan baseball team past Illinois 5-4 on Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament.
Ako Thomas also had a pair of RBIs for the Wolverines (39-17), who rallied from a 3-0 hole to solidify its at-large NCAA Tournament hopes.
Michigan tied it at 3-all on a two-RBI double by Thomas in the bottom of the seventh. The Wolverine pitchers couldn’t hold it, walking three batters — including a go-ahead run — in the top of the eighth.
But Garrett Acton (2-3), the national leader with 19 saves, allowed runners to reach first and third — and Nwogu drilled a walk-off double to the left field gap.
Kellen Sarver had a pair of RBIs for Illinois (36-19), the first team to be sent home from Omaha.
NEW YORK (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden got the most votes, and Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker also were big winners when the All-NBA teams were announced.
Those guards can cash in with supermax contracts based on their selections to one of the three All-NBA teams that were announced Thursday.
LeBron James also was voted to the third team, tying the NBA record with his 15th All-NBA selection.
Rounding out the first team were Stephen Curry, Paul George and Nikola Jokic, who was Denver’s first All-NBA selection since Carmelo Anthony in 2010.
Antetokounmpo and Harden were unanimous selections, receiving all 100 votes from a panel of writers and broadcasters who had to choose two guards, two forwards and one center for each of the three teams.
Philadelphia center Joel Embiid led the second team that along with Lillard included Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.
James and Walker headlined a third team that featured Russell Westbrook, Detroit’s Blake Griffin and Rudy Gobert.
DETROIT — A day after hitting his first major league home run, Garrett Cooper connected again.
In grand fashion, too.
Cooper hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning and the Miami Marlins won their sixth in a row, rallying past Detroit 5-2 Thursday to finish a terrible homestand for the Tigers.
Cooper jumped up and down up the first base line as his ball sailed into the left field seats.
The Marlins, who had the worst record in the majors last week, extended the longest active winning streak in the big leagues.
The Tigers wrapped up an 0-9 stay at Comerica Park against Houston, Oakland and the Marlins. That record doesn’t include a suspended game in which Detroit trails Oakland in the late innings.
Cooper homered off Shane Greene (0-2), who had been 15 for 15 on save chances this season.
“I just got to pitch better,” Greene said. “It’s my job to close the door there and I couldn’t do it.”
Instead, Cooper homered on an 0-1 pitch.
“As I walked in and told those guys, this is really hard,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We have to stick together, we have to have each other’s backs. There’s kids in there that are really upset. They know how the game went, they know what happened. We have to have their backs and I have their backs.”
The mistakes were made by third baseman Dawel Lugo and second baseman Ronny Rodriguez, who made their debuts last season and have 124 big league games between them.
It was 2-0 when Harold Ramirez opened the inning with a grounder that Lugo misplayed for an error. Ramirez scored on Neil Walker’s single.
Greene later induced a double-play ball to Rodriguez that would’ve ended the game. But Rodriguez bobbled it and Miguel Rojas was called safe at first, which was held up on replay.
“The only person I’m pointing the finger at today is myself,” Greene said. “I just got to make a pitch and pick up the team there and I couldn’t do it.”
After an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson loaded the bases, Cooper took Greene deep.
On Wednesday, Cooper hit a home run in the sixth inning to spark a 6-3 comeback win in his 39th career game.
“It’s been an up-and-down roller coaster this past year and a half,” he said. “Just to play every day, that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life and doing in the minor leagues.”
Marlins starter Trevor Richards struck out six over 5 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and one run.
For Detroit, right-hander Matthew Boyd threw six scoreless innings and Miguel Cabrera continued moving up the all-time lists.
Cabrera had an RBI single in the eighth. It was his second hit of the game and moved Cabrera into 60th place on baseball’s career hit list with 2,727, one more than Chipper Jones.
With the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Rodriguez hit a flyball to left field. Austin Dean made a sliding catch on the sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead.
LANSING — The Senate Committee on Natural Resources voted unanimously Wednesday to report House Bill 4227 to the full Senate with recommendation that it pass.
Introduced by state Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, in February, the bill would create the Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future, which would be responsible for making advisory legislative and policy recommendations to strengthen and develop sustainable mining practices in Michigan, according to a press release.
“The overwhelming support and understanding of the importance of mining from my colleagues in both chambers should reassure U.P. residents that Lansing is listening,” Cambensy said. “Knowing the state departments are supportive of my bill to create a committee on Michigan’s mining future, it seems highly likely that the bill will be voted out of the senate and signed by the governor within the next few weeks.”
The unanimous approval by the Senate committee comes quickly after the House approved the bill with wide bipartisan support in a vote of 101-7.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the hard work my office has done over the last few months gathering legislative support for HB 4227 pay off and become law,” said Cambensy. “Our goal was to create an inclusive, transparent and strategic mechanism to look at mining in Michigan for decades to come, while also protecting our environment. I have no doubt that Michigan can lead the way in 21st century mining innovations and practices.”
One example of how Michigan can lead in this field would be to develop a direct reduced iron pellet for modern electric arc furnaces, which are necessary for recycling used steel. In addition, the committee will be able to explore research and advancements in mining such as Michigan Tech’s phosphorous eating bacteria and lithium ion battery recycling center, as well as applications in high-tech medical devices and other technologies.
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR — Juwan Howard is coming back to Michigan.
The former member of the Fab Five agreed to a five-year deal, which will pay him $2 million in his first year, on Wednesday to lead the Wolverines.
“As a ‘Michigan Man’ I know the place our program has in college basketball and I embrace the chance to build onto that history and lead us to championships both in the Big Ten and national level,” Howard said. “We will continue to develop young men on the court, in the classroom and in the community that our fan base will continue to be proud of.”
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel, in his first major move in three years in charge of the department, is giving the Miami Heat assistant coach his first shot at being a head coach other than during the NBA’s summer league.
“We have found someone with high integrity, great character and a coach who has unbelievable knowledge of the game of basketball,” Manuel said. “Juwan has proven himself to be a tremendous leader, a wonderful communicator and a developer of talent. We couldn’t have asked for a better role model for the young men in our program. We are excited to welcome back a member of the family to Ann Arbor.”
He replaces John Beilein, who left to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Howard helped Michigan reach the national championship game twice, playing alongside Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. The school later removed the Fab Five’s Final Four banners from Crisler Arena as part of self-imposed sanctions that stemmed from one of the NCAA’s largest financial scandals.
A federal investigation revealed now-deceased booster Ed Martin gave Webber and three non-Fab Five players more than $600,000. The NCAA forced the school to dissociate from the former players involved until 2013. The saga stained the university and basketball program, leading to many years of struggles.
“Juwan wasn’t a part of that,” Jackson told AP in a telephone interview. “He was never involved. And despite being part of the Fab Five, which is tied to Ed Martin, Juwan embodies the professionalism and positivity that Michigan represents across the world.”
Beilein became the leader Michigan needed, running the program without a hint of controversy and bringing the school back to the national title game in 2013 and 2018. The Wolverines also won two Big Ten season championships — accomplishments the Fab Five never achieved — along with a pair of conference tournament titles while becoming the school’s all-time winningest coach.
Although Howard doesn’t have ties to Michigan’s recent history with Beilein, his connection to the school is significant. Howard’s hiring may bring a wave of excitement with endorsements from former teammates such as Webber and Rose along with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. His coaching experience in the NBA also makes him an attractive coach for top prospects.
Howard had been a candidate to be a head coach in the NBA, including at Cleveland coincidently.
The 46-year-old Howard, who is from Chicago, played at Michigan for three seasons before Washington drafted him No. 5 overall in 1994. The two-time NBA champion with the Heat and one-time All-Star averaged 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists during his career that ended after the 2012-13 season.
Howard went into coaching after retiring as a player, starting as an assistant coach focused on player development with the Heat being promoted to an assistant coach with one of the franchises he played for during his 19-year career.
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT — For the second straight night, a Miami player celebrated his first major league homer.
Harold Ramirez hit his less than two weeks after his debut. Garrett Cooper had a much longer wait.
Cooper hit his first big league home run in the sixth inning, and that was the start of an impressive comeback by the Marlins, who rallied for their fifth straight victory, 6-3 over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night. Cooper played in the majors for parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons as well, but this was only his 39th game.
“It was about time I got one,” said Cooper, who has battled injuries throughout these past three seasons.
Ramirez hit his first homer in a win Tuesday night. The Tigers led 3-0 on Wednesday before Cooper’s solo shot. The Marlins then scored three runs in the seventh, and Brian Anderson added a two-run homer in the eighth.
Detroit has dropped eight in a row — and Sunday’s game was suspended with the Tigers trailing Oakland in the seventh inning.
“It’s just a really rough stretch right now,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’ll think back to this day somewhere down the road here and say, ‘Man that was brutal, let’s not do that again.’ But right now we’re going through it.”
Detroit starter Daniel Norris was solid, but with the Tigers up 3-1, he gave up a single to Ramirez to start the seventh. Buck Farmer (2-3) relieved him and allowed a single to Martin Prado. Then Neil Walker hit a two-run double to tie it.
One out later, Miguel Rojas put Miami ahead to stay with an RBI single. Anderson made it a three-run game with his home run in the eighth.