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March 19, 2010 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-03-19

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, March 19, 2010-

NEWS BRIEFS
LANSING
State House raises
rental car fees to
fund Pure Mich.
The Michigan House has
passed legislation that would add
a $2.50 daily charge on vehicles
rented near airports to help pay
for a popular tourism advertising
campaign.
The main bill in the package
to fund the Pure Michigan cam-
paign passed the Democrat-led
House by a 56-52 vote yesterday
mostly along party lines. The
package would let the state loan
up to $20 million to the campaign
and repay it with revenue from
the rental fees.
The bills now go to the Repub-
lican-led Senate, which hasn't
supported the idea of using a new
rental car fee to fund tourism pro-
motion.
Pure Michigan has about $5.4
million budgeted for this fiscal
year, down from $30 million last
year.
WASHINGTON
Obama backs new
immigration bill
drafted by Senators
President Barack Obama is
backing an immigration bill
outline drafted by two sena-
tors that says illegal immigrants
must admit they broke the law to
become citizens.
Obama says in a statement that
the outline of a bill Sen. Chuck
Schumer and Sen. Lindsey Gra-
ham are crafting addresses border
security and demands account-
ability from illegal immigrants
and employers who hire them.
He says the critical next step is
to translate their outline into leg-
islation.
Obama's statement comes just
three days before tens of thou-
sands of immigrants and their
supporters plan to rally in Wash-
ingtontopress the administration
and Congress to pass immigration
reform.
TEHRAN, Iran
Iran frees activists
for nation's holiday
Iran released a prominent
opposition politician as well as
three activists and a filmmaker
detained for suspected involve-
ment in the country's postelection
turmoil, a relative and local media
said yesterday.
Mohsen Mirdamadi, the leader
of the country's biggest reformist
party, the Islamic Iran Participa-
tion Front, was temporarily freed
late Wednesday on $450,000 bail,
his son Ali told The Associated
Press.
Iran traditionally releases
some prisoners before the New
Year holiday, which begins March
21 and normally ends April 4.
While the semiofficial ISNA news
agency said Mirdamadi's release
came within the framework of the
holiday leaves, it also can be seen

a part of an effort by the Iranian
government to ease tensions in
the country.
WASHINGTON
Obama postpones
trip to Asia until
health care vote
President Barack Obama has
postponed his trip to Asia until
June so he can stay in Washing-
ton for a possible vote Sunday on
his health care overhaul.
White House spokesman
Robert Gibbs said yesterday the
president is disappointed and
regrets having to delay his vis-
its to Indonesia and Australia
but has told the leaders of those
nations that health care is a cru-
cial priority.
"The president believes right
now, the place for him to be is in
Washington seeing this through,"
Gibbs said.
obama had already delayed the
trip to Indonesia and Australia,
pushing back a departure plan
for yesterday until Sunday so he
could help Democrats on Capitol
Hill rallylast-minutevotes for the
plan.
White House staff had tried to
find a way to push the trip back
another few days, but by yester-
day morning, it was clear the
only way the president could still
travel to Australia and Indonesia
was if he left early Sunday after-
noon.
-Compiled from
Daily wire reports

Sudanese gov. and Darfur
rebel groups sign ceasefire

Agreement to allow
for permanent peace
negotiations
DOHA, Qatar (AP) - Sudan's
government and a collection of
Darfur rebel groups signed a
cease-fire yesterday - the second
such deal in less than a month
with a key rebel faction - open-
ing the way for political nego-
tiations ahead of a full peace
agreement.
The Sudanese government now
has truces with two major rebel
blocs, leaving mainly the Sudan
ACLU
From Page 1
man - which was a collaboration
between the ACLU of Michigan, the
University's undergraduate chapter
of ACLU, the University Law School
chapter of ACLU and the Washt-
enaw County ACLU - requests that
canvassing in the residence halls
be allowed as an avenue through
which students may express their
political opinions.
"Public universities should be
places where students are encour-
aged to engage in the political
process and where protection of
the free exchange of ideas is at its
zenith," the letter states.
As of yesterday, University offi-
cials had not yet responded to the
ACLU's letter, according to Uni-
versity spokesperson Rick Fitzger-
ald. He said he couldn't give an
exact time for when administra-
tors will respond to the proposal.
Bennett Stein, a board member
for the University's ACLU chap-
ter, said in an interview yesterday
that the group decided to send the
letter because "every student has
rights and they should not lose
those rights when they decide to
live in the dorms."
University Housing's policy on
advertising and soliciting states
that only "elected officials, candi-
dates for public or student office
and non-partisan activities involv-
ing voter registration are permit-
ted to go door-to-door in residence

Liberation Movement led by Par-
is-based Abdelwahid Elnur on the
outside - though the history of
the conflict has been marked by
failed peace agreements.
Arduous negotiations on power
and resource sharing, the main
demand of the rebels, still lie
ahead.
Yesterday's truce was with the
newly formed Liberation and
Justice Movement, an umbrella
organization of several smaller
rebel groups, including some who
broke away from the SLM.
Ibrahim Gambari, the joint
special representative of the U.N.
and the African Union in Dar-
halls, with permission from the
Housing Administration Office,"
according to the University Hous-
ing website.
The University has this policy
to allow for an atmosphere that
is "conducive to studying, resting,
relaxing and socializing," accord-
ing to the website.
During the 2008 elections,
members of the University's chap-
ter of College Democrats were pro-
hibited fromgoingdoor-to-door in
residence halls in order to regis-
ter students to vote. But after the
group complained that this policy
was unconstitutional, the Univer-
sity modified the policy by allow-
ing members of the organization
to canvass in their own residence
halls, according to Michael Stein-
berg, legal director of the ACLU of
Michigan.
"But (the University hasn't)
changed the written rules," Stein-
berg said.
Neither the College Democrats
nor the College Republicans are
currently involved in the ACLU's
initiative but the chairs of both
organizations said they support it.
"There is nothing more impor-
tant to a free, democratic soci-
ety than free expression - chief
among which is political speech,"
Brendan Campell, chair of the
University's chapter of College
Democrats, said.
Charles Bogren, co-chair of the
University's chapter of College
Republicans, shared similar senti-
ments regarding the policy.

fur, told the ceremony that the
signing "represents yet another
important milestone in the road
toward the destination of an all
inclusive and comprehensive
peace agreement that should
usher in durable peace and stabil-
ity in Darfur."
He warned, however, that the
key to the agreement was the
commitment of all parties to the
implementation.
Sudan's Vice President Ali
Osman Taha vowed at the cere-
mony that his government would
be fully committed to pushing
forward with the political talks to
reach final peace agreement.
"It is important because people
should have the opportunity to be
involved in the political process,"
Bogren said. "I think it's impor-
tant because a lot of times college
is the first time people really have
the opportunity to learn more
about the political process and
really develop their opinions."
The letter sent to Coleman also
points out that University Hous-
ing recently sent an e-mail to resi-
dents stating specific times that
Michigan Student Assembly and
LSA Student Government candi-
dates will be allowed to campaign
in the residence halls.
According to the March 12
e-mail, students running for MSA
and LSA-SG positions and their
campaign managers are allowed to
canvass in the residence halls from
March 14 to March 21 from 12 p.m.
to7p.m.
The ACLU letter states that
this could be an indication that
the University will adopt a similar
policy next semester in regards to
the midterm congressional elec-
tions by allowing only candidates
and their campaign managers to
canvass in the residence halls.
Steinberg said that if the Uni-
versity chooses to adopt ACLU's
policy proposal, the ACLU will be
open to negotiations on the pol-
icy, including the time students
would be able to canvass in the
dorms. He also said ACLU stu-
dent members would stay clear of
residence hall doors that have "no
campaigning" signs.

Mich. Senate
to investigate
tax credits for
businesses

Hearings come after
convicted embezzler
netted tax credit
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The
Michigan Senate will begin hold-
ing hearings next week to inves-
tigate past state tax credits after
a convicted embezzler out on
parole snagged one for his busi-
ness.
State police arrested RASCO
CEO Richard A. Short on Wednes-
day, a day after the 57-year-old
shared the stage with Gov. Jen-
nifer Granholm as she announced
RASCO would get $9.1 million in
tax credits for setting up its head-
quarters in Flint.
Short is being held in the Gen-
esee County Jail. He'll likely
be charged Thursday or Friday
with violating the conditions
of his parole, state Corrections
spokesman Russ Marlan said
yesterday.
"We did find some additional
things of concern to us when we
searched his home yesterday. So
there may be some additional
charges that come from that,"
Marlan added. He declined to say
what was found.
If the parole board finds Short
in violation, he could be returned

to prison to complete the year
remaining on his sentence or be
placed back on parole, possibly
with additional conditions such as
a tether.
Short was convicted in 2002 of
embezzling money from Harding
Energy Inc. of Muskegon County's
Norton Shores and sentenced to
at least two years in prison. He
also pleaded guilty in 2002 to ear-
lier fraud charges in Oakland and
Genesee counties, according to
Corrections Department and state
police records.
He was paroled in April 2004,
but was returned to prison the
following February for violat-
ing his parole with additional
fraudulent activities, Marlan
said. He has been out on parole
since January 2007. His parole
was recently extended to Janu-
ary 2011 because he hasn't repaid
$96,000 he owes in restitution,
Marlan said.
Short's ability to get a busi-
ness tax credit for a company he
apparently was running out of
his home in a trailer park deeply
embarrassed the state's eco-
nomic development officials. His
prison record and the fact that
he's on parole is easily accessi-
ble on the Internet in the state's
searchable offender tracking
database.

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