There's now a new backdrop for Mental Health Awareness Month: the debate over whether to privatize Michigan's $2.4 billion mental health system.
Governor Snyder's 2017 budget calls for turning over state funding and management to Medicaid HMOs. The Michigan Association of Health Plans has been lobbying for the switch. Meanwhile, the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards is digging in to fight it. Robert Sheehan, CEO of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards, joined us on Stateside to discuss the issue.
The word has come from Washington: By year's end, new federal rules could bring overtime protection to more than four million American salaried workers – more than 100,000 of them in Michigan. Salaried employees earning up to $47,476 dollars a year will be paid time and a half when they work more than 40 hours a week. This is compared to the current law that states salaried employees must make less than $24,000 to receive overtime.
The flood of headlines coming out of the water crisis in Flint comes down to a basic problem: The city was starved for cash. And that led to the series of bad decisions that in turn led to the catastrophe of lead-poisoned water.
But Flint isn’t the only city caught in a cash crunch. All across the state cities are starved for cash. Most of them not because of something the city has done, but because of things the state has done.
The so-called "dark store" approach to valuing property — an approach which allows stores to base their property taxes on the stores that have closed around them — has allowed big box stores in Michigan to cut their taxes by at least $100 million. It has left communities around the state struggling to find the money they need to pay for municipal services.
Some politicians, including state Rep. David Maturen, R-Vicksburg, hopes to close the dark store tax loophole with bipartisan legislation, House Bill 5578.
The state’s revenues are going to be lower than expected this year. Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team, discuss why that is, and what it means for the state’s hot-button issues.
Pluta said the economy is recovering, but not as quickly as anticipated.
“And so what we’re seeing is, in particular, corporate income tax and state sales tax revenues are coming in less than expected,” he said.
This is happening as “some big new demands are being made on the state,” Pluta said, those being infrastructure issues and Detroit Public Schools deficits.
The Detroit Tigers have the fourth-highest payroll in major league baseball, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Despite this, the Tigers have lost 11 out of their last 13 games.
We check in with Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team for a roundup of the past week’s political news.
Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark talk about the large pool of money the state house and senate are at odds over for Detroit Schools. They also discuss “rebuttable presumption” and whether or not petition signatures that are more than 180 days old should be counted.
Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller surprised many last May when she announced she would retire from Congress. But she surprised even more folks in March when she announced she would run for Macomb County public works commissioner. She will challenge Anthony Marrocco, the longtime county public works commissioner, this fall.
Miller joined Zoe Clark on Stateside to explain why she decided to leave Washington to run for office as a county public works commissioner.
Michigan has its fair share of magnificent architects, one of whom is Minoru Yamasaki.
Author John Gallagher recently wrote a book about Yamasaki. He joined us today on Stateside.
Yamasaki lived during World War II, when life for many Japanese Americans was not easy. Some suffered in internment camps, and Yamasaki too faced discrimination.
“And yet he was so good at what he did and so brilliant that he got these sort of high-end commissions, you know, from early on designing a naval base for the military at the height of World War II,” Gallagher said.
After the war, Yamasaki moved to Detroit. Gallagher said he quickly became “the new modernist designer” in the city and its suburbs. He is known for buildings like the McGregor Memorial Conference Center at Wayne State and the One Woodward building.
Gallagher said Yamasaki's buildings feel connected to nature.
“Whenever you’re in one of them you begin to sense what he was trying to do, creating these oasis of tranquility for the people who would use his buildings,” he said.
As part of Michigan Radio’s Songs from Studio East series, this year we are exploring music that combines both contemporary and traditional music from around the world.
Today we met Ann Arbor native Tyler Duncan and Irishman John McSherry.
Despite being an ocean away, they play in a band together, called the olllam. The two have toured across the U.S. and in Europe producing a fusion of pop, rock and Irish music.
Duncan's musical career has included a variety of genres, like pop, rock and electronic. He has won international awards for playing traditional Irish instruments, like the uilleann pipes, a lighter version of Scotland's bagpipes, and whistles, a staple in Irish music.
He discovered Irish music when he was 11, when his aunt gave him a VHS copy of Riverdance. A pipe solo in the middle of the show grabbed his attention.
"As a kid I just was like, 'Woah, what is that? What is that instrument?'" he said. "And that got me really interested in the pipes."
Years later, as a 13-year-old Duncan moved to Ireland for a year with his family. His father took a sabbatical there.
He was given a tape he loved, which he later learned featured John McSherry, a rising star in the traditional Irish music scene. Then, when Duncan was in western Ireland, he had a chance to meet that musician.
He said it was a "serendipitous" meeting at a jam session in Milltown. Someone told Duncan that McSherry was at the bar. So Duncan started to stare. When McSherry's girlfriend noticed, the two introduced themselves.
That was the origin of the friendship that lead to the olllam.
The story of post-bankruptcy Detroit has largely been dominated by what's happening in downtown, Midtown and Corktown.
Businessman Dan Gilbert continues to reinvent and reshape downtown by buying buildings that have often sat empty for years. This week, Gilbert added the old Grinnell and Sanders buildings to his portfolio, which now stands at more than 80 buildings he owns or controls.
If everyone knows of 20th century Detroit as the Motor City, what's Detroit's identity today and what should it be for the future? Every Thursday on our Next Idea segment, we look at the innovations and we look at the new ideas that could reshape Michigan.
Today’s show was broadcast from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
Dr. Charles H. Wright was a physician, a gynecologist and obstetrician. Through the years he delivered 7,000 babies in Detroit alone. He also founded the museum in his office by first collecting small items.
The 22,000-square-foot museum holds the largest exhibit dedicated to the history of African Americans.
Stateside's Cynthia Canty spoke with curator Patrina Chatman.
Dearborn has become a flashpoint for many people in America. Anti-Islam protestors carrying weapons have rallied in the city. The Arab American National Museum has responded by inviting people to better understand the city through food. Lester Graham recently joined a group going on a food tour called “Yalla Eat!”
There are big differences between the state House and Senate on what to do next about the budget crisis facing Detroit Public Schools.
The district needs a massive influx of state aid to stay open next school year. DPS interim superintendent Alycia Meriweather joined Cynthia Canty on today’s Stateside to explain how she hopes to elevate the quality of education for all Detroit public school students.
The legislative committee in charge of examining what went wrong with the Flint water crisis has concluded.
When Midland Republican Sen. Jim Stamas was appointed chairman, he promised to take testimony on the mistakes that led to the Flint water disaster "at all levels of government,"and to ensure that something like this never happens again.
However, neither Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder nor any of the former emergency managers in charge of the city of Flint were called to testify.
Gender identity has become a big issue in the public discourse over the last few years. There has been a heated debate over legislation involving so-called "bathroom bills" and others involving the fight for legal protections for members of the LGBTQ community.
Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom are saying that Britain has a long way to go before transgender people achieve equality. Some MPs are seeking to follow the Republic of Ireland's lead and pass laws that would allow people to declare which gender they are, regardless of what doctors or anyone else says.