Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Donald Trump
Flickr user Gage Skidmore/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump will visit Detroit Saturday, hoping to appeal to African-American voters. 

He'll visit a congregation at Great Faith Ministries International, although word is he won't be speaking.

Then, he will sit down to tape a TV interview with Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, which will then be broadcast on Jackson's Impact Television Network.

This latest visit to Michigan comes on the heels of the summer nominating convention held last weekend by Michigan's Republican Party.

A crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s long delayed second phase of its lead pipe replacement program is finally underway.

The city is replacing more than 200 lead and galvanized pipes connecting Flint homes and businesses to city water mains. The pipes are a primary source of lead in Flint’s drinking water.

Janet Hensley watched from her front door as contractors used shovels to dig up the front lawn of her home on Flint’s east side.

Little blue and yellow flags are dotted through Hensley’s block. The flags mark the location of natural gas lines and other underground utilities. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about M-STEP results and whether a legal battle between the governor and the state attorney general is getting in the way of public safety.

They also discuss a bill that would keep the governor from using public funds to pay for private attorneys and how polarizing national candidates could affect races in Michigan.

A new policy will hopefully help supervisors track any racial profiling
Michigan State Police

Rebuilding trust between many communities and their police officers will be a long, hard slog.

But everyone agrees it must be done. That was the message from a Congressional working group, which stopped in Detroit Tuesday.

The bipartisan Policing Strategies Working Group is trying to advance that goal with a series of meetings around the country.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor has taken the unusual step of declaring a housing emergency in the Capitol city.

Mayor Virg Bernero declared the emergency after a hotel on the city's south side informed dozens of residents they will be evicted in the next few weeks.

Many motorists cars honked their approval (some expressed their displeasure) at Trump supporters in Saginaw.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Donald Trump campaign staged rallies today in cities across Michigan.

Dozens of Trump supporters took over two corners of one of Saginaw’s busiest intersections.

Local campaign organizer Debra Mantey says this is the way for the Republican nominee to win in Michigan.

“The way we’re going to turn Michigan ‘red’ is by face-to-face, with Michigander to another Michigander,” says Mantey.

Mantey downplays polls showing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leading in Michigan. She says recent polls showing Trump gaining ground.  

President Obama greets inmates during a visit to El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla., July 16, 2015.
Pete Souza / White House

President Obama is using the power of his office to reduce the sentences of people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. Today his office announced that he cut short the sentences of 111 federal inmates.

The commutations announced today included three identified as being from Michigan:

Presidential campaign merchandise.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A conservative group is running ads this week in Michigan and three other states asking Republican Donald Trump to withdraw from the presidential race.

The ad features Donald Trump saying he would get out of the race if his poll numbers were bad.  The quotes date back to when Trump was riding high during the Republican primaries.

Stateside 8.29.2016

Aug 29, 2016

Today, we learn how kids feel racism through the media, and why it's our job to help them understand. And, we hear that Battle Creek wants to become America's test laboratory and lead the way to zero food waste.

michigan.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Republicans and Democrats held their summer nominating conventions over the weekend. 

Our It's Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta sat down with us today to break down both conventions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The focus is on the November elections with the Republican and Democratic summer nominating conventions wrapped up. Democrats, following their meeting over the weekend in Lansing, are hoping presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will lead them to a string of down-ballot victories if she wins the White House.

“We know in Michigan, that when our voters turn out, we win,” says Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon. “Our voters tend to turn out better in presidential elections, but this is an interesting year.”

Gov. Rick Snyder at the state GOP convention
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan Republicans were in Grand Rapids this past weekend to finalize their slate for the November ballot, and to fire up for the final weeks of the election season.

Spacing Magazine / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about a failed attempt to get recreational pot on the ballot this November, a report that the owners of the Ambassador Bridge might soon throw some legal hurdles down river to block construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge, and the latest chapter in the rivalry between Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Stateside 8.26.2016

Aug 26, 2016

Today, we compare our state's rules on voter petitions with others across the country, and we meet a luthier in our Artisans of Michigan series. 

Signatures are collected for the MI Legalize campaign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As a citizen, you have a right to petition the government for redress of grievances. At the state level, that right and the right to put referenda on the ballot can be restricted or, in some cases, circumvented.

State Rep. Brian Banks was arraigned this week on charges of providing false information on a bank loan application in 2010.
Michigan House of Representatives / Public Domain

The Michigan Freedom Fund's website describes the group as supporting political conservatives who beat up bad policy that favors big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts and big government.

This week the chairman of the group, Greg McNeilly, wrote an opinion piece in The Detroit News calling some Democrats hypocrites because they have been lecturing Republicans about the need to distance themselves from their presidential nominee, Donald Trump, while making campaign donations to Democratic state Representative Brian Banks. 

Rep. Banks was arraigned this week on charges related to using false pay stubs when trying to obtain a bank loan. He faces three felony charges and one misdemeanor.

Michigan Democrats will be gathering at the Lansing Center on Saturday for their state convention.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Democrats are gathering for their state convention in Lansing tomorrow, and the Republicans are holding their convention in Grand Rapids today and tomorrow.

Ken Sikkema​ and Susan Demas joined us today for our weekly political roundup.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials are concerned the city may not be able to pay for recommended fixes to the city’s water system.

Today, the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee responded to a list of 44 recommendations made by a special task force set up by Gov. Rick Snyder in the early days of the Flint water crisis.

“We trust that those recommendations are putting into motion things that need to be done in order to right-size … the system to be safe and drinkable,” says Harvey Hollins, the man appointed to oversee the FWICC. 

Screencap from Google Maps / Google

A group of cities near the Great Lakes is appealing a decision to let Waukesha, Wisconsin draw water directly from Lake Michigan. 

Waukesha asked to divert water from Lake Michigan because its own water source is contaminated. 

Great Lakes governors approved the diversion, but many Great Lakes mayors disagree. 

A group of 120 of them – members of The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative – is appealing. 

The "Flint Sprint" will tackle 20 different projects in the city over the next 60 days.
Wikimedia user Flintmichigan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

People in Flint are wondering if they’ll ever have to stop worrying about proper filters, about the supply of bottled water, about giving kids a bath.

It’s been about a year since the lid blew off what the world knows now as the “Flint water crisis,” and the biggest development this week is another tug-of-war between Governor Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette over the Flint investigation.

But Daniel Howes of The Detroit News can see an upside in Flint’s struggles, as well as a challenge to Michigan at large.

Flickr user Jim Fruchterman/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

From the time Hilary Clinton first ran for President in 2008, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm has been one of her most vocal and visible supporters.

She was recently named part of Hillary Clinton’s transition team.

Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta spoke with Granholm to learn what her responsibilities would be in the Hillary Clinton administration, if Clinton is indeed elected.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Democrats will hold their state party convention in Lansing on Saturday.

This weekend’s convention may end up reflecting former presidential candidate’s Bernie Sanders' policies as much as party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Stateside 8.24.2016

Aug 24, 2016

Today, guests discuss the latest chapter in the public rivalry between Governor Snyder and State Attorney General Bill Schuette. And, we hear a tale of two elephants who left the Detroit Zoo for a better life.

michigan.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's a new chapter in the very public rivalry between Governor Snyder and State Attorney General Bill Schuette.

This time, they're going at it over a circuit judge's order that bars state health workers from having any contact with the Genesee County Health Department and McLaren Hospital of Flint over new cases of Legionnaire's Disease. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about political pushback on Melissa Gilbert's request to get her name off the November ballot and whether enough justice is being done in a $2.7 million school supplies kickback scheme in Detroit.

Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss the latest news from Flint, including the lead crisis and a hometown hero who brought home her gold medal.  

Suzanna Shkreli will officially appear on the ballot

Aug 24, 2016
Suzanna Shkreli, the Democratic Party's new candidate for Michigan's 8th Congressional District
Suzanna Shkreli / Facebook

She is the underdog in the eighth district congressional race, but Suzanna Shkreli is happy to be officially on the ballot. Shkreli will replace Melissa Gilbert as the democrat on the ballot. Gilbert dropped out of the race citing health reasons. Shkreli is running against incumbent Republican Mike Bishop. Shkreli says nothing will change in her campaign now that she's on the ballot.  "I'm excited to finally be officially announced, however, nothing changes," she says.

Stateside 8.23.2016

Aug 23, 2016

Today, we hear a local NAACP leader explain how a report stressing the divide between Detroit and Grosse Pointe schools is flawed. And, we learn about the probable cause of rashes in Flint.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

A big section of Michigan’s economy is being targeted by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 98.2% of businesses in Michigan are small businesses. The SBA defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees.

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.