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Governor Snyder

Photo of Gov. Rick Snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s concerned that President Trump’s decision to end subsidies that help low-income families pay for health insurance could make rates unaffordable.

Snyder says more study is needed to determine the state’s next move, but he hopes Congress will act quickly to settle things.

“I think there are reforms needed to the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “Some parts have worked well, others need more work, and the part that needs more work has been in the insurance markets. This makes it more challenging, but hopefully it gets to the point where Congress could hopefully do some bipartisan actions to improve things.”

About 156,300 Michigan consumers have subsidized health plans. It’s estimated the loss of the subsidies would cause their rates to spike by 28 percent.

The subsidies are already the subject of lawsuits. And there could be more legal action to challenge the presidential order to immediately end the subsidies.

michigan.gov

Governor Rick Snyder says the ongoing Flint criminal cases are dragging on too long, and it’s affecting the ability of the state to recruit and retain public servants.

The governor’s remarks at a Republican conference on Mackinac Island this weekend seemed to be a poke at state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who filed the criminal charges against 15 current and former state employees. They include former Flint emergency managers and the director of the state health department. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tensions among Republican lawmakers are rising over the new state budget.

Some Republican leaders are trying to change teacher pensions to a 401(k)-style plan for new hires. But critics, including Gov. Snyder, say the change would create an unnecessary financial burden for the state. And teachers say the change would be the latest blow to a profession that's already struggling to attract young people.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Budget season in Lansing is officially underway: Governor Rick Snyder released his new budget for Fiscal Year 2018 today.

To break down the $56.3 billion package, Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief, and Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, joined Stateside today.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Education, public safety, and paying down the long term debt will be Governor Rick Snyder’s top priorities when he unveils his 2018 budget Wednesday.

Some Republicans in Lansing are really hoping to make some aggressive tax cuts this year. Especially since Michigan has a $330 million surplus in the budget.

But as Governor Rick Snyder gets ready to roll out his budget plan, he’s shying away from major tax cuts.

State Budget Office spokesperson Kurt Weiss said tax cuts need to be balanced with replacement revenue, even though there is a hefty surplus.

Photo courtesy of the Snyder administration

There’s a split emerging between Governor Rick Snyder and Republican leaders in the Legislature over cutting taxes.

Governor Snyder will present a budget next week for the coming fiscal year. Some Republican leaders in the Legislature are pushing for tax cuts. That includes an income tax rollback and some lawmakers are taking aim at the tax on pensions.

Snyder is pushing back. The pension tax was one of his first budget reforms after he took office in 2011. Snyder says that was only fair to people who were paying taxes on 401 (k) and other retirement plans.

Governor Rick Snyder signing the bill that will allow for autonomous vehicles to be driven on public roads.
Ryan Burklow / Executive Office of Gov. Rick Snyder

Self-driving cars are officially hitting roads in the near future.

Governor Rick Snyder signed a new law that allows autonomous vehicles to begin testing on public roads.

According to state officials, Michigan becomes the first state to make detailed regulations for autonomous car research and development by signing this law.

This law defines how self-driving cars can be used on public roads, including testing the vehicles, ride-sharing services and eventually commercial use by the public.

Gov. Rick Snyder.
Courtesy Detroit Regional Chamber / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder declined to endorse Donald Trump during the election. (He didn't endorse any candidate for president, according to our It's Just Politics ​team.)

And the Associated Press reported that Gov. Snyder referred to Trump's comments about women as "revolting and disgusting."

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

A year after he called for a “pause” in resettling refugees from the Middle East, Governor Snyder says he’s watching and waiting to see what Donald Trump will do with immigration policy.

That includes the president-elect’s promise to cut funding to sanctuary cities. Michigan has at least two cities – Detroit and Ann Arbor – that have policies to harbor immigrations regardless of their visa status.

Michigan Supreme Court
Michigan Supreme Court / court.mi.gov

Private and parochial schools in Michigan will be allowed apply for grants that reimburse them for some state-ordered health and safety programs.

That’s despite a provision in the state constitution that forbids direct or indirect taxpayer support for private or religious schools.

A table filled with bottles of Flint water (both clear and brown)
Flint Water Study / Facebook

 This past April Governor Rick Snyder said he wanted the state to enact tougher lead limits for drinking water than the federal limits. He unveiled the plan in the wake of the ongoing Flint water crisis.

The EPA measures lead levels in terms of parts per billion, and the current "federal action level" for lead in drinking water is 15 ppb. Snyder said he wanted to lower Michigan's standard to 10ppb, making it the toughest standard in the country.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Defending Governor Snyder from Flint-related lawsuits and investigations could cost taxpayers up to $3.4 million. But a state lawmaker says public money shouldn't be used to defend him.

Snyder is extending contracts with two private legal firms who've been representing him. He notified the State Administrative Board on Tuesday: 

michigan.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Republicans and Democrats held their summer nominating conventions over the weekend. 

Our It's Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta sat down with us today to break down both conventions.

michigan.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's a new chapter in the very public rivalry between Governor Snyder and State Attorney General Bill Schuette.

This time, they're going at it over a circuit judge's order that bars state health workers from having any contact with the Genesee County Health Department and McLaren Hospital of Flint over new cases of Legionnaire's Disease. 

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas​ joined us again today to talk about this week in politics. 

Primary voter turnout

Only 19% of all voters in Michigan showed up to vote in this past Tuesday's primary election, following a 34% turnout for the presidential primary earlier this year.

Demas described the low level of voter participation as “sadly predictable.”

governor rick snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll from The Detroit News and WDIV-TV gives us a look at how Michigan voters are feeling one week into general election campaign season. 

Chad Livengood of The Detroit News joined us today to talk about the findings. 

Here's how 600 likely general election voters said they would vote come November:

  • 41.0%   Hillary Clinton (Democrat)
  • 31.6%   Donald Trump (Republican)
  • 7.5%     Gary Johnson (Libertarian)
  • 3.4%     Jill Stein (Green)

Bryce Huffman

If you pay for something, it should be guaranteed that you'll actually receive it. That's the message Michigan teachers are delivering to Governor Rick Snyder.

Michigan's teachers’ unions are locked in a court battle with the state over a 3% payroll deduction. The money is supposed to fund retiree health care. But teachers say there's no guarantee they'll see those benefits.

American Federation of Teachers Michigan President David Hecker says the state's decision to fight the case is taking money from teachers who earned it. At issue is money withheld from 2010-2012. 

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Highland Park leaders postponed an announcement Tuesday about the city’s troubled water system, citing progress in talks with Governor Snyder’s office.

Highland Park’s water troubles go back at least to 2012. That’s when the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ordered it to shut down its water treatment plant for repairs.

But the plant stayed shut down. That was followed by botched billing collection, spiking water bills, and water quality issues.

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

Fewer than half of Michigan’s local leaders are optimistic about the state’s direction, and more of those leaders have soured on Governor Snyder’s leadership.

That’s according to the latest results from a twice-yearly University of Michigan survey.

The feelings about the state’s overall direction are just slightly more pessimistic than a year ago, but down significantly from 2014, when 55% of local leaders felt good about the state’s prospects. Now, it’s 44%.

Left courtesy of michigan.gov/Right courtesty of Michigan Attorney General's office

This week, State Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that if Governor Snyder wants to appeal a court decision regarding teacher pay, he'll have to hire his own attorney.

The AG is sitting this one out.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to discuss the ever-widening split between Michigan's two top Republicans. 

Cracked and broken roads
nirbhao / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

While many of us were getting ready for the holiday weekend last Friday afternoon, Governor Snyder announced his veto of a road funding bill that would have given some relief to 45 large cities.

Senate Bill 557 was sponsored by Republican Senator Marty Knollenberg of Troy. It was unanimously approved by the House and Senate, a feat remarkable in and of itself.

It would have repealed a requirement that larger cities pay for part of the state's cost for highway construction projects within their border.

Yet, the governor hauled out his veto power to whack the road bill.

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

Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced that if Governor Snyder wants to appeal a court decision over teacher pay, he's on his own.

Many in Michigan are viewing the announcement as a sign that the relationship between the AG and the governor, once icy, has now all but frozen over.

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

With the sparkling waters of Lake Michigan to set the scene, Governor Snyder on Wednesday signed the new $38.8 billion state budget. 

There were some unexpected revenue shortfalls to deal with. State revenues came up more than $300 million short, largely due to corporate tax credits. There was also a $100 million spike in Medicaid payments. 

Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

The U.S. Justice Department, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton have asked Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration to shut down its internal investigations into the Flint water crisis.

They say those internal administrative investigations may have damaged their criminal investigations. 

Governor Rick Snyder
Flickr user Michigan Municipal League / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There is only one state in the entire country where, under the law, the governor is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

You guessed it: it's Michigan.

Senators Jim Stamas and Jim Ananich at a hearing on the Flint water health emergency with local officials and members of the public at the University of Michigan
senatorjimstamas.com / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The legislative committee in charge of examining what went wrong with the Flint water crisis has concluded.

When Midland Republican Sen. Jim Stamas was appointed chairman, he promised to take testimony on the mistakes that led to the Flint water disaster "at all levels of government,"and to ensure that something like this never happens again. 

However, neither Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder nor any of the former emergency managers in charge of the city of Flint were called to testify. 

Crowd waits to hear President Obama speak in Flint, Michigan.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder stepped before a crowd of thousands of Flint residents Wednesday in advance of President Obama's speech at Northwestern High School.

The reaction was not warm. 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joins us to talk about what it will take to end the free-for-all of political games and blame-shifting in the ongoing water crisis. 

Governor Snyder speaking at a Flint water press conference on January 27, 2016.
SnyderLive

President Obama's visit this week puts the national spotlight back on Flint and its water crisis. 

It has been four months since Governor Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint. There were promises to fix the many problems Flint now faces because of its water. But a bill that would send the city $144 million to help fix the city's problems is still stuck in the state Legislature. 

sign that says "Flint Vehicle City"
Michigan Municipal League/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

President Barak Obama is scheduled to visit Flint on Wednesday, and Governor Rick Snyder said today  that he has formally asked to meet with the president and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver during the visit.

Snyder said it would be an opportunity to discuss at the highest level how to best support Flint.

“How can we all work together to make Flint a stronger, better community and address the water question as much as possible,” said Snyder.

Gov. Rick Snyder talks about Wednesday's criminal charges against two MDEQ employees and one Flint official.
SnyderLive / screen grab

Two state water quality experts and a Flint utility official have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors related to the city's drinking water crisis. 

The charges include misconduct and neglect of duty, and lying to cover up the lead contamination. 

When asked specifically whether Governor Snyder was being looked at as part of the state's ongoing investigation, state Attorney General Bill Schuette simply responded that "no one is above the law."

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