Rick Pluta


Michigan's two Democratic United States senators have given their OK for the nomination of Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen to a federal appeals court to go forward.

President Trump nominated Joan Larsen to the Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals in May.

There were complaints Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters were holding up the process by invoking a Senate privilege. The privilege allows home state senators to give the OK before a judicial appointment can go forward.

Uncertainty in Washington about the future of the Affordable Care Act is leaving many Michigan consumers in the dark on how much they will paying for health coverage next year.

President Trump is threatening to withhold payments to insurance companies that help make coverage affordable for people who buy their own health insurance. More than 300 thousand people in Michigan buy their coverage on exchanges set up under Obamacare.


Class-action lawsuits against state and local officials involved in the Flint water crisis will go forward. A federal appeals court reinstated claims against officials all the way up to Governor Rick Snyder.

   The court dismissed claims against Governor Snyder in his official capacity, and against the departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services.  But plaintiff attorney Deborah LaBelle says the governor could still be found liable for the drinking water crisis.


   A judge says the state cannot reimburse private and parochial schools for any expenses, even if they’re the result of state mandates.

   The judge was responding to a legal challenge to the state budget.

A provision in the state budget allows private and parochial schools to be reimbursed for state-required health and safety requirements. The challenge says that runs afoul of the state constitution, which bans direct or indirect public funding for private or parochial schools. 

   The judge’s opinion says the ban is not religious discrimination.


Eleven former employees are charged with falsifying records at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

The charges are related to a neglect scandal at the facility.

A report by the state Auditor General found the veterans home was chronically understaffed and failed to investigate instances of abuse and neglect.

Attorney General Bill Schuette then launched a criminal investigation, which found workers were writing down room and safety checks that never happened.

Schuette says that endangered patients.

A state agency has asked courts in three counties to dismiss 186 bench warrants against people accused of unemployment The state could next ask for the charges to be dismissed altogether.


Michigan’s monthly jobless rate has dropped to its lowest rate in 17 years. That has more to do with fewer people looking for work than new hiring.

The pool of people who are employed hunting for jobs fell by 29 thousand last month. That helped drive the jobless rate down to three-point-eight percent.

   But Bruce Weaver with the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information says hiring is up over the past 12 months, especially in business services, temp work, and construction.  



The Michigan Court of Appeals has dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed against the state by people who were wrongly accused of ripping off the unemployment system.

The appeals court said three plaintiffs representing all the people who were wrongly accused waited too long to file the legal action.

   Jennifer Lord is an attorney for the plaintiffs. She says the state is abusing a legal technicality to evade responsibility. She says the next stop is the Michigan Supreme Court.


The operators of the Mackinac Bridge are warning there could be big traffic backups the morning of Labor Day.

   The bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic for about five and a half hours during the annual Labor Day bridge walk. That’s because of security concerns. The decision was made after terrorists drove cars and trucks into crowds in London, Stockholm, and Paris.

   Bill Gnodtke chairs the Mackinac Bridge Authority. He says it’s become harder to guarantee safety where large crowds gather.

   “So, we’re all working as hard and diligently as we can.”


Michigan’s education chief forecasts some contentious negotiations with federal officials on the state’s plans for identifying and helping struggling schools.

   This is part of an overhaul of state and federal education policies.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act replaced No Child Left Behind. It includes rules on grading schools so parents can get a sense of how schools are performing, and for intervening in struggling schools.