Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

If you want to have sex with someone, it can't be presumed your potential partner shares your desire just because you're dating.

It can't be presumed based on someone's drunken actions.

It can't be presumed because that someone didn't say no.


Today on Stateside:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports companies spent $21 million in the first seven months of the year.  That’s about 1.3% more than during the same period in 2014.

Multi-client lobbying firms dominated the filings, which presents a problem.

Marijuana plant.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss proposed bills relating to abortion and medical marijuana, what’s behind the $21 million lobbyists spent at the state capital this year, and the impact of a possible influx of Syrian refugees to Metro Detroit.

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

A state House panel has approved long-stalled bills to overhaul Michigan’s medical marijuana system.

House Bills 4209, 4210, and 4827 would add protections for dispensaries and non-smokable forms of medical marijuana. But to get the necessary support from Republicans on the committee, the bills now include taxing and tracking cannabis sold through dispensaries.

People moving from Syria into Turkey.
European Commission DG ECHO

The Syrian refugee crisis has forced President Obama to consider admitting many more refugees to the U.S. Recently, Secretary of State John Kerry pledged that the United States will take 100,000 refugees a year by 2017, increasing from 70,000 this year.

Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

State elections officials say there’s nothing in the law that says former Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat can’t run for their old seats in the upcoming special election.

Both filed after Gamrat was expelled by a two-thirds vote of the state House, and Courser quit as he was about to be removed. The two tea party lawmakers were embroiled in a sex-and-cover-up scandal.

Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Amid growing concerns about Flint’s drinking water, federal, state and local elected leaders were briefed today in Lansing by federal and state environmental regulators. After the meeting, one prominent elected official called for more independent testing of Flint's drinking water.

Recent tests by researchers from Virginia Tech University have shown "serious" lead levels in a significant percentage of Flint homes. The tests showed lead levels in some homes at 15 parts per billion or higher. The researchers have advised many homeowners to stop drinking their tap water, especially if there are young children or pregnant women living there.

A weekend of Republican partying on Mackinac Island wrapped up yesterday after 2,200 people with the time (and money) attended the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan Republicans have wrapped up their leadership conference on Mackinac Island. Senator Rand Paul won a straw poll of the 2,200 Republicans in attendance. Paul told the conference he’s the candidate who will shake things up.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has taken a subtle dig at rival Donald Trump while explaining leadership to Michigan Republicans.

  She says that leadership isn't defined by position, title or the size of someone's helicopter or "ego." She's delivered the line before.

  Republicans gathered on Mackinac Island were excited to hear from the lesser-known but buzzed-about Fiorina days after a strong debate performance.

  She says a leader "challenges the status quo" and "we have been managing the decline of this great nation for far too long."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan is suing Hewlett-Packard Co., accusing the company of failing to complete a multimillion-dollar overhaul of computers at Secretary of State offices.

  The state says it gave HP a termination letter on Aug. 28. Three days later, employees stopped reporting to work, although the state says they still were required to provide support.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

The IRS is auditing Wayne County over $200 million in bonds for a jail that was never completed.

The Wayne County Building Authority issued the bonds to construct a new jail in 2010.

The county shut down the project in 2013, after costs skyrocketed beyond original projections.

Update 5:44 pm:

Former state Rep. Todd Courser is running again for the state House seat he resigned last week. Courser filed shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday to run in a special election for the seat.

Courser admitted to trying to cover up an affair with former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, who was expelled for her part in the scandal. Gamrat filed to run for her former seat on Thursday.

In an interview on Friday with CNN, Courser, R-Lapeer, said the decision came after discussions with his wife.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Senate has created a new committee which will look into Planned Parenthood’s operation in Michigan.

Planned Parenthood has been under attack nationally for how it handles fetal tissue.

Rep. Dan Kildee is part of a bipartisan group that is pushing to extend the Export-Import Bank's charter
Steve Carmody

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Republicans opposed to the Iran nuclear deal are taking that old adage to heart.

Twice now Senate Republicans have tried to pass a resolution rejecting the deal, and twice they’ve failed, blocked by Senate Democrats who support President Obama’s key foreign policy initiative.

Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they’ll try again today.

Cindy Gamrat speaking at an August 14, 2015 press conference.
screen shot - LiveStream

Cindy Gamrat says she will run in the special election for the seat she was expelled from six days ago. The Allegan County Clerk’s office confirmed she filed for the special election. The primary for the seat will be held Nov. 3.

Gamrat was removed last week by a two-thirds vote of the House over her role in a sex-and-cover-up scandal. She says that decision was not fair to her voters.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Updated 5:40 p.m.

The state Senate has approved a bill that would enter Michigan into a compact of states calling for a federal balanced budget requirement in the U.S. Constitution.

The bill passed on a party-line vote.

Donald Trump speaks at the 2015 CPAC in Maryland
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


The second Republican presidential debate happens tonight at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry recently dropped out of the race, which still leaves 16 candidates being squeezed into a two-tier debate.

The "Pure Michigan" campaign highlights beautiful and memorable places and experiences in Michigan.
user PunkToad / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state agency responsible for handling the Pure Michigan campaign and other economic development activities is shrinking.

The Legislature has cut funding to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and it’s lost American Indian casino revenue due to a dispute over the Michigan Lottery’s online gaming.

Today on Stateside:

State Senator Virgil Smith, D-Detroit.

It took 15 hours and plenty of drama last Friday before Todd Courser resigned and Cindy Gamrat was expelled from the state House.

Republican House leaders basically kept everyone at their seats and went through vote after vote before getting the two Tea Partiers out of the House.

Elvert Barnes / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A group called Protecting Michigan Taxpayers wants to repeal Michigan's 50-year-old prevailing wage law.

It recently turned in to the Secretary of State about 391,000 signatures collected in a petition drive to repeal Michigan's law which requires workers on state-financed construction projects to be paid prevailing union-scale wages. 

Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek, R-MI-1st, will retire.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Congressman Dan Benishek (R-MI 1st) surprised political observers today by announcing he will not seek a fourth term in office. Earlier this year Benishek said he would break a commitment to only serve three terms and seek a fourth. Now he’s returned to his three-term commitment and will retire in 2016.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor wants the state to chip in $30 million to fix the city’s problem plagued water system.

Mayor Dayne Walling sent a letter Monday to Governor Rick Snyder asking for the money to help repair Flint’s infrastructure and to replace old lead pipes.

Cindy Gamrat speaking at an August 14, 2015 press conference.
screen shot - LiveStream

New bills in the state House would add restrictions on abortions and protections for religious leaders who refuse to marry same-sex couples.

But the future of the bills could be hampered by the representative who introduced them. Now-former state Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, was expelled from the House last week after a sex-and-cover up scandal. She introduced the legislation just two days before her expulsion vote.

Today on Stateside:

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

In a turn of events that surprised many, Rep. Todd Courser resigned his position on Friday, while Rep. Cindy Gamrat became the fourth state legislator in Michigan’s history to be expelled.

John Lidstrom was one of the veteran Lansing political observers watching that expulsion vote, and based on the editorial he wrote about the episode, it’s clear he did so with a sense of dismay.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Allegan County Commissioner Jim Storey announced today he'll run to replace former state representative Cindy Gamrat. Gamrat was expelled from office last week in the wake of a sex and cover-up scandal.

Rusty Dutkiewicz came out to the small dinner in Holland where, after an opening prayer, Storey announced he’ll run in the special election. She can’t wait for him to get to Lansing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An attorney is looking for parents in Flint who may have lost custody of their children after having their water shutoff.

Attorney Valdemar Washington is heading a class action lawsuit against the city of Flint. The lawsuit seeks damages for the city’s sky high water rates.

Washington says he’s heard stories of child protective services allegedly removing children from Flint homes after the city shutoff water service because the family failed to pay their water and sewer bills.