Rick Pluta


The state House has adopted a bill to settle a controversy on what licensed mental health counselors are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do.

Cheers erupted from a packed gallery to celebrate the House action. The bill would circumvent proposed rule changes. Licensed counselors say the proposed changes would put thousands of them out of business. And they say it would rupture a mental health system that relies on them, in part because there’s a shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer continues to defend line item vetoes in budgets she otherwise approved last week.

         Whitmer also says it’s not too late to restore some of the spending.

       Cuts to human services as well as the Pure Michigan tourism promotion program are unpopular with Republicans and Democrats alike. The governor says her calls were tough, but necessary. She also says she’d prefer a more bipartisan approach.

       “I think this is an unprecedented time. It’s unfortunate. It’s not good for anyone, to be honest.”


Nearly three hundred mental health counselors filled a hearing room in Lansing today. Hundreds more rallied outside to oppose a proposed change in the state rules that govern their profession.

This has become a major controversy as the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs decides whether to change how licensed mental health counselors have operated in Michigan for the past three decades.  The counselors say the new rules would put thousands of them out of business.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer met today with legislative leaders to discuss what they might do now that the state budget is done.

This their first get-together since Whitmer’s sweeping vetoes of budgets that were sent to her by lawmakers.

It’s clear it will take more time for tempers to cool following the governor’s vetoes and orders that struck Republican and Democratic priorities. House Speaker Lee Chatfield said he’s still steamed that the vetoes seemed part of an overall strategy to get Republicans on board with a 45-cent-per gallon fuel tax increase.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer turned to a governor’s rarely used executive authority to finish up the new state budget. She then called for talks to resume on road funding.

Governor Whitmer used her veto pen to strike out 147 line items. She also asked for and got approval from a state board to move around almost 600  million dollars to better fit her budget priorities.

Whitmer says she struck one-time funds for roads from the budget because it’s not enough to fix the problem. And she says the Pure Michigan tourism campaign was a tough cut.


The Legislature has sent a bill to fund K-through-12 funding to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk. This is the first budget bill adopted with an October first deadline looming.

October first is the beginning of the state’s new fiscal year. Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey say with budget negotiations stalled, it’s time to force choices on Governor Whitmer. 

“We’ve got to run government.”

“I think she’s going to take a hard look at the individual lines and we’ll see what happens. I mean, she’s got a lot of options.”


Michigan retailers have two weeks to sell off their inventories of nicotine-laced, flavored vaping products.
                The state issued rules today to ban flavored vaping products.

The state Department of Health and Human Services has already declared vaping a public health emergency. The department’s Bob Wheaton says that set the stage for the ban…

“Particularly when there’s these flavored vaping products that seem to be clearly targeting young people.”


The state of Michigan has officially notified 48 thousand public employees they could be soon be laid off. That’s if there’s no budget deal between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature within two weeks.

       Governor Whitmer and GOP leaders are at an impasse over road funding, and that’s holding up adoption of the new state budget. The Michigan Constitution says the state cannot legally spend money unless the Legislature adopts a budget.


The state Auditor General has found problems with a program that matches volunteer I-T experts with small local governments trying to fend off cyber-attacks.
               The state still considers the program a success.


There’s still no deal between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature’s Republican leaders on road funding.  Republicans are ready up to send her budgets without road money.

       The rhetoric tossed between the Democratic governor and Republican leaders has grown increasingly tense.                

Governor Whitmer says she’s ready to veto budget bills that don’t raise the new money for roads that she’s called for.  

“They gotta do what they gotta do. Then I’m gonna do what I gotta do.”