ingham county circuit court

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge has sentenced a trio of environmental activists to probation for their role in an oil pipeline protest near Stockbridge last July.

The protesters attached themselves to heavy equipment at the Enbridge pipeline work site.  They were convicted of trespassing and obstruction in January. 

The protesters could have faced up to two years in prison.

Protester Vicci Hamlin says she remains committed to the fight against Canadian tar sands oil. 

“I think that the more people that risk going to jail the more that things will change,” says Hamlin.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A trio of environmental activists will find out this week whether they will face prison time for a 2013 protest.

The three women were convicted in January of trespassing and obstruction charges. They and a fourth member of the group Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands attached themselves to heavy machinery to protest the installation of a new oil pipeline near Stockbridge.

The four did not detach themselves after being ordered to by law enforcement officers during the 2013 incident.

david_shane / flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - An Ingham County judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Michigan's right-to-work law.

The Lansing State Journal reports that Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina rejected the suit on Monday because it should have been filed directly with the state Court of Appeals.

She didn't rule on the underlying legal challenge.

The right-to-work law takes effect in late March and makes it illegal to require financial support of a union as a condition of employment.

david_shane / flickr

Several labor unions and the Michigan ACLU have filed a lawsuit in Ingham County Court to overturn Michigan's right-to-work legislation.

This is several days after Gov. Rick Snyder requested that the Michigan Supreme Court review the constitutionality of the law.

The lawsuit argues that the closure of the Capitol to the public during the  passage of  the right-to-work legislation was in violation of  the First Amendment and the Michigan Constitution.

It specifically cites the violation of the Open Meetings Act, which states that meetings of a governing body are open to the public unless the meeting is held in a "closed session."

The lawsuit is amended from an earlier complaint filed Dec. 6 2012 after state police blocked off entry to the Capitol.

Police said the closure was a safety precaution, but opponents argue it prevented public input during the session.

Here is what members of the ACLU said in their press release:

“Rushing controversial bills through a lame duck session is a bad way to make public policy under the best of circumstances; doing so on such important issues while the public is shut out of the debate every step of the way is illegal and shameful,” said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director. “We have a sacred right to peacefully assemble and petition our government. When there is dissent and emotions are running high, our elected leaders should encourage more open debate, not close the doors to concerned voters.”

The lawsuit does not address the actual content of the right-to-work law rather the manner in which the law was passed.

The court brief currently sits in front of County Circuit Judge William Collette for review.

- Marlon Phillips, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Thousands of state employees are applauding a judge’s ruling that they shouldn't be forced to pay for their pension benefits.

An Ingham County Circuit Court judge said today that a rule requiring state employees cough up four-percent of their salaries to keep their pensions is unconstitutional.

She said it’s effectively a pay cut, something only the Michigan Civil Service Commission has the authority to enact.

Ray Holman is with UAW Local 6000, the largest state employee union in Michigan.

Thomas M. Cooley Law School

In Michigan, the Ingham County Circuit Court voted to empanel a one-judge grand jury to look into charges of illegal activities by State Representative Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) and House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall).

The investigation will look into whether any laws were broken when Bolger and Schmidt coordinated Schmidt's switch to the Republican Party and made an effort to set up a patsy Democrat in Schmidt's district to run against him.

More from MPRN's Rick Pluta:

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A court hearing this afternoon may decide if Flint’s emergency manager can once again run the city.

Michael Brown has been in limbo since last Thursday.  That’s when a judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing him from acting as Flint’s emergency manager.

Brown’s been on the job since December.  But city unions claim the panel that recommended the appointment of an emergency manager in Flint violated Michigan’s open meetings law.

State officials hope today’s court hearing will lead to the reinstatement of Brown’s emergency manager powers.