Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Stateside 9.2.2016

Sep 2, 2016

Today, a superintendent explains how students benefit from starting school before Labor Day. And, we Cheers! to the weekend with tequila from a tire shop.

Dohn Hoyle, the director of public policy of The Arc: "There's not been anything that we've seen ... that leads us to believe that the governor's original [mental health funding] plan makes any sense."
Matthileo/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder has put forth a proposal to privatize all or part of Michigan's mental health system. The governor has suggested $2.4 billion be shifted to Medicaid HMOs rather than public mental health organizations, according to reports in Crain’s Detroit Business.

Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley has been heading up discussions with work group of public mental health agencies and advocacy groups. But it appears those talks have broken down.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature gets back to business next week after its 12-week summer break. 

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas joined us today to talk about what we should expect to see from the Legislature in the remaining months of 2016.

Outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
user dbking / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is asking the United States Supreme Court to reverse two lower courts and allow the state’s ban on straight-ticket voting to take effect.

Lower courts have ruled the ban violates the rights of minority voters in cities who are most likely to use the option. It allows a voter to support a political party’s entire slate of candidates with one mark on the ballot.

Common Cause is one of the groups challenging the ban. Director of Voting and Elections Allegra Chapman says it’s time for Schuette to give up.

Stateside 9.1.2016

Sep 1, 2016

 

Today, we hear how Michigan may be overlooking its gifted students in schools. And, is it possible that the tattoo on your body isn't actually yours?

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Courtesy of Jewell Jones

The sudden death this summer of State Representative Julie Plawecki forced Democrats to take quick action.

She had been running unopposed for the State House seat in the 11th District, which covers Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Garden City, Livonia and Westland.

21-year-old Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones is the party’s choice to run in Plawecki’s place.

If he wins in November, he’ll become the youngest person ever elected as a state lawmaker.

Flickr user Digital_Third_Eye/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump’s visit to an African-American church in Detroit this Saturday calls to mind his words about the city the last time he came to Michigan:

“At what point do we say, 'enough,'” Trump said. “It’s time to hold failed leaders accountable for their results, not just their empty words over and over again.”

But Daniel Howes of the Detroit News has a somewhat different view of Detroit.

“You’d think Donald Trump, who people say is a ‘quick study,’ would have done a little studying before he opened his mouth,” Howes said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A top Republican lawmaker says money for Flint’s water crisis is on “the short list” as Congress returns to work next week.

During a tour of Flint today, Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) was briefed on water distribution efforts in the city of nearly 100,000.

“The demand has not gone down,” one distribution center supervisor told Upton and Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint). 

Stateside 8.31.2016

Aug 31, 2016

 

Today, we learn that kids in Battle Creek will be going back to school without their cell phones (at least in class). And, we hear reactions to Trump's forthcoming third visit to Michigan.

Long Haul Films

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled to be in the congregation at Great Faith Ministries in Detroit on Saturday. There, he will reportedly not be speaking, but afterward, he will sit down to record a TV interview with the church's leader, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson.

The interview will air on Jackson's Impact Television Network. 

Someone who will most certainly not be tuning in to watch the interview is writer and Detroiter Aaron Foley. He wrote an article about Trump's visit for BLACDetroit.com.

Donald Trump
Flickr user Gage Skidmore/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump will visit Detroit Saturday, hoping to appeal to African-American voters. 

He'll visit a congregation at Great Faith Ministries International, although word is he won't be speaking.

Then, he will sit down to tape a TV interview with Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, which will then be broadcast on Jackson's Impact Television Network.

This latest visit to Michigan comes on the heels of the summer nominating convention held last weekend by Michigan's Republican Party.

A crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s long delayed second phase of its lead pipe replacement program is finally underway.

The city is replacing more than 200 lead and galvanized pipes connecting Flint homes and businesses to city water mains. The pipes are a primary source of lead in Flint’s drinking water.

Janet Hensley watched from her front door as contractors used shovels to dig up the front lawn of her home on Flint’s east side.

Little blue and yellow flags are dotted through Hensley’s block. The flags mark the location of natural gas lines and other underground utilities. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about M-STEP results and whether a legal battle between the governor and the state attorney general is getting in the way of public safety.

They also discuss a bill that would keep the governor from using public funds to pay for private attorneys and how polarizing national candidates could affect races in Michigan.

"The government is able to take people's property even though they might actually not have done anything wrong," Jarrett Skorup told us.
MI State Police

Rebuilding trust between many communities and their police officers will be a long, hard slog.

But everyone agrees it must be done. That was the message from a Congressional working group, which stopped in Detroit Tuesday.

The bipartisan Policing Strategies Working Group is trying to advance that goal with a series of meetings around the country.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor has taken the unusual step of declaring a housing emergency in the Capitol city.

Mayor Virg Bernero declared the emergency after a hotel on the city's south side informed dozens of residents they will be evicted in the next few weeks.

Many motorists cars honked their approval (some expressed their displeasure) at Trump supporters in Saginaw.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Donald Trump campaign staged rallies today in cities across Michigan.

Dozens of Trump supporters took over two corners of one of Saginaw’s busiest intersections.

Local campaign organizer Debra Mantey says this is the way for the Republican nominee to win in Michigan.

“The way we’re going to turn Michigan ‘red’ is by face-to-face, with Michigander to another Michigander,” says Mantey.

Mantey downplays polls showing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leading in Michigan. She says recent polls showing Trump gaining ground.  

President Obama greets inmates during a visit to El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla., July 16, 2015.
Pete Souza / White House

President Obama is using the power of his office to reduce the sentences of people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. Today his office announced that he cut short the sentences of 111 federal inmates.

The commutations announced today included three identified as being from Michigan:

Presidential campaign merchandise.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A conservative group is running ads this week in Michigan and three other states asking Republican Donald Trump to withdraw from the presidential race.

The ad features Donald Trump saying he would get out of the race if his poll numbers were bad.  The quotes date back to when Trump was riding high during the Republican primaries.

Stateside 8.29.2016

Aug 29, 2016

Today, we learn how kids feel racism through the media, and why it's our job to help them understand. And, we hear that Battle Creek wants to become America's test laboratory and lead the way to zero food waste.

michigan.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Republicans and Democrats held their summer nominating conventions over the weekend. 

Our It's Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta sat down with us today to break down both conventions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The focus is on the November elections with the Republican and Democratic summer nominating conventions wrapped up. Democrats, following their meeting over the weekend in Lansing, are hoping presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will lead them to a string of down-ballot victories if she wins the White House.

“We know in Michigan, that when our voters turn out, we win,” says Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon. “Our voters tend to turn out better in presidential elections, but this is an interesting year.”

Gov. Rick Snyder at the state GOP convention
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan Republicans were in Grand Rapids this past weekend to finalize their slate for the November ballot, and to fire up for the final weeks of the election season.

Spacing Magazine / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about a failed attempt to get recreational pot on the ballot this November, a report that the owners of the Ambassador Bridge might soon throw some legal hurdles down river to block construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge, and the latest chapter in the rivalry between Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.


Stateside 8.26.2016

Aug 26, 2016

Today, we compare our state's rules on voter petitions with others across the country, and we meet a luthier in our Artisans of Michigan series. 

Signatures are collected for the MI Legalize campaign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As a citizen, you have a right to petition the government for redress of grievances. At the state level, that right and the right to put referenda on the ballot can be restricted or, in some cases, circumvented.

State Rep. Brian Banks was arraigned this week on charges of providing false information on a bank loan application in 2010.
Michigan House of Representatives / Public Domain

The Michigan Freedom Fund's website describes the group as supporting political conservatives who beat up bad policy that favors big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts and big government.

This week the chairman of the group, Greg McNeilly, wrote an opinion piece in The Detroit News calling some Democrats hypocrites because they have been lecturing Republicans about the need to distance themselves from their presidential nominee, Donald Trump, while making campaign donations to Democratic state Representative Brian Banks. 

Rep. Banks was arraigned this week on charges related to using false pay stubs when trying to obtain a bank loan. He faces three felony charges and one misdemeanor.

Michigan Democrats will be gathering at the Lansing Center on Saturday for their state convention.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Democrats are gathering for their state convention in Lansing tomorrow, and the Republicans are holding their convention in Grand Rapids today and tomorrow.

Ken Sikkema​ and Susan Demas joined us today for our weekly political roundup.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials are concerned the city may not be able to pay for recommended fixes to the city’s water system.

Today, the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee responded to a list of 44 recommendations made by a special task force set up by Gov. Rick Snyder in the early days of the Flint water crisis.

“We trust that those recommendations are putting into motion things that need to be done in order to right-size … the system to be safe and drinkable,” says Harvey Hollins, the man appointed to oversee the FWICC. 

Screencap from Google Maps / Google

A group of cities near the Great Lakes is appealing a decision to let Waukesha, Wisconsin draw water directly from Lake Michigan. 

Waukesha asked to divert water from Lake Michigan because its own water source is contaminated. 

Great Lakes governors approved the diversion, but many Great Lakes mayors disagree. 

A group of 120 of them – members of The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative – is appealing. 

The city of Flint
wikimedia user Flintmichigan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

People in Flint are wondering if they’ll ever have to stop worrying about proper filters, about the supply of bottled water, about giving kids a bath.

It’s been about a year since the lid blew off what the world knows now as the “Flint water crisis,” and the biggest development this week is another tug-of-war between Governor Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette over the Flint investigation.

But Daniel Howes of The Detroit News can see an upside in Flint’s struggles, as well as a challenge to Michigan at large.

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