House, Senate to look at locker
search, deregulation bills
The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 24, 2000 - 7A
LANSING (AP) - The Legislature eases into the
0 session this week with light activity on the
use and Senate floors and more news likely to
come out of the committees.
Session will be called tomorrow and Wednesday
largely to introduce the bills lawmakers drafted during
the six-week holiday break. Among the new bills are
measures that would prohibit the secretary of state
from selling information about license holders, pro-
hibit criminals from suing their victims and allow for
school locker searches.
"When I was in middle school and high school 40
years ago, things were different than they are today,"
glRep. Lauren Hager (R-Port Huron) who spon-
-ed the locker search bill.
"I think we've come to a time where school adminis-
trators have to have tools to use when they think they may
need to search a locker for whatever reason," Hager said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has
expressed concern about any legislation that would
allow the searches without suspicion of wrongdoing.
"We know schools are doing it, but it really hasn't
been an issue that has been taken up by the Michigan
courts," said Wendy Wagenheim of the ACLU. "It's
something we probably will be watching."
New utility deregulation bills also will be discussed
this week in committee. The House Energy and
Technology Committee will take up bills deregulating
the natural gas market and the Senate Technology and
Energy Committee is slated to begin its long-awaited
discussion of electricity deregulation.
That legislation, which has been under discussion for
weeks as backers sought support, would let consumers
pick their electric energy producer by 2002. It would open
Michigan's power market by prohibiting any utility from
controlling more than 25 percent of the state's capacity.
It also would freeze electricity rates for three years,
compensate utilities for "stranded costs," or invest-
ments made in the past but not yet fully recovered
through present rates and require major utilities to
upgrade their transmission systems to pen nit more
power to flow into Michigan.
Backers contend the legislation would open the
electricity market to competition and thus increase the
amount of power flowing into Michigan while driving
Critics charge the bill mainly would help big utili-
ties and lead to a big increase in electric rates, while
jeopardizing worker's jobs and the environment.
A key to the bill's success will be the fate of efforts
to win support from Detroit Edison Co., which con-
trols about half of Michigan's energy market. Leery of
the 25 percent market limit, Edison has been reluctant
to join a coalition supporting the bill.
Another key committee meeting comes Thursday,
when the House and Senate appropriations committees
gather together to receive Gov. John Engler's proposed
budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The presentation
will kick off a budget process which won't end until
final enactment, probably early in the summer.
The governor's 2000-01 budget will assign dollar
figures to the agenda he spelled out last week in the
State of the State address, including $170.4 million in
new or accelerated tax cuts. It is also expected to put
heavy stress on education programs.
Fiscl analysts said the state's general fund budget
is expected to total $9.5 billion to $10 billion. That
compares to the current year's budget of slightly more
than $9.2 billion.
The school aid fund, which provides money for school
districts across Michigan, is forecast at another $10 bil-
lion, up from $9.8 billion in the current fiscal year.
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INFORMATION & RESERVATIONS
Kohl steps down
from party position
in wake of scandal
BERLIN (AP) - The web of secret
money transfers trapping Germany's
conservatives in a financing scandal
widened yesterday with allegations that
the French government of Francois
Mitterrand funneled millions of dollars
to support former Chancellor Helmut
Kohl's 1994 re-election.
The scandal - which has involved
money trading hands in suitcases, arms
deals stretching from Canada to Saudi
Arabia, and the suicide of a party
accountant -- took a further bizarre
twist yesterday after a fake statement
was faxed to news media saying Kohl
was ready to name anonymous donors
to the Christian Democratic party.
Kohl told the Frankfurter Allgemeire
Zeitung newspaper that the fax was a
forgery and reiteratedthat he would not
identify the donors from whom he has
admitted soliciting $1 million that was
kept off party books.
"I don't have the intention to make
such a statement," Kohl was quoted as
His refusal to name names has
become the key issue in the scandal.
Parliament has launched an inquiry to
examine whether bribes or kickbacks
influenced government decisions under
Kohl, who was chancellor from 1982-
98, and he also is the subject of a crim-
Kohl stepped down as honorary air-
man of the Christian Democratic Party
last week under pressure from party
leaders who demanded he identify the
donors. Some party officials have even
hinted of possible legal action against
Kohl to compel him to reveal the
Angela Merkel, party secretary-gen-
eral, was meeting with senior party
leaders yesterday evening to reviewtan
audit of the party's finances. She told
reporters that accountants were unable
to clarify where $5.7 million in party
money had come from, although -$1
mrillion were believed to be from Kohls
The audit was to be made public
today, but Merkel said it revealed noth-
ing new about the part of the scandal
disclosed over the weekend involving
Mitterand, who died in 1996, and the
French oil company Elf-Aquitaine.
ARD television reported Saturday
that Mitterrand arranged payment, of
$15.7 million to the Christian
Democrats and that the money was
transferred as part of alleged bribes
totaling $44 million paid by Elf-
Aquitaine for its 1992 purchase of
the former East German Leuna
The alleged bribes have long been
the subject of investigation by Swiss
and French prosecutors.
Officials in the German chancel-
lor's office also have been searching
for missing government files on the
privatization deal sought by parlia-
ment as part of its inquiry into the
scandal. This week, the government
said it would appoint a special
investigator to track down what hap-
pened to the files.
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THE ANNUAL Howard R. March Lecture
delivered by: MELBA TOLLIVER 1999-
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Ms. Tolliver speaks about her 3 decades of
witnessing extraordinary changes in local
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January 27, 2000
Michigan Union - Anderson Room D'
Presented by the Department of
Markley fire guts room,
forces student evacuation
Continued from Page 1A
who do not leave their rooms,
regardless of whether the alarm is
Brown said that the penalties for
students who do not evacuate vary.
"Upon an incident report being
filed, the housing judiciary council's
sanctions are determined by the indi-
vidual's situation," Brown said. One
possible penalty is a $50 fine. Brown
could not comment on the frequency
with which penalties are given.
Brown also said that sprinkler sys-
tems, although not mandatory, have
been installed in strategic locations
in some residence halls, such as food
and pointed out that sprinklers were
installed on the eighth and ninth
floors of South Quad Residence-Hall
during 1994 renovations.
Friday's fire at Markley caused
smoke damage and "extensive dam-
age to personal belongings" in the
room where the fire began, Brown
said, and "too much damage" to
allow the room's two female Tesi-
dents to return for anything but'the
removal of undamaged belongings.
Students at Seton Hall will 'be
allowed to return to Boland 'al
today, according to written state-
ments from Seton Hall University.
The cause of the fire there has not
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