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Lessenberry talks about what's behind the sex scandal and the politics of energy and water

Sep 2, 2015

Credit National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley talk about the other issues involving Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell; more problems with water in Flint; and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's opposition to President Obama's new rules to reduce greenhouse gases.


More than a sex scandal

A state House panel is looking into whether to expel or censure two lawmakers caught up in a sex-and-cover-up scandal.  This week, an internal investigation found representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat misused taxpayer resources to cover up an affair.

Lessenberry says Courser and Gamrat are also getting push back for not being “team players.”

“Cindy Gamrat was very early on thrown out of the Republican caucus for leaking confidential information,” Lessenberry says. “[And] Todd Courser sort of bragged that he didn’t know anything about procedure and didn’t care and wasn’t interested in passing legislation.”

More water problems in Flint

The city of Flint is complying with a court order to lower water rates, although it's appealing the order. The city is also appealing a class action lawsuit that could force the city to repay rate payers millions of dollars. Meanwhile, the mayor received 26,000 petition signatures yesterday demanding a return to the Detroit water system and, some recent tests show high levels of lead in the water.

Lessenberry says the Flint water system has had problems for years. Residents have had big complaints about water quality for months now. He also adds that Flint has a lot of economic problems and it was hard for residents to pay their bills when water rates went up by 35% in 2011.

AG filing against Obama's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Michigan intends to develop its own plan to comply with new federal rules to reduce greenhouse gasses.  The director of the Michigan Agency for Energy says it makes sense for the state to develop its own plan that takes into account its environment and energy needs. But Michigan won’t join a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Bill Schuette challenging the new standards. Schuette says the standards are unconstitutional.

Lessenberry says some are arguing this might be Schuette’s way of playing to the right wing of his party in his quest to get the Republican nomination for governor in three years.