Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

  • David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment for the University at Albany in New York, explains what a Superfund site is and how winning that designation could help with the Pall-Gelman dioxane plume.
Gov. Rick Snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There is an effort under way to recall Gov. Rick Snyder. Metro Detroit pastor David Bullock is leading the charge on one of the two petitions that are circulating around the state. Recalling a governor is no easy task and thanks to recent legislation, it is even more difficult.

Bullock will need to gather more than 790,000 valid signatures in 60 days. If they are successful with the effort, there is a great deal of confusion as to what the next steps would be.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Genesee County Clerk is worried that uncertainty about lead service lines in Flint will hurt property values in the future.

The Genesee County clerk’s office has deed records going back to the 1700’s. 

Because of Flint’s water crisis, Clerk John Gleason wants to add some information to future deeds.

He’s proposing adding a note on when lead service lines were replaced.

“We think it’s critical,” says Gleason. “We think it helps stabilize property values. That will stabilize the funding of police and fire departments through property taxes.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A national group says the experience in Flint suggests Michigan should make changes to its emergency manager law.

The Pew Charitable Trusts has been studying how 20 states intervene when local governments are in financial trouble.

“Sometimes emergency managers may be part of a distressed community’s opportunity to reset their finances,” says Mary Murphy, a manager on the Pew’s state and local fiscal health team, “But they’re not always the right solution to every problem … and Flint certainly calls attention to the latter.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Like last week, when he testified before Congress, the Flint water crisis again dominated Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s schedule this week. 

First, the governor outlined a sweeping plan for dealing with the city of Flint’s drinking water crisis.

Then only a few days later, a task force that he appointed put the blame on his office, his appointees and two state agencies for Flint’s lead tainted water.

People in Flint are still lining up for bottled water. 

The Flint Water Advisory Task Force presents the findings of its final report.
Screenshot from livestream

This week the Flint Water Advisory Task Force released its 116-page report.

Although Gov. Snyder appointed the task force, he and his administration were not spared in its frank findings.

At the formal release of the task force report, co-chair Chris Kolb singled out the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as having, as the report said, “a degree of intransigence and belligerence that has no place in government.”

“I think the residents and citizens of Flint will take the remorse of government to be genuine when they see quality, pure, safe water coming out of the tap," says NAACP president Cornell William Brooks.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Top leaders of the NAACP were in Lansing Wednesday pressing Governor Snyder on the Flint water crisis.

The group blocked a street in front of the State Capitol with pieces of pipe, calling it a “pipe-in.”

Leading the group was the National NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.

Brooks was in Lansing a month ago, and threatened civil disobedience if Governor Snyder didn’t present a plan within 30 days that included a deadline for replacing Flint’s water pipes.

 

  • A bill to protect freedom of expression and of the press for Michigan student journalists at public schools and universities was unanimously passed out of a State Senate committee this week.
  • In September 1929 the ship Andaste disappeared beneath the stormy waters of Lake Michigan.
Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry explains what came out of the final report by Governor Rick Snyder's Flint water task force. Lessenberry also explains bills moving through the legislature to fix Detroit Public Schools. 


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Governor’s Flint water crisis task force is recommending a new investigation into the KWA pipeline project.

Flint’s emergency manager agreed to the switch in 2013 to save money. 

Task Force Co-Chair Ken Sikkema says there are questions about the pipeline project that prompted Flint to turn off the tap from Detroit.

Sign in Flint, Michigan.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Flint is slated to get up to $15 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to help recovery efforts in Flint following the water contamination crisis.

Half the money initially will be released to pay for about 400 temporary jobs for Flint residents. The jobs will last up to one year.

The rest of the money will support job training and career development for Flint residents.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Water Advisory Task Force released its final report after a five-month investigation into the Flint water crisis, and according to co-chair Ken Sikkema, “It doesn’t paint a very pretty picture about certain state agencies, and even local agencies.”

U.S. Supreme Court

Every 10 years, Michigan legislators re-draw our congressional and legislative districts. Once the census numbers are released, the political party in power at the time controls the process, and that's when things can get ugly.

A U.S. Supreme Court out of Texas could change the way redistricting is handled in Michigan and every other state.

Eric Lupher, the president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, joined Stateside to explain how the case of Evenwel v. Abbott could have a significant impact on future elections.

  • A task force appointed by Governor Snyder has laid most of the blame for the Flint water crisis on bad decisions by state departments like the Department of Environmental Quality. We speak with task force member Ken Sikkema.
  • Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U.
Trunk Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Rennett Stowe / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

What the heck is going on with the Virgin Islands Republican Party?

This is the question posed as the title of an article by Lauren Fox on TalkingPointsMemo.com.

The heart of the issue is who will represent the Virgin Islands at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland later this year?

The Flint Water Advisory Task Force presents the findings of its final report.
Screenshot from livestream

The Flint Water Advisory Task Force released its final report this morning. The report includes 44 recommendations. Gov. Snyder said in the press conference that the state is already working on 25 of those recommendations.

Task force co-chair Ken Sikkema said, "What happened in Flint is a clear case of environmental injustice."

One of the main findings of the report is that Gov. Snyder relied on bad information from MDEQ and MDHHS:

  • MSU education policy professor David Arsen weighs in on proposed legislation that could save Detroit Public Schools.
     
  • Former Holland Mayor Al McGeehan joins us to share a quick history of the city's heated streets and sidewalks.
flickr user Violet Jiang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Late last week, the state House passed a stopgap funding bill that gives nearly $50 million to the Detroit Public Schools.

That’s just enough money to see the flailing school district through to the end of this school year.

Governor Snyder’s proposed $715 million fix is still on the table. It would divide the district into two entities: an “Old Co.” that would use millage revenue to pay off the $515 million in debt, and a “New Co.” that would exist solely to educate students.

Lansing's mayor wants to move city hall

Mar 22, 2016
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing City Hall could soon have a new home.

Mayor Virg Bernero wants to move it from its current location across from the state capitol building to a less developed area several blocks south.

Bernero's chief of staff Randy Hannan says the current city hall building is aging and in need of updates. Hannan says it would cost  at least $50 to $60 million to bring it up to modern standards.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This morning, state lawmakers will resume their hearings into Flint’s water crisis.

State Senator Jim Stamas, R-Midland, chairs the special joint committee looking into what happened to Flint’s water.

He toured Flint’s water plant Monday and met with city residents.

Sen. Stamas says improving communication between state and local governments, as well as Flint residents, is much needed.

“We continue to hear different individuals having different stories. We’re hearing different things from the community,” says Stamas. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Gov. Rick Snyder

The next phase of Governor Rick Snyder’s plans for Flint include enforcing drinking water standards that are stricter than federal requirements.

Governor Snyder has complained the federal rule designed to keep lead and copper out of drinking water is confusing and difficult to follow.

The streets of Havana, Cuba in December of 2014.
Nina Hale / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Barack Obama made history today when he became the first U.S. president to visit the island nation of Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

It's seen as an important step toward normalizing relations between the two countries. Many Cuban Americans, like Felix Sharpe-Caballero, are following the developing relationship between the two countries very closely.

Sharpe-Caballero was born in Cuba and moved to Detroit when he was three years old after his father, who worked at the Guantanamo Naval Base, won political asylum and moved his family to the U.S.

  • When your child gets cancer, is a clinical trial the right choice for you?
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County officials say they want the state to cover their costs of responding to the Flint water crisis.

Genesee County has spent more than a million dollars during the past six months dealing with Flint’s tainted drinking water.

County Commission Chairperson Jamie Curtis says the state should pay because the state is largely responsible for the crisis. 

Curtis notes Governor Snyder has promised to fix the problem. He says fixing the problem should include paying the county’s tab.

There were political fireworks at two hearings in Washington D.C. last week that overshadowed the almost simultaneous beginning of hearings by a state legislative committee on the Flint water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are pushing to require that all signatures for a statewide ballot initiative be collected within a six-month period.

  The move could stymie pro-marijuana and anti-fracking activists from potentially receiving more time thanks to improved technology.

  Legislation approved along party lines by the Republican-controlled Senate would mandate that a voter signature for a constitutional amendment or initiated bill not count if it's written more than 180 days before the petition is filed. The bill is pending in the House.

Flint River and water plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The governor’s Flint water crisis task force is turning its attention to the city’s hot water heaters.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Governor Rick Snyder is standing by Michigan’s emergency manager law. The law was repeatedly criticized at a Congressional hearing into Flint's water crisis on Thursday, and the governor admitted emergency managers failed in Flint.  

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The water crisis in Flint and the financial crisis in Detroit Public Schools appear to be taking a toll on Michigan’s credit outlook.

Standard and Poor’s, one of the three major credit ratings agencies, revised Michigan’s outlook for general obligation debt down a notch, from “positive” to “stable” this week.

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