Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

A roundup of recent Michigan newspaper editorials

Associated Press Updated: March 9, 2015 at 10:02 am
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Lansing State Journal. Feb. 28.

Fight against Asian carp far from done

Michigan's congressional delegation is keeping concern about Asian carp high on its list of priorities.

That's befitting lawmakers from the Great Lakes State, who serve Michiganders well by pressing federal officials to do more to keep the invasive species out of Lake Michigan and the rest of the lakes.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp., have proposed legislation that would help create a new barrier to the Asian carp. The legislation also would call for a long-term plan for keeping the invaders out of the Great Lakes. It does not set funding or spell out specific actions, but it may help set a deadline and reduce bureaucratic logjams.

In January 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a report on methods for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. It listed several alternatives for keeping the flying fish from entering Lake Michigan through Chicago's system of canals and rivers, ranging from continuing with the electric barriers now in use to recreating a physical separation between the waterways and the lakes, which could cost up to $18 billion.

Chicago and Illinois fight energetically against any major changes to their waterways, which provide freight routes.

Yet the majestic Great Lakes must be well protected from the carp, which are voracious eaters known to disrupt the ecosystem and damage populations of native fish wherever they go. The carp have been advancing up the Mississippi River basin since the 1970s and are already in Illinois waterways. One report suggested that as few as 10 carp making it into the Lake Michigan would have a 50 percent chance of becoming a permanent population. That's unacceptable.

The proposed federal budget calls for spending $28 million to finish a third electric barrier near Chicago, but very little to explore what could be done at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, a site environmental activists now consider a priority in stopping the Asian carp.

Congress would still have to authorize funding for any new efforts to stop the Asian carp, but the new bill at least tells the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers it would have six months to come up with a cost estimate and schedule for digging a new channel at the lock and dam with technology needed to stop the carp.

Fourteen of Michigan's 16-member delegation are supporting the bill. All mid-Michigan lawmakers (except Rep. Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township) are on board. This is a fight that will last a long time. Michigan must not give up.

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Midland Daily News. March 2.

Fighting cybercrime

Electronic crime is on the rise.

Look no further than the recent high-profile hacks on Target and Home Depot computer systems as examples.

In Michigan, there are more than 730,000 attempted cyberattacks daily and officials say the number is rising.

To fight this, Gov. Rick Snyder is proposing an additional $7 million in funding for security for the fiscal year starting in October.

The increase would go toward boosting protection of the state's computer systems, networks and data. The state now spends about $22 million a year, or 3 percent of the total information technology budget, on cyber security. Michigan's Legislature would have to approve the $7 million as part of a package of pending budget bills.

The targeted defense is needed as major attacks rise. Detroit saw a major breach that exposed personal information on 1,700 city employees. The breach came when an employee clicked a malicious email.

Michigan's work in the field is also drawing attention from the federal government as the state will be home to one of the first National Guard cyber protection teams.

But aside from our leaders and experts working on the problem, everyone needs to be aware of electronic security threats.

While some attacks may be particularly aggressive and hard to avoid, there are things people can do in their daily digital lives to protect themselves.

The Department of Homeland Security offered these tips:

— Set strong passwords, change them regularly and don't share them with anyone. Do not include names, pet names or any well-known information in passwords and avoid common phrases. Replacing letters with symbols can help make a password stronger as well, as well as using upper and lower case letters.

— Keep operating systems, browsers and other critical software up to date.

— Use privacy settings and limit the amount of personal information posted online.

— Be cautious about offers online — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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The Mining Journal (Marquette). March 3.

Legislative effort to improve voting turnout makes sense

We like an effort slowly taking shape in the state Legislature that, if successful, will make it easier for people to vote.

And with voter numbers slipping over the years, it makes good sense to at least try to stem the tide.

In the 2014 midterm election, 41.6 percent of Michigan's voting-age population turned out, according to the Michigan Secretary of State website. That's a drop from 50.7 percent in the midterm election of 2006 and 42.9 percent in 2010.

To try to change that, state Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren, recently introduced an amendment to the Michigan election law to allow for no-reason absentee voting.

That means voters would no longer need an excuse to get an absentee ballot.

Michigan is one of only 14 states that does not have early voting or no-reason absentee voting.

There are 28 states that offer both options, 33 states that have some form of early voting and three states — Washington, Oregon and Colorado — that have moved to all-mail voting.

State officials have tried to encourage voters by offering an email reminder system that citizens can sign up for that will alert them when an election is coming up, according to a spokesman for the Michigan Secretary of State.

Election officials are also increasing the amount of information available on Michigan's voting website.

Anything reasonable that increases the numbers of people actually casting ballots must be considered a positive step in the right direction.

This bill, insofar as what we can see to date, seems entirely reasonable.

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The Alpena News. March 3.

It's not the Republicans who won't compromise

President Barack Obama blames Republicans for gridlock in government. They just won't compromise, he claims.

Really? During just the couple of weeks Obama has vetoed the Keystone Pipeline bill, threatened to veto any GOP change in education laws and criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before knowing what that leader plans to say to Congress. He also has refused to consider any change in his immigration policy, even if that leads to a confrontation that could block homeland security funding.

All this, it should be noted, occurred months after he said he would pursue some initiatives, including his war on coal, without even consulting Congress.

Obama is right about one thing: There is a problem with ultra-partisanship blocking compromise in Washington.

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