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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Today, we hear lawmakers' reactions to yesterday's State of the State address. And, an expert explains an exchange from Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing which seemed to reveal her ignorance of a central debate over how to evaluate schools.

Michigan state Capitol
Mattileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder delivered his seventh State of the State address on Tuesday, outlining accomplishments since 2010 and urging investment in infrastructure.

Stateside spoke with two of the Michigan legislative leaders who attended the address at the Michigan Capitol, Republican Senator Patrick Colbeck and Democrat Sam Singh, the party leader in the state House of Representatives.

Gov. Snyder delivers his 2017 State of the State address.
House TV

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder delivered his 2017 State of the State address last night.

Snyder focused much of the annual address on his achievements as governor, while insisting there is more work to be done. See more analysis of his speech here.

You can watch the address below:

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is President-elect Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
Scottpruitt.com

At his confirmation hearing today, the man chosen by president-elect Donald Trump to lead the Environmental Protection Agency says the EPA should have responded faster to the Flint water crisis.

Scott Pruitt has not been a fan of EPA action in the past.

As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt has fought many EPA regulations opposed by the state’s oil industry and agricultural leaders. 

Emergency sign at hospital.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

All this week on Stateside, we look at how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect Michigan residents, hospitals and governments.

There are hundreds of hospitals in Michigan, and each of them has in one way or another been affected by the Affordable Care Act. So what would a repeal of the law mean for Michigan’s hospitals?

Laura Appel is senior vice president and chief innovation officer at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA). She said that, while the state’s hospitals have had issues with certain aspects of the law, an outright repeal would have negative consequences. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his seventh State of the State address to the Legislature last night. Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry says this year's address was "curiously short on specifics and proposals" and lacked "any concrete proposal to make things better."

This Week in Michigan Politics, Lessenberry talks with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about highlights from last night, including Snyder's desire to "create more and better jobs" and his plan to crowd source ways to control invasive carp in the Great Lakes. They also talk about which topics got little or no attention from the governor, including the Flint water crisis and the scandal over the state's automated unemployment claims system. 


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council remains deadlocked over who should lead them this year.

Last night, the council tried and failed again to break a four-four split on the vote for council president. It was the third straight meeting they failed to do their first job of the new year.

City Clerk Chris Swope says the council can’t just flip a coin or pick a name out of a hat.

“They do have to agree. They have to come to some consensus,” Swope said after the meeting, “and that’s what the framers of the charter had in mind.”

Rick Snyder / michigan.gov

Governor Rick Snyder has set a goal of getting Michigan’s population above 10 million people before the next U.S. Census. It was part of the governor’s seventh State of the State address delivered at the state Capitol.      

It’s been 10 years since more than 10 million people called Michigan home. Thousands fled the state through two recessions, and the near-collapse of the auto industry.

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

Governor Snyder focused much of the annual address on his achievements as governor, while also, insisting there is more work to be done.

Unlike last year, when the Flint water crisis took center stage, this year, Snyder did not address Flint until halfway thru his speech.

During the short time he did spend on Flint, he spoke about the work that has been done.

The Big 4 on the big screen at Cobo Center. Left to right: Mark Hackel, L. Brooks Patterson, Mike Duggan, and Warren Evans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Metro Detroit’s “Big Four” had their annual public gathering at Detroit’s auto show today.

The four leaders are the Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb county executives, and Detroit’s mayor. It’s usually a mostly feel-good conversation about regional cooperation.

And indeed, they did talk about that and a range of other issues. But the leaders also couldn’t avoid the topic of the hour: Warren Mayor Jim Fouts.

Leaked audio tapes seem to show Fouts making incredibly degrading comments about African-Americans and disabled people, among others.

Stateside 1.17.2017

Jan 17, 2017

Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing is today. DeVos is pro-charter schools, but today we hear why one charter school teacher from Detroit is anti-DeVos. And, a mom from Manistee explains why her kids have a future now, thanks to the President-elect.

From left to right: Macomb County County Executive Mark Hackel, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, and Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller
From left to right: Macomb County government, City of Warren, GOP.gov

Metro Detroit's infamous Macomb County might be "the most politically craziest county in Michigan, if not the planet."

Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry wrote that in a column for the Toledo Blade.

The state's third most populous county has produced one outrageous headline after another: from a sheriff who went to prison for rape, to corruption surrounding a waste-hauling company, to the racist and sexist recordings plaguing Warren mayor Jim Fouts, and the list goes on and on.

So what is wrong with Macomb County? 

Lessenberry joined long-time Macomb County reporter Chad Selweski on Stateside to try to make sense of the "weirdness" that goes on in the county.

Courtesy of Jerry Isler

All this week on Stateside, we look at how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect Michigan residents, hospitals and governments.

According to the Health and Human Services Department, some 20 million Americans have gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. President-elect Donald Trump has made repealing and replacing Obamacare a top campaign pledge, and in recent days, Congress has taken steps to quickly repeal much of the ACA once he takes office.

What would such a repeal mean for families who rely on the law for their coverage?

Courtesy of Renee White

On Jan. 20, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as our 45th President of the United States.  The election was one of the most contentious in recent memory and has exposed or inflamed serious divisions in American society. All this week on Stateside, we’ll speak with Michiganders who were drawn to the President-elect’s message about their hopes for the new administration.

Renee White is a substitute teacher from Manistee. She’s also a mom worried about her kids in today’s economy.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Thousands showed up at a rally in Warren on Sunday where Democratic Presidential Candidate and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, along with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, all joined together vowing to fight Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

It was one of dozens of rallies held across the country in support of Obamacare.

Michigan Senator Gary Peters joined Stateside to discuss the rally and what he’s hearing from Michigan voters and lawmakers with regard to the ACA and Republican repeal efforts.

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

As Governor Rick Snyder prepares to deliver his seventh State of the State address, a potential candidate to replace him has called for ethics rules that would align Michigan with what the federal government requires.

Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) has proposed a federal law to require state lawmakers to disclose their sources of income and possible conflicts of interest. That’s the same standard applied to members of Congress.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

With President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration just days away, some Michigan Congress members are speaking out about his latest Twitter feud.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis called Trump an illegitimate president during an interview with NBC News. Then, days before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump fired back at the civil rights hero on Twitter saying he was “all talk”.

Now Lewis and over twenty members of Congress are speaking out against Trump by boycotting his inauguration.

Stateside 1.16.2017

Jan 16, 2017

Today, we learn why Trump's business experience ultimately won over one Detroit area surgeon. And, we take a pilgrimage to the late Marvin Yagoda's Marvelous Mechanical Museum. 

Today's silent march in Ypsilanti.
Courtesy of Lynne Settles

There is extra special importance to this Martin Luther King Day in Ypsilanti.

Remarkably, it was 150 years ago on this day that abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass spoke in Ypsilanti – one of three visits Douglass made to the town.

Today, Ypsilanti High School students are marking both MLK Day and the Douglass visit with a silent march to the site of that speech that happened in 1867. In commemoration, they’re also opening an art exhibit.

VoteBusuitoWSU.com

On Jan. 20, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as our 45th President of the United States.  The election was one of the most contentious in recent memory and has exposed or inflamed serious divisions in American society. All this week on Stateside, we’ll speak with Michiganders who were drawn to the President-elect’s message about their hopes for the new administration.

The inauguration of Donald Trump as our 45th President is Friday. Stateside has been speaking with people in Michigan who supported the President-elect.

Dr. Michael Busuito is a plastic surgeon who was just elected to the Wayne State Board of Governors.

The Davert family.
Taylor'd Photography/Courtesy of Melissa Davert


All this week on Stateside, we look at how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect Michigan residents, hospitals and governments.

The future of the Affordable Care Act is in doubt. President-elect Donald Trump wants to scrap it and replace it, and the Republican majority in Congress is on board with that idea.

According to government figures, nationwide, since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion began, about 20 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage. Census data show that the uninsured rate in Michigan in 2015 was cut in half. It’s now at 6.1%, down from 12.4% uninsured in 2010.

But, there are problems. Some families are worse off.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In Lansing, the city council will try again tomorrow to pick a new leader.

The council traditionally picks a new president in January. And as is somewhat traditional, they’re having trouble agreeing on who it should be.

The council has met twice already this year, but no one has garnered enough votes to win the center seat on the council horseshoe. Tuesday’s meeting will give the 8 council members a chance to break their deadlock.

This is a pivotal year for the Lansing city council, with four seats up for election this fall.

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.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Preparing Flint’s water plant to treat water from a new Lake Huron pipeline will take a few years.

Problems at the water plant helped to create Flint’s current troubles with lead-tainted tap water. 

JoLisa McDay, Flint’s interim utilities director, told a town hall meeting Wednesday that it’s about more than buying new equipment. 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is back in session, and the bills are rolling in. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry look at a bill that would phase out the state income tax, and another that would end daylight saving time in Michigan.

They also discuss Education Secretary nominee Betsy Devos' rescheduled confirmation hearing, Detroit's newly elected school board, and Gov. Rick Snyder's upcoming State of the State address.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan says it has money to replace faucets in as many as 4,000 Flint homes.

  The state says brass faucets and other brass components can contribute to lead in drinking water. The state plans to target Flint homes that still are showing high lead levels, despite improvements in water quality elsewhere in the city.

  Homes that qualify will have one kitchen faucet and one bathroom faucet replaced. Some plumbing will also be replaced. Health department Director Nick Lyon says it's a "vital step" in helping residents.

Stateside 1.13.17

Jan 13, 2017

Today, we talk to Sen. Debbie Stabenow about why she opposes the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education. Plus, we chat with the head of the state Department of Transportation about Michigan’s role in developing driverless cars.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Is civility possible for lawmakers in Lansing in 2017?
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The new Michigan legislature was in session this week, and there has been no shortage of topics to discuss.

To help sort through it all in Stateside's weekly political roundup is Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader; and Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some Michigan House Democrats are making voter reform a primary goal for the new session.

With only two session days of the year under their belt, several lawmakers have introduced legislation that would, among other things, allow no reason absentee voting and automatic voter registration.

State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn, is a bill sponsor. He said these bills packages are long overdue.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Republicans in Congress are working quickly to set the stage for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. The Senate’s Republican majority took the lead in the effort. At this point, it does not appear that they have a clear plan for a replacement healthcare policy.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow joined Stateside on Friday to discuss these recent developments in the U.S. Capitol. She said that the lack of a replacement plan is a problem.

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