Rick Pluta


The Legislature has sent a bill to Governor Rick Snyder that forbids local governments from adopting ordinances dealing with questions employers may ask in job interviews.

It’s an effort to preempt local rules that bar asking about salary histories and criminal backgrounds.

There are no such local regulations in Michigan, but they have been adopted in other states.

Democratic state Representative Jeremy Moss was a “no” vote. He says these decisions belong with local elected officials.


The state House has approved bills that would allow for extremely sick or frail prisoners to be paroled for medical reasons, and moved to a secure hospital or nursing home.

   It’s an emerging issue as the state’s prison population grows older.

Prisons are dealing with inmates who have dementia, advanced stages of cancer, and chronic conditions that leave them unable to care for themselves outside a hospital or nursing home.

   Treating prisoners with these conditions inside a prison is difficult and expensive, supporters say.


Tuition-free community college for all is one of the priorities rolled out today (Mon.) by state House Democrats.

   The Democrats’ plans create several friction points with Republicans.

And Republicans control the House. That means the Democrats’ ideas are not likely to get hearings. But the agenda also serves as an election year platform.

   House Democratic Leader Sam Singh used the rollout to take aim at Republican leadership during the Governor Rick Snyder years in Lansing.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says the special prosecutor looking into MSU’s handling of abuse allegations is independent of his office.

But that’s not what the contract says.

The agreement with special prosecutor William Forsyth says he reports directly to and must clear major decisions with Schuette.

Schuette says that’s just standard contract language for special attorneys retained by his office. Schuette says the highly respected former Kent County prosecutor has no specific orders from his office.

   “He’s the boss. He’s running the show.”


Public universities might risk losing a portion of their state funding for failing to meet benchmarks to prevent campus sexual misconduct.

       That’s part of a budget proposal that’s begun working its way through the Legislature.

The plan is to hold back funding for universities that don’t meet all the requirements of Title Nine and other programs to prevent campus sexual misconduct.

A ballot campaign will begin gathering signatures to add a voting rights amendment to the state constitution.

If the effort gathers enough signatures, the question will go on the November ballot for voters to decide.

The amendment would make it easier to cast an early ballot, or vote absentee. It would preserve the right to easily cast a straight-party ballot with a single mark.

The effort is backed by the ACLU, the Detroit Branch of the N-double-A-C-P, and the League of Women Voters. Kary Moss is with the ACLU.


Michigan State University has begun the process to fire the supervisor of former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

MSU’s interim president says the dean of the school of osteopathic medicine didn’t exert appropriate control over Nassar’s conduct.

Nassar is sentenced to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing athletes who were his patients.

The state will end its troubled four-year experiment with using private companies for food services in prisons.

   He rolled out his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year.

Governor Snyder said contracts with two private vendors have not produced promised savings. And he said the current vendor wanted more money to renew the arrangement. 

“I believe it’s appropriate to say that the benefits of continuing down that path don’t outweigh the cost, and that we should transition back to doing it in house.”


Some state lawmakers want to end the practice of allowing police agencies to seize and hold onto cash, cars, and other assets that they think might have played a role in illegal activity.

   State law allows police departments to keep seized assets even if a suspect is never charged or convicted of a crime.

It happened about 500 times in 2016 – people who were never convicted of a crime still lost their seized property.


LGBT rights groups are blasting Governor Rick Snyder’s appointment of an anti-gay minister to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

The Civil Rights Commission adjudicates claims of housing and employment discrimination. It’s currently embroiled in a controversy over whether its protections should be extended to LGBTpeople.

   Stephanie White of Equality Michigan says that makes the appointment of Pentecostal Bishop Ira Combs particularly ill-timed.