Author Archives: Rick Pluta

Senate adopts emergency budget bill to help Flint residents with water bills

money-coinsThe Michigan Senate has adopted a 30 (m) million emergency spending measure to help Flint residents with their water bills. Governor Rick Snyder asked for the appropriation this week after Flint residents complained they should not have to pay for water they can’t drink because of the threat of lead contamination.
Continue reading

Case dropped against man charged under controversial state crime lab THC policy

Max Lorincz and his wife Erica Chittenden. Photo by Rick Pluta

Max Lorincz and his wife Erica Chittenden. Photo by Rick Pluta

A judge has dismissed the case against a man who was charged under the State Police crime lab’s controversial THC policy.

The policy makes it harder for lab technicians to report that samples containing THC come from marijuana plants – and aren’t made artificially in a lab. Possession of synthetic THC carries tougher penalties than possession of plant-based marijuana products. Continue reading

Snyder says Flint will be fixed


Governor Rick Snyder devoted most of Tuesday’s State of the State speech to the Flint water crisis. He promised to fix the problems that started while the city was under state emergency management. And he promised to do a better job of helping the public understand what went wrong.

It was a humbled Governor Snyder who took to the podium for the sixth State of the State address of his administration.

A year ago, he was just-reelected to a second-term, pondering a bid for the presidency, and basking in the apparent success of Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy.

Today, the governor’s reputation for can-do accomplishment has been shredded by the water crisis in Flint. Children are showing elevated lead levels that could lead to all sorts of neurological and developmental health risks.

A visibly emotional Governor Snyder told Flint residents fixing that is a responsibility he takes personally.

“I give you my commitment that Michigan will not let you down.”

That’s after months of administration officials denying was a problem, followed by a shakeup that cost at least two senior environmental officials their jobs, and last week, the state asking the federal government for help.

The Obama administration partially approved the request for assistance. This is White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest.

“This is obviously an effort that should be led by state and local officials, but the federal government is mobilizing significant resources to support that ongoing effort.”

That includes sending bottled water from emergency reserves and sending advisors to help the city tap into more federal resources.

Governor Snyder said he will ask the federal government to send more help. He also promised a short – and long-term strategy for helping Flint and other cities with water infrastructure.

The governor called the Flint water crisis a failure at “every level of government” – city, county, state, and federal.

“We will not stop working for the people of Flint until every single person has clean water every single day no matter what.”

The sounds of protests could be heard inside the Capitol even as the governor delivered his speech.

“What do want?” “Clean water!” “When do we want it?” “Now!”

Nayyarah Shariff was one of those demonstrators. She said it took too long for the state to acknowledge the problem and to start doing something about it.

“And now we’ve got the whole world looking at Rick Snyder and, hopefully, that will force him to change, because we had to drag him kicking and screaming into this fight.”

In the speech, Snyder promised to release his e-mails related to the Flint water crisis to show what his administration did right, and to help the public understand how things went wrong.

Rick Snyder and his aides said they understand the reality that he owns the problem. And that it’s up to Rick Snyder to fix it.

Michigan lawmakers consider plan to overhaul Detroit Public Schools

DSC03602-BState lawmakers and the public could get their first look tomorrow (Thu.) at legislation to overhaul the Detroit Public Schools. The district faces hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, and a possible default if something isn’t done.
Continue reading

State stepping up home visits, education to deal with Flint water crisis

file9721249317862Five new centers have been set up in Flint to get water filters and testing kits to city residents. It’s another step to address the lead contamination crisis in Flint as Governor Rick Snyder faced a growing crescendo of criticism over the weekend on the state’s handling of the crisis. Continue reading

Governor approves end to straight-ticket voting

Snyder_courtesy_4Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that eliminates the option of voting a straight-party ballot on Election Day.

Michigan was one of 10 states that allows straight-ticket voting with one mark on the ballot. Democrats opposed the bill. They say getting rid of the straight-ticket option will discourage some people from voting, and will lead to longer lines on Election Day.
Continue reading

Snyder scales back proposed overhaul of Detroit schools

rick-snyder-mugjpg-446cf7790e6a2ea6Governor Rick Snyder says he’s slowing down his plans to fix Detroit’s schools in order to the process moving. In the face of resistance from Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature, the governor says he wants to break up the work, focusing first on retiring the district’s massive debt.
Continue reading