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Week in Review: State of the State and Schuette sides with Flint pastors

Jan 21, 2017

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his seventh State of the State address on Tuesday. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why the speech isn't considered to be one of Snyder's finest.

They also discuss the governor's push to save Medicaid expansion, Attorney General's Bill Schuette's stance on a Flint water crisis lawsuit, and education secretary nominee Besty DeVos' hearing on Capitol Hill.

State of the State address

In his second to the last State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder talked about what he considers to be Michigan's big accomplishments this year, including balanced budgets, job growth and autonomous vehicles, among other things.

Snyder has faced criticism for offering little in the way of new policies and proposals and devoting only two minutes of his speech to the Flint water crisis. 

"There's a fairly universal opinion that it was his weakest [address] and one of the weakest ever," said Lessenberry. 

Snyder defends Healthy Michigan

Snyder was in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, where he met with members of Congress to promote the state's Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. 

The governor voiced concerns that a repeal of the ACA would affect thousands of low-income Michiganders who receive health care through the program.

Lessenberry says Healthy Michigan, the state's version of the ACA, is "probably the best accomplishment of the Snyder administration."

"Over 600,000 people are now insured who weren't insured before ... [and] the federal government pays for almost all of this," Lessenberry said.

Schuette supports Flint lawsuit

This week state Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a legal brief in support of a group of Flint pastors who are suing the state over the city's drinking water crisis. The brief says the state should have to deliver bottled water to any homes without a properly working water filter.

Schuette's support puts him at odds with the Snyder administration. The state has argued the deliveries would be too expensive and wants a court order requiring them to be dismissed.

Lessenberry says there's a reason Schuette has drawn a line in the sand.

"If Schuette is to have any hope of winning the race for governor in 2018, he has to differentiate himself from Snyder," he said.

DeVos hearing

Education secretary nominee and West Michigan native Betsy DeVos answered a wide-range of questions at at a three hour hearing in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. 

Senators grilled her on charter schools, Common Core regulations, school funding and other education policies. DeVos has been criticized for seeming unprepared or unwilling to answer some questions, including whether students should be measured by proficiency or growth.

Lessenberry says DeVos' nomination is controversial, but unlikely to be prevented.

"Historically, the only time presidents' nominees have been rejected is when they've had some sort of financial or sexual improprieties," he said. 

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