Author Archives: Rick Pluta

Insurance panel OKs auto no-fault overhaul with rate rollback

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A state House committee has approved some big changes to Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance law. It would set new limits on what hospitals could charge insurance companies. It would also guarantee a two-year rate rollback of at least 100 dollars per vehicle. Continue reading

MI Senate committee OKs faith-based exceptions for adoption agencies

Capital_Building_LansingA state Senate panel has OK’d bills that would allow faith-based private adoption agencies that take public funds to turn away same-sex couples.

The bills come as the US Supreme Court is about to hear arguments on whether Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution. A decision is expected this summer.
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Governor Snyder says he’s glad to see action on no-fault

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Governor Rick Snyder says he’s glad the state Senate debated and voted on legislation to make some changes to Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law. But he’s not ready to endorse what the Senate did this week. Continue reading

Senate adopts no-fault overhaul

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The Michigan Senate has taken a first step toward overhauling the state’s auto no-fault system. The measures are aimed at making rates more affordable – especially in urban areas — by containing costs for insurance companies.
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State’s jobless rate drops to 5.6 percent

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Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.6%. That decline in the monthly rate is mostly due to fewer people in the workforce competing for jobs. But the rate is down two points from where it was a year ago. And that is because more people are working. Continue reading

Young conservatives push for change in GOP platform on marriage

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A group of young conservatives is in Michigan to meet with state Republican leaders. Its goal is to get the party to adopt a change in its platform at the Republican National Convention in the summer of 2016. It wants the GOP to drop its opposition to same-sex marriage. Continue reading

US Fish & Wildlife Service puts long-eared northern bat on threatened list

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The US Fish and Wildlife Service has put the northern long-eared bat on the “threatened” species list. The agency stopped short of declaring the species in danger of extinction – even though millions have been killed by “white nose bat syndrome.” That means state officials don’t have to take drastic measures to protect habitats while researchers search for a cure.

Dan Kennedy is an endangered species specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“What we can do right now is try to minimize impacts to these bats while they’re hibernating, but as far as specifically addressing the fungus, there is no silver bullet.”

Kennedy says most of the bats in Michigan are hibernating in remote, abandoned mines in the western Upper Peninsula. There could be some restrictions on logging and tree thinning in summer months in areas where young bats are roosting.

MI’s defense of same-sex marriage ban delivered to Supreme Court

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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office has delivered the state’s defense of its same-sex marriage ban to the US Supreme Court.

The state’s 59-page brief focuses largely on states’ rights. The attorney general argues the case is not specifically about marriage, but who gets to decide the question.

From the brief’s summation:

“This case is not about the best definition of marriage or any stereotypes about families. Families
come in all types, and parents of all types—married or single, gay or straight—love their children. This case is about whether the Fourteenth Amendment imposes a single marriage view on all states such that the people have no right to decide. It does not.”

The brief says the US Constitution is silent on the issue, so the decision on defining who can get married is left to states or their voters. The brief says Michigan voters made a reasonable choice when they approved the ban in 2004, and only they should be allowed to reverse it.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are the lesbian couple challenging the ban. They say it violates their equal protection rights and the equal protections rights of the children they are raising together, but cannot jointly adopt.

Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee will also defend marriage bans when the Supreme Court hears arguments in the case next month.

Democrats propose rollback of marriage ban with anniversary of DeBoer decision

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At the state Capitol, Democrats have called for a new statewide vote on Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. It was approved by voters in 2004.

Democrats rolled out a package of legislation that would also repeal state laws that discriminate against same-sex couples. One would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Another would specifically allow gay and lesbian couples to jointly file state tax returns.
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