Governor Snyder

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.”

According to the poll, Governor Snyder's approval rating has fallen to 39.7%.
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. 

Michigan roads
User nirbhao / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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.

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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.

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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. 

A report says as many as 15 people sent complaints to the Attorney General Bill Schuette's office more than a year before an investigation into the water crisis was launched.
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. 

Under Michigan law, Governor Snyder is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
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."

Governor Snyder sits with Flint resident Cheryl Canty in her home on Monday
Facebook

Gov. Rick Snyder visited a Flint home on Monday and drank filtered water from the family's tap.

He then announced that he'll be drinking filtered tap water from Flint for the next 30 days to show the public that it's safe. 

 

Cheryl Canty, the Flint resident who opened up her home to Snyder, tells us she was surprised to find out that the governor would be paying her a visit. 

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

Leaders of a task force that looked into the causes of the Flint water crisis told a panel of state lawmakers they should consider changes to Michigan’s emergency manager law.

The task force report says a culture of arrogance and dismissal of local concerns helped cause the crisis, and so did the sweeping power of emergency managers. 

Former state Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema co-chaired the task force. He says the law focuses too much on fixing a local government’s finances without looking out for public health and safety.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

The hallmark of Rick Snyder’s tenure as Michigan’s governor has been his relentless drive to run government like a business.

Many believe that putting the bottom line first is what helped cause the Flint water crisis.

The Flint Water Advisory Task Force presents the findings of its final report.
Screenshot from livestream

This week the Flint Water Advisory Task Force released its 116-page report.

Although Gov. Snyder appointed the task force, he and his administration were not spared in its frank findings.

At the formal release of the task force report, co-chair Chris Kolb singled out the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as having, as the report said, “a degree of intransigence and belligerence that has no place in government.”

“I think the residents and citizens of Flint will take the remorse of government to be genuine when they see quality, pure, safe water coming out of the tap," says NAACP president Cornell William Brooks.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Top leaders of the NAACP were in Lansing Wednesday pressing Governor Snyder on the Flint water crisis.

The group blocked a street in front of the State Capitol with pieces of pipe, calling it a “pipe-in.”

Leading the group was the National NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks.

Brooks was in Lansing a month ago, and threatened civil disobedience if Governor Snyder didn’t present a plan within 30 days that included a deadline for replacing Flint’s water pipes.

 

flickr user Violet Jiang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Late last week, the state House passed a stopgap funding bill that gives nearly $50 million to the Detroit Public Schools.

That’s just enough money to see the flailing school district through to the end of this school year.

Governor Snyder’s proposed $715 million fix is still on the table. It would divide the district into two entities: an “Old Co.” that would use millage revenue to pay off the $515 million in debt, and a “New Co.” that would exist solely to educate students.

Flint activists weigh in on DC water crisis hearings

Mar 18, 2016

Congress may have grabbed headlines by grilling Governor Rick Snyder Thursday, but now those in Flint are asking: What really got done?

Snyder and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy testified in front of the House Oversight Committee, giving their versions of and explaining their culpability in the Flint water crisis.

But Flint activists Melissa Mays and Nayyirah Shariff were unhappy with what they heard. 

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham talked with the pair on Stateside.

Gov. Snyder is taking heat regarding decisions made by his Emergency Managers that lead to the Flint water crisis
Gov. Rick Snyder / screengrab

Governor Rick Snyder was questioned today by the House Oversight Government Reform Committee as it continued probing the Flint water crisis.

Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta was in Washington for the hearing.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Gov. Rick Snyder joined Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy today to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington today. This was the third Flint water hearing by this House panel.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes tells us that of all the people the panel has questioned, Snyder has come the closest to admitting and accepting his mistakes.

A Flint water protest
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Before Flint's water problems were widely known to the public, Snyder administration officials spent a lot of time emailing back and forth about the city and its water. 

We wouldn't know that if the governor hadn't voluntarily released batches of emails. That’s because he and the Legislature are exempt from Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

But that could change.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

That moment you step up to the voting machine to cast your vote is arguably the foundation of our democracy.

But here’s something you might not know: Those voting machines that we rely on are wearing out, and fast.

Two years ago, a presidential commission on elections warned of an impending national crisis because of these worn-out voting machines, and according to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, Michigan is in the thick of it.

Will Greenberg/Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder's committee on the Flint water crisis met again Friday, primarily discussing the best evaluation tools for assessing the city's water safety.

Comprised of notables like Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, along with high-ranking officials from agencies like the MDEQ and Health and Human Services, the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee is tasked with developing long-term solutions to the water crisis. The governor formed the committee with an executive order in January.

michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder is now officially scheduled to testify before Congress on March 17 about the Flint water crisis.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding two new rounds of hearings about Flint, after an initial hearing in early February.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, did not invite Snyder to testify at the previous hearing, despite urging from Democrats.

Snyder’s office recently released a statement saying he’d called Chaffetz, asking to testify.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire
Gage Skidmore / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Just a little over nine months from today, Americans will choose their next leader. This election year has already seen its fair share of presidential candidates rushing to comment on every major news story, but when does a politician cross the line from commenting on news to politicizing events such as the Flint water crisis?

Ronna Romney McDaniel is the chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Regarding the drinking water situation in Flint, McDaniel says, “It’s very clear that there were failures at the local, state and federal level.”

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