Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Marijuana plants.
user A7nubis / flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan says there’s still time to get the question on the November ballot. That was a core issue in the most recent briefs filed last week in the MI Legalize campaign’s challenge to an elections board decision that petition drive fell short in the required number of signatures.

I voted sticker
Michael Bentley / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state primary results are in, so what's to come in November? This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth discuss voter turnout and races to watch on the road to Election Day. They also talk about a resurrected plan to bring regional transit funding to southeast Michigan and a dispute over the state's emergency manager law that's playing out in federal court.


stevendepolo / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some Detroit Public Schools debt has been downgraded again — this time, into junk territory.

The credit rating agency S&P Global lowered its rating on two sets of bonds, issued in 2011 and 2012. DPS still owes more than $200 million on them.

S&P says its concerns stems from district’s recent restructuring.

To avoid a potential bankruptcy, the state split DPS in two — with the “old co” existing only to re-pay historic debts with local tax revenues.

Stateside 8.5.2016

Aug 5, 2016

Today, we reflect on the life and career of Detroit musician Allan Barnes. And, we learn about the role Lake Michigan played in training WWII pilots.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas​ joined us again today to talk about this week in politics. 

Primary voter turnout

Only 19% of all voters in Michigan showed up to vote in this past Tuesday's primary election, following a 34% turnout for the presidential primary earlier this year.

Demas described the low level of voter participation as “sadly predictable.”

According to John Philo, Michigan's emergency manager law "violates people's fundamental right to vote."
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Michigan stripped the voting rights from people who live in Detroit, Flint, and other cities and school districts placed under emergency management.

That was a central argument today as opponents of the law took their legal challenge to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.  

Attorney John Philo says the law is also racist in the way it’s been applied.

According to the poll, Governor Snyder's approval rating has fallen to 39.7%.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll from The Detroit News and WDIV-TV gives us a look at how Michigan voters are feeling one week into general election campaign season. 

Chad Livengood of The Detroit News joined us today to talk about the findings. 

Here's how 600 likely general election voters said they would vote come November:

  • 41.0%   Hillary Clinton (Democrat)
  • 31.6%   Donald Trump (Republican)
  • 7.5%     Gary Johnson (Libertarian)
  • 3.4%     Jill Stein (Green)

Stateside 8.4.2016

Aug 4, 2016

Today, we hear why two pediatricians say it's time to stop letting parents opt out of vaccinations. And we learn about a prehistoric fish that could be the answer to Asian carp in the Great Lakes.

Actor Melissa Gilbert has won a prize she no longer wants. Gilbert was the only candidate in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District primary. Now she’s going work to get her name off the November ballot.

Gilbert says she’s not healthy enough to campaign and to serve, if elected. But her campaign to unseat incumbent Republican Mike Bishop has also struggled.

The child star of "Little House on the Prairie” avoided media interviews and community events, and ran into criticism over comments she made on national TV shows as well as tax troubles. 

Stateside 8.3.2016

Aug 3, 2016

Today, we look at the Coney dog's history. And, we talk to a therapist who sets children's heartbeats to music, creating a lasting gift for families.

Steven Johnson was surprised to learn he might be heading to Lansing next year to represent Michigan's 72nd District.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The primary election in West Michigan's 72nd District to replace term-limited Republican State Representative Ken Yonker was a crowded race, and perhaps most surprised by the outcome was the winner himself.

Steven Johnson of Wayland came out on top, solidly beating the four other candidates, including one backed by the powerful DeVos family. 

Jack Bergman
Screen grab of "Your Choice - Lt. General Jack Bergman (Ret.) for Congress" / Jack Bergman


One of Michigan's marquee races is the one to replace retiring Republican Rep. Dan Benishek in the 1st Congressional District.

 

The district covers the entire Upper Peninsula and much of the northern Lower Peninsula.

State Sen. Tom Casperson and former State Sen. Jason Allen were hoping to make the November ballot.

So was a retired three-star Marine Lieutenant General named Jack Bergman.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at Michigan primary results, including Congressman John Conyers' closest challenge in years, an upset in the state's 1st congressional district and what drives voters to support or reject millages. Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss yesterday's turnout and whether an August primary is the best strategy to boost voter participation in non-presidential primaries.


Stateside 8.2.2016

Aug 3, 2016

Today, we learn why health insurance companies are looking to raise their rates 17%. And, we look at how Michigan's outdoor sports scene is changing.

Detroit Congressman John Conyers.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It appears John Conyers will return to Congress for the 27th time.

The Detroit Democrat is the longest-serving member of Congress. A civil rights icon known for championing traditional progressive causes, he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964.

Despite growing calls for Conyers to step aside for a younger successor, the 87-year-old says he’s just not thinking about that.

“I go on because I still like it. I’m able to help so many people, that it keeps me going,” he said.

Ingham county prosecutor strikes plea deal

Aug 2, 2016
Ingham Co. Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings faced 15 charges related to soliticing prostitutes.
CREDIT STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Former Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Stuart Dunnings pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor Tuesday in front of a Jackson district court judge.

Dunnings was facing 14 misdemeanors and one 15-year felony. The charges ranged from soliciting prostitutes to encouraging a woman to become a prostitute. Dunnings pleaded guilty to felony misconduct in office and one misdemeanor for soliciting a prostitute. He now faces up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

Tracy Samilton/Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and City Council members have called a truce in the city's trash war.

The two sides are fighting over which company gets a contract to pick up residents' trash. Weaver favors Rizzo Environmental Services; City Council favors the current contractor, Republic Services.

Weaver and the council agreed to a stipulated order allowing Republic to temporarily resume trash pickup until a court hearing on August 11.

LucasTheExperience / Flickr

Employers in Michigan would have to let workers earn paid sick days under a petition drive that got the OK to start collecting signatures. A state elections board says the petition meets all the technical requirements of Michigan campaign laws.

A similar drive to put paid sick time on the November ballot folded this past spring.

“We didn’t have enough signatures,” said Danielle Atkinson, one of the organizers with Raise Michigan. “Unfortunately, it takes a lot of money to get an issue on the ballot, and we just fell short.”

Left: SUZANNA SHKRELI FOR CONGRESS/FACEBOOK Right: mikebishop.house.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Democrats in Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District have no way of knowing yet who they’ll be casting a ballot for in November. The district includes northern Oakland County, Livingston County, and Ingham County.

a police squad car
Flickr user Scott Davidson/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Residents of Wayne, a small community about 25 miles west of Detroit, will see a public safety millage question on their Tuesday primary ballots.

It’s a slightly unusual one, though.

The question will ask Wayne residents whether they want to join a regional authority that funds public safety services — the South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority, or SMORSA.

After tomorrow's congressional and legislative primaries, just 97 days remain until Election Day 2016. Of course, it's never too early to look ahead to the 2018 elections and, at least one petition campaign is already making plans in that direction.

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Money for the Detroit Zoo is one of the issues voters in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties will decide tomorrow.

Voters OK'd the initial tax in 2008.

Since then the zoo has overhauled a lot of its facilities and expanded its offerings – and attendance is way up.

That levy expires at the end of next year, and the zoo hopes voters will continue to agree to the 0.1 mill property tax for another decade.

An owner of a $200,000 house would pay about $10 a year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: 5:15 pm Monday, August 1st:

On Monday, city officials reached an interim agreement with Republic to resume trash pickup, starting August 2. The arrangement will remain in place until August 12. Officials say trash collection will be delayed by one day for the rest of this week; it should be back on schedule by the start of next week.

A meeting of the Receivership Transition Advisory Board (RTAB) is scheduled for August 10th to decide who will perform trash pickups permanently.

Sunday July 31st:

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and whether mentions of the Flint water crisis this week were political fodder. Kruth and Lessenberry also look at some races to watch in the state primary Tuesday, and a failed attempt to put a millage to fund Detroit regional transit on the November ballot. 

Stateside 7.29.2016

Jul 29, 2016

 

Today, we continue our "Artisans of Michigan" series with a visit to a blacksmith shop. And, we hear how the Step Forward program can help homeowners avoid foreclosure. 

Photo courtesy of Cause Collective

It's been a noisy couple of weeks with the political conventions. Speeches. Shouting. Protestors. In fact, it's been a loud, noisy, campaign season that's left our country angry and fractured.

However, a lot of voices and viewpoints haven't been heard, and a contemporary art project called "The Truth Booth" is giving people the opportunity to be heard.

Courtesy of Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is charging six more state employees in connection with the contamination of Flint’s drinking water supply.

Susan Demas says there was a stark contrast between the DNC (pictured) and the RNC.
Lorie Shaull / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The national conventions for the Republicans and Democrats are officially in the books, and the two candidates have been officially chosen. While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start to make their final push toward November, there is also a primary election fast approaching here in Michigan.

If you were unaware of the August 2 primary, you're probably not alone as the turnouts for primary elections are usually pretty "dismal," according to Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics. But can the recent buzz from the DNC and the RNC boost the turnout? Ken Sikkema, a senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, doesn't believe it will. In fact, if anything, he thinks with the wall-to-wall TV coverage of both conventions, the public may be a little burned out when it comes to politics.

MSHDA Executive Director Kevin MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer: "We have millions and millions of dollars available Elsenheimer: "[MSHDA is now] funded. We have millions and millions of dollars available to go ahead and use to help people out."
BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

During the Great Recession, a lot of people ran into financial trouble and lost their homes to foreclosure. Some still are. And in Wayne County, the number of homes at risk of tax foreclosure is staggering. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has several programs to help eligible people.

One of those programs is called Step Forward. It funnels federal dollars from TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) into the hands of low-income homeowners and potential homeowners.

A Hillary Clinton supporter at the DNC.
STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody has had a busy two weeks. He covered the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, after covering the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.

He joined us on Stateside to debrief after the DNC, and provide his take on how the two conventions compared.

“I think each convention had a targeted audience in Michigan and each reached that audience,” he said.

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