Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lawsuits keep piling up in the wake of the Flint water crisis. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about a new complaint that calls for a grand jury criminal investigation into Gov. Rick Snyder's legal fees. We also talk about another challenge to Michigan's 180-day time limit on collecting petition signatures and upcoming visits from vice-presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence.

Today, we hear that while concussions are very serious, there's a lot of misinformation and media hype out there. And, we learn that nearly a third of Michigan lawmakers are tied to secret corporate cash.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio


This week two stories were released about secretive funds benefiting Michigan legislators and the Republican and Democratic parties.

The stories were a joint investigation of MLive and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / Creative Commons

The amount of money candidates in Michigan can get from special interest groups could get cut in half. That’s if a proposed bill finds its way through the legislature.

Currently these groups are allowed to donate ten times the amount of money an individual can. If the bill sponsored by State Representative Martin Howrylak  is passed, the donation limit would be reduced to five times the amount individuals can donate.

Craig Mauger is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonpartisan organization.     

"For Republicans who have not distanced themselves from Trump, it may be too late," Demas told us.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


It's the political roundup with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas.

A new Detroit News and WDIV poll shows Republican candidate Donald Trump slipping and Democrat Hillary Clinton gaining in Michigan. Her lead has widened by nearly 12 percentage points.

This week Governor Snyder called the presidential election a “huge mess” and said Trump’s comments about women were “revolting and disgusting.”

While Republicans like Snyder - who never endorsed Trump - are speaking out, other Republicans have been defending Trump’s statements as merely “locker room talk.”

It’s hardly the first Trump-centric story we’ve seen throughout this election cycle, but according to Demas, this one is “kryptonite.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A garbage company involved in Flint’s trash pickup dispute is reportedly linked to a federal corruption probe in Macomb County.

The Detroit Free Press reports federal prosecutors believe a Clinton Township official was allegedly bribed by an official with Rizzo Environmental Services in an effort to get a multi-million-dollar garbage contract.

Rizzo issued a statement only saying the company is cooperating with federal officials.

Flint City Councilman Eric Mays (right) was escorted out of Thursday's special city council meeting on Flint's trash contract
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is trying to get the city’s state oversight board to decide who should pick up Flint trash.

The council Thursday approved keeping Flint’s old garbage hauler on the job against the mayor’s wishes. The mayor’s chief of staff attended the meeting, but declined to comment. 

Council President Kerry Nelson says Republic is the best choice to empty Flint’s trash cans.

“There’s people that live in this city…that pay taxes…pay water bills….that work for Republic…I will not close the door on them,” says Nelson.

user jdurham / MorgueFile.com

According to data from the Michigan Secretary of State, 7,481,074 people statewide are registered to vote in the November election.

That’s a very slight uptick from the 2012 election cycle.

Nearly everyone of voting age in Michigan is registered to vote, due in large part to the state’s motor voter law. But not everyone votes. Only 63% cast ballots in the 2012 election.

Some local clerks kept their doors open late on Tuesday, which was the deadline to register.

Michigan State Police

The Michigan State Police is getting $2 million from the federal government.

The money comes from three grants earmarked for separate uses.

One grant will pay for overtime for the state police lab to test sexual assault kits. Money will also go to toward investigating cases that have been hung up in backlogs.   

Nancy Bennett is the division director for MSP’s grants and community services division.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The campaign to outlaw fracking in Michigan is asking the state Court of Appeals to strike down a 180-day time limit on collecting petition signatures to put a question on the ballot.

A law signed by Governor Rick Snyder in June says signatures that are older than 180 days can’t be counted. It’s very similar to a rule that was used before that by state elections officials.

That rule has twice now thwarted the anti-fracking campaign’s efforts to get a question before voters.

Today, we hear how Michigan schools are doing in their effort to curb bullying. And, we meet Garrison Keillor's hand-picked Prairie Home Companion successor.

The "Flint Sprint" will tackle 20 different projects in the city over the next 60 days.
Wikimedia user Flintmichigan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit bankruptcy brought government, foundations and business together, working to get through that historic crisis. Today marks the public launch of an effort to do the same for Flint.

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside to talk about his latest column about the "Flint Sprint." This project brings a number of businesses -- both big and small -- to tackle 20 different projects over the next 60 days. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s sagging poll numbers in Michigan may be behind a surprising rise in TV ad buys in one state congressional race.

The plaintiffs say older, poor and impoverished people in Flint aren't getting enough water
Flickr user Daniel Orth / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When the Flint water disaster exploded, the state began sending emergency supplies to the city: millions and millions of dollars worth of bottled water, filters and cartridges.

Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan's front-page story this week suggests the state overpaid for those supplies, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Egan found that instead of using a formal bidding process, the State went directly to Georgia-based Home Depot to buy the supplies. And it failed to seriously seek bids from  Michigan companies.

Transmission electron microscopy image of Legionella pneumophilia, responsible for over 90% of Legionnares' disease cases.
CDC Public Health Library / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


The federal government offered help with Flint’s Legionella outbreak, and the state of Michigan turned the offer down.

That’s what MLive reporter Ron Fonger has learned from Environmental Protection Agency documents released through the Freedom of Information Act.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a crowd in Detroit Monday that we can expect "a positive message" during the last month of her campaign.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou discuss whether that will resonate with Michigan voters. Lessenberry and Tribou also look at a Detroit Free Press investigation that finds the state may have overpaid for supplies it bought in response to the Flint water crisis, and the teacher shortage that continues to plague Detroit Public Schools.

Today, foreign affairs analyst Robin Wright explains what our next president needs to know about the Middle East. And, we hear Kitchen, After Rumi's Guest House, a poem that touches on what it means to be American.

A Kurdish boy from the Syrian town of Kobani holds onto a fence that surrounds a refugee camp in Turkey.
User Jordi Bernabeu Farrús / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Robin Wright began her journalism career as a student at the University of Michigan, where she was the first female sports editor in the history of the Michigan Daily.

She has gone on to become a widely known and honored foreign affairs analyst, journalist and author. Her books include Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam and The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran.

This coming Thursday, Wright returns to Ann Arbor to give the Margaret Waterman Alumnae Lecture. She joined us today.

Today, we hear how Donald Trump's sinking popularity puts down-ballot GOP candidates at risk. And, as part of NPR's "A Nation Engaged" project, we hear a poem titled "Apology to My Father" from a University of Michigan sophomore. 

woman at podium
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

The Michigan League for Public Policy aimed to have what it called an “honest discussion” about racial inequality in Michigan at its annual forum Monday. 

From the Flint water crisis to the state of Detroit Public Schools, the League wanted Michiganders to take a hard look at how racial inequality impacts their communities and learn about ways to make change. 

Ken Sikkema says if Donald Trump loses the presidential election there will be some who will say he lost the election himself, but others will say he lost the election because Republicans didn't support him.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


The aftermath of last night’s presidential debate has left the Republican Party in all-out crisis mode.

An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll following the release of the tape of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women shows Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump is now in the double digits.

House Speaker Paul Ryan today held a conference call with House Republicans. He said he can’t and won’t defend Trump, and that House Republicans should do what’s best for them in the remaining weeks of the election.

But, he will not rescind his endorsement of Trump.

What does this all mean for Republicans on the down-ballot in Michigan?

woman holding sign that says women for trump
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

A couple dozen Donald Trump supporters waved signs outside a rally in Detroit Monday for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Rosanne Ponkowski was one of those pro-Trump demonstrators. She carried a sign that said “Women for Trump.”

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will make a post-debate stop Monday in Detroit.

This will be Clinton’s first Michigan visit since August 11th. The trip coincides with the October 11th deadline to register to vote in the November election.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made five trips to Michigan since the Republican national convention.

The Clinton campaign hopes to avoid an Election Day surprise like the presidential primary loss to Senator Bernie Sanders last March. Sanders campaigned for Clinton in Michigan last week.


Some Republicans are calling for Donald Trump to step aside as the Republican presidential nominee, but that would not remove his name from the ballot in Michigan.

It’s simply too late to remove Trump’s name from the ballot, says Michigan Elections Bureau spokesman Fred Woodhams.

"There’s nothing in law to allow the Secretary of State, or anyone else, except a judge, to change the ballot," says Woodhams.

Woodhams says absentee ballots have already been finalized and mailed, which means voting has effectively begun in Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday, the Flint city council will consider contracts for the next round of lead service line replacements.

The pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains are a prime source of lead leeching into people’s tap water.  To date, the city has replaced about 200 service lines.  

The contracts before the city council would target an additional 700 homes.  The project organizer hopes contractors will be able to replace at least 300 of those service lines before winter weather sets in.

Debate image

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton faced off in the second presidential debate Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

This debate took the form of a town meeting.

User: Keith Ivey / flickr

As the presidential race tightens, voter turnout could play a decisive role, and a new study warns that some Americans may have a harder time casting ballots than others.

Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, says data from the last presidential election points to serious shortcomings in how polling is managed in communities of color.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered all U.S. and state flags to be lowered to honor fallen firefighters.

The governor's announcement is in accordance with President Barack Obama's proclamation honoring the National Firefighters Memorial Service.

The flags are to be flown at half-staff or half-mast on Sunday until sunset.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Update 10:37 p.m.:

After renouncing his support of Trump, Michigan's Lt. Gov. felt Trump turned in a winning performance during the debate:

Stateside 10.7.16

Oct 7, 2016

Today, we discuss why even Michigan's wealthier cities are not happy with the state taking a bigger chunk of the Michigan sales tax. And, we hear an argument for why researchers need to start speaking directly to the public instead of being filtered by spin doctors.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below: