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Can a politician who breaks the law be forced to quit his job and be ordered not to run again?

That question could interrupt the Michigan Supreme Court’s summer recess.

The Michigan Supreme Court this week said “not yet” to a group trying to stop fracking in Michigan.

The group, The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, is now on its third attempt to get a question on the ballot to ban the controversial process used to drill hard-to-reach pockets of natural gas.

After this week, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what the 2018 governor’s race will look like in Michigan.

In just a little more than a year, Republicans and Democrats in Michigan will choose their candidates for governor in the August primary. Governor Rick Snyder is term-limited so, it’s a wide open field.

Joan Larsen faces a tangled path to a plum spot on a federal appeals court. The only thing standing in her way is Michigan’s two U.S. Senators.

state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today is the only day this month that Michigan's lawmakers are in session, and the House used it to vote on a major new tax incentive for businesses.

Months of lively debate ended when the tax incentive package passed with bipartisan support. It was a vote that defied House Republican leaders and Speaker Tom Leonard, and served up a big win for Governor Rick Snyder.

Michigan’s long-time and highly regarded elections director is retiring with a dire warning about “dark money.”

“Clearly those who give money, I think, have more influence, doors open easier,” former Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas told It’s Just Politics. He says secret donations are undermining fair and honest elections.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

July 4 is coming up, but it’s not here quite yet. As the grills are fired up and the fireworks prepped, the It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta join Stateside to catch up on what’s happening in Michigan politics this holiday week.

Governor Rick Snyder was overseas last week as his top legislative priority tanked in the state House. And now he has to pick up the pieces.

'Good jobs'

The state’s economic developers have big dreams of landing big employers offering thousands of workers big paychecks. So, they hatched this idea of letting big businesses keep the state income taxes paid by their employees in exchange for creating jobs in Michigan. The legislation is known as “Good Jobs for Michigan.”

It’s been almost two weeks since the Legislature approved a state license plate in order for an anti-abortion group to fundraise off it, but the legislation still hasn’t been put in front of Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.

The Michigan Constitution says a governor has two weeks to sign or veto a bill once it’s adopted by the Legislature and placed before him. But there is no timeline for when the Legislature, once it’s approved a bill, has to actually send it to the governor.

The fiercest rivalry in Michigan politics right now is between two candidates for governor who still have not actually announced they’re running.

We are seeing this rivalry play out between Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley in the nascent petition drive to make the state legislature part-time.

Everyone’s back to the political games in D.C. and Lansing now that lawmakers are back from the annual Mackinac Island Policy Conference where one of the agenda items on the to-do list was restoring political civility.

As state political leaders leave the Grand Hotel after this week's Mackinac Policy Conference, there's a state budget waiting for them to settle and approve in Lansing.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Mackinac Policy Conference wrapped up today. Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team, Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta​, were on the island covering it all week.

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley announced a government reform initiative, but it was not the announcement many expected him to make. Republicans are in the preparatory stages of dropping their names in the hat for Michigan’s next gubernatorial election, and it was thought that Calley could announce his candidacy at this year’s policy conference.

A ballot campaign to make Michigan a part-time Legislature state could be on the horizon - an effort, perhaps, to make state government more efficient, but the effort carries at least a whiff of gubernatorial politics.

A petition campaign that collapsed in scandal last year is re-launching and some GOP leaders are concerned the issue could threaten Republican control over Lansing.

Michiganders could decide next year whether to legalize marijuana in the state and many politicos are wondering how that ballot question could affect the 2018 election.

There’s a face off between Governor Rick Snyder and Republican leaders over an issue that’s not even at the top of anyone’s to-do list.

The state Legislature is working away on the state budget and Republicans have been cutting Snyder’s budget proposal. They’re squirreling away money but they haven’t decided what to do with it yet.

Schools in Michigan are not supposed to start the year until after Labor Day.  It is state law.

A third Snyder term?

Apr 17, 2017

Rick Snyder cannot run for governor again because he’s term-limited.

But that doesn’t mean Michigan’s CEO Governor isn’t working on a succession plan. Snyder’s Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley seems to be making moves toward a run for the top job.

Will President Trump’s Twitter rage be turned against Michigan’s senior U.S. Senator if Debbie Stabenow votes against his nominee for the Supreme Court? And would it make a difference?

The center strikes back. We are seeing a resurgence in the power of moderate Republicans in D.C. and Lansing.

The effort to allow any Michigan voter to request an absentee ballot may be close to critical mass in the state Senate. That’s as more Republicans are accepting the idea that anyone who wants to mail in or drop off their ballot should be allowed to without having to lie to do it.

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What’s a Republican governor to do when his own political party is the problem?

We’re hearing a lot about the divide among Republicans in D.C. over the “repeal and replacement” of Obamacare.

President Donald Trump and the House Republican leadership have a plan. But, conservatives don’t like it. Democrats don’t like it. Interest groups like the AARP are already piling on, and let’s add to the list: Republican governors like Ohio Governor John Kasich and Michigan’s own Rick Snyder.

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In elections, it’s all about who shows up.

And last year, Democrats didn’t.

The Democrats’ historic loss in Michigan is due pretty much to the fact that too many voters who would typically vote Democratic simply sat out Election 2016. While Republicans, true to form, showed up at the polls.

State House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) is figuring out his next move after his income tax rollback tanked in the House last week. It was an embarrassing defeat largely the result of putting the bill up before the Speaker knew the votes were there. And he ran into a hard-dozen fellow Republicans who, along with all but one of the Democrats, torpedoed what was supposed to be a marquee moment in the early days of this session.

There’s a battle over taxes emerging in Lansing.

Is it real? Or is it actually a proxy for other looming political fights?

Tax rollback

We could see action soon on a plan that would begin to rollback and eventually, after four decades, completely eliminate the state income tax.

But this idea from state House Republicans is getting the cold shoulder from Governor Rick Snyder, a lot of state Senate Republicans and, not to mention Democrats.

Governor Rick Snyder has laid out his budget plan for the coming year. He wants the state to save more, pay down debt and spend on infrastructure.

Republicans in the Legislature are not necessarily opposed to those ideas, but many of them are also calling for tax cuts, which means less money for those things Snyder wants.

A legal battle over redistricting in Michigan could soon be underway.

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Letters are being sent to some 60 attorneys, legislators and ex-legislators, staffers and ex-staffers, Governor Rick Snyder, and many others, telling them: Anything you have related to the 2011 redistricting process, you better keep it. We’re talking drafts of maps, emails, instructions, and confidential analysis.

Thousands of protesters gathered yesterday at Detroit Metro Airport and in Dearborn, Hamtramck, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor to demonstrate against President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries.

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“Our goal should be, we can reach 10 million people again.”

That was Governor Snyder’s goal delivered at his 2017 State of the State speech Tuesday night.

We used to be a pretty big deal in Congress but, now, Michigan’s House delegation is in a re-building season.

A new session of Congress has been sworn in in D.C. and for the first time in generations none of our Michigan Representatives are committee chairs.

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