Author Archives: Rick Pluta

Lesbian couple alleges Kroger, union discriminated against them

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A lesbian couple is filing a federal employment discrimination complaint against a union and one of the state’s largest grocery store chains. Stephanie Citron works in the deli at a Kroger in Birmingham. She and her same-sex partner were married last year while it was briefly legal in Michigan. But her spouse was denied when they tried to add her to Citron’s benefits package.

Citron married her same-sex partner during the brief window last year when it was legal in Michigan. She says that’s when she learned that her health benefits fund only covers the spouses of opposite sex married couples. Continue reading

Lawmakers: Health departments should inspect prison kitchens

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Republican and Democratic lawmakers at the state Capitol say it’s time for prison kitchens to be inspected by local health agencies. That’s after the most recent instance of maggots found in a corrections food service facility.

Prison kitchens are currently exempt from local health inspections. Continue reading

Snyder signs new budget, remains optimistic about road deal

Governor Rick Snyder has signed the new 54-billion dollar state budget. It has money for roads, schools, prisons, and healthcare. But a solution on funding road repairs remains elusive.

Governor Snyder says voters sent a message when they rejected Proposal One last month, and that was for the state to come up with the money to fix roads. The new budget has some stop-gap funding, but falls far short of the 1.2 billion dollars in new revenue that he’s called for. Continue reading

MI jobless rate edges up slightly

job-fair-signMichigan’s unemployment rate edged upward very slightly since last month to 5.5 percent. That’s still one and eight-tenths of a percentage point below where the jobless rate was at this time last year. A big part of the reason for the increase is more people returning to the workforce to compete for jobs.

“More potential workers entered the labor force than is typical for May,” said Jason Palmer, director of the state Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Payroll jobs recorded a significant gain over the month.” Continue reading

6th Circuit: Gaming board couldn’t suspend jockey licenses

Capital_Building_LansingA state board that guards against corruption in the gaming industry violated the constitutional rights of four jockeys who refused to cooperate with a 2010 race-rigging investigation. That decision just came down from the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Continue reading

Snyder signs law to let adoption agencies to refuse service based on faith objection

Adoption

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that allows faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to work with same-sex couples or other families based on a religious objection.

The governor says he signed the law to ensure the most opportunities to place children with permanent families. But, the law is almost certain to face a legal challenge. Continue reading

Bills would shield faith-based adoption agency from effects of SCOTUS ruling

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Controversial adoption on its way to Governor Rick Snyder would allow faith-based adoption agencies that take public money to refuse to work with same-sex couples. That’s even if the US Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage. Continue reading

Snyder administration outlines 30-year water plan

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration has released a first draft of a 30-year strategy for protecting and improving the state’s water resources.

The plan says there are environmental and economic benefits to protecting and improving lakes, rivers, and streams. The plan includes connecting waterways to promote tourism. Also, fixing outdated sewer and drinking water systems. Continue reading

6th Circuit says Michigan tribe subject to federal labor laws

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A federal appeals court says a northern Michigan Indian tribe does not get to set its own labor rules at the casino it operates near Manistee.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians claimed tribal sovereignty allowed it to adopt its own laws that ban strikes and discourage union organizing by casino employees. The Teamsters challenged the tribal act, and the union won before the National Labor Relations Board. Continue reading

Court of Appeals upholds state ban on wild boar

Wild boar in Michigan

Wild boar in Michigan

The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld the state’s ban on Russian boar and other breeds of exotic swine.

Michigan banned several strains of boar as invasive species because they breed prolifically, endanger other wildlife, and ruin woods and farmland. Continue reading

New K-12 budget includes early literacy funding

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The Legislature has approved budgets for the coming fiscal year.

The K-through-12 schools budget was enthusiastically endorsed by Republicans and Democrats. Every school district in the state will see a funding bump of $70 to $140 per student under the new K-through-12 budget the Legislature just sent to Governor Rick Snyder. Continue reading