Politics & Government
9:03 am
Wed January 15, 2014

The week in Michigan politics

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley talk about Governor Rick Snyder's upcoming State of the State address, a new effort to save Detroit pensions and the Detroit Institute of Arts, and how abortion right advocates are backing off efforts to block a law that requires women to buy a separate health insurance rider to cover abortions.

Week in Michigan Politics interview for 1/15/14

State of the State

Governor Rick Snyder delivers his State of the State address tomorrow. Lessenberry thinks the governor might ask for more road funding, discuss the new international bridge to Canada, concerns over the Education Acievement Authority and a possible tax increase or decrease.

Foundations want to help pensions and save the DIA

A group of philanthropists and foundations has raised more than $300 million to help save works from the Detroit Institute of Arts and protect city worker pensions. The goal is to raise $500 million.  Mediators of the Detroit bankruptcy are behind this plan.

Lessenberry says this does not get close to the amount of debt Detroit has.

“The city is said to owe $18 billion. The idea is that this money would be put in the pension funds in return for not touching the art in the DIA,” Lessenberry says.

Lessenberry says while the effort is admirable, there is no guarantee the plan will fly. He also says it’s unlikely the state will pitch in money toward the effort. That’s because Lansing is controlled by republicans who do not live near Detroit and the DIA isn’t a major factor in their lives.

Abortion advocates back off efforts to block anti-abortion health coverage

A coalition of abortion rights advocates will not try to repeal a Right-to-Life-backed law that requires women to buy a separate health insurance rider to cover abortions.

Lessenberry says abortion rights advocates might have backed off because they would have had to gather a lot of signatures in a short amount of time in the middle of winter.

“My guess as to why they are not trying to get this on the ballot is the same reason I’m not going to the Detroit Tigers tryouts this year. I know I would have no chance of making the team or a little league team for that matter,” Lessenberry says.

But Lessenberry says abortion advocates might still be able to rally for other ways to get the law blocked.

“I think they are hoping there will either be court decisions that reverse this or that perhaps the climate will be better in 2016 to try to get it on the ballot then,” Lessenberry says.