Author: Rick Pluta

Rick Pluta has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.

Rick was one of the first Michigan political reporters to write about “pay-to-play” fundraising, and the controversies surrounding recognition of same-sex relationships. He broke the news that Gov. John Engler was planning a huge juvenile justice overhaul that included adult-time-for-adult-crime sentencing, and has continued to report since then on the effects of that policy decision.

He co-hosts the weekly segment “It’s Just Politics” on Michigan Radio with Zoe Clark.

Rick is fascinated by the game of politics, and the grand plans and human foibles that go into policy-making. You will never find him ice-fishing.

Gamrat Files for Her Old House Seat

Expelled state Representative Cindy Gamrat has filed to run for her old House seat. Gamrat joins a Republican field that’s already five people and is expected to attract more. No Democrats have filed to run in the predominantly GOP seat in Allegan County. Gamrat was removed last week by a two-thirds vote of the House over her role in..

Snyder Declares Michigan ‘Welcoming Week’ to Honor Immigrants

The immigration question is causing turmoil in the Republican presidential primary, but Governor Rick Snyder is standing by his staunchly pro-immigration position. Snyder has declared this “Welcoming Week” with a particular focus on honoring immigrants. Snyder spokesman Dave Murray says immigrants are responsible for starting some of Michigan’s biggest and most-recognized businesses, including the Meijer retail chain, Vlasic pickles, and..

Campaign Files Petition to Outlaw Prevailing Wage

The business-led campaign to outlaw union-level prevailing wage mandates on publicly funded construction projects says it has filed 390 thousand petition signatures with the Michigan Bureau of Elections. That's 140 thousand signatures more than what's required under state law. If and when the signatures are certified as valid by elections officials, the Legislature will have..

Courser, Gamrat Out; Special Elections to be Held

  The Michigan House voted Friday morning to expel Rep. Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) and accepted the resignation of Rep. Todd Courser (R-Lapeer). The lawmakers were accused of using taxpayer resources to cover up their extramarital affair. The House met Thursday to expel Courser and Gamrat, but failed to get the two-thirds majority vote necessary to..

Courser Asks for Forgiveness, Censure

A special state House disciplinary panel will begin deliberating on a punishment for state Representatives Todd Courser (R-Lapeer) and Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) after wrapping up two days of hearings and testimony. Courser was the last to appear and face questions on his treatment of office staff, use of state resources for personal and political purposes, and a seemingly bizarre effort..

Gamrat Offers Tearful Apology, Asks for Censure

State Representative Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) offered a tearful apology as she asked a special committee to consider censure and the loss of office privileges as an alternative to expulsion for her role in a sex-and-cover-up scandal. “It is with a sincere and genuine heart, that I apologize to you today for the failures I have committed which do not reflect..

Cotter Activates Courser/Gamrat Expulsion Committee

A select committee will begin its work to help whether state Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat will keep their jobs following a just-released internal investigation that says the two are guilty of misconduct. The report by the non-partisan House Business Office says the two Tea Party lawmakers used state computers, staff and other resources for a variety..

Michigan to Develop its Own Plan to Reduce Carbon

The state of Michigan will develop its own plan to meet new federal carbon emissions standards. “Not to do so would put Michigan’s energy decision-making in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington DC,” says Valerie Brader, who directs the Michigan Agency for Energy. “Michigan does intend to develop its own state carbon implementation to ensure it retains control of its energy..

Cotter Activates Courser/Gamrat Expulsion Committee

A select committee will begin its work to help whether state Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat will keep their jobs following a just-released internal investigation that says the two are guilty of misconduct. The report by the non-partisan House Business Office says the two Tea Party lawmakers used state computers, staff and other resources for a variety of political..

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Michigan Jobless Rate Drops to 5.3%

Michigan’s monthly jobless rate has dropped to 5.3%. That’s the lowest it’s been in 14 years, and it matches the national average. But the drop this month is due mostly to fewer people out looking for work. The state’s unemployment rate was one and seven-tenths of a percentage point higher at this time last year. The rate of unemployment and..