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The Latest: Michigan bill prohibits disclosure of nonprofit

December 18, 2018

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on developments during the Michigan Legislature’s lame-duck session (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

A bill moving forward in Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature is designed to keep secret the identity of donors who give money to nonprofits, including organizations involved in elections.

Such groups running issue ads already do not have to disclose their donors. But the legislation approved Tuesday in a House committee would prohibit public agencies from trying to force disclosure or from releasing personal information without permission.

The proposed law would not preclude a lawful warrant being used to obtain information.

Supporters say the bill would protect people’s rights of association.

Democratic Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel has criticized the bill, saying it would hurt her ability to investigate fraudulent charities and calling it a “ham-handed effort to shield dark money.”

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11:50 a.m.

A former aide to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is urging him to veto legislation that would make it harder to initiate Michigan ballot measures, should it reach his desk.

Bill Rustem, Snyder’s ex-strategy director, issued an open letter to Snyder Tuesday. It was also signed by Doug Ross, a former gubernatorial candidate who worked in Democratic Gov. Jim Blanchard’s administration.

Rustem led the 1976 ballot drive for Michigan’s 10-cent bottle deposit law. Ross led a 1974 ballot initiative to repeal a sales tax on food and medicine.

The House-passed bill, pending in the Senate, would allow no more than 15 percent of initiative signatures to come from a congressional district.

Rustem and Ross say the limit would “move the right to petition the government beyond the practical reach of its citizens.”

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12:25 a.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is the wild card in Republican lawmakers’ attempt to dilute the authority of newly elected Democrats.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation aimed at taking power from his Democratic successor. But Snyder is not certain to go along with bills that would strip power from the incoming Democratic secretary of state and let GOP lawmakers intervene in lawsuits at a time when a Democrat will lead the attorney general’s office.

Snyder is more pragmatic and has not always gotten behind GOP lawmakers’ agenda in his eight-year tenure.

Democrats in Michigan are warning Snyder that signing the bills could tar his legacy but he says he does not think about that.

He says he signs legislation if “it’s the best public policy interest of our state.”

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