Governor Snyder

Each week Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, join us to take a look at Michigan politics. 

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, Gov. Rick Snyder called for a pause on efforts to admit Syrian refugees into the U.S. and Michigan. Snyder says while he eventually wants to allow Syrian refugees to settle in the state, he first wants the federal government to review their security protocols for assigning refugee status.

Michigan governor puts refugee acceptance efforts on hold

Nov 15, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan's Republican governor, who has bucked many party leaders for welcoming Syrian refugees, is putting efforts on hold following the deadly attacks in Paris.

Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement Sunday that the state is postponing efforts to accept refugees until federal officials fully review security clearances and procedures.

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With the roads funding plan behind them, the Michigan Legislature is on break until December. When they return, fixing Detroit Public Schools will be at the top of the legislative agenda.

Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a controversial plan for DPS that would start a new district responsible for educational instruction and general operations while leaving the roughly $500 million in legacy debt with the old district.

Michigan roads
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The legislature this week passed a package of bills to fund Michigan roads. The legislation would bump up the state’s gas tax by seven cents per gallon, and boost vehicle registration fees by 20% beginning in 2017. It will increase taxes by $600 million also starting in 2017. The plan will also move $600 million from other areas in the state budget.

Michigan roads
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A late-night deal to fund road repair, construction and other transportation issues barely passed the Michigan House on Tuesday. After years of stalled debate, deals gone nowhere and a voter-rejected referendum, Governor Snyder is now reviewing a bill that partly solves the road funding question in Michigan.

Michigan Public Radio Network reporter Jake Neher explains the ins and outs of the bill in the interview above. 

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There were feelings of optimism earlier this week in Lansing that the state Senate might just pass a road funding plan the House passed the week before.

But, once again, that optimism has fallen flat, as the House adjourned without a vote after about eight hours of discussion.

Gov. Snyder at a press conference this month announcing his plan to overhaul the Detroit Public School District.
screenshot / Livestream

Gov. Rick Snyder this week announced his plan for overhauling Detroit Public Schools. It includes splitting the district and leaving the debt with the old DPS, while a new district would move forward with school operations and education. 

Michigan drivers have become all too familiar with the dreaded pothole.
flickr user Michael Gil /

Gov. Rick Snyder’s mantra of “relentless, positive action” hit a great big pothole this week.

Negotiations over that elusive road funding plan hit what the governor calls “an impasse” when Democrats would not agree to an across-the-board income tax cut.

The Detroit News’ Daniel Howes makes the point in his column today that our state representatives can sit in session all night long to get rid of a couple of philandering tea partiers, but can't come up with an answer for voters all over Michigan screaming for a roads fix.

State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Commission has approved the consent agreement with the state by a 14 to 1 vote. The consent agreement will require the county to make deep cuts in spending and address chronic issues in its jails. 

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate majority leader and senior policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Jennifer White to look more closely at how that consent agreement might work.

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Each week  Jennifer White speaks to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, about the latest in state politics.

This week, they discussed the federal civil rights complaint filed by the Detroit Public Schools elected board against Governor Rick Snyder.

Michiganders are feeling better about the economy, but lukewarm on other topics
morguefile user Penywise /

In Michigan we get a regular glimpse of what people in the state are thinking about the economy, how well they’re doing financially, what they think of the president, the governor, Congress, the state Legislature, and local government.

Michigan State University released its State of the State Survey today. Charles Ballard is the director of the survey.

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This week in Michigan Politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry talks about a new law affecting Michigan workers, a plan to fix the roads that increases the gas tax, the high cost of information, and government officials looking at the effects of the same sex marriage ruling.

Christopher Peplin / Flickr

One new study suggests repealing Michigan’s prevailing wage law is a bad idea.

Smart Cities Prevail and the Midwest Economic Policy Institute — two groups that support union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects — say their research shows overturning the prevailing wage would have “quite profound impacts” on Michigan’s economy.

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder this week signed the $54 billion state budget that pays for schools, universities, prisons, and more. That marks about six months of activity for the newest Michigan Legislature.

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Michigan Radio's Jenn White. They talk about where the state is investing money and where it's pulling back.

State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is entering another round of negotiations to raise money for Michigan’s roads, following a decisive defeat of Proposal 1.

Jennifer White spoke to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, about the politics of getting a viable roads funding plan passed. 

Here's their conversation:

Gov. Rick Snyder

There is continuing speculation about whether Gov. Rick Snyder will run for president. Recent trips around the country to sell Michigan’s story have only fanned the rumor flames that Snyder is, indeed, considering a run.

The facts as they stand now are as follows: the governor is making trips across the country, talking up Michigan. He’s been in places like California and Washington D.C, neither of which are typical early indicators of a run, as Ohio or New Hampshire might be.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

We’re starting to hear early reports about Governor Snyder’s plan for restructuring public education in Detroit. The school landscape there is very fractured right now, with a combination of traditional public schools, charters, and the Education Achievement Authority.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Photo courtesy of Governor Snyder's office

All through this current session of the state Legislature, Detroit Free Press Lansing reporter Kathy Gray has been tracking the bills that cleared the House and Senate and then were signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

This legislative session 700 bills and 125 resolutions have already been introduced, according to Gray. So far Snyder has signed 16 of those.

Gray says last legislative session close to 1,500 bills were introduced and 40% ended up becoming law.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr

Indiana has been in the national spotlight this week after passing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Today, Gov. Rick Snyder said he will veto such a law if it comes to his desk without legislation that adds protections for LGBT people to Michigan's civil rights law.

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Political news continues to surface even though lawmakers at the state Capitol have begun their two week spring break.

On Friday, an investigative report, by the Associated Press, about a controversial pardon made by Governor Rick Snyder came out.

Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder says there’s no backup plan to boost road funding if voters reject a sales tax increase in May.

Snyder urged listeners to vote “yes” on the measure during an appearance on Michigan Public Radio’s statewide call-in program “Michigan Calling.”

Rick Snyder wants the U.S., not Canada, to pay for the Ambassador Bridge's customs plaza.

Each week I discuss what's happening in Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former state Senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

This week we talk about the agenda Governor Rick Snyder laid out in his State of the State address, and the likely response from the Legislature.

Photo courtesy of

In his State of the State address this week, Governor Snyder highlighted how Michigan has made a comeback since the Great Recession. But Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says the state still has a long recovery ahead.

Howes highlights in his recent article how Michigan has gone through a transformation that makes it impossible to truly return to where we once were. He emphasizes that Michigan shouldn’t be thinking in terms of the past, but instead focusing on truly moving forward.

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Governor Snyder delivers his fifth State of the State address tonight and co-hosts of It's Just Politics,  Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, are in Lansing preparing to cover the speech. They gave us a preview of what might be addressed tonight.

Rick Snyder wants the U.S., not Canada, to pay for the Ambassador Bridge's customs plaza.

President Obama prepares to deliver the State of the Union speech tonight and Governor Snyder will also be delivering his State of the State address. In their time in office both leaders have gone through their ups and downs of approval ratings, but where do they fall now?

Michigan State economics Professor Charles Ballard keeps track of how both men fare in Michigan and says for the first time in the surveys they've conducted since Governor Snyder took office his approval ratings are higher than President Obama's in Michigan.

Snyder signs bill with $5.5 million for autism

Dec 29, 2014
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LANSING – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation to take $5.5 million from a state autism fund and redirect it to autism programs at universities and for autism-related family assistance services.  The fund was created in 2012 to reimburse health insurance companies for the cost of benefits covering the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. But insurers haven't filed nearly as many claims as expected. 

Western Michigan University will receive $3 million, while Central Michigan and Oakland universities will continue getting $500,000 apiece.

Gov. Rick Snyder.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Michigan has faced and tackled many issues in 2014. Zoe Clark talked to Gov. Rick Snyder about the past year, and what he'd like to achieve in the future.

A bill allowing suspicion-based drug testing for people on welfare has passed the Michigan House and Senate and is awaiting the governor’s decision.

Snyder says he still needs more time to review the bill in detail. A number of states have already passed similar policies, and Snyder says he is paying close attention to their effects.

Michigan Legislature
Matthileo / Flickr

Each Thursday, we talk Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

This week we talked about the bills heading to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk this lame-duck session and whether he'll sign them.

Rick Snyder / Flickr

Governor Snyder leaves for China today on his fourth trade mission to Asia. Tom Watkins has spent many years, in many different roles, campaigning for stronger ties between China and Michigan.

Watkins says Governor Snyder has two goals for this trip: promote Michigan goods and services, and attract foreign direct investment (FDI). China has plans to invest $1 trillion around the world, so it is important for Governor Snyder to attract FDI in order to create new jobs and opportunities within the state, says Watkins.

Watkins says there is a chance to develop a good relationship with China, as Chinese car companies have set up several R&D plants in southeast Michigan.. There are also a number of international students from China at state universities here. But Watkins warns it's not quick or easy work. "Doing business in China is not an economic one night stand," said Watkins. "You can’t just do one trip there.” Listen to our conversation with Watkins below:

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This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Michigan’s anti-gay marriage law being upheld, the Detroit bankruptcy trial ruling, and what to expect during this term’s lame-duck session.