Rick Pluta

Capitol Bureau Chief and Reporter

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

WKAR - Off The Record

The 1998 Democratic nominee for governor of Michigan says he may try again next year. Well-known trial attorney Geoffrey Fieger said so Friday on statewide TV.

Flickr User Kevin Simmons / https://flic.kr/p/RVnLXM

There was a big rally at the state Capitol Wednesday to support improved mental health services and to oppose Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to overhaul how those services are paid for.

Michigan House Democrats

There were tears and hugs on the floor of the state House today as colleagues got word that state Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) took his life – one day after his second arrest on a charge of drunk driving.

Flickr User walknboston http://bit.ly/2qjg7hN

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen has been chosen by President Trump to serve on the Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals. Trump once put Larsen on his list of judges and lawyers he would consider naming to the US Supreme Court.

Flickr User Paul / https://flic.kr/p/5F9nQK

A man convicted of murder based on DNA evidence says he deserved to have his own court-appointed DNA expert as part of the defense team. The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether he’s right.

Tanya Harris had been dead 20 years -- she was strangled and her body left in a vacant building -- when Johnny Ray Kennedy was convicted of her murder based on DNA evidence.

Flickr user Paul Sableman / https://flic.kr/p/9GJeqn

A small crowd that held a May Day rally in front of the state Capitol has a big ambition – to organize ballot campaigns that will support each other. The groups include efforts to legalize marijuana in Michigan, shut down an oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, and to change the redistricting process.

Flickr user City Caucus / https://flic.kr/p/DbpS5R

Teachers don’t have to wait if they want to drop out of their union. That ruling was handed down Wednesday by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The court said the Michigan Education Association can’t force teachers who want to leave to wait until an August “opt-out period.”

           

The ruling would also apply to other unions that would want to restrict when members could exit.

 

Flickr user Steve Johnson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/artbystevejohnson/6307672876

After stops and starts, the state Legislature has finally adopted a bill to send $100 million dollars to Flint to replace lead pipes and other water infrastructure.

A dog in Michigan is not considered legally dangerous until it bites or attacks someone. That’s the word from the state Court of Appeals.

 

An Eaton County couple was charged with knowingly owning a dangerous animal after their dog, Roscoe, got through a fence and attacked a lawn care worker employed by a neighbor. The dog was shot to death by a police officer called to the scene, who said he felt threatened.

 

It’s going to be a quicker trip for many people traveling between southern and northern Michigan. Beginning next week, speed limits parts of I-75, US-127, and US-131 will go from 70 miles an hour to 75.

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