Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Local government meeting room in Lansing.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report on the fiscal health of local governments in Michigan raised the question of whether those governments feel the steam running out of the recovery from the Great Recession.

The Michigan Public Policy Survey was performed by the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

CLOSUP administrator Tom Ivacko joined us today to talk about their most recent findings. 

Durene Brown's basement has now flooded several times. She has yet to hear back about a claim filed in May.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is about to process an “unprecedented” number of claims, although it’s uncertain what claimants can expect to get out of the process.

It’s the result of a July 8 rainstorm that caused sewage to back up into basements across a swath of Detroit’s east side. A similar, smaller event happened in the same area just last week.

DWSD has urged affected residents to file claims, and many have.

There is a saying in politics that three-quarters of what you do in a campaign doesn’t matter -- you just don’t know which three quarters until after the campaign is over.

That’s because there are so many variables that can make a difference once the voting starts, so candidates, campaigns, and political parties do all they can to gain every marginal advantage.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is boosting his presence in Michigan. Michigan's campaign for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is expanding from one to seven senior staffers. 

Dave Doyle is the Executive Vice President for Marketing Resource Group. He says this is a big commitment to Michigan and shows that the campaign sees Michigan as a battleground state.

 

“The important thing is the expansion of the staff,” he says. “They’ve basically gone from a one man operation to seven people. So that’s again pretty significant.”

Stateside 8.22.2016

Aug 22, 2016

Today, we're introduced to Michigan's newest political party. And, we hear how the battle over straight-ticket voting is shaping up to be a logistical nightmare for those preparing the ballots.

Barring a successful appeal, Michigan voters will be able to use a straight-ticket voting option on November's ballot.
MICHAEL DORAUSCH / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Election day is drawing near. It’s less than 90 days away.

And still the battle continues over straight-ticket voting - that's where you can check off just one box at the top of the ballot to vote for every candidate in the party of your choice.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed an emergency motion with a federal appeals court. He’s asking the appeals court to overrule lower court rulings that blocked the new GOP-led law that eliminates straight-ticket voting in Michigan.

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

If you find yourself dissatisfied with choices offered by the two mainstream political parties, you’ve got a new choice.

The Working Class Party got itself onto the Michigan ballot after more than 50,000 people signed petitions. That’s more than the 31,566 signatures required by election law.

Mary Anne Hering of the Working Class Party joined Stateside to talk about the party’s platform, and introduce the candidates we’ll see on the ballot this November.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Members of Congress remain on their usual summer break.     

Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee hopes money for Flint’s water crisis will be near the top of the agenda when Congress returns to work after Labor Day.

The Flint Democrat admits there are some other pressing needs that also need to be addressed, in particular the Zika outbreak and Opioid epidemic.

“Our effort will be to not get through another budget cycle, as we go into the fall budget deliberations, without addressing Flint,” says Kildee.

flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a pitch for the support of factory workers and African-American voters today at a campaign stop at the Lansing suburb of Dimondale.

His speech focused largely on the economy and border protection.

Part of his pitch for African-American support was to blame Detroit’s crime, poverty and unemployment on the Democratic leadership, including his rival Hillary Clinton.

Stateside 8.19.2016

Aug 19, 2016

Today, we hear how slightly tighter air quality regulations could save lives in Detroit and elsewhere. And, a human rights activist reflects on a federal judge's ruling against a transgender funeral director in Michigan.

A report says as many as 15 people sent complaints to the Attorney General Bill Schuette's office more than a year before an investigation into the water crisis was launched.
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

The Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) reported this week that Flint residents contacted Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office long before he launched an investigation into what became known as the Flint Water Crisis.

Democrats have accused the Republican of ignoring those complaints, and only beginning an investigation after news media coverage became so prominent.

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas join Stateside for their weekly political roundup to talk about the issue.

Autoworkers gather to oppose Trump ahead of rally

Aug 19, 2016
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan auto workers and labor leaders gathered Friday morning to oppose Republican nominee Donald Trump’s visit to Dimondale, Michigan later that day. The group gathered with a very clear message: Donald Trump would a “disaster” for Michigan.

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer and several members of the United Auto Workers attacked Trump’s statements about moving car production outside of Michigan and his failure to release his tax returns. They said Trump is not on the side of the American workers.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Contractors will soon start replacing lead service lines at more than 200 Flint homes.  But first they need the homeowners’ permission.

The city has hired three companies to fully or partially remove hundreds of service lines.  Representatives of those three companies (WT Stevens Construction Inc., Johnson & Wood Mechanical and Goyette Mechanical) will begin fanning out in specific neighborhoods targeted because their residents are particularly at risk from lead exposure. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Six state workers accused of criminal wrongdoing in the Flint Water Crisis are getting their state paychecks once again - and Flint’s mayor is not happy that.

The six suspended state workers are charged with a total of 18 felony charges. They were initially suspended without pay, but their pay was reinstated this week.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver doesn’t think the six should be getting a state paycheck.

“It makes you question what people’s priorities are,” Weaver told reporters today.  

The expanded legislation would protect more people reporting overdoses
Sharyn Morrow / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Opioid tracking in Michigan is getting an overhaul in the future. A state task force has been working on using millions of dollars to put a dent in Michigan’s opioid drug problem. A big portion of the money and resources will go toward a new opioid tracking system.

Michigan’s current system, MAPS, keeps track of opioid prescriptions and use by patients. That helps law enforcement and medical professionals keep opioids out of the hands of drug abusers.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

A program meant to help struggling Detroiters pay their water bills is accepting more applicants now.

There had been some confusion about how much money was in the pot for the Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP).

The Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, which runs the WRAP for the Great Lakes Water Authority, said just this week that it wasn’t accepting new clients because it had already committed all its funding for the year.

Stateside 8.18.2016

Aug 18, 2016

Today we learn about Michigan's new auto industry partnership with Ontario. And, we talk about how well-intentioned "voluntourists" often miss the point.

Flickr user Gage Skidmore / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Donald Trump is coming back to Michigan – his second visit in as many weeks. It’s a sign that Michigan matters to the Republican presidential candidate.

He will speak at a rally on Friday afternoon at the Summit Sports and Ice Complex in Eaton County’s Dimondale.

Bruce Barlond, chair of the Eaton County Republican Party, said he was surprised to hear Trump would be visiting his county.

“But I really think it’s a great choice on his part, because Eaton County is a great county,” Barlond said. “It’s very easy to get to from Grand Rapids, Detroit area – it’s really in a great, great position.”

Stateside 8.17.2016

Aug 17, 2016

Today, we talk about Ford's push for mass producing fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. And, we learn how to prevent sitting from bringing down your health.

Barring a successful appeal, Michigan voters will be able to use a straight-ticket voting option on November's ballot.
MICHAEL DORAUSCH / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal appeals court has declined to stay a lower court ruling that declared Michigan's ban on straight-ticket voting unconstitutional.

Barring a successful emergency appeal by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, the decision means straight-ticket voting will remain available to Michigan voters in November's general election. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou discuss accusations that Republicans are shielding Gov. Snyder from accountability in the Flint water crisis and a set of bills that would legalize doctor-assisted suicide in Michigan. Lessenberry and Tribou also look at the state's plan to warn struggling school districts they might be closed at the end of this school year and a former Michigan governor who was ousted by his own party.  


Stateside 8.16.2016

Aug 16, 2016

Today, we hear how Detroit's Heidelberg Project plans to evolve after 30 years of bringing art to the city's east side. And we discuss how religious liberty is running into hate and fear in Sterling Heights.

Diego Cambiaso / Flickr

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are dominating the presidential campaign, but in many states, other names also will be on the November ballot.

Former GOP congressional aide Evan McMullin announced his candidacy last week. He joins third party and independent candidates Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein with the Green Party as long-shot candidates.

WINDSOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign rally near Lansing later this week.

The Republican presidential candidate will rally supporters Friday afternoon at the Summit Sports and Ice Complex in Eaton County's Windsor Township.

It is Trump's second visit to Michigan in as many weeks, following his economic speech in Detroit last week.

The public can request tickets on a first-come, first-served basis on Trump's campaign website.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is part of the team planning Hillary Clinton’s move into the White House if she wins the presidency in November.

The Clinton campaign announced its White House transition team this morning.

Clinton tapped former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to lead her White House transition team. Salazar will chair a team that includes Granholm, former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, and longtime Clinton allies Neera Tanden and Maggie Williams.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing residents will decide in November if they want to renew a public safety and road millage.

The Lansing City Council approved putting the millage renewal on the ballot Monday. 

The millage raises nearly $8 million annually and costs the average Lansing homeowner about $200 a year.

Back in 2011, Lansing voters narrowly approved a millage increase to pay for police and fire, as well as road improvements. Voters had rejected it six months before.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Democratic Party leader is accusing Republicans of “shielding” Gov. Rick Snyder from accountability for the Flint water crisis.

Brandon Dillon is the Michigan Democratic Party chairman. At the first of a series of news conferences today, Dillon spoke in Flint about the need to not let the governor “off the hook.”

“Anybody, whether they were a state employee or a political appointee right up to the governor himself, need to be held accountable,” Dillon said, “And the Republican Legislature has so far has been shielding him at all costs.”

How much of a role will the state of Michigan’s economy play in deciding your vote in November? Last week, the presidential candidates acted as if it might be a big deal as they both made stops in Michigan to deliver speeches on jobs and the economy. 

Michigan, and Detroit, in particular, remain economically emblematic. But there are two stories to tell and the candidates each packed a different one for the trip. 

A Detroit water shutoff notice
Ali Elisabeth / Michigan Radio

Detroiters looking for help with their water bills are hitting some barriers, as a new aid program tries to get a handle on its funding situation, and navigate confusion between the different agencies involved.

The Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) just launched in March. It was touted as a comprehensive solution to Detroit’s chronic problem with delinquent water bills, and the subsequent service shutoffs that have hit tens of thousands of households over the past three years.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint officials hope to ink contracts with three companies to begin removing lead service lines.

The service lines have been a major source of lead in Flint’s drinking water. But of the thousands of lead service lines in the city, to date, only 33 have been replaced.

Final agreements are expected to be signed this week with the companies hired to replace about 250 service lines. Plans are to fully replace 100 lines. Another 150 will involve partial replacement. Homeowners may be notified later this week that their service lines will soon be replaced.

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