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michigan politics

Joe Ross / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Republican majority leader in the Senate, Arlan Meekhof, has introduced legislation that would allow city police departments to contract with a private firm for police officers. They'd have all the authority and the protections given to public police officers. 

PICTURES OF MONEY / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Republicans in Lansing hit the gas pedal to pass legislation that could greatly increase corporate and special interest spending on political campaigns. The legislation sailed through the Senate last week and cleared the House Tuesday.

Today, Governor Snyder signed that legislation into law.

man reading newspaper with fake news written on it
Mike MacKenzie / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

A conservative news website is busy pumping out stories on political candidates. The stories quickly take off on social media as people share them with friends and family.

But a closer look at the website, called Conservative Intel LLC of Grand Rapids, reveals it isn't a news operation at all.

Donald Trump tweet
@realDonaldTrump Twitter

As violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend, some of Michigan's lawmakers took to social media.  

The Mackinac Policy Conference kicks off today.
David Ball / creative commons

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference begins today; I’ll be there, though so far, it doesn’t look like the most momentous conference they’ve ever had.

There will be a few national speakers worth hearing, including historian Michael Beschloss and journalist and author Walter Isaacson.

Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will give keynote addresses, and there will be panels on politics, and on things like “Michigan’s Digital Future.”

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio file photo

Congressman Dan Kildee, who many expected to run for governor, said he won't enter the race. He’s going to run for another term in Congress instead.

That leaves former senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer and former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed as candidates on the Democratic side.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 


A Facebook post from Representative Andy Schor​, D-Lansing, caught some attention this week. He accused the Republican Speaker Pro-Tempore Lee Chatfield of violating the rules of the House and the state’s Constitution.

Macomb Daily

It's been a bumpy first few months in office for new Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Karen Spranger and her staff.

Last night, the county ethics board met to discuss ethics complaints filed by a former top aide, someone Spranger fired shortly after taking office.

The meeting ended with a $100 fine against Spranger for an ethics violations, a fine she intends to appeal.

But that is just scratching the surface of what's happened since Spranger was elected last November.

Empty classroom
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Hundreds of Detroit parents angered by school closure threats are having their kids opt out of the state's M-STEP test. They say the standardized tests are used to justify closures. 

Mark Twain once said that “no man’s life, liberty and property are safe while the legislature is in session.” 

He’s been dead for more than a century, but I’m sure he wouldn’t be the least surprised to learn that things haven’t improved in the slightest.

Actually, they’ve gotten worse, in Michigan at any rate, thanks to term limits, which have served to vastly increase the power of the lobbyists.

Well, as you may have heard, the final days of the lame duck session are winding down, and not nearly as many bills have been rammed through as I first thought might be the case. Lawmakers,for example, gave up early on plans to slash teacher pensions, and “reform” retiree health care for municipal employees in the state.

AUCHTOON.COM

When the president-elect nominated Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education last week, the most obvious metaphor seemed to be the fox put in charge of the hen-house. I rolled that around in my head for awhile, but couldn't make it work.

I don't think DeVos is that carnivorous, or the education establishment that docile. (Plus drawing anthropomorphic characters is not really my strong suit. So, as is often the case, laziness wins.)

This cartoon worked much better because it reveals my main issue with the DeVos nomination: She's a crank.

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump has selected five people for his cabinet. His most recent choice is Republican Rep. Tom Price, R-GA, as Secretary of Health and Human Services. 

Though Price has served as Georgia's 6th District congressman since 2004, most of his childhood and young adulthood was spent in Michigan. 

Price was born in Lansing, Michigan and graduated from Dearborn High School, according to Congress' Biographical Directory. He also pursued post-secondary education in Michigan.

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."

Courtesy Michigan Radio

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that today is Election Day. Voters today will decide on a President, members of Congress, state legislators and various ballot proposals.

With our votes having so much weight, some Michigan residents posted about the day on social media.

For many years, few people paid any attention to the politics of Michigan Supreme Court justices. Nor were elections for the state’s highest court usually exciting.

That’s because there used to be a presumption that judges were more or less above politics, and that once on the bench, they should remain there as long as they were honest and competent, until the magic age of 70, after which, under the Michigan Constitution, they may finish a current term, but are no longer eligible to run again.


8 questions and 8 answers about voting in Michigan

Oct 4, 2016
Courtesy H2Woah! / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We're inching closer to the last day that you can register to vote in Michigan. As we near the final day, we want to make sure that everyone has the knowledge about where to vote.

Given that, here are 8 questions you may have about registering to vote and their answers.  

1) When's the last day that I can register to vote?

Perhaps the most horrific story of the summer was the Detroit News’s revelations of unsanitary conditions at the now for-profit group of hospitals known as the Detroit Medical Center.

These included dirty instruments, old blood and bone fragments in tubes that were being used for a baby’s operation and other similar horrors.

That was more than bad enough. But a group of mental health advocates are now concerned that the Snyder Administration wants to partly or totally privatize mental health services.


The greatest scandal in American political history was, of course, Watergate. Reporters began investigating corruption in the Nixon Administration.

Congressional committees and the courts got involved, and the existence of a secret White House taping system was eventually discovered. Finally, the tapes provided absolute proof of Richard Nixon’s criminality.

Left: SUZANNA SHKRELI FOR CONGRESS/FACEBOOK Right: mikebishop.house.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Democrats in Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District have no way of knowing yet who they’ll be casting a ballot for in November. The district includes northern Oakland County, Livingston County, and Ingham County.

Republican presidential candidate at a campaign stop in Warren, Michigan.
Jake Neher / MPRN

Two of the biggest Michigan political stories this week were the announcement of more lawsuits involving the Flint water crisis, and the "Dump Trump" movement in the presidential race. 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that his office has filed a civil suit against three companies (Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam) for their role in the Flint water crisis.

Two of the biggest topics of the week when it comes to Michigan politics involved the proposal to mandate employers to let workers earn paid sick time and the effort to put gerrymandering on the ballot in 2018.
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The big news coming out of Lansing this week was the passing of a nearly $55 billion state budget, which included a $617 million in funding for the Detroit Public Schools. 

Some Republicans are praising the budget and the DPS bailout, and others like the House Education Chair State Rep. Amanda Price called it a "great day for the kids in Detroit."

For most people, May is one of the best months. The flowers are blooming; it’s pretty clear that it isn’t going to snow any more, and summer is coming. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Michigan Democrats start regarding May with a shudder. For two years in a row, the party has been embarrassed in May by one of their own. Last year it was State Senator Virgil Smith Jr., one of the legislature’s dimmer bulbs.

More than half a million people voted absentee in this week's primary election
Lars Plougmann

Millennials are the largest generation in America, making up an entire third of the population.

They’re also the least likely to vote.

A report from Tufts University says that less than 20% of people age 18 to 29 voted in the 2014 election.

Andrew Koehlinger wants to do something about that. He’s the project director for VoteSpotter, an app that seeks to get younger voters engaged in the politics.

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. 

A recent survey suggests that Michigan voters don't like a lot of what they see in the upcoming political season.
National Ave

Presidential candidates keep hopping on the bandwagon. ‘Tis the season, after all.

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.”

8 weeks until the elections and still no debates

Sep 4, 2014
Voting Booths
Flickr

We are counting down the weeks to the November elections, but we are not counting down the weeks to debates between candidates.

So far, the chances of a debate between Gov. Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer, or between candidates for the U.S. Senate seat, Republican Terri Lynn Land and Democrat Gary Peters, are looking increasingly slim.

Imagine that you are a CEO and you are looking to hire somebody for a temporary, two-year position that pays $174,000 a year, and may include access to highly sensitive information.

Somebody steps up and announces he will pay more than $3 million, most of it out of his own pocket, to be considered for this job.  Would you be suspicious?

Let’s say you also needed to hire someone for a lower-ranking position, one which will have little power, and which will pay less than $72,000. A woman who could easily make more than that elsewhere borrows money, hits up friends, and spends more than $200,000 in an attempt to be a finalist for the position.

Would you say something is wrong here?

Here’s something that has changed in politics in this country, and I think it is a very disturbing trend. Back in ancient times, like say the 1980s, campaigning was largely about persuading voters.

We took it for granted that modern voters made their minds up, as the saying went, “based on the man, not the party.”

Everybody knew that there were diehard Democrats and rock-ribbed Republicans who would support their party’s candidates, no matter what, but they were seen as old-fashioned dinosaurs.

Well, things have changed. Dinosaurs are back.

The parties are more sharply divided than they’ve been in my lifetime. Swing voters are an endangered species.

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