Rick Pluta

Creative Commons file photo of Donald Trump.
Michael Vadon via Wikimedia | CC BY 4.0 / Wikimedia.org

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump kept a promise on Wednesday to visit Flint. But he was not greeted warmly in a city that’s struggling with a water crisis caused by government dysfunction.

Trump toured Flint’s water treatment plant and then traveled to an inner city church.

Trump tried to deliver an address from prepared remarks, where he said he was the person to fix Flint’s water crisis and economic troubles.

File photo: Supporters wave campaign signs at an August Donald Trump rally in Dimondale, MI.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Dozens of demonstrators lined a highway near the Flint Water plant to be visited by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The crowd included both supporters and opponents.

Leslie Wilson was wearing a “Flint Lives Matter” t-shirt and wore a string of empty plastic water bottles around her waist.

She says she doesn’t think Trump really cares about the city’s water crisis, or helping Flint.

Black ribbon and a spray of flowers cover the desk of late state Rep. Peter Pettalia, who died Monday evening in a motorcycle accident on his way to the legislative session in Lansing.
Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio Network

There are now two desks on the floor of the state House draped with black ribbon and bedecked with flowers.

Lawmakers returned to the state Capitol Tuesday to the news that state Representative Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle) was killed Monday evening in a motorcycle crash.

The desk of state Representative Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) also remains vacant after she died this summer from a heart attack.

A federal appeals court has upheld Michigan’s emergency manager law. As part of the decision, a panel of judges held there is no fundamental right to vote for local government officials.

The ruling said states can decide whether local officials are elected or appointed.

The court also found the state has a legitimate interest in getting financially struggling cities and school districts back on track.

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration cheered the ruling.

Michigan capitol building
Smpage09 via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

The state House could send bills to Governor Rick Snyder this week that would require medical marijuana dispensaries to be licensed and pay taxes.

The bills have been in the works for nearly a year.

The state Senate adopted the measures suddenly last week and the House appears poised to act on them.

These new rules are supposed to deal with holes and confusion in the 2008 citizens’ initiative that allowed medical marijuana.

Michigan voters will still be able to cast a straight-ticket ballot in November. The US Supreme Court settled the question today by refusing to intervene in the case.

The straight-ticket option allows voters to use a single mark on the ballot to support a political party’s entire slate of candidates. About half the state’s voters use it, Democrats more often than Republicans.

The decision was a loss for Republicans, who’ve been trying to ban the practice for years.          

Hilary Farrell

Michigan voters will continue to have the option of using one mark on the ballot to support a political party’s entire slate of candidates in November.

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request to reverse two lower courts and allow a ban on straight-ticket voting to take effect.

Mark Brewer is one the attorneys who challenged Michigan’s ban on straight-ticket voting. He called it a victory for voters.

Medical marijuana shop in Denver.
O'dea via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

Medical marijuana clinics in Michigan would have to be licensed and pay sales taxes under bills adopted by the state Senate.

The licensing would be handled by local governments, which could also set conditions such as hours of operation or where the clinics can be located.

The Senate votes were a surprise as the question of how to deal with the proliferation of medical marijuana clinics has languished for months.

Tim Evanson via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

A lawsuit says Michigan is short-changing local governments $4 billion a year.

If it succeeds, it would blow a giant hole in the state budget and send legislators and state budget officials scrambling to find a fix.

The legal action was filed by public interest attorneys and local government officials.

It says the state has been violating the Headlee Amendment to the state constitution by denying local governments their fair share of state sales tax revenue.

Michigan capitol building
Smpage09 via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

Governor Rick Snyder’s new environmental protection chief goes before a state Senate committee for a confirmation hearing.

But Department of Environmental Quality Director Heidi Grether faces little possibility that her new job is in jeopardy.

Heidi Grether’s predecessor, Dan Wyant, resigned over the Flint water crisis, and the DEQ was run on an interim basis by Keith Creigh, who has returned to his job running the state Department of Natural Resources.

Grether will likely face questions on how she’ll restore confidence in the Department of Environmental Quality.