Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

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. 

Road in need of repair.
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.
Brendel / 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:

Snyder endorsed the report from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget indicating a notable decrease in unemployment in Michigan over the past month.
gophouse.com

Gov. Rick Snyder says there’s no backup plan to boost road funding if voters reject a sales tax increase in May.

Snyder urged listeners to vote “yes” on the measure during an appearance on Michigan Public Radio’s statewide call-in program “Michigan Calling.”

Snyder endorsed the report from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget indicating a notable decrease in unemployment in Michigan over the past month.
gophouse.com

Governor Rick Snyder was at the Michigan Radio studios earlier today for a special call-in program, taking your questions. The show was hosted by Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is also the co-host along with Zoe Clark of It's Just Politics.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing city council members will consider a pay increase tonight for themselves. 

Lansing’s mayor and city clerk would also get a pay hike too.

Last week, an independent panel proposed the 20 percent pay hike. 

Gov. Rick Snyder takes questions from listeners on Michigan Calling.
Roger Hart / Michigan Photography

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder took questions from a statewide public radio audience at 9 a.m. this morning.

The program originated from Michigan Radio’s studios in Ann Arbor. It was part of the Michigan Public Radio Network’s Michigan Calling series and was hosted by MPRN managing editor Rick Pluta.

Governor Rick Snyder will announce his new energy strategy for the state very soon and, anticipating that, Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature have rolled out their own plans to ensure affordable, reliable electricity.

Now, if you don’t think politics plays a role in energy policy, then you explain why utilities and energy companies have political action committees to make campaign donations. And the answer is energy plans are rife with politics because, first, it’s a very regulated industry, and, second, there’s a lot of money in those volts.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint’s emergency manager should receive the final report from a consultant hired to look at the city’s troubled water system.

Drafts of the final report were circulated last week. 

Flint Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose says the report will make specific recommendations on what chemicals to use, and how much of each, to treat Flint River water. The report will also touch on other operational issues facing the system.

gop.gov / gop.gov

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark discuss legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse service to LGBT couples, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan’s call for a moratorium on charter school expansion, and Candice Miller’s announcement that she won’t seek reelection.


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A bill that would change how Michigan allocates its electoral college votes is back in the mix in Lansing.

Republican state representatives Cindy Gamrat, Todd Courser, Thomas Hooker, and Gary Glenn introduced the bill this week.

It proposes that each of the state’s 14 Congressional districts gets one electoral vote — with the two remaining votes going to the statewide winner.

Currently, nine of those 14 districts lean Republican.

Loveland Technologies / via Why Don't We Own This?

A “hurricane without water” and a “looming disaster” — those are just two of the phrases that have been used to describe the unprecedented foreclosure crisis facing Detroit this year.

But this time, it’s not about banks and mortgages. It’s about unpaid property taxes, and efforts to patch up a system everyone admits had been broken for years.


Bruce Bortin / Flickr

There’s bipartisan interest in the state Legislature in protecting Michiganders from having property unfairly seized by police.

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, wrote in the Detroit News this week that Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws need to be revisited. He says too many people never convicted of a crime are having their assets taken so that police departments can profit.

Gov. Rick Snyder
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will take questions from a statewide public radio audience at 9 a.m. this morning as part of the Michigan Public Radio Network’s “Michigan Calling” series.

The hour-long program will be hosted by Rick Pluta, MPRN’s managing editor and state Capitol bureau chief, and will originate from Michigan Radio’s studios in Ann Arbor.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Once again, tempers flared during a public meeting on Flint’s water problems.

The city’s water system has been plagued with problems for the past year.  

Thursday, Flint officials held another meeting on the city’s troubled tap water.

And once again, a shouting match erupted.  

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