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.

Follow him on Twitter at @rickpluta

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The commission that manages the common areas of the Michigan State Capitol adopted a policy Monday that bans openly carrying guns throughout much of the building, but with little hope that the decision satisfies the needs of many.

The Michigan State Capitol Commission voted 6-0 to adopt the new policy following the armed assault on the U.S. Capitol last week and protesters with guns swarming the statehouse last April.

Michigan state Rep. Cynthia Johnson, a Black Democratic lawmaker who faced lynching threats and harassment following an Oversight Committee hearing last week where she leveled fierce criticism against President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, has been punished by House Republican leaders for a video she posted to Facebook on Tuesday. Republicans say that's because in the video she appears to threaten supporters of the president.

Johnson has been stripped of her committee assignments, including her position on the House Oversight Committee.

A Michigan Court of Appeals panel says a lower court judge got it wrong by refusing to enforce an order to shut down Owosso, Mich., barber Karl Manke, who gained fame or notoriety for cutting hair in defiance of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's COVID-19 emergency orders. The orders include a ban on barbers and hair salons doing business during the declared crisis.

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There's a nationwide search underway to find former students who don't know they've already done all or most of the work needed to earn a credential that might help them land a better-paying job.

In Michigan, several hundred community college dropouts were recently surprised to learn they had enough credits to qualify for an associate degree. There are also ex-students who apparently didn't know they're just a few credits shy of a two-year degree.