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Friday, March 6, 2015

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Thomas More Society petitions U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Autocam


Caroline MacGregor
October 15, 2013 | WGVU  The Thomas More Society is joined by the Catholic Vote Legal Defense Fund in petitioning the US Supreme Court on behalf of Autocam.

The manufacturer of automotive parts and medical supplies is owned by John Kennedy, Catholic who is fighting the government’s requirement to provide contraception coverage for employees, saying it is an infringement on his Catholic faith.

Both the Thomas More Society and the Catholic Legal Defense Fund originally filed suit alongside Autocam against the US Department of Health and Human Services. Kennedy’s company currently provides full health coverage and employees who want to purchase birth control can do so independently.

Prior to the government’s implementation of the HHS mandate, Autocam‘s insurance plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan specifically excluded contraception, sterilization, abortion, and abortion-inducing drugs.

Kennedy and family members who are part owners in the business want Justices to rule the government’s requirement to provide contraceptive coverage, the so-called abortion pill, and sterilization, is unconstitutional.

Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, says forcing citizens to violate their religious beliefs, equates to a mockery of religious freedom on the part of the government. Cut?

Brejcha claims Autocam is protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the federal government from preventing the free exercise of religion absent a compelling reason for doing so. The petitioners say providing insurance for birth control does not qualify as a compelling interest. Even if deemed compelling, the government could provide services or products free of charge, or subsidize their cheap and easy accessibility, without burdening an individual’s religious liberties.

In its decision in September, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Autocam’s appeal on the grounds that conducting business for profit is separate from the religious beliefs of the business owners.

More WGVU News
Today
Howdy Doody joins other puppets of distinction in Detroit
Detroit, MI  March 6, 2015  |  WGVU  The original Howdy Doody marionette from the 1940s will be among the puppets of distinction going on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts.    
Feds award $2.5M for Michigan invasive species projects
Traverse City MI  March 6, 2015  |  WGVU  Federal officials have awarded more than $2.5 million for projects to battle invasive species in Michigan.    
World record try falls short at Gilda's LaughFest opening
Grand Rapids MI  March 6, 2015  |  WGVU  An annual festival of laughter in western Michigan has fallen short its attempt to set a record for the most people wearing paper crowns.    
Shaggy's days as a drifter in Grand Rapids area are over
Cascade Twp MI  March 6, 2015  |  WGVU  After months on the run, Shaggy the dog has been captured in the Grand Rapids area.    
Judge yanks bond for man convicted of making campus threats
Kalamazoo MI  March 6, 2015  |  WGVU  A former Western Michigan University student convicted of making threats about a campus shooting is in jail after the government said he made another threat.    
Local teacher expands video game-themed fundraiser
  March 6, 2015  |  WGVU  A Grand Rapids musical instructor hopes to transform a video game-themed fundraiser into a larger, daylong event – and make a larger impact in the lives of local children diagnosed with cancer.    
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GRPD: IRS Phone Scam Alert
Grand Rapids MI  March 6, 2015  |  WGVU  Grand Rapids Police put out an alert regarding an ongoing IRS phone scam. Authorities tell us they’ve recent several reports involving the scam.    
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Grand Rapids police officers field test use of body cameras
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  March 6, 2015  |  AP  Grand Rapids police are field testing the use of body cameras.   

Yesterday
Michigan officials seek comment on wolf management plan
Lansing MI  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is inviting public feedback on an updated plan for managing the state's gray wolves.    
Muskegon Heights house fire that killed 1 ruled arson
Muskegon Heights MI  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  Investigators have determined someone purposely set a fire that killed a woman squatting in a vacant Muskegon Heights home.    
Washington man eyeing 'organ house' in West Michigan
Grand Rapids MI  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  A retired bus driver from suburban Seattle hopes to move across the country so he can live in a Grand Rapids home containing a massive pipe organ.    
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Officials: Man dies following house fire in western Michigan
Muskegon Heights MI  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  Officials say a man has died following a house fire in western Michigan.    
Gilda's LaughFest holds opening night paper crown record bid
Grand Rapids MI  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  An annual festival of laughter in western Michigan is trying to set a record for the most people wearing paper crowns.    
Community forum tackles free speech and seperation of church and state
  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  A forum is being held Thursday evening addressing freedom of expression and free speech in Ottawa County. It comes in response to Grand Haven officials removing a cross from public display and debate over a bible scripture exhibited in a county park.   
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Mobility device gives local child new independence
  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  A local family, a genetic disease with no cure and a team of Grand Valley State University researchers and students come together to create a unique medical device.    
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2015 Laughfest Kicks Off Tonight: Seriously Funny
Grand Rapids MI  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  Let the laughing begin. Today kicks off another Gilda’s Club LaughFest. Lots of entertainment coming to West Michigan… big names and local talent alike. There’s even a Guinness Book of World Records event. But, while it’s funny, it’s also serious business.    
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Holland reports overall drops in crime statistics
  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  Holland’s Department of Public Safety says 2014 police incidents were at a 10-year low.    
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GVSU automotive suppliers symposium forecasts record year for U.S. automakers
  March 5, 2015  |  WGVU  The U.S. auto industry is on course for setting production and sales records this year. It’s a far cry from 2009 when U.S. automakers struggled during the depth of the Great Recession. How will this impact local supplier and consumers?    
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Senate panel passes ban on plastic beads polluting lakes
INDIANAPOLIS   March 5, 2015  |  AP  An Indiana Senate committee unanimously passed a bill that would ban the sale and manufacture of popular toiletries and cosmetics containing tiny plastic particles that environmentalists say are polluting water resources.   
Michigan's high school graduation rate goes up to 79 percent
LANSING, Mich.  March 5, 2015  |  AP  Michigan's high school graduation rates have increased for the third consecutive year, moving up to nearly 79 percent statewide.   
46 school districts expected to wipe out, reduce deficits
LANSING, Mich.   March 5, 2015  |  AP  Michigan's education chief has told lawmakers in Lansing that a number of the 56 school districts in the state with budget deficits are expected to be out of the red or cut into them this year.   
State superintendent calls for moratorium on new charter schools
  March 5, 2015  |  MPRN  State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is calling for a moratorium on new charter schools in Michigan.   
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Wednesday
Officials: Baby died at in-home day care in western Michigan
Kentwood MI  March 4, 2015  |  WGVU  Officials say an infant died at an in-home day care center in western Michigan after the operator failed to get him proper medical attention.    
Egelston Township scraps porta-potty restrictions
Egelston Twp., MI  March 4, 2015  |  WGVU  Local officials have rescinded a zoning ordinance amendment restricting the use of portable toilets in Egelston Township.    
State education board chooses 6 superintendent semifinalists
Lansing MI  March 4, 2015  |  WGVU  The State Board of Education has invited six candidates to publicly interview for the state superintendent job next week.    
Michigan Democrats seek 20 percent renewable power by 2022
Lansing MI  March 4, 2015  |  WGVU  Democrats are calling for Michigan to double the amount of electricity that comes from wind and other renewable sources.    
Researchers discover Asian carp native predators
  March 4, 2015  |  WGVU  A new study finds there are a number of native predators gobbling up Asian carp. The study has attracted a lot of attention. Are there are enough predator fish to shrink or eliminate the bighead and silver carp populations?   
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Grand Rapids City Officials Review LGBT Ordinance Language
Grand Rapids MI  March 4, 2015  |  WGVU  Grand Rapids City Officials are looking to perhaps update ordinance language. A review is underway looking at language used in an amendment regarding LGBT protections to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. Some say the language change would simply keep up with the times.    
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Muskegon partnership proposed to lower chlamydia rates
  March 4, 2015  |  WGVU  Muskegon County officials review a proposed partnership to help address what one health expert calls a “chlamydia epidemic”.    
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New judge to get update on loose ends in Detroit bankruptcy
DETROIT   March 4, 2015  |  AP  The Detroit bankruptcy case is returning to court with a different judge and some loose ends that need to be tied up.   
Michigan’s film incentives move closer to their demise in state Legislature
  March 4, 2015  |  MPRN  A bill to eliminate Michigan’s film incentives is advancing in the state House.   
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Tuesday
City adds sexual orientation to non-discrimination ordinance
East Grand Rapids, MI  March 3, 2015  |  WGVU  A city in western Michigan is adding sexual orientation and gender identity to an existing non-discrimination ordinance on housing and employment.    
Prosecutor: Officers acted in self-defense during shootout
Wyoming MI  March 3, 2015  |  WGVU  A prosecutor has determined two police officers acted in self-defense during a fatal shootout with a suspect in a Grand Rapids suburb.    
Former teacher accused in illicit photos case gets probation
St. Joseph, MI  March 3, 2015  |  WGVU  A former southwestern Michigan middle school teacher accused of taking cellphone pictures of a student's underwear has been sentenced to five years of probation.    
Lawmakers to be briefed on problem-plagued computer system
Lansing MI  March 3, 2015  |  WGVU  Michigan officials are preparing to update lawmakers on a problem-plagued computer system that is intended to aid child welfare efforts.    
Federal agency awards $5.5M in rental assistance to Michigan
Lansing MI  March 3, 2015  |  WGVU  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding more than $5.5 million in rental assistance to help Michigan residents with disabilities.    
City may add sexual orientation to non-discrimination rules
EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  March 3, 2015  |  WGVU  East Grand Rapids is considering language to amend its housing and employment non-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity.   
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IRS Expands Tax Center Test To Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids MI  March 3, 2015  |  WGVU  The IRS has added Grand Rapids to its list of cities that offers appointment based tax help at its Tax Assistance Centers. The move is part of a test the IRS is doing to see if appointments work better than a walk-in system. The goal is to see if taxpayers avoid the long lines and wait times. The Grand Rapids and Marquette offices are the only two in Michigan.    
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Michigan officials seek frog, toad survey volunteers
LANSING, Mich.  March 3, 2015  |  WGVU  Michigan officials are seeking volunteers to help with the state's annual frog and toad survey, which is entering its 20th year.   
Strong US economy helps automakers plow through snowy weather and boost sales
DETROIT  March 3, 2015  |  AP  Freezing temperatures and drifts of snow likely took a small bite out of U.S. auto sales last month, but most automakers are still reporting gains thanks to the strong economy.   
Workers: Computer system slowing child protection efforts
LANSING, Mich.  March 3, 2015  |  AP  Michigan caseworkers say a new computer system that launched 10 months ago is riddled with problems that are hampering their ability to protect vulnerable children.   
House committee to take up adoption agency bills
  March 3, 2015  |  MPRN   A state House committee could vote tomorrow on bills to shield faith-based adoption agencies from having to serve LGBT couples if the US Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage.    
Lawmakers considering penalties for failing to call 911 when someone is in danger
  March 3, 2015  |  MPRN  State lawmakers are debating whether someone should face penalties if they fail to act when they know someone else is in danger.   
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Monday
Work starting on facilities for more Fermi 2 protection
Frenchtown Township, MI  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  Construction starts this week on two facilities to provide more backup protection for Fermi 2's nuclear reactor and used fuel pool in the event of a natural disaster.    
Authorities find problem with recent drugged driving law
Lansing MI  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  Authorities say there's a problem with a recent Michigan law allowing police to conduct a preliminary roadside analysis for drugs and other intoxicating substances in addition to alcohol.    
Damage estimate climbs in vandalism at Michigan ski resort
Ann Arbor MI  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  The general manager of a ski resort vandalized by University of Michigan students estimates the total damage is about four times the original estimate.    
AAA Michigan: Gas prices rise 11 cents in past week to $2.42
Dearborn, MI  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  AAA Michigan reports statewide gas prices have increased by about 11 cents a gallon within the past week.    
Girl, 3, critical after getting stuck outside in deep cold
Lansing MI  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  Lansing police say a 3-year-old girl sustained critical injuries from hypothermia after she apparently got out of her family's apartment in the bitter cold and then couldn't get back in through a locked door.    
Women social workers face leadership barriers
  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  Social work in the United States was created by women. It would be reasonable to assume women hold the majority of leadership positions. Yet, that’s not the case. Two researchers from Western Michigan University’s Grand Rapids campus have revealed the barriers female social workers face. WGVU spoke with the authors of “Falling Silent: Analyzing the Voices of Women Leaders in the Social Work Profession.”   
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Officials seek to boost food assistance at farmers markets
East Lansing MI  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  Officials want to boost the use of food assistance benefits at farmers markets in Michigan.    
East Grand Rapids reviews non-discrimination policy
  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  East Grand Rapids officials introduce a new non-discrimination ordinance tonight.    
125,000 Dollar effort planned to help study Port of Muskegon
Muskegon MI  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  A $125,000 effort is planned to help study the best way to develop the Port of Muskegon in western Michigan.    
Supporters push for paid sick leave statewide
  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  Advocates of paid sick leave renew efforts for a statewide policy.    
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Grants aid Port of Muskegon development study
  March 2, 2015  |  WGVU  West Michigan’s largest natural deep-water port is the recipient of $125,000 in grants to fund study of possible development options.   
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Michigan could bypass healthier school fundraising rules
LANSING, Mich.  March 2, 2015  |  AP  Legislation introduced in the state House and Senate would offer flexibility to raise money at least three times a week by selling snacks in Michigan schools now banned under federal guidelines.   
Michigan pays $4.9M for membership in Common Core group
LANSING, Mich.  March 2, 2015  |  AP  Michigan is paying $4.9 million this school year to continue its membership in a group that develops standardized tests aligned with national Common Core education standards.   
Snyder names West Michigan school chief as education adviser
LANSING, Mich.  March 2, 2015  |  AP  Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has named an intermediate school district leader from western Michigan as his new education policy adviser.   
Skilled trades, Prop 1, state sup’t search big topics at governor’s education summit
  March 2, 2015  |  MPRN  Governor Rick Snyder is getting some tough questions about the May roads ballot proposal at his education and economic summit this week in Detroit.   
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Michigan appeals federal wolf decision
  March 2, 2015  |  MPRN  Michigan is appealing a federal judge’s decision to restore endangered species protections to the gray wolf. Wildlife groups filed the lawsuit after Michigan and other states adopted wolf hunting seasons.    
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