Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

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Romney McDaniel is the new Michigan Republican chairwoman. The niece of Mitt Romney was elected today at a GOP convention in Lansing.

McDaniel says one of her goals is to unite her party’s factions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's elections director has released proposed wording of a road funding ballot proposal asking voters if they want to increase the state sales tax.

Chris Thomas published his proposed language Friday. The Board of State Canvassers will meet next week to determine the constitutional amendment's wording in the May 5 special election.

A drawing of where the New International Trade Crossing will be located.
MI DOT

Sometimes bigger is better. Sometimes it’s not. This week, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark discuss what an earlier presidential primary might mean for Michigan, the state’s ever-expanding tax credit bill and a big step toward a new international bridge.


wikimedia commons

Some southeast Michigan cities are preparing to take on the state’s largest utility.

At issue is DTE Energy’s plan to raise rates on municipal LED streetlight installations.

An "I Voted" sticker.
user Vox Efx / Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that moves Michigan's 2016 Republican presidential primary to March 8.

The bills were signed as Republicans prepare to gather in Lansing this weekend for their winter state party convention.

Tim (Timothy) Pearce / Flickr

From attacks on Jews in Paris and Denmark, to controversy over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to the U.S. Congress, Israel is in the news.

Roey Gilad is the consul general of Israel to the Midwest. He represents the interests of the state of Israel in the Midwest.

City of Detroit

In what officials call an effort towards greater transparency, the city of Detroit launched a website that offers access to many government documents that were once difficult to find. 

"People have questions on how the government works, and it's frustrating when it's difficult to get answers to those questions," said Garlin Gilchrist II. 

Paige Pfleger

Seventeen people died in arson fires in Detroit last year.

That's according to an in-depth analysis by the Detroit News today.

If you missed it, here’s the upshot: arson isn’t a new issue for Detroit, obviously, but it’s proving to be a massive resource-suck as the city moves out of bankruptcy.

There were some 9,000 suspicious fires between 2010 and mid-2013.

The silver lining here is that the city making blight a major issue, which could help with arson since those buildings are often targets – and they can be tricky for firefighters to assess when they show up on the scene.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s water is safe. That’s the opinion of a consultant hired by city officials.

But a preliminary report released yesterday says steps must be taken in the short and long-term to avoid problems with Flint’s water system.

Flint residents have been complaining about the taste and smell of the city’s water for nearly a year. Many are concerned the water’s not safe.

Jake Neher / MPRN

There are more than $9 billion in un-cashed Michigan business tax credits outstanding and waiting to play havoc with future state budgets. That’s $3 billion  larger than originally expected, and it was already a big problem.

State Representative Al Psholka, R-Stevensville, chairs the House Appropriations Committee. He says that leaves a lot of uncertainty hanging over future state budgets.

Paul Sullivan / Flickr Creative Commons

The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division (CVED) of the Michigan State Police has launched a new state initiative to involve the trucking industry in its fight against human trafficking.

Captain Michael Krumm, commander of the CVED, said a lot of human trafficking activity takes place in truck stops and rest areas. So "as the eyes and ears of the nation's highways," the trucking industry is in a good position to help.

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

The state House is supposed to vote before the end of the week on legislation to hold Michigan’s Republican presidential primary in March of next year. That’s after the House Elections Committee adopted the bills that many Republicans hope and expect will make Michigan a player in next year’s GOP presidential sweepstakes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. - A new report says lobbyists spent a near record total of about $37 million in 2014 trying to influence legislation in Michigan.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network said Tuesday that lobbyists' spending in 2014 totaled $37,038,329. That's just short of the record spending reported for 2012, a total of $37,152,883.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An outside expert is making some surprising recommendations to fix Flint’s water woes.

The report issued Tuesday recommends Flint discontinue the process of fluoridation, among other things.

Wikipedia Commons/Creative Commons

The White House begins its Summit on Countering Violent Extremism today.

The conference comes in the wake of deadly attacks carried out across the globe.

The shock waves over the murder of Lt. Muath al-Kasaesbeh were especially deep in southeast Michigan, where some of the pilot’s relatives live.

user FatMandy / flickr

A judge says Wayne County must take steps to improve the condition of its current jail.

An opinion from Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny says problems with the old jail have gotten worse while the county focused its efforts on building a new jail. Kenny says the completion of the new jail is not "imminent."

 

Today on Stateside:

  • Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson discusses the party’s plans in the run-up to the 2016 election.  
  • BBC News Health Editor James Gallagher joins us from London to talk about lessons we can learn from the U.K.’s history with measles.

  • Writer Craig Bernier reads from and talks about his collection of short stories, Your Life Idyllic, based largely in the Detroit metropolitan area.

www.michigandems.com/lon

Michigan Democrats held their party convention in Detroit over the weekend.

Their mission was to choose their top leader and to figure out how to win come Election Day 2016.

The first order of business was easy: Chairman Lon Johnson had no competition for the top leadership spot.

The second order of business, however, was a bit more involved.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Flickr

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow is worried about a potential shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.

“I am very concerned and actually quite shocked that it’s gotten to this point,” Stabenow said during a visit to St. Joseph Monday morning.

Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee says a majority of "reasonable Republicans" would be willing to avoid a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security next week.

But on Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner says that's exactly what will happen, if the Senate does not pass a DHS funding bill that can also pass in the House.

Homeland Security will shut down by Friday, February 27th, if a funding bill is not approved.

A number of House Republicans say the funding bill must include provisions to roll back recent presidential orders on immigration, which allow certain people brought to the United States illegally as children to remain in the U.S., and defer deportation of their parents.

Democratic state Representative Gretchen Driskell’s nascent campaign for Congress relies in part on the assumption that Hillary Clinton will be at the top of the Democratic ticket next year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Democrats are gathering to conduct party business and to re-elect their leader for another two-year term.

Lon Johnson is expected to be chosen as chairman again at the party's convention Saturday afternoon in Detroit. He took charge in 2013.

  He says the party's infrastructure has improved under his watch, but Democrats have to start winning races.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan felt a bit like a Monty-Python sketch this week as the Snyder administration looked on the bright side of a gaping budget hole and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s State of the City oozed optimism. Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clarke discuss whether things really are as bright as they say or if dark clouds are looming.


quicksandala / morgueFile

The state Auditor General says the Michigan Department of Transportation spent millions of dollars on commuter rail cars that aren’t being used.

The audit found the department missed out on applying for federal mass transit funds that could have defrayed the state’s costs, and failed to ensure all railway crossings are safe.

The report also found the state spent almost $10 million refurbishing rail cars that were never put to use.

“The projects got delayed, and then the issue became, OK, you put the money into the overhaul,” said Tim Hoeffner of MDOT. “You need to keep them available. And the question is, how long should we keep them available.” 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Shiawassee County officials missed a deadline to get a millage on the May ballot.

So, the county will continue making do without sheriff's road patrols for now.

Hartman Aue is the new chairman of the County Commission.

He says previous commissions "kicked the can down the road," and ignored budget deficits until they got out of control. 

Then, they cut $1.5 million out of the Sheriff's Department budget.

I’m so old I can remember when the California presidential primary, which takes place at the beginning of June, often played a major role in choosing both parties’ nominees.

These days, the contests start nearly two years before the election, and tend to be decided by the end of March, but there’s no reason that might not be different next year.

How much does your vote count? Thanks to gerrymandering, it depends on where you live.
Theresa Thompson / Flickr

Michigan Republicans would vote for their presidential nominee on March 15 of next year, under a bill that’s cleared the state Senate. But there’s still a lot to settle as far as the GOP nominating process.

Budget tiles
Simon Cunningham / Flickr

Each Thursday, we talk to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. Today, we take a look at Governor Snyder's budget priorities and the lingering question of how Michigan will fund its road improvements.

Courtesy of City of Detroit, Mayor's Office

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan delivered his State of the City address this week.

Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes says Duggan didn't talk much about the auto industry, but instead focused on entrepreneurship and how to support small businesses.

This reflects much of Detroit, and Michigan's deeper history, according to Howes.

"Both Detroit and Michigan's roots were planted by entrepreneurs and really the Michigan that a lot of people knew and think back on, the golden age if you will, was the fruit of the entrepreneurial spirit," says Howes.

Michigan House Republicans

Governor Snyder delivered his proposed budget for the next fiscal year yesterday and Lt. Governor Brian Calley was at his side. Calley presented the transportation portion of the administration's budget.

After the announcement, some critics noted there's not much of a backup plan if voters turn down a ballot proposal in May to increase road funding.

Calley says the backup plan is the status quo.

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