Rick Pluta

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A court says a state law makes it too hard for citizen-led petition drives to adopt new laws and amendments to the Michigan constitution.

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General Motors announced Monday that it will begin production of driverless cars and trucks that will be safer on the road and will not emit harmful greenhouse gasses.

GM President Mark Ruess says G-M and other carmakers need to be ready for driverless electric vehicles to become the standard mode of transportation in the US.

“We are committed to making sure that Michigan remains at the epicenter of the global automotive industry as we continue our journey together toward an electrified future.”

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver the official Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

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A liberal advocacy group has taken an early step to put a proposed amendment to the state constitution on the ballot this year. It would place new controls on lobbying state elected officials.

The proposed amendment is lengthy – eight pages. It includes limits on gifts and meals for state elected officials and senior staffers. It would require logs of meetings, phone calls and other communications between lobbyists and lawmakers. Also. a two-year period before a legislator could become a paid lobbyist.

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Republican leaders in the Legislature say they are ready to adopt a petition-initiated bill to place new restrictions on abortion.
                Republicans are looking to press the limits of the Roe versus Wade decision.

Republicans in the Legislature are waiting for state elections officials to certify the petition signatures are valid. The initiative would outlaw the procedure known medically as dilation and evacuation.
                House Speaker Lee Chatfield says he knows the votes are there because the House has already adopted an almost identical bill.

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The state Senate will retain outside legal counsel to help investigate allegations of sexual harassment against a Republican lawmaker.

This is the second instance of harassment accusations against Senator Peter Lucido.

Democratic state Senator Mallory McMorrow says she decided to speak out to follow the example of a young journalist who shared her first-person account of alleged harassment by Lucido.

McMorrow says she had an encounter with Lucido during orientation training in 2018. She says Lucido put his hand on her lower back and commented on her looks.

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The head of the Michigan State Police says criminal charges may be part of the department’s response to what appears to be falsified results of field breathalyzer tests.
               

State Police Colonel Joe Gaspar testified before the state Senate Judiciary Committee – which is looking into the results of an audit that found some breathalyzer results were falsified by lab technicians.
                Gaspar says it’s impossible to tell how many convictions could be affected.

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A Republican state senator faces a formal investigation into whether he sexually harassed a young journalist seeking an interview.

       Senator Peter Lucido has already apologized for what he calls “a misunderstanding.”

The reporter’s account was published online in Michigan Advance. She says Lucido made the comments in front of a boys high school group visiting the state Capitol. Her story quotes Lucido as saying; “You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you.”

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The state Senate Republican leader has put the sales tax on the table as a possible way to fund road repairs.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and legislative leaders have re-started talks on how to pay for roads.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says he wants Michigan’s sales tax to be part of the discussions. Shirkey says that could be either expanding the list of what can be taxed. Or increasing the sales tax rate, which is currently six cents on the dollar.

Shirkey says the sales tax would be a steady source of revenue.
 

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A liberal advocacy group argued today that the state Supreme Court should give it access to records from the state attorney general’s office.
 

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