Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For-profit and non-profit breast milk banks will come under more scrutiny if proposed regulations are adopted in Michigan. 

There’s a growing demand for breast milk.

State Representative Erika Geiss wants to make sure that the milk is handled properly and breast milk donors and customers are treated right.

Jeb Bush
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

There’s a busy spring in store for Michigan Republicans looking to see the party’s presidential hopefuls in action.

Four potential GOP candidates have plans to visit the Great Lakes State during April and May.

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Governor Rick Snyder said today that he would veto a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act if it's sent to his desk by the Legislature. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the measure in Indiana that has been stirring controversy.

Snyder says he would not sign a Michigan RFRA unless it is coupled with legislation adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state's civil rights law.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

Indiana has been in the national spotlight this week after passing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Today, Gov. Rick Snyder said he will veto such a law if it comes to his desk without legislation that adds protections for LGBT people to Michigan's civil rights law.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Gov. Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder says he would veto a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act if the Legislature sends it to him.

The governor, who’s previously expressed skepticism about the legislation, went further than he ever has before, and told The Detroit Free Press he’s willing to reject the legislation if there are no accompanying protections for LGBT protections added to the state’s civil rights law.

Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has announced a new program to grow neighborhood businesses and match them with the right physical space.

The program is called Motor City Match.

"There is tremendous interest among entrepreneurs who want to open or grow their businesses in the city of Detroit," said Duggan. "The Motor City Match program is designed to expand the growth we are seeing downtown, Midtown, and Corktown to key neighborhood corridors across our city." 

Classroom
User Motown31 / Creative Commons

This Week in Michigan PoliticsEmily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss the likelihood of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act being passed and signed into law in Michigan, and if the state will take over some of the hundreds-of-millions of dollars in debt from the Detroit Public Schools. 


A gay couple marries in Michigan.
Emily Fox

We've said it before, and then we said it again.

There's no Michigan or federal law that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people from discrimination.

Michigan's civil rights law protects you from discrimination based on your religion, race, color, national origin, age, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

DETROIT – The federal government has ended 10 years of management of Detroit's public housing system and restored it to local control.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says in a statement Tuesday that the change is effective March 16. U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro says the update "represents an important milestone in Detroit's road to recovery."

Bwmoll3 / Wikimedia commons

Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters signed onto letters Monday to try to stop federal cuts that would hurt the state.

Both senators signed onto letters sent out Monday. One urges a senate subcommittee to support health clinics for primary medical care.

Today on Stateside:

  • Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics are here to give us a break down of this week’s political news, including Governor Snyder’s controversial pardon of a drunk driver, and Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislation.
  • As part of Michigan Radio's "Learning to Teach" series, here is a postcard that explains, from the teachers’ perspective, what we need to do to keep them here in Michigan.

  • Michelle Richard, an education specialist with Public Sector Consultants joins us for another segment of the "Learning to Teach" series, to talk about teacher evaluations.
  • Keith Kindred, a teacher of social studies at South Lyon East High School, is here to present The Next Idea relating to teacher preparation and what that should entail.
  • No recognition for same-sex marriage in Michigan makes taxpaying difficult for same-sex couples. Joe Henchman, Vice President of State Projects at the Tax Foundation in Washington, joins us to explain.
  • Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo brings the Spartans to the Final Four for his seventh time, so Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon talks about that journey and what’s yet to come.
  • Jason Gasperich, director of sustainability for Connor Sports, talks about the Final Four floors and how they were made in Michigan.
It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Political news continues to surface even though lawmakers at the state Capitol have begun their two week spring break.

On Friday, an investigative report, by the Associated Press, about a controversial pardon made by Governor Rick Snyder came out.

“As we share in the bad times, we must equally share in the good times!”

United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams fired up the rank and file at the UAW convention last week in Detroit. The meeting comes as the Union is preparing for a round of bargaining that will begin later this year with the domestic auto companies.

Getting a ticket
Jimmy Emerson / Creative Commons

Michigan drivers who have trouble keeping track of paper proof of insurance forms may soon have another option.

The state House this week passed a bill that would let drivers use smartphones or other electronic devices to show proof of insurance when pulled over.

Many insurance companies already offer apps and other ways for insured drivers to view their information electronically.  

U.S. Supreme Court

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office has delivered the state's defense of its same-sex marriage ban to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state’s 59-page brief focuses largely on states’ rights. The attorney general argues the case is not specifically about marriage, but who gets to decide the question.

Mike Mozart / Creative Commons

Governor Rick Snyder used his pardon powers to erase the drunken driving conviction of a politically connected lawyer who was appointed to a state economic board in 2011.

Snyder followed the recommendation of the Michigan parole board and pardoned Alan Gocha Jr. in December — one of only 11 pardons out of roughly 750 applications since the governor took office.

Energy drink founder pours money into politics

Mar 26, 2015
Mike Mozart / Creative Commons

Manoj Bhargava isn't a household name, but a report from the Center for Public Integrity says the Michigan-based billionaire’s campaign contributions rival the Koch Brothers'.

Bhargava is the founder of 5-hour Energy drinks.  Since 2009, he’s made about $5.3 million in state and national campaign contributions through his Michigan-based companies.

Cedar Bend / Flickr

Michigan families could lose their cash assistance if one or more of their children persistently miss school. That’s under a bill approved by the state House on Thursday.

The Michigan Department of Human Services already cuts off welfare payments due to child truancy. House Bill 4041 would put that policy into state law.

Chalkboard
user alkruse24 / Flickr

Each week, Jennifer White talks Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. 

This week 's conversation focuses on  how education funding is shaping up in Lansing. 

Today on Stateside:

  • Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio Network’s Lansing Bureau Chief, chats about Michigan’s “no dueling” law and the effort in Lansing to rid Michigan of archaic laws.
  • Hour Detroit magazine’s chief wine and restaurant critic, Chris Cook, discusses “Sex,” one of Michigan’s sparkling wines with an interesting history behind its name.

Money
Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / Creative Commons

A new study from the Government Accountability Office shows municipalities in fiscal crisis have more difficulty applying for and managing federal grants.

The GAO focused on several financially-stressed cities including Flint and Detroit.  

The report found that budget cuts and personnel shortages made it difficult for cities to carryout the grant application process.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Northern Michigan’s congressman says he plans to run again in 2016.

Dan Benishek represents Michigan’s first congressional district, and plans to run for a fourth term.

"I’m happy to serve the people of northern Michigan if they’ll have me. And I’ve decided that I’m gonna try to stay a little longer,” Benishek said.

NOAA

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry talk about the politics of water.

The Flint River.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Residents have complained about water quality since the city started getting its water from the Flint River about a year ago.

The council approved the motion with a seven to one vote at their Monday night meeting.

Photo from the 2011 Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C.
user ep_jhu / Flickr

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission hopes to help local governments draft non-discrimination laws.

The commission has released a model civil rights ordinance communities can use as a template for their own laws.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing city council is getting a 20% pay raise, despite protests from some council members. 

Five of the eight council members voted to reject the pay raise. But they fell short of the super-majority needed to block the raise. 

Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

The new film 1971 tells the story of the eight members who made up the self-titled Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI. The group stole more than 1,000 classified documents from the FBI in order to expose some of the government agency's unconstitutional and illegal actions.

The film marks the first time these eight citizens are telling their story. Among them is West Michigan native Bonnie Raines and her husband John Raines.

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the DeBoer decision that briefly legalized same-sex marriage in Michigan in March 2014. To that end, there were some three-hundred one-year wedding anniversaries celebrated around the state yesterday.

user Laura4Smith / Flickr

Five years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, enrollment by Michigan residents has surpassed projections.

According to Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the University of Michigan's Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT), nearly 1 million Michigan residents signed up for health care in the last enrollment period. Almost 600,000 of those enrollees took advantage of Healthy Michigan, the state's Medicaid expansion program. 

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Photo courtesy of www.stabenow.senate.gov

Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) and her co-chair of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), have introduced new bi-partisan legislation. It aims to strengthen enforcement of trade rules and provide job protection for American workers.

The Trade Enforcement Act would make permanent a federal office that coordinates the efforts of federal agencies that challenge unfair trade practices abroad. It would also create a role to lead that office and another to manage U.S. manufacturing negotiations. Senator Stabenow spoke to Jennifer White about this new legislation.

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