Politics & Government

Stateside
5:02 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Stateside
4:32 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Road-funding trouble in D.C. could be bad for Michigan

Credit Wikimedia Commons

There was much anger and disappointment last month when state lawmakers failed to figure out a way to fund badly needed road repairs before leaving for their summer break.

And now there's road funding trouble ahead in Washington, D.C. Federal gas taxes go into the Federal Highway Trust Fund. The money is handed out to states in the form of road construction payments.

Michigan gets more than $1 billion a year from the trust fund. But that could come to a screeching halt before the summer is out.

Mlive's Jonathon Oosting wrote that the fund is running low due to declining fuel tax revenue, and could be fully depleted by late August or September.

“The federal government is already making plans to scale back payments to states such as Michigan, if Congress doesn’t figure out a way to replenish this fund,” Oosting said.

The fund is not collecting as much money as it used to from gas taxes, as people are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles, or opting out of driving in favor of public transportation.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Government
1:40 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Outside groups already spending big in Michigan's U.S. Senate and governor's races

Even though outside groups are hoping to sway Michigan voters in November with their political ads, the Michigan Campaign Finance Network's Rich Robinson says the benefit of such early TV ad spending is questionable for candidates and their supporters.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Nearly $18 million has been spent so far this year on political TV ads in Michigan’s U. S. Senate and governor’s races. Most of the money has been coming from national Republican, Democratic, conservative and liberal groups.

Rich Robinson is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. He analyzed TV ad buys by political groups in a half dozen television markets in Michigan. 

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Politics & Government
10:25 am
Wed July 2, 2014

The week in Michigan politics

Credit user aunt owwee / Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss how Michigan businesses will be affected by the US Supreme Court ruling that corporations don't have to include contraceptive coverage for employees for religious reasons, what the state is doing to prevent more felons from being home health care workers for Medicaid patients, and the new budget bill for the state.

The week in Michigan politics interview for 7/2/14

Politics & Government
5:05 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Snyder: Prison food contract troubles are “unacceptable”

Maggots were found in the meal area at a prison in Jackson recently.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Governor Rick Snyder says a deal with a private contractor to provide food for state prisons could be terminated if there are future problems with the company. Aramark Food Services was awarded the $145 million, three-year contract last December. But the arrangement has been beset by problems since then.

Aramark has been fined by the state for unapproved menu changes and running out of food. Also, 70 Aramark employees are banned from state prisons for inappropriate relationships with prisoners.

Most recently, maggots were found in the meal area at a prison in Jackson.

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Stateside
4:54 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Today on Stateside:

  • A conversation with Detroit Police Chief James Craig about the struggles and successes of his first year.
  • Gov. Rick Snyder signed Michigan's school aid budget last week that included a provision ordering the Michigan Department of Education to produce and administer a MEAP test in the next school year – not the Smarter Balanced Assessment test they'd been planning to use.
  • Michigan is one of the more dangerous states in the country when it comes to lightning strikes.
  • A mosquito invasion is coming to Michigan this summer. One species came about as a result of the polar vortex.

*Listen to the full show above.

Stateside
12:29 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

After one year on the job, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the department is turning around

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It has been exactly one year since James Craig returned to his hometown as Detroit’s 42nd police chief. He was hired by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

“The city was not the city I had left,” Chief Craig said.

Chief Craig came back to a city facing bankruptcy - a city with soaring crime rates, response times of 58 minutes, police precincts that were not open to citizens after 4 p.m., and uniformed officers who were demoralized and spread thin working 12 hour shifts.

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Politics & Government
7:01 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Here's why Michigan is hiring the people who rolled out Healthcare.gov

Yes, Michigan is hiring a contractor who worked on Obamacare. But why?
Credit healthcare.gov
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Stateside
6:45 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Stateside for Monday, June 30, 2014

  Today on Stateside:

  • A new report says state disinvestment in roads, schools and other infrastructure has put Michigan's future at risk.
  • University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman has spent the past 12 years at the helm of  one of the most influential universities in the country: During her tenure the university faced a number of challenges, including financial cuts from the state and a challenge to its use of affirmative action in admissions.
  • The Woodward Dream Cruise says it's the largest one-day celebration of classic cars in the world. But many residents who live near Woodward Avenue, especially in the Oakland County city of Royal Oak, complain about screeching tires, revving engines, and the unmistakable roar of glass-pack mufflers.
  • Attorney Kenneth Feinberg will run the General Motors Ignition Compensation Fund. Who's eligible for compensation? When and how do they file a claim? And how much money are we talking about?
  • There are people in Michigan getting a dose of arsenic every time they drink the water coming from their taps. And some of them have arsenic levels well above the federal standards. Michigan Radio's "The Environment Report" is presenting a five-part series this week called "Michigan's Silent Poison," in partnership with The Center for Public Integrity and the public radio show, "Reveal."

*Listen to the full show above. 

Politics & Government
4:44 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Protesters call for immediate moratorium on Detroit water shut-offs

The National Action Network Detroit Chapter and community activists gathered in front of the governor's midtown office.
Credit Reem Nasr/Michigan Radio

Protesters voiced their anger Monday morning over the controversial water shut-offs in Detroit.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department sent out more than 46,000 shut-off notices this spring and has turned off water to about 4,500 customers.

Community activists and religious leaders met outside of Gov. Rick Snyder's midtown office. They asked him to impose an immediate moratorium on the shut-offs. They also want the city to work out an affordable payment plan based on a person's income.

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Politics & Culture
3:15 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, June 17, 2014

 Here is what was covered on Stateside today:

·         State lawmakers are back home after failing to raise money needed to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said the failure was “not a big deal, really.”

·         Cow manure may become the source for clean water.

·         Poet and writer Keith Taylor shares his picks for summer reading.

·         A Los Angeles company called Celebrity Black Card hopes to attract A-list celebs to Northeast Michigan. So they're setting up an eco-friendly lodge west of Alpena from eco-friendly materials that come from Michigan companies.

·         General Motors is recalling another 3.2 million cars because of ignition-switch problems. What does that mean for consumer confidence and GM sales?

·         More than a half-million kids in Michigan who could be eating for free or at a reduced price won’t be fed this summer, even though the school lunch program does make food available through the summer.

·         What song saved your life? Jason Towler, a special-education teacher, shares his.

*Listen to full show above. 

Politics & Government
6:24 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

Protests Call For End to Deportations

For the past year, groups have rallied in Michigan and across the nation, hoping the GOP would take up a comprehensive immigration reform measure. But one year after the U.S. Senate passed the bill, there's been no movement in the House.
Credit Michigan United

Friday marked one full year since the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill, but with the measure effectively dead in the House, immigrant advocacy groups hope to convince President Obama to use his executive powers to steer around the Congressional roadblock.

In Michigan, activist Maximo Anguiano with Action of Greater Lansing says his group feels separating families with 1,100 daily deportations is not the answer.

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Politics & Government
7:10 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Congressman appeals to Pres. Obama over Detroit water shutoffs

Rep. John Conyers seeks to stop the shutoffs for nonpayment. Conyers said in a statement Friday that actions represent "an overzealous and misguided approach to cost-cutting."
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Longtime Detroit Congressman John Conyers has sent letters to President Barack Obama and other officials requesting immediate action and relief regarding water shutoffs in the bankrupt city.

The Democrat seeks to stop the shutoffs for nonpayment. Conyers said in a statement Friday that actions represent "an overzealous and misguided approach to cost-cutting."

The water department, responsible for about $6 billion of Detroit's $18 billion in debt, is a major issue in bankruptcy.

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Politics & Government
5:39 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

New Michigan budget may affect you in many ways

Gov. Rick Snyder plans to finish signing the $53.2 billion spending plan as early as Monday. It affects many corners of Michigan life.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Schoolchildren and others will be impacted when Michigan's next state budget starts in about three months.

Gov. Rick Snyder plans to finish signing the $53.2 billion spending plan as early as Monday. It affects many corners of Michigan life - from how much it costs to attend college to increased arts funding and how many state troopers patrol the highways.

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It's Just Politics
6:01 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Detroit Mayor gets a lot from Lansing in his first six months, but will it last?

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark Rick Pluta

It’s been almost six months since Mike Duggan took over as mayor of Detroit. He took over a city however, run by someone else: state-appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

But, that doesn’t mean Duggan has been denied all the rites of passage of the job including the schlep to Lansing to ask the state Legislature for something. Every mayor has to do it. And Duggan had to go to Lansing with a really big ‘ask.’ We’re talking about the $195 million dollar rescue package for his city (that’s right, ‘rescue,’ ‘settlement.’ Just don’t call it a ‘bailout.’)

Getting the Republican-led state House and Senate to go along with sending almost $200 million dollars to a Democratically-controlled city was not an easy task.

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Politics & Government
5:37 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Schauer says he’d push stricter regulations on charter schools as governor

Credit Facebook

Former Congressman Mark Schauer says he would put tougher regulations on charter schools if he’s elected governor. The Battle Creek Democrat says Gov. Rick Snyder has given bad charter operators a “free pass.”

“We need to write into law the oversight that was left out when Rick Snyder lifted the cap on the number of charter schools,” said Schauer. “It’s the Wild West right now, and these schools see kids with dollar signs on their foreheads.”

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Stateside
4:55 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, June 26, 2014

Today on Stateside:

  • The United Nations has issued a statement calling Detroit’s mass water shutoff campaign a likely human rights violation. On today’s Stateside we talked with one of those groups appealing to the United Nations.
  • Some folks in Northern Michigan are getting tired of all the tourists and festivals taking over their towns. They say they just want some peace and quiet. But others argue the economic boom to small communities is just too good to pass up.
  • Producer and U of M student Arjun Singh talks about teaming up with local talent to make electronic pop with wide appeal on his new EP "The Drift."
  • We continue our weeklong look at how Detroit is doing under bankruptcy and Mayor Duggan's first  six months in office. Today we focused on the city's efforts to turn the streetlights back on.
  • As Ford CEO Alan Mulally steps down, Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to talk about what Mullaly has built and how he created big shoes for his successor to fill.

*Listen to full show above.

Stateside
4:52 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Can Mayor Duggan make Detroit streets look brighter?

Credit Flickr user Molly Des Jardin

All week long, the Detroit Journalism Cooperative is examining how Detroit is doing under bankruptcy and the leadership of Mayor Mike Duggan.

We've looked at the mayor himself. We've also looked at blight, transportation, and the bus system.

Now we turn to a challenge that seemed to have caught the collective attention of writers and reporters around the world as they talk about Detroit's bankruptcy: the streetlights.

The fact that almost half the streetlights in Detroit didn't work became a sort of symbol of how "broken" the city had become.

Let's find out if things are looking brighter in the neighborhoods and streets of Detroit.

We were joined by Lester Graham of Michigan Watch.

*Listen to full interview above.

Weekly Political Roundup
4:39 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Weekly Political Roundup: Detroit Mayor Duggan's first six months in office

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
Credit Mike Duggan

The city of Detroit continues to work through bankruptcy, at the same time Mayor Mike Duggan, now six months into his term, has been working to return basic city services to residents in the city. 

Joining us today were Ken Sikkema, Former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

Detroit remains under the emergency management of Kevyn Orr, but Duggan really positioned himself as more of a chief operating officer when he was running for mayor. How much of what we see happening in the city is the result of efforts by Orr and how much of it is Duggan?

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
7:00 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Detroit water department defends shutoff campaign after UN criticism

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Sue McCormick
Credit dwsd.org

The people who run Detroit’s water system faced fierce criticism Wednesday, after the United Nations issued a statement calling the city’s mass water shutoffs a possible human rights violation.

Critics lined up to blast officials at a Board of Water Commissioners meeting for ongoing efforts to cut off customers with unpaid bills.

Many cited the UN’s assertion that “when there is genuine inability to pay, human rights simply forbids disconnections.”

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