Legislative Roundup: Child Pornography, Blue Cross Overhaul | Health
State Senate OKs bills attacking child pornography
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has unanimously passed three Republican-introduced bills that supporters say would make it easier to prosecute people for child pornography.
The bills approved Wednesday go to the state House for consideration.
Attorney General Bill Schuette says the bills help update laws written in the 1990s when he says "the Internet was still in its infancy."
A bill by Tom Casperson of Escanaba amends criminal procedures to make it easier for prosecutors to use evidence gathered in undercover police operations against child predators at sentencing.
A bill by Goeff Hansen of Hart restricts who has access to child pornography during the discovery phase of criminal trials.
And a bill by Dave Hildenbrand of Lowell Township expands the definitions of producing and making pornography to include creating new copies.
Michigan Senate approves overhaul of Blue Cross
The Michigan Senate has approved a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan overhaul that supporters say levels the playing field among health insurers and critics argue doesn't adequately protect elderly and vulnerable residents.
The Senate passed the legislation Wednesday. The House is expected to consider it when the chamber returns after the November election.
The legislation would end Blue Cross' tax-exempt status and change the health insurer from a charitable trust to a customer-owned nonprofit. It also would contribute about $1.5 billion over 18 years to a foundation continuing Blue Cross' efforts to improve public health and care access.
AARP Michigan says it wants to work with lawmakers on issues including providing better protections against excessive rate increases.
Blue Cross is Michigan's largest insurer.
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