farm bill

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the controversy over the Common Core State Standards, the University of Michigan’s vote on whether to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, and the debate over food stamps and the U.S. farm bill.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., says she’ll take whatever version of the farm bill she can get from the Republican-led U.S. House. The chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee says time is running short to get something signed into law.

Stabenow has been working for a few years to pass a new version of the massive farm bill.

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U.S. House revisits Farm Bill

United States House Republicans passed a farm bill yesterday that excludes food assistance legislation.  Agriculture and food stamps have historically been a part of the same bill for nearly 40 years. Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports that the Michigan Farm Bureau is disappointed with the status of the new legislation. 

State Democrats increase fracking regulation

Democrats in the state House have introduced eight new bills to increase regulations on hydraulic fracturing in Michigan. The bills do not ban fracking or stop the issuing of permits. According to Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher, “the legislation would require natural gas companies to disclose which chemicals they’re using in the fracking process. It would also give local governments more power to restrict the activity.”

Arab-American group sues over bank account closures

Hundreds of Arab-Americans received letters from Huntington Bank notifying them that their accounts have been closed.  Many of these closures came with no explanation. The Arab-American Civil Rights League has filed a $75,000 lawsuit against the bank.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s agribusiness leaders are hoping Congress will restore food assistance programs to the 2013 Farm Bill.

House Republicans approved a Farm Bill on Thursday, without any funding for food stamp programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP.

For decades, Congress has approved massive spending bills to help the nation’s farmers and provide help for the poor to buy food. But conservative House members passed a Farm Bill without the food stamp funding.

http://www.aec.msu.edu

Its official title is the "Senate Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act," but feel free to call it "The 2013 Farm Bill." It was passed last week by the Senate on the wings of strong bipartisan support by a vote of 66-27.

This nearly $1 trillion bill has been over a year and a half in the making. Not only does it slash $24 billion from agriculture programs, but it makes substantial changes in the way the federal government spends on efforts like the federal food assistance program.

To get a sense of what's in the Senate farm bill and how it matters to each of us, we turned to David Schweikhardt. He's a Professor in the Michigan State University Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics, and he joined us in the studio today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Debbie Stabenow maintains a lead over Pete Hoekstra in a new Michigan poll.
Office of Senator Stabenow

The Farm Bill would cut the funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, by more than $4 billion over the next 10 years. And the House version of the bill has about five times as many cuts.

Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow is the head of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, and the champion of the Farm Bill.

The Senator joined us today to discuss some of the concerns surrounding this bill.

Listen to the full interview above.

Brandon Shigeta / Google images

Even as more Americans than ever before rely on food stamps, the Farm Bill just passed by the Senate would cut the funding to SNAP by more than $4 billion over the next 10 years.

The House version of the bill includes $20 billion in cuts.

Nationwide, more than 47 million people receive federal food assistance and 1.7 million in Michigan. So, we wondered what these possible cuts mean to them.

Terri Stangl is the executive director of the Center for Civil Justice in Flint, and she joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

The U.S. Senate has passed its 2013 Farm Bill, a huge piece of legislation - totaling almost a trillion dollars. We'll found out just what's in the bill, and why, as Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow likes to say, "Michigan is written into its every page."

And, we got an update on the Detroit mayoral race after one of the front-runners got kicked off the ballot.

First on the show, we continue our look at the Great Lakes. Yesterday, we talked about the state's "blue" economy, using our water resources to create jobs and boost industry here in Michigan.

So, today, let's turn to some encouraging news about our lakes from the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. They've just released an interactive map that pinpoints success stories across the region, efforts to restore the lakes with projects funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

To get an idea of what these success stories are and the challenges to the lakes that still remain, we turned to Andy Buchsbaum, the director of the National Wildlife Federation's regional Great Lakes Office.

Macomb Co.

Newark Mayor Corey Booker did it.

And last week, both Congressman Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) did it.

They all made a pledge to live on the average food stamp budget for a week.

That’s roughly $31.50 for a week’s worth of food.

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Farm Bill moves to U.S. House

The Michigan Farm Bureau is glad to see Congress is making progress on passing Senator Debbie Stabenow's farm bill. The U.S. Senate approved nearly a trillion dollars in support for food assistance, crop insurance and other programs this week.  Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports, "the U.S. House is still wrestling with its version of the bill."

Tea Party activists will sit out of governor's race

An open letter to Governor Rick Snyder released by a group of prominent Tea Party activists calls on their party to sit out next year's race for governor. They call for Snyder to change his position on Medicaid expansion. Tea Party group "Grassroots in Michigan" says Snyder is bucking the Republican platform by cooperating with the new federal healthcare law.

Duggan is out of the Detroit Mayoral race

A Wayne County judge has kicked Mike Duggan off of the ballot for Detroit Mayor. When Duggan filed for a mayoral run a month before the deadline, he didn't meet a city rule that requires candidates to be registered voters in Detroit a full year before filing.  But he did meet the rule by the filing deadline date.  Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, "Duggan says he's reviewing his legal options."

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan farmers are waiting to see if Congress can reach a deal soon on a new Farm Bill.

The U.S. Senate passed its version of the nearly trillion dollar, five year Farm Bill on Monday. The U.S. House continues to work on its own version of the bill, which funds crop insurance and other programs for farmers, along with food assistance for the needy.

The Farm Bill has been stalled in Congress for more than a year. And that has made it difficult for Michigan farmers to plan for the future.

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State Supreme Court Justice faces sentencing

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway is due in court today to be sentenced for fraud. Hathaway was forced to resign in January when she pleaded guilty to a scheme to cheat the bank by hiding assets.  Hathaway’s attorney is asking that she be allowed to perform community service and pay thousands of dollars in fines; however, federal prosecutors have asked for prison time of 12 to 18 months. Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta has more.

Benton Harbor EM believes deficit will be eliminated in one year

Tony Saunders, the emergency manager of Benton Harbor, says elected leaders are likely to regain control within a year when the city's structural deficit will be eliminated. Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith reports Benton Harbor’s new emergency manager says he’s cut more than a million dollars from the budget in just three months.

Senator Debbie Stabenow's farm bill is headed to the senate

Senator Debbie Stabenow will rally in West Michigan this week. She's trying to get farmers to pressure lawmakers to pass her new farm bill to funds crop insurance programs and research to help fight invasive insects. Last year the Senate passed the farm bill but it died in the House. The Senate is expected to vote on the farm bill early next month.

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