michigan house of representatives

Jewell Jones
Campaign video screen grab

Democratic precinct delegates have selected a new candidate to run for a Detroit-area state House seat.

Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones will replace the late Rep. Julie Plawecki on the August 2 primary ballot.

Jonathan Kinloch, chair of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party, says delegates selected Jones based on his active engagement in the party and in his community.

Julie Plawecki
http://housedems.com/

The sudden death of state Rep. Julie Plawecki last weekend left a vacancy on the August Democratic primary ballot. 

Plawecki was running unopposed in the 11th House District, which includes Dearborn Heights, Inkster and Garden City. 

Jonathan Kinloch, chair of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party, says precinct delegates will meet next week to start the process of finding a new candidate.

Michigan state Rep. Plawecki dies at age 54

Jun 26, 2016
http://housedems.com/

State Rep. Julie Plawecki, D-Dearborn Heights, has died while hiking with a daughter in Oregon. She was 54.

State Sen. David Knezek, a fellow Democrat from Dearborn Heights, announced Plawecki's death late Saturday night on Facebook. House Minority Leader Tim Greimel released a statement Sunday saying the caucus was deeply saddened by her death. A spokeswoman for Greimel, Katie Carey, said Plawecki's family said she died of an apparent heart attack.

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

The future is cloudy for groups fighting to get those marijuana and anti-fracking proposals on the November ballot in Michigan.

The House last week gave final approval to Senate Bill 776, which sets a strict 180-day window for groups to collect signatures on ballot initiatives and constitutional amendment petitions. 

Donald Trump is now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee so, what does that portend for Republicans further down the ballot?

For Donald Trump to win the presidency, he’ll have to change the Electoral College map to win states Republicans don’t usually win. And, based on Trump’s apparent appeal to blue collar voters in old Rust Belt states, Michigan is high on that list.

Michigan Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller endorsed Trump last week.

Michigan House of Representatives
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It took 15 hours and an all-nighter, but the state House narrowly managed to approve a package of six bills aimed at fixing the Detroit Public Schools. 

Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics team Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta sit down with us today to talk about the bills, and about how the House and Senate have different views about how to keep DPS doors open. 

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

An article in The Free Press reported 2016 is "shaping up as a raucous and competitive election season with incumbent politicians facing strong challenges up and down the ballot, and a presidential race that could influence the control of every race."

Rick Pluta and Zach Gorchow join us to talk about upcoming State Representative races, voter turnout, and how the Michigan legislature might change after this election year.

Michigan House of Representatives
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio


A funeral service is set for today for Curtis Hertel Sr. The former state Speaker of the House died suddenly this week of natural causes in his home.

The Democrat served in the state House for nearly two decades. Remarkably, during that time he wound up sharing the role of House Speaker with Republican Paul Hillegonds.

Rep. Lisa Lyons speaking in National Harbor, Maryland in 2013
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Last December, in the final hours the Legislature was in session for 2015, a bill passed both Houses and was later signed by Governor Snyder.

That bill had originally been 12 pages, but was replaced by the 53-page Senate Bill 571. Several legislators say they didn't know the contents and the changes, but it still passed. Some legislators say they later regretted voting for it.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Legislation that would eliminate the straight-ticket voting option on Michigan ballots is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Rick Pluta, co-host of It’s Just Politics and the Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, tells us that if signed, this legislation would have three effects:

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

As of today, our state legislators have nine session days left before heading home for the holidays on December 17.

So it’s a good time to review who’s been most effective in getting bills passed and what we might see come out of the final few sessions before we bid farewell to 2015.

Repair trucks on a Michigan road.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

A $1.2 billion road funding plan has cleared the state Senate.

The new "compromise" plan takes $600 million from existing revenues to the state's General Fund, $400 million from a seven-cent-per-gallon increase in the state's gas tax, and $200 million from an increase in vehicle registration fees.

Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

LANSING, Mich. - Two conservative ex-lawmakers who had an extramarital affair and attempted to conceal it have been sued by former aides. 

The Detroit News and MLive.com report former state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat were sued Friday by Keith Allard and Ben Graham in Ingham County Circuit Court. 

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

In a turn of events that surprised many, Rep. Todd Courser resigned his position on Friday, while Rep. Cindy Gamrat became the fourth state legislator in Michigan’s history to be expelled.

John Lidstrom was one of the veteran Lansing political observers watching that expulsion vote, and based on the editorial he wrote about the episode, it’s clear he did so with a sense of dismay.

user GPDII / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

People across Michigan have seen their cars, their TVs, their kids’ iPads, even their homes seized by police, often despite never having been charged with or convicted of a crime.

It’s called “civil asset forfeiture,” and it means that state or federal agents can seize your property if they so much as suspect that it has been involved in criminal activity.

The push against civil asset forfeiture is growing.

The Michigan State House of Representatives in Lansing, Michigan
user CedarBendDrive / flickr

It’s hard to argue against the fact that informed citizens are the cornerstone of democracy.

That’s the idea behind the Open Meetings Act: keeping the business of public entities open, transparent, and accessible to the public.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan house is considering a package of bills that would require an electronic recording of interviews with kids during a child abuse or neglect investigations.

House bills 4547, 4548 and 4549 would also allow the video recordings to be considered in a probation violation hearing or a hearing to get information removed from the statewide Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry.

Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, and Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, speak of their experiences in Wayne County with parolees looking to find suitable jobs so they do not re-enter the corrections system.
user mihousegop / flickr

State Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, is a long-time proponent of bipartisan action in the House.

Once kicked out of the Democratic Caucus as punishment for locking horns with caucus leaders once too often and for occasionally crossing party lines and voting with Republicans, Santana is now serving his third and final term in the state House as vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The Michigan State House of Representatives in Lansing, Michigan
user CedarBendDrive / flickr

Todd Courser, the conservative freshman Republican state Representative from Lapeer, describes his early years as a "Huckleberry Finn childhood."

Now, he describes himself as "a barbarian warlord" who is "the conscience" of his party.

Nancy Derringer wrote a profile of Courser for Bridge Magazine titled, “Todd Courser hits Lansing like a cannonball.”

House considers bill to limit local government power

May 15, 2015
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state House is considering a bill that would limit local governments’ powers to enact policies for employers.

House Bill no. 4052 would prohibit local governments from creating policies and ordinances regulating the relationship between an employer and its employees.

Michigan House and Senate take on new leadership

Jan 15, 2015
Michigan's Capitol.
Graham Davis / flickr

The Michigan legislature has begun its new session and that means new leadership in the House and Senate. Republicans have strong majorities in both after the last election.

Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics joined us to talk about the new leadership.

user futureatlas.com / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss a bill aimed at protecting religious freedom, another that would cut off welfare payments to recipients who fail drug tests, and whether Michigan’s low gas prices will stick around.


USFWS Midwest

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss what could happen to the state Legislature after the election, possible surprises in congressional races and the wolf hunting proposal votes which may not matter.


Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state House has voted to reinstate funding for the Common Core state school standards.

More than 40 other states have chosen to adopt the standards, which set yearly expectations for what students should learn at every grade level in math and language arts.

But earlier this year, Michigan lawmakers temporarily barred the state from spending money to implement Common Core. A legislative panel was formed to study the issue over the summer, and its chair, Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp.) crafted a resolution based on more than 17 hours of public testimony.

I travel to Toledo once a week, and if you make that trip, you know how wretched the roads are in some places.

The governor does too. For two years, he’s been trying to get the legislature to come up with new money to pay for the roads. Unfortunately, I can now report that our lawmakers have gone from doing nothing about Medicaid to doing nothing about the roads, unless moaning and finger-pointing count.

Yesterday, the Gongwer News Service produced a story which said there was finally optimism something would happen. Unfortunately, there was little evidence of it.

It did quote Speaker of the House Jase Bolger literally whining, “It is true the House Democrats have failed to offer any solutions for transportation funding, but that is par for the course.” The Speaker  added, “Some people might get the idea that Democrats would rather complain than cooperate.”

World Resources Institute

Democrats in the state House are calling for more state regulations on hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” in Michigan. Fracking releases oil and gas from deep underground by cracking open rock with a high-pressure mix of water, fine sand and chemicals pumped into wells.

The state has seen an influx of energy producers since companies started using this controversial process to extract natural gas.

Democratic state Representative Sarah Roberts is a co-sponsor of this package of eight bills. She represents the 18th District from St Clair Shores. She joined us today to talk about 'fracking.'

Listen to the full interview above.

Columbine High School

The Michigan House of Representatives is considering a new program to help prevent school violence.

The OK-2-SAY hotline would be available for students, teachers, parents or community members to call and report incidences of violence in schools.

Joanne Spry is the superintendent of Cadillac Area Public Schools. She implemented a similar program when she worked as an administrator in Colorado after the school shootings in Columbine. Spry says students are more likely to report something anonymously.

Eusko Jaurlaritza / Flickr

Eight Democrats in the Michigan House are introducing legislation to tighten regulations on a practice used by the oil and gas industry known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

The drilling technique is at the center of national environmental debates. It uses water and chemicals deep underground to harvest natural gas.

Neeta Lind / Flickr

A state House panel is likely to take up a bill soon that would revive medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan. Republican lawmakers are starting to take interest in the issue.

Earlier this year, the Michigan Supreme Court handed down a ruling that effectively stopped most marijuana dispensaries from operating in the state. The court ruled that the dispensaries can be shut down as a public nuisance. Now state lawmakers say they’re close to a deal on legislation that would allow and regulate the facilities.

Thomas Anderson / Flickr

The state House has approved a plan to overhaul and expand Medicaid in Michigan. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support.

State lawmakers have been debating for months whether to add hundreds of thousands of Michiganders to the Medicaid rolls under the federal healthcare law. It also creates incentives for healthy lifestyles, and would eventually require some Medicaid patients to pay more toward the cost of their healthcare.

Democratic state Representative Brandon Dillon praised Republican House leadership for taking a vote on the bill.

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