Rick Pluta

   Governor Rick Snyder has named his legal advisor to the Michigan Supreme Court. The state’s newest Supreme Court justice says she may have to sit out some cases.

As the governor’s legal counsel, Beth Clement has played a role in some decisions that are now being litigated. That would include cases related to the Flint water crisis. 

   “I’m aware of those potentials and prepared to look at each one individually.”

   It is up to each Supreme Court justice to decide whether a conflict exists that requires them to step away from a case.

A downturn in the economy would quickly drain the state’s “rainy day” savings.

   That’s the determination of an independent analysis.

Michigan’s “rainy day” fund can help the state weather a recession without deep cuts or tax hikes. But that requires lawmakers to deposit generously when times are good.

   Craig Theil is with the non-partisan Citizens Research Council. He says lawmakers tend to focus on boosting funding for services or cutting taxes when there’s a revenue windfall.

State officials say they’re growing increasingly frustrated as Enbridge Energy reports new spots where Line Five has exposed metal. Line Five runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac between lakes Huron and Michigan.

Governor Rick Snyder released a statement following Enbridge’s latest report. He says there’s no imminent threat to the Great Lakes, but he says there are “significant concerns” for the long term. 

mi.gov

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is stepping away from leading a petition drive to switch to a part-time Legislature. That further fuels speculation he’s getting ready to run for governor next year.

The petition drive is widely seen as an effort to boost a candidacy for governor. But in his announcement about the change in leadership, Calley dropped no hints on his future plans.

Running a ballot campaign while running for governor would present a host of legal and practical problems, however.

wikipedia

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a spending bill that includes more money to prosecute members of his administration for their roles in the Flint water crisis. The $600,000 will go to state Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office.

State Health and Human Services Department Director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells are among those charged. They face manslaughter charges related to a fatal outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.

Concealed guns could be carried in schools, churches and other places they’re currently banned under bills adopted Wednesday by the state Senate. The bills were adopted on largely party-line votes.

Republicans used the chance to clean up a loophole in the law to largely eliminate public concealed gun-free zones.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says he considers places such as schools, day cares and stadiums where people cannot currently legally carry a concealed pistol to be more dangerous.

wikipedia

The ACLU has asked a federal judge to release hundreds of Iraqis who are being detained by immigration authorities.

The Iraqis are fighting deportation orders. The detainees face deportation for crimes, many committed years ago. They’ve lived in the country lawfully since their convictions, and reported regularly to immigration officials before they were detained.

Miriam Aukerman is an ACLU attorney. She says the detainees have been held for as long as five months without ever seeing a judge.

The Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps is looking for a few good experts in internet security.

       The law creating the cyber-security team takes effect today.

The group will be made up entirely of volunteers who are credentialed dexperts in cyber-security. They will have to pass criminal background checks, and will have the same immunity from lawsuits as state employees.

A state lawmaker wants to require driver education in Michigan to include training on how to behave during police stops.

       He hopes it will reduce misunderstandings and conflicts.

State Representative Pete Lucido says there are already laws dealing with traffic stops. They deal with things like where drivers should pull over, keeping hands in plain sight, and what officers can ask for. But he says drivers are often unware of the rules, and the best practices for complying with them. And, he says, that can lead to problems.   

senatorjimmarleau.org

A state lawmaker faces questions for failing to explain why his campaign committee paid 114 thousand dollars he put on his personal credit card.

Elections officials say state Senator Jim Marleau failed to provide details on more than half of the payments. The Detroit Free Press reports that credit card statements show department store purchases, and travel expenses as he was also claiming the state reimbursement.

   Fred Woodhams is with the Michigan Bureau of Elections. He says the bureau is trying to get Marleau to make his reports current and complete.

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