Rick Pluta

A global bottled water company is asking the state for permission to more than double how much water it’s withdrawing from the ground in west Michigan.

Nestle Waters is asking the state to set aside a seven-year-old agreement with environmental groups so it can add two production lines. That could boost its water withdrawal rate to 400 gallons a minute.

“What does this mean for the state of Michigan?,” wondered Jim Olson, a water rights attorney in Traverse City. “That’s a substantial amount of water.”

Every infant and toddler in Michigan should be tested for lead. That’s one of the recommendations of a task force looking for ways to eliminate childhood lead poisoning.

Testing of infants and two-year-olds would catch early exposure. But the task force wasn’t just looking for ways to help kids poisoned by lead. It wants to track where lead has contaminated homes, day care centers and other structures.

Governor Rick Snyder and state environmental officials have declared western Lake Erie is an “impaired” waterway that needs to be cleaned up.

The problem is algae blooms that threaten plants and wildlife. The blooms are caused largely by phosphorous runoff from agricultural fertilizers. Two years ago, the algae blooms forced Toledo to declare a drinking water emergency.

Mike Alexander is with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. He says Michigan and other states and Canadian provinces that border western Lake Erie are already working on the problem.

Ann Arbor was a stop as President Obama barnstormed battleground states today to urge people to get out and vote for Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democratic ticket.

The president spoke at a University of Michigan stadium packed with thousands of enthusiastic supporters. He said the nation’s economic recovery and the future of the auto industry and manufacturing are at stake.

   The president said Republican nominee Donald Trump’s words and behavior have disqualified him.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence returned to Michigan today  to campaign for the Republican ticket, and he’ll be back tomorrow  for a rally in Holland.

The Indiana governor was put on the ticket to help win the industrial Midwest and he says that goal is within reach.  Pence said Trump’s message on trade deals and the economy resonates in Michigan.

       At an airport rally in Lansing, Pence said the race is tightening -- and Donald Trump could be the first Republican nominee to win Michigan since 1988.

The state agency responsible for Michigan’s medical marijuana program says changes are in store. That’s after an audit found it’s not tracking doctors who approve medical marijuana cards.        

The report by the state Auditor General found one doctor was responsible for one-fifth of all the cards approved. Another 22 doctors approved more than half of all medical marijuana cards.

Attorneys who say voters should be allowed take selfies with their ballots are back in court. They still hope to block a state ban on the practice -- with just a week to go before Election Day.

There’s a legal scramble on after a lower court in Michigan joined federal courts in other states that struck down similar rules as violations of free speech rights. Then a federal appeals court restored Michigan’s ban. 

“There’s still time to fix it.” (laughs)

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Governor Rick Snyder took his veto pen to a plan adopted by the Legislature to change how the state raises money for the Medicaid program.

He was concerned the federal government would reject it. That would have put many millions of dollars in federal money for Medicaid at risk.

Business groups, in particular, have been frustrated with the current tax on health insurance claims. They say it drives up the cost of employee health coverage.

Michigan is asking a federal appeals court to restore the state’s ban on people taking “selfies” with their ballots on Election Day.

A federal judge ruled earlier this week that Michigan’s “ballot selfies” ban violates First Amendment free speech rights.

Fred Woodhams is a spokesman for the state Bureau of Elections. He says the law that says no one can show their filled-out ballot to another person protects voters. “We believe the law ensures Michigan residents can cast a ballot free of outside influence.

Governor Rick Snyder faces a decision soon on whether to sign or veto a bill he doesn’t like.

It deals with how the state raises money for Medicaid.

The Legislature adopted bills to scrap an unpopular tax on health insurance claims, and replace it with a new, complicated plan to match the federal contribution to the Medicaid program.

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