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Governor Whitmer signs first bill into law to preserve U.P. judgeship

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer 2019 headshot
Posted at 11:19 AM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 11:30:58-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The first law enacted by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will keep intact a Menominee County judgeship that was going to be eliminated when the current judge retires March 31.

Whitmer signed the bill Thursday in a private ceremony attended by Upper Peninsula lawmakers and state Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement.

Whitmer says preserving the 95A District Court judgeship upon the retirement of Judge Jeffrey Barstow will help the community establish a drug treatment court to combat the opioid epidemic and ensure county residents can access the judicial system. The legislation won unanimous approval in the Republican-led Legislature.

A 2012 law eliminated more than 40 judgeships across Michigan through attrition at the recommendation of the Supreme Court's administrative office.