Rick Pluta

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.

Scales of Justice
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.

Donald Trump speaks in Dimondale, Mich., on Friday, August 19.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump courted African-American voters in a visit Saturday to a Detroit church. He called for a civil rights agenda for the '21st Century' and said there are still injustices that need to be addressed. 

Trump said he wants to unite the country, and promised to listen to the concerns of all Americans.

"I’m here today to learn, so that together we can remedy injustice in any form," he said, "and so that we can also remedy economics, so that the African-American community can benefit economically." 

voting sticker
Vox Efx via Flickr | CC BY 2.0 / Flickr.com

A legal drama over Michigan’s November election ballot could land next on the steps of the United States Supreme Court.

A federal appeals court has denied Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request for a review of the straight-ticket voting controversy.

Republicans in the Legislature adopted a bill signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder earlier this year law that banned the practice of allowing voters to support a political party’s entire slate of candidates with a single mark on the ballot.

Hilary Farrell

State Republican leaders are still waiting to see if a federal appeals court will restore Michigan’s ban on straight-ticket voting.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette had asked for a decision from the entire court by Wednesday.

With no word, state elections officials are making preparations to finalize the ballot by the end of next week.