Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is putting the sale of city hall “on hold”.

Last year, former Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero picked Chicago-based Beitler Real Estate Services over three other developers, to turn Lansing city hall into a new hotel. 

Lansing officials settled on the idea of selling city hall, since the estimated $55 million cost of renovating the aging building would be cost prohibitive.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Lansing needs to step up and provide adequate roads funding or else tell local governments they’re on their own, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said Monday.

Hackel blasted the Michigan Legislature’s 2015 “fix” that raised fuel taxes and driver registration fees, but generates far too little revenue for the state’s actual infrastructure needs. He made those remarks as Macomb unveiled a new online resource about county road conditions, and what it will cost to fix them.

Courtesy of Shenandoah Chefalo

There are nearly 13,000 children in foster care in Michigan, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Across the country, there are around 400,000 kids in foster care on any given day.

But what we don’t know for sure is how many children have been “lost” in foster care.

People who remember, remember Republican John Engler as a blunt, pugnacious governor. And, before that, the same as state Senate majority leader.

Former Governor John Engler

Michigan State University interim president John Engler accused state lawmakers of interfering with negotiations to settle out of court with victims of former sports doctor Larry Nassar. Engler's comments came in response to a set of bills adopted by the senate this week that give victims more time to file lawsuits. The former governor also said the bills could subject universities to more lawsuits and drive up tuition.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about Engler's reaction to the legislation.

Stateside 3.16.2018

Mar 16, 2018

"Children should not have a price tag on them," a survivor of the Larry Nassar scandal says to opponents of the sexual assault bills passed by the Michigan Senate this week. Also today, we say, "Cheers, and Happy Saint Patrick's Day" to you with a cocktail recipe.

Larissa Boyce testifies in Ingham County courtroom at Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing.
Emma Winowiecki

This week the Michigan Senate passed a package of bills that would, among other things, limit claims of immunity from civil suits for government entities, including public universities; extend the statute of limitations for when a victim can file a sexual assault complaint; and strengthen mandatory reporting laws.

Daniel X. O'Neil / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

It seems more and more that the phrase “fake news” is being used against any reputable news report that doesn’t conform with someone’s distorted notion of what is true.

But, that does not mean “fake news” is not a real and threatening problem. These past few months, we’ve learned of Russian outlets that used social media to spread memes that United States citizens at opposite ends of the political spectrum gleefully reposted because it fit the narrative of their echo-chamber beliefs.

Michael Patterson / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Michigan legislature is considering retroactively extending the statute of limitations of sexual assault of minors. It's part of a package of bills designed to make it easier for sexual assault victims to bring complaints forward.

This comes as a response to the Larry Nassar case. He's the former doctor who sexually assaulted young athletes at Michigan State University and other places.

A map of new transit services proposed in the "Connect Southeast Michigan" plan.
Wayne County

Wayne and Washtenaw County leaders are making a last-ditch effort to get a millage for improved mass transit across southeast Michigan on the November ballot.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Democrats running for state Attorney General represent two wings of the party.

Dana Nessel is a self-described progressive. Pat Miles is more centrist, but he’s shifted some of his positions on issues as he’s talked to Democrats across the state.

We asked each of the candidates about asset forfeiture.

Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize property when police think it was bought with illegally gotten money such as drug money.

But, even if those people are not convicted or even charged with a crime, they have to fight in court to get their assets back.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is trying something new to reduce water shut-offs, while at the same time increasing revenues from water and sewer services.

The city is launching a 60-day trial of lower fees for residents trying to get their water service turned back on.

UAW sign.

Union leaders announced today that they're teaming up to support graduate student workers at universities across the country.

Graduate Assistants at some universities complain they have voted to unionize, but the results of those elections are being ignored by school administrations.

Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers - which is part of the organizing effort.

Stateside 3.14.2018

Mar 14, 2018

Today on Stateside, Michigan high school students reflect on this morning's National School Walkout, during which they demanded action from lawmakers on school safety and guns. Also today, a trans opera singer talks about the risky decision he made to follow his dreams.

Brian Ellison
Ellison for Senate campaign

A Michigan man running as a Libertarian for U.S. Senate says he wants to raise money to buy 20 pump style shotguns for homeless individuals.

"Not only are the homeless constantly under threat from would-be criminals," says Brian Ellison, "but they are also under threat from governments at various levels that criminalize activities that homeless people rely on for survival."

Ellison says he has no fears that the guns would be misused, for example, to shoot police who are trying to move people off an illegal encampment.

A cafeteria worker's gloved hand grabs waffle fries with tongs.
U.S. Air Force

An effective food system in the state’s prisons should go beyond just feeding prisoners. That’s the message of some lawmakers in the state Senate.

The governor announced he wants to end privatized food service in the state’s prisons. Senator John Proos, R-St. Joseph, said this is an opportunity to go a step further. He’s put together a work group to explore training inmates in food services. Proos said there are thousands of available jobs across the state in the restaurant industry. 

A street pole in the middle of flood water
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has declared a state of disaster for 17 counties and two cities hit hard by recent flooding from heavy rain and melting snow. He also opened the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to local governments in those areas. 

U.S. Treasury

Michigan says more than one-fifth of local governments have an underfunded pension plan, retirement health care plan or both.

The Treasury Department on Monday issued the results of an initial round of reporting required under the Protecting Local Government Retirement and Benefits Act.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is not ruling out some “pain” as the city deals with a rising legacy costs.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor sat down with his Financial Health Team for the first time today to discuss ways of dealing with the capitol city’s long-term liabilities.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit

With real estate prices climbing steadily in some parts of Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan is putting out more details about his plan to guarantee some affordable housing remains in the city.

Duggan first laid out the plan in his state of the city address last week. 

kate wells / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Senate may vote this week on a package of bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. However, some groups are expressing concern that the legislation would retroactively extend the time victims would have to file lawsuits and remove an immunity defense for governmental agencies.

Former Detroit State Senator Bert Johnson.
Bert Johnson

Voters in one Michigan Senate district will have to wait until November to get a new state senator.

Michigan’s 2nd Senate District covers parts of Detroit and some small bordering communities, including Highland Park, Hamtramck, and the Grosse Pointes.

Bert Johnson has been the district’s state senator since 2010, but resigned earlier this month after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to commit theft charge. He put a “ghost employee” on his Senate payroll after borrowing money he couldn’t pay back.

The legalization of marijuana in Michigan is emerging as an issue in the race for the state's next attorney general.

Attorney General candidate Patrick Miles, an Obama-appointed official who served six and a half years as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, has taken a position on legalization of marijuana in Michigan. He said last week, upon further reflection, he’s for it.

Gratiot construction site
Tony Brown / Michigan Radio

It looks like Wayne County may finally have a solution for its long-stalled jail project. The county has reached a tentative agreement with Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures. Gilbert's company will construct a brand new $533 million "criminal justice center," pending approval from the county commission and building authority.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the plan and what it could mean for Wayne County.

Stateside 3.9.2018

Mar 9, 2018

Today on Stateside, we discuss whether or not a "Marshall Plan for Talent" can work if children can't read. And, we learn about a program being rolled out at the University of Michigan hospital that will give priority to people who can pay more.

Michigan Municipal League / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is calling it a “Marshall Plan for Talent.” He wants the legislature to approve $100 million for programs, equipment and scholarships to train the hundreds of thousands of workers that will be needed in the next several years.

justgrimes / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Voters’ rights groups are gathering signatures for a constitutional amendment to make registering to vote easier in Michigan. The “Promote the Vote” campaign is being backed by several groups including the League of Women Voters of Michigan.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Election officials across the nation are concerned about hacking schemes that might corrupt the outcomes. But how likely is that?

Riley Beggin, a reporter with Bridge Magazine, joined Stateside today to talk about her recent report titled, “As hacking fears mount, Michigan election security gets middling marks.”

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Victims would have more rights under bills passed by the state House Thursday.

One bill would require defendants be physically present in the courtroom when a victim or victim’s family gives an impact statement at sentencing. The other is aimed at making sure students don’t have to go to school with someone who sexually assaulted them.

Mathieu Turle / unsplash

Some lawmakers in Lansing want people to work to get Medicaid. The Senate introduced a bill Thursday. It would add work requirements to the Medical Assistance Program, or Medicaid.

Medicaid is a federal program that gives low-income people – along with children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities - health insurance.

If passed, able-bodied adults would be required to work or continue school for 30 hours per week as a condition of receiving medical assistance.