government

Law
4:36 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Criminal conviction check-off box to be removed from Ann Arbor city job applications

 

#155118225 / gettyimages.com

People seeking Ann Arbor city jobs will no longer need to disclose criminal convictions on their job application forms.

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Education
6:11 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Flint schools chief: No payless paydays this year

Administration Building, Flint Community Schools
Credit Flint Community Schools

There is no doubt that teachers in the Flint Community Schools will be paid through the end of the school year.

That's according to Interim Superintendent Larry Watkins.

Watkins said the state approved the Flint school district's deficit elimination plan today.

The district will get a $2.3 million advance on its state aid payments, and Watkins said the state authorized the district to borrow $3.6 million.

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Politics & Government
12:10 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

What words has Gov. Snyder used most in his State of the State addresses?

A word cloud of Gov. Rick Snyder's most frequently used words in his 2011 State of the State address.
Melanie Kruvelis Tagul

Tonight, Gov. Rick Snyder will deliver his fourth State of the State address.

Michigan’s leaders are already spelling out what issues they hope to see the governor address in this year's annual speech: road funding, higher education, LGBT discrimination and tax cuts, to name a few.

We thought we’d take a look at what Snyder has said in his past talks, and how his speeches have changed during his past three years in office.

Snyder’s 2011 State of the State address:

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Opinion
8:44 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Medicaid expansion does not equal government expansion

Lessenberry commentary for 8/2/2013

Yesterday I talked about Washington’s offer to expand Medicaid to many Michiganders who currently have no health insurance. The government has offered to make the program available to many poor, but not officially poverty-stricken, Americans.

States who participate will pay only a fraction of the cost. This would immediately provide health care to hundreds of thousands who don’t now have it, and be extremely beneficial to virtually everyone, including employers, who would have a healthier work force.

Though some states sensibly ratified this almost immediately, Michigan has dragged its feet, largely because of bitter ideological opposition to anything that seems to be “government” health care. I said yesterday that this was irrational and was harming our state.

But while I heard from many people who agreed, not everybody did. One woman said I just didn’t understand that this would be terrible because it would be an expansion of government. In fact, the Tea Party has denounced more Medicaid as tyranny.

Well, I think that’s nonsense; I don’t think extending an already existing benefit to more people is expanding government.

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Politics & Government
7:33 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Michigan ranks extremely low in 'government integrity'

Credit en.wikipedia

When hearing the phrase: "Your state is in danger of government corruption," a movie plot may come to mind.

But this is real life.

And with current Michigan laws, there may be some plot holes that could use revisions.

The Better Government Association (BGA) and Alper Services released a study this week ranking the states based on their "Integrity Score."

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Stateside
5:12 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Why do most people distrust their elected leaders?

Charles Ballard
MSU

An interview with Charley Ballard and Tom Ivacko.

When you think about the government – local, state, or federal - how much do you trust those leaders whom you've elected?

We certainly know that public approval ratings for Congress are at abysmally low levels. The latest Gallup poll finds 78% of U.S. voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing; only 17% approve.

Let's look more closely at what we all think about our leaders. And for that, we've raised that special 50-50 flag, that's half Wolverine maize and blue and half Spartan green and white. Charley Ballard, who directs the State of the State Survey for Michigan State University, and Tom Ivacko, who does the Michigan Public Policy surveys for the University of Michigan's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy, both joined us in the studio today.

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Politics & Government
2:57 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Snyder officials to meet with Michigan residents

Credit michigan.gov

Officials from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's administration are planning to travel across the state this week to take suggestions and answer questions from Michigan residents.

Representatives from the Office of Constituent Services will visit locations in Washtenaw, Livingston, Ingham, Shiawassee, Clinton and Ionia counties on May 23 and 24.

Snyder's office says topics that are open for discussion include the state budget and opportunities for getting involved in state government.

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Economy
5:46 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Stateside: Local funding assessed by Michigan Public Policy Survey

Tom Ivacko.
http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/news/?news_id=548

We spoke with Tom Ivacko about Michigan's local leaders.

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

One of the major challenges local leaders face is providing services amidst dwindling budgets.

Today we spoke with Tom Ivacko from the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy [CLOSUP] about Michigan’s local services.

“79% of Michigan’s local government leaders told us that, even after the cuts they’ve been making, they’re still satisfied with the overall package of services they deliver,” said Ivacko.

Ivacko noted, however, that many leaders think their citizens remain satisfied.

“We asked local leaders how satisfied their citizens are and they think their citizens are pretty satisfied with the packages today.”

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Law
1:08 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Four ideas for dealing with poverty, from the man who inspired the welfare reform movement

American Enterprise Institute

Libertarian author and commentator Charles Murray sat down with State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer yesterday to discuss his new book, Coming Apart, which highlights the growing stratification of wealth in America. 

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Politics & Government
5:00 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

MSU program gives political newbies a head start

kelbycarr/flickr

When a person decides to enter politics, they may be a little lost about how get their foot in the door. They might not know what holding office really requires.

The Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University works to help up-and-comers get a handle on the world of politics.

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Commentary
10:54 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Commentary: Grass-roots health care

Nobody would dispute that health care is one of the biggest issues facing this nation. And virtually everyone, regardless of their politics, is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Next month, the nation’s highest court will announce its decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Congress passed two years ago.

Their decision will have a major impact on this nation. But in Ferndale, a small, charming, quirky, and largely working class Detroit suburb, a tiny group hasn’t been waiting.

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Commentary
10:55 am
Wed February 8, 2012

Prison Blues

Michigan is one of only a handful of states that spends more on prisons than it does on higher education. This is a disgrace, and isn’t doing very much for either our budget or our future.

The reasons for this are both complex and simple. The societal reasons are complex, of course, and have been addressed at length by people more knowledgeable than I.

The technical reasons are far simpler.  Thirty years ago, there were only about 13,000 inmates in Michigan prisons. Five years ago, the figure had ballooned to more than 51,000.

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Economy
4:36 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

13,000 Michigan families to lose cash assistance

Andrew Magill Flickr

About 13-thousand Michigan families will stop getting money from the state on October 1st. That’s when the families will reach their five-year federal lifetime limit for cash assistance. The cash assistance program is designed to support low-income families with pregnant women or children until they find jobs.

Sheryl Thompson is with the Department of Human Services. She says people with no income who have children will no longer be able to extend the limit for cash assistance.

"This was never meant to be a long-term solution," she said. "It was always supposed to be a short-term solution as a safety net."

Thompson says Michigan will save about 77-million-dollars this year. Other services including job placement and food assistance are available for people who qualify.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Government Shutdown
7:33 am
Thu April 7, 2011

Michigan officials keeping close eye on federal budget negotiations

President Obama met late last night with Congressional leaders to try to avert a partial government shutdown
Scott_Ableman Flickr

Governor Snyder’s administration says it expects most state services will continue with little or no disruption if a partial federal government shutdown occurs, the Associated Press reports. The federal government will partially shutdown tomorrow at midnight if there is not a deal to fund the government through September. From the AP:

Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said Wednesday that the administration is monitoring the situation closely and seeking more information. Key factors influencing the possible effects of a shutdown would be how the federal government defines essential services and how long a shutdown might last.

The federal government faces a partial shutdown Friday at midnight if Congress doesn't take action to avoid one.

Michigan's unemployment insurance agency says it expects benefits would continue to be paid to jobless workers, including the roughly 150,000 who now receive benefits under federal programs.

Michigan has about 52,000 federal government employees, including about 22,000 postal employees.

Commentary
3:03 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Mergers and Acquisitions

There’s been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth statewide over the new proposals the governor outlined in Grand Rapids yesterday, the ones especially that will affect local governments.

He proposes to hold back one-third of the revenue sharing money communities get from the state, and release it only if cities, villages and townships adopt certain reforms. Those would include putting all new hires on a pension plan based on what they and their employer put in, a so-called “defined contribution plan.”

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Politics
8:47 am
Wed February 23, 2011

Analysis: Protests in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana

Pro-union protesters in Madison, WI.
Mark Danielson Flickr

Protesters headed to Lansing yesterday to voice their displeasure with the budget cuts in Governor Snyder's budget proposal.  People were also there yesterday in support of the cuts.

Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry discussed the protests on Michigan Radio this morning.

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State Government
6:42 am
Fri February 11, 2011

Michigan Attorney General to take on government corruption

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Inauguration Day, 2011
Corvair Owner Flickr

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has created a Public Integrity Unit aimed at stepping up the fight against corruption in state and local government. The Associated Press reports:

Schuette says in a statement Thursday that corruption scandals have "damaged the public's trust in government" and left Michigan with a questionable national reputation. He says there will be "no more Kwames," a reference to disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick served jail time for lying in court about an affair and now is in prison for violating probation. He and his father also face a sweeping federal indictment that accuses them of taking kickbacks and bribes.

Schuette says the unit is being created with existing office resources. During last year's campaign, he had said fighting public corruption was important.

Health
7:18 pm
Mon December 20, 2010

Kalamazoo County saves millions in health care costs

Wellness programs encourage people to lead health lifestyles. Kalamazoo County says their program is paying off.
Ed Yourdon - Flickr

A wellness program is paying huge dividends for Kalamazoo County. This year, the county spent $7.7 million on health care for its employees. That’s a little more than $2 million less than it spent 6 years ago.

Anne Conn is Kalamazoo County’s assistant director of Human Resources. She says they enticed employees to participate in the wellness program by offering freebies and even an extra day off.

"People are in the wellness program now because they want to be, not because we’re giving them a t-shirt to do it."

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Environment
5:01 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

More cash to battle Asian Carp

Silver carp are sensitive to vibrations and often jump when a motorboat passes by.
USFWS

The Obama Administration announced it will dedicate more resources to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes.

Today, a coordinated group of state and federal agencies released the 2011 Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework.

In it the group calls for increased monitoring and further study on the pathways carp can use to get into the Lakes.

The Detroit Free Press reports the framework calls for:

$47 million worth of new projects... to combat Asian carp and prevent their spread to the Great Lakes. The new work includes a new laboratory in Wisconsin that will do increased DNA sampling for Asian carp around the lakes, aiming to take 120 samples per week.

The additional money is expected to come from money that was originally allocated from other Great Lakes clean-up projects.

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Economy
11:55 am
Mon November 15, 2010

You fix the budget deficit

The New York Times "You Fix the Budget" interactive tool
Screen grab from the New York Times

It's easy to criticize. Now you're in charge.

The New York Times has created a slick little interactive tool that displays different solutions to the country's projected budget deficits.

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