Rick Pluta

Handcuffs photo
U.S. Air Force | Public Domain via Wikimedia / Wikimedia.org

Some state lawmakers are calling for new laws to punish people who attack lawyers, judges, and other court personnel during judicial proceedings.

There was an attack recently in a Lansing courtroom on a prosecutor.

A felon about to be sentenced lunged at the prosecutor wielding a shiv smuggled inside his sleeve. The attack was thwarted by police officers in the courtroom.

State Senator Curtis Hertel says attacking a court officer should be its own crime.

Governor Rick Snyder
Office of Gov. Rick Snyder / michigan.gov

Governor Rick Snyder is boosting the position of Michigan chief medical executive to his official inner circle. 

The governor says he wants to streamline how critical public health information reaches him.

That was one of the problems identified by a task force that looked into how the Flint water crisis occurred.

In the-not-too-distant past, chief medical executive in the Snyder administration was a part-time job. Now, the governor is elevating it to a cabinet-level position reporting directly to him.

flint water comparison
Democracy Now / democracynow.org

Flint could name its own experts to oversee the response to the city’s drinking water crisis under a bill just sent to the state Senate floor.

State Senator Jim Ananich is a Flint Democrat who sponsored the bill. He says a locally appointed board would give Flint residents more control over their own destiny.

That’s after decisions by state-appointed emergency managers that created Flint’s water crisis.

He says a local board will be concerned only with fixing what went wrong.

Governor Rick Snyder
Office of Gov. Rick Snyder / michigan.gov

A statewide conference on making Michigan more welcoming to immigrants kicks off Monday in Lansing. 

Local officials and immigration agencies will trade ideas on how to make immigrants and refugees more comfortable in their new homes.

Governor Rick Snyder has called for less-restrictive immigration policies.

But last year he also called for a “pause” in future refugee resettlements. He called for the US State Department to review and explain its refugee vetting process to ensure terrorists are not allowed into the country.

File photo of Gov. Rick Snyder speaking in Grand Rapids in 2016.
Hilary Farrell / WGVU

Governor Rick Snyder says he hasn’t decided whether to sign new medical marijuana regulations that were adopted this week by the Legislature, but he strongly favors the concept.

The bills would allow dispensaries, but require them to be licensed and pay sales and excise taxes.

Local governments could set rules on where dispensaries can locate, and their hours of operation.

The sale of lotions, oils, drinks, and foods laced with marijuana and marijuana extracts would be allowed. And the state would set up a seeds-to-sale tracking system.

Creative Commons file photo of Donald Trump.
Michael Vadon via Wikimedia | CC BY 4.0 / Wikimedia.org

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump kept a promise on Wednesday to visit Flint. But he was not greeted warmly in a city that’s struggling with a water crisis caused by government dysfunction.

Trump toured Flint’s water treatment plant and then traveled to an inner city church.

Trump tried to deliver an address from prepared remarks, where he said he was the person to fix Flint’s water crisis and economic troubles.

File photo: Supporters wave campaign signs at an August Donald Trump rally in Dimondale, MI.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Dozens of demonstrators lined a highway near the Flint Water plant to be visited by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The crowd included both supporters and opponents.

Leslie Wilson was wearing a “Flint Lives Matter” t-shirt and wore a string of empty plastic water bottles around her waist.

She says she doesn’t think Trump really cares about the city’s water crisis, or helping Flint.

Black ribbon and a spray of flowers cover the desk of late state Rep. Peter Pettalia, who died Monday evening in a motorcycle accident on his way to the legislative session in Lansing.
Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio Network

There are now two desks on the floor of the state House draped with black ribbon and bedecked with flowers.

Lawmakers returned to the state Capitol Tuesday to the news that state Representative Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle) was killed Monday evening in a motorcycle crash.

The desk of state Representative Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) also remains vacant after she died this summer from a heart attack.

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.