Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

FLICKR USER KENNETH GARCIA / FLICKR

Local government officials believe they and their colleagues are pretty ethical. They seem to feel differently about state officials, however.

Those are some of the findings of the latest Michigan Public Policy Survey by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan.

Ann Arbor schools considering new weapons policy

Mar 18, 2015
user westsideshooter / Flickr

The Ann Arbor School Board is exploring options for a weapons-free school policy.

This comes after a March 5 incident in which a man caused concern after openly carrying a pistol to a Pioneer High School choir performance.

Michigan open-carry laws allow people with concealed carry permits to openly carry guns in schools.

Utility executive Nick Khouri will be Michigan’s next state treasurer. But Khouri also comes to the job with a lengthy state government resume – including time as a deputy treasurer.

Khouri was named to the job by Governor Rick Snyder and will start the job next month, a just a few days after the April 15 tax filing deadline. As well as collecting taxes, the state treasurer plays a key role in declaring local governments and school districts in financial distress, and naming emergency managers. 

Flickr user Betsy Weber / Flickr

Ticket scalping, or reselling concert or sports tickets for more than their face value, is illegal under state law. State Rep. Tim Kelly, R- Saginaw Twp., wants to change that.

He reintroduced a bill this month to lift the ban on scalping after a similar effort stalled last year when the legislation didn't pass the state Senate.

  Today on Stateside:

  • State Representative Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, explains the bill he introduced that would stop FOIA exemptions for the governor and legislators.
  • We look at why the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects were built in the 1930s in Detroit.
  • Detroit News’ Bill Loomis explains the history of St. Patrick’s Day in Detroit.
  • This year a house on the outskirts of Austin’s South by Southwest Festival will feature creative design products and people from Michigan.
  •  State Representative Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw, tells us why he wants to lift the ban on ticket scalping.
  • Roosevelt elementary is starting to introduce project-based arts education to accompany their focus on science, technology, engineering and math. We discuss how this could be the future for all of Michigan.
Michigan State Capitol Building
Nikopoley / Wikimedia Commons

In Michigan, the Governor’s Office and state legislators are not subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

State Representative Brandon Dillon,  D-Grand Rapids, wants to change that.

Dillon says he believes that the Governor's Office and state legislators should be subject to the same laws as other elected officials, such as school board members, city commissioners, county commissioners and many more, who aren't protected under the exemption.

Update, March 17th, 2015 1:15 PM:

In response to Governor Snyder's Executive Order moving the state School Reform Office (see original story below) out from control of the state Department of Education and into the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the State Board of Education released the following statement, calling into question the constitutionality of the Governor's order:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Highland Park officials say they want to board up more blighted homes with steel, rather than wood.

Steel is really good at keeping out squatters. Problem is, it's also really expensive.

The city started using steel shutters on a handful of houses after an 11-year-old girl was raped in December in an abandoned house.

   Today on Stateside:

  • Assistant professor of sports management at the University of Michigan’s School of Kinesiology Dae Hee Kwack says you may have better odds with your March Madness bracket by making your picks with a coin flip.
  •   Writer Ilene Wolff talks about her story for the latest edition of DBusiness, in which she pays tribute to some venerable long-time Michigan businesses.
  • Action Baby Carriers are made in Michigan and Andrea Govender chats about their design, manufacturing process, and her goals for the company.
  • Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau reporter Kathy Gray discusses the long list of bills and resolutions introduced thus far in March.
  • PJ Ryder from PJ’s Lager House in Detroit’s Corktown talks about the recent car thefts, the precautions he’s taken for his business, and suggestions he has for people parking in Detroit.

Detroit orders inspections to find broken hydrants

Mar 16, 2015
Downtown Charlottesville fire hydrant
Ben Schumin

Detroit officials have ordered inspections for all 30,000 of the city’s fire hydrants to figure out which are frozen or broken.

The city’s firefighters have reported about 1,000 broken hydrants since the beginning of December.

Jeff Pegg, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters’ Association, said broken hydrants mean big risks for fire fighters and the citizens they’re supposed to protect.

“If the hydrant is frozen, then you have to go to the hydrant down the street,” Pegg said. “The further you go, the more problems, because of the longer distance you have to travel.”

DMedina / morgueFile

Some Michigan nurses would be able to prescribe drugs without a doctor’s consent. That’s under a bill up for a state Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 68 would allow nurses with additional training to be licensed to treat, diagnose, and prescribe drugs to patients. Advanced practice registered nurses would include certified nurse midwives, certified nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialist-certifieds. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Photo courtesy of Governor Snyder's office

Governor Rick Snyder has rolled out a new state department with the job of matching skilled workers with employers.

Meet TED. That’s the new state Department of Talent and Economic Development. Governor Snyder created the department by executive order to look at better ways to train and place workers with businesses that are hiring.

“It’s a new way of looking at government,” said Snyder. “Let’s take care of people. Let’s deal with root causes, and let’s give ‘em great opportunity.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council will do something today it hasn’t done in four years: play a role in writing the city’s budget.

An emergency manager has made all Flint’s budget decisions since 2011.

But that’s changing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's public records law allows anyone to request information that can help shine a light on what government is doing, but not all of government is subject to those disclosure requirements.

  Michigan's Freedom of Information Act does not cover the governor, lieutenant governor, their offices or legislators. It does, however, cover state departments, local governments and schools.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters may decide in 2016 if they want to legalize marijuana.

Organizers hope to start a petition drive this summer to put the issue on the ballot.

Rick Thompson is with the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee.

He says the path has been laid by decriminalization votes in nearly two dozen Michigan cities.

flickr

When it comes to schools, pot and guns in Michigan, who's the boss? This week, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss an executive order that puts control of the state's worst performing schools in the governor's hands, whether legalizing recreational marijuana would be good for Michigan, and a skirmish in Ann Arbor over openly carrying weapons in schools.

 

Gov. Snyder presented his goals for energy policy in Michigan Friday at an electrician training facility in Warren.
Jake Neher / MPRN

Gov. Snyder's goal of boosting renewable energy to between 30% and 40% in the next decade includes increased energy efficiency to get to those numbers. The governor says increased efficiency should play a central role in Michigan’s energy future.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is facing a BIG bill to clean up thousands of blighted properties.

A third of Flint properties are blighted. It’s estimated it will cost roughly $100 million during the next five years to fix the problem.

That’s according to Flint’s Blight Elimination Framework. 

Potholes
Peter Ito / flickr

Each Thursday, Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, discuss Michigan politics with Jenn White. This week the conversation is all about road funding.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

State Representative Jeff Irwin wants to end daylight saving time for all of Michigan. 

The practice, he says, was adopted during WWI to cut back on energy usage. However, today, daylight saving time actually correlates with an increase in energy usage. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

The Ann Arbor school board is requesting that the state legislature repeal a controversial gun law.

The law allows someone with a concealed pistol license to openly carry a gun into a school. Carrying a concealed weapon into a school is still illegal.

The board took the action after a man with a concealed pistol license attended a high school performance last week, bearing an openly displayed, holstered weapon.

Birmingham Public Schools

Bills are headed up for customers of the state’s largest water system, after Detroit’s regional board of water commissioners approved rate hikes today.

Commission chair James Fausone says the system’s budget will stay about the same, but it has revenue requirements to meet — and customers have been using less water in recent, wet years.

Today on Stateside:

  • Mlive.com reporter Jonathan Oosting joins us to talk about "Plan B," an alternate to the May ballot proposal to increase road funding.
  •  The co-author of a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Raymond DeVries discusses why it’s important for biobanks to explain where donations are going.
  • Detroit Institute of Arts Director Graham Beal talks about the DIA’s big exhibition opening Sunday: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit.
  • Stateside’s Mercedes Mejia brings back an audio postcard from El Barzon, a restaurant in Detroit cooking in the spirit of Frida Kahlo.
  • Ironworker Richard Demara is with us to explain what it was like to help build the Mackinac Bridge, and what it’s like to look out from the bridge’s highest point.
  • Executive director of Women on 20s Susan Ades Stone talks about the motivation behind and goals of the campaign.
  • University of Michigan professor of psychology Ethan Kross and Michigan Radio's social media producer Kimberly Springer talk about the implications of using Facebook on our daily lives.
wikimedia commons

Time is running out for Wayne County residents to get help with tax foreclosures.

County officials say thousands of people facing foreclosure have gotten on payment plans to avoid that — more than 7,500 in Detroit alone.

But the option is only available until the end of this month.

Joe Gratz / Flickr

The Michigan attorney general’s office has decided to withdraw subpoenas sent to reporters investigating prison conditions for teenaged inmates.The attorney general’s office asked for all notes and records dealing with interviews connected to a lawsuit alleging sexual assaults against teenaged state prison inmates.   

Gov. Rick Snyder
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder says he thinks it would be a mistake to abruptly scrap Michigan’s incentives to attract film and video productions.

The state House is poised to vote this week on a bill to end the film incentives when the new budget year begins Oct. 1.  The governor’s not a fan of industry-specific tax breaks, but he says it would be unfair to simply eliminate the film credits.

From a Ferguson protest in New York City.
user The All-Nite Images / Flickr

    

Peaceful protests continued through the weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, after an unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer Friday night.

It's the latest conflict between police and the communities they protect.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council will take up a proposed 20% pay increase for top city officials later this month.

The proposal by an independent panel was introduced at last night’s meeting. The proposal is now scheduled to be discussed at the council’s Committee of the Whole meeting on March 23rd. The pay hike will take effect in July, unless the city council votes it down.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans issued an executive order Monday imposing a spending and hiring freeze.

The county will not fill vacant positions, with some exceptions for health and public safety jobs.

No one will get a raise unless mandated by collective bargaining agreement. 

Today on Stateside:

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