Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

sign that says "Flint Vehicle City"
Michigan Municipal League/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

President Barak Obama is scheduled to visit Flint on Wednesday, and Governor Rick Snyder said today  that he has formally asked to meet with the president and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver during the visit.

Snyder said it would be an opportunity to discuss at the highest level how to best support Flint.

“How can we all work together to make Flint a stronger, better community and address the water question as much as possible,” said Snyder.

President Obama is planning to fly into Flint later this week to check in on the response to the city’s drinking water crisis and Governor Rick Snyder doesn’t plan to follow along on the presidential visit.

So, the question becomes: can the governor of Michigan really altogether snub the president of the United States?

Snyder has certainly tried to lay an equal share of the blame for what went wrong in Flint on problems caused by the federal government and its layers of bureaucracy.

Student performers at the Detroit NAACP Freedom Fund dinner.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President took her through Detroit this weekend.

Clinton was the keynote speaker at the Detroit NAACP’s annual Freedom Fund dinner.

She said the kind of suffering seen in cities like Detroit and Flint are symbolic of communities across the country that are being “left out and left behind.”

Clinton, who has been vocal about the Flint water crisis since it started drawing national attention, called it “unacceptable.” But she also said there are “too many Flints in America.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state panel examining Flint's lead tainted water is looking at the pipeline deal that some say was the catalyst of the crisis.

Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright walked the panel through the history of the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline.

Wright believes he answered most questions about why the region needed the new pipeline and why the KWA doesn't deserve any blame for Flint's water crisis.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state's bottled water distribution operation in Flint is nearing a milestone.

The state will soon open two new community water distribution centers in Flint. Three opened last month. The centers are manned by paid workers. 

MSP Capt. Chris Kelenske leads the state's emergency response to the Flint water crisis. He says as more paid workers come online the National Guard will begin pulling out.

"We’ll continue to see a scaled down version as we’re getting community members hired and brought in,” says Kelenske.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has told University of Michigan graduates to be wary of partisan politics and intolerance.

  Bloomberg delivered Saturday's spring commencement address at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

  In a prepared speech, Bloomberg said the United States is facing "serious and difficult challenges," but candidates in this year's presidential election are "blaming our problems on easy targets."

A Detroit water shutoff notice
Ali Elisabeth / Michigan Radio

Detroit water customers behind on their bills have one more day to set things straight — or possibly face having their service cut off.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is hosting a customer assistance fair on Saturday.

The idea is to provide a one-stop customer service blitz for the roughly 23,000 Detroiters who have defaulted on payment plans, or are otherwise delinquent on their bills.

DWSD director Gary Brown had this message for them: “You need to come into the fair and get current on your plan.

Stateside 4.29.2016

Apr 29, 2016
  • Gov. Rick Snyder and a recent MLive.com editorial are calling for the state to approve additional funding for the city of Flint.
House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant
Michigan House Republicans

Gov. Rick Snyder and a recent MLive.com editorial are calling for the state to approve additional funding for the city of Flint in the aftermath of the water crisis. House Speaker Kevin Cotter provides an update of the status of the funding and what is causing the delay.

Listen to the full interview on Stateside below. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
A Healthier Michigan / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Russell Padmore, a business correspondent from the BBC, talks about what Gov. Rick Snyder is doing on his European trip, and how much of an impact foreign visits by American elected officials can have.

Listen to the full interview on Stateside below. 

Prison bars
powelli / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state House has cleared a set of bills that would change how young offenders are prosecuted and incarcerated in Michigan.

Right now, Michigan is among a handful of states that automatically prosecute 17-year-old offenders as adults.

Legislation passed this week would end that practice, and prohibit placing people under 18 years old in adult prisons and jails. 

State Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, spearheaded the bipartisan effort.

Stateside 4.28.2016

Apr 28, 2016
  • Daniel Howes joins us to talk about Dan Gilbert's newest plans for downtown Detroit.
     
  • Upper Peninsula Poet Laureate Andrea Scarpino is on a mission to get us to give up our old misconceptions about poetry.
     
  • Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids L.S. Klatt reads his poem, "FORD."
The Mackinac Bridge on a warmer day.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A new bill in Congress would shut down an oil and gas pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac, if a study shows it's a significant risk to the Great Lakes.

Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller introduced the Great Lakes Pipeline Safety Act on Wednesday.

The legislation calls for a comprehensive analysis of the environmental and economic threat that Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline poses to Great Lakes waters.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about the state health director's statement that Ebola concerns distracted from a Legionnaires' outbreak in Genesee County, two bills on hold in the Legislature that would affect Michigan historic districts, and a report that says one in 10 Michigan kids has a parent who is or was in prison.


President Obama in the Oval Office in April 2016.
Pete Souza / White House

President Barack Obama plans to make his first trip to Flint, Michigan, since the city's drinking water was found to be tainted with lead.

The White House announced Mr. Obama will visit the city on May 4. He's slated to receive a briefing on the federal effort to assist in the cleanup and to hear from Flint residents.

Obama first notified eight-year-old Amariyanna Copeny about his plans to visit her city. Copeny -- aka "Little Miss Flint" -- wrote the President prior to her visit to Washington D.C. asking if she could meet him. 

time card
M Sullivan / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

Supporters of requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to their workers were at the state Capitol lobbying lawmakers to adopt a bill if and when it’s presented to them.

A petition campaign is gathering signatures to put the question to the Legislature, or on the November ballot. 

Danielle Atkinson is an organizer of the campaign. She says a lot of workers have a stake in the outcome.

“Over 40 percent of the (privately employed) Michigan workforce doesn’t have a single hour of earned sick time,” she said.  

money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s U.S. senators are trying again to get $172 million in federal funding for fixing Flint’s damaged water system. 

Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow announced today they have included the money in the Water Resources Development Act. The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to consider this legislation this week.

Stabenow, D-Mich, says she’s glad they’ve “found a new path forward to get urgently-needed help for families in Flint and other communities across the country with serious lead and water issues.”

A Detroit water shutoff notice
Ali Elisabeth / Michigan Radio

Detroit will start shutting off water to residential customers behind on their bills next week.

23,000 households that have defaulted on payment plans could face service interruption.

This is the third straight year that Detroit is pursuing its controversial, aggressive shutoff policy. Just a little over 23,000 households were shut off last year.

Stateside 4.26.2016

Apr 26, 2016
  • A planned vote on the 180-day signature window on gathering signatures for statewide petition drives came to a sudden end Monday, when State Board of Canvassers Vice-Chair Norm Shinkle abruptly left the meeting.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

“They poisoned the wrong city, everybody!” one speaker shouted at today’s rally at Flint city hall to mark the second anniversary of the city’s mishandled switch to its namesake river as its drinking water source.

In 2014, the city started getting its tap water from the Flint River as part of plan to save the city millions of dollars. But the river water was not properly treated with anti-corrosives. As a result, the corrosive river water damaged city pipes, which continue to leach lead into the drinking water. 

Flint River and water plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state’s health director says an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Genesee County did not get the attention it deserved from his agency. He says it was partially due to the department’s focus on a different health threat that never materialized.

Flint water crisis protest
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two years ago today, the city of Flint switched its drinking water source from the Detroit River to the Flint River ​– water we now know was not treated with corrosion control chemicals. Water that went on to corrode pipes and cause lead to leach into people's drinking water.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire
Gage Skidmore / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The United States could be on the brink of electing its first woman president. It’s a glass ceiling that has waited a long time to be broken. But why has it taken us so long to reach this point?

Nancy L. Cohen asks this very question in her new book Breakthrough: The Making of America's First Woman President.

Governor Snyder left for Europe this weekend in a quest for jobs and economic investment for Michigan but he’s also heading overseas in an effort to reclaim the two and half years he has left in office.

Since January, Snyder has basically been the governor of Flint (not that Flint residents are too happy about that).

DTE Energy

Michigan’s US Senators want the Environmental Protection Agency to step in if the state doesn’t act on a plan to curb Wayne County air pollution soon.

In a letter to EPA head Gina McCarthy Friday, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters urged “swift completion” of that plan.

In 2013, part the county was found to be in “non-attainment” with new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for sulfur dioxide emissions.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was supposed to submit a plan to fix that to the EPA in April 2015. But to date, MDEQ still hasn’t done that.

  • Bill McGraw takes a look at Detroit's police department and how its relationship with the public has changed over the decades. 
     
  • Tammy Coxen shares with us a delicious sazerac with a Michigan twist.
Gerrymandering allows political parties or groups to gain some political advantage by manipulating district boundaries. Some critics argue that it distorts the real views of the voters.
wikimedia user Jeremy Kemp / Public Domain/http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

There's an argument that Michigan's system of redistricting - the decennial redrawing of legislative districts - distorts the voters' will.

Groups such as Common Cause and, recently, the League of Women Voters have made efforts to find a better way to redraw the congressional and legislative maps. That most recent effort died quietly earlier this month. 

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

An article in The Free Press reported 2016 is "shaping up as a raucous and competitive election season with incumbent politicians facing strong challenges up and down the ballot, and a presidential race that could influence the control of every race."

Rick Pluta and Zach Gorchow join us to talk about upcoming State Representative races, voter turnout, and how the Michigan legislature might change after this election year.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A governor’s task force is urging state lawmakers to approve more money to deal with the Flint water crisis.

The Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee approved a resolution during its weekly meeting today, asking Michigan lawmakers to speed up the budget process.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials want Flint’s elected leaders to make a decision “soon” as to whether the city will hook up to the new KWA pipeline.

But city officials say there are questions that need to be answered first.

Construction of the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline from Lake Huron to Genesee County should be complete this summer. But more work must be done to connect the city to the new pipeline and that may take months. 

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