Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit police officers should get a pay bump starting in 2016.

City officials announced Monday that officers will get  a 4% raise January 1.

  • Could 2016 give Democrats a chance to break the GOP's total control over the state House, the state Senate, the governor's office and the courts? It's Just Politics team Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta weigh in.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, a state House committee will consider changes to the juvenile justice system in Michigan.

The House Criminal Justice committee is scheduled to discuss the 20-bill package starting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Among other things, the package of bills would bar housing youth offenders with adult convicts and raise the age of mandatory adult sentences.   

As we head into the final month of 2015, campaigns in Michigan are already ramping up for Election 2016.


The Canadian government has announced it needs more time to decide if it will OK permits for a nuclear waste storage facility near the shore of Lake Huron. 

Ontario Power Generation wants to bury approximately 200,000 cubic meters of low to medium level nuclear waste 680 meters – just under a half mile – below ground. The utility insists the rock formation in the area, less than a mile from Lake Huron, is geologically stable.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are expected to take up a major overhaul of Michigan’s energy policy as they return from their November break.  

The House and Senate are debating bills to change the state’s 10 percent renewable energy requirement on electric utilities. The bills’ sponsors insist they are just trying to make Michigan’s energy generation market competitive and fair by removing preferential treatment for particular sources of energy.    

  • The State Senate moved at lightning speed last week to get rid of straight-ticket voting. Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry says this bill is all about partisan advantage.

  • John U. Bacon discusses College Football Playoff rankings, Harbaugh's visit to Bo Schembechler's grave and the upcoming showdown between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes in this week's sports roundup.

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's senior news analyst, Jack Lessenberry gives an update on the debate over Syrian refugees coming to Michigan, a new initiative to clean up blighted Detroit homes and how restaurants across the state are offering a free Thanksgiving dinner to those in need. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is paying to clean up the Delray neighborhood, the community that will host the U.S. side of a new bridge to Canada.

The money comes from the $1.4 million the city received when the state purchased Delray land for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

Residents hope it’s just the first of a number of investments in Delray as that project moves forward.

  • How well is Michigan making the transition from a roll-up-your-sleeves manufacturing economy to a knowledge-based service economy? Lou Glazer from Michigan Future Inc. has the verdict.
  • With Thanksgiving right around the corner, East Lansing food writer Maureen Abood brings us some Thanksgiving side dishes from her Lebanese kitchen.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is beset by many challenges and problems, which means the city’s newly elected mayor has not had the luxury of gradually learning the ropes.

Karen Weaver ousted incumbent Mayor Dayne Walling on November 3, making her the first woman to hold the office of mayor of Flint.

Michael Vadon / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich brought his presidential campaign to southeast Michigan on Monday.

The Republican presidential hopeful toured a business incubator in Sterling Heights and spoke with a handful of supporters. He took some jabs at Donald Trump’s policy positions while speaking with reporters.

UNHCR / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Federal officials say they’re answering the concerns of governors like Michigan’s Rick Snyder about how they vet refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Longtime Detroit Congressman John Conyers quashed any speculation that he’s planning to retire.

On Monday, the 86-year-old announced he’ll seek a 27th term in the U.S. House.

Conyers is now the longest-serving member of Congress, a civil rights icon, and the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

Detroit Land Bank Authority

The city of Detroit has announced yet another partnership to rehab blighted homes.

Now it’s with the AFL-CIO’s Housing Investment Trust, which uses labor pension fund money to finance a variety of housing projects.

Executive Vice President Eric Price says the HIT’s first priority is to get a good return on investment, and it now sees Detroit as a good bet.

  • Things are pretty quiet at the state Capitol this week, as lawmakers continue their autumn break. But  after Thanksgiving, look for the focus to be fixed on Detroit schools, and with it, a thorny political challenge for Governor Snyder.

Some women in state prison housed in TV rooms, offices

Nov 23, 2015

Some inmates at Michigan's only women's prison are being housed in converted television rooms and offices. But Michigan Department of Corrections officials say they do not have an overcrowding problem. 

According to MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz, the population of Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility has increased by about 16 percent – from 1,900 in 2011 to 2,200 now.

Lawmakers are continuing their autumn recess, but they’ll soon be back in Lansing to focus on Governor Rick Snyder’s plan for Detroit schools.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Nearly two years ago, a massive ice storm knocked out power for more than a week to thousands of people in Lansing.  The utility company is promising in a new report it won’t happen again.

Just before Christmas, 2013, an ice storm knocked out power to 40,000 Lansing Board of Water &Light customers.  Many were still without power on New Year’s Eve.

Each week Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, join us to take a look at Michigan politics. 

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, Gov. Rick Snyder called for a pause on efforts to admit Syrian refugees into the U.S. and Michigan. Snyder says while he eventually wants to allow Syrian refugees to settle in the state, he first wants the federal government to review their security protocols for assigning refugee status.


Some Michigan county law enforcement agencies must return surplus military gear to the US government, and they’re not happy about it.

Macomb County is one of three in Michigan to get an armored personnel carrier through a former federal program that transferred unneeded war gear from federal to state and local agencies.

  • Since Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, Republican presidential candidates and many of the nation's governors began pushing to keep Syrian refugees out of their states, out of the country. Mayor George Heartwell of Grand Rapids joins us to talk about a different message he sent in a statement at a City Commission meeting this week.
  • John U. Bacon talks Michigan football in this week's sports roundup.


UNHCR / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Activists have delivered thousands of signatures to Gov. Rick Snyder urging him to welcome more Syrian refugees. Snyder says he’s “pausing” his efforts to attract additional Syrian refugees to Michigan after last week’s attacks in Paris.

Julie Quiroz of Ann Arbor started an online petition asking the governor to reconsider. She says she didn’t expect it to get so much attention.

"For us to turn our backs on people now, I think is just to abdicate what it means to be an American."

That's what  Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell tells Stateside host Cynthia Canty.

The Mayor of Michigan's second-largest city recently addressed the Grand Rapids City Commission after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Some local school officials in Michigan would be OK with tapping the state’s School Aid Fund to help Detroit Public Schools pay down debt. That’s if they get some assurances.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal would tap the state’s School Aid Fund to pay for the measure. School leaders outside Detroit have balked at that idea – saying the plan shouldn’t come at the expense of every other Michigan student.

UNHCR / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Governor Rick Snyder was the first governor in the nation to speak out on refugees following last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. And he may have come to regret it as he tries to clarify his position vis a vis what a lot of the nation’s other Republican governors are saying about refugees and immigration.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Former President Bill Clinton praised the international response to last week’s terrorist attacks on Paris during a speech in East Lansing Wednesday night.

Clinton was at Michigan State University to be honored for his lifetime of public service. But he also spoke about the need to defeat ISIS.

  • A federal lawsuit accuses Michigan State University of mishandling sexual assault complaints.
  • Detroit Free Press Capitol Hill reporter Todd Spangler talks about Gov.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

When Gov. Rick Synder's office released a statement asking the Department of Homeland Security to review the vetting process for Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the United States after the terrorist attacks in Paris, the reaction was swift.

Soon dozens of governors declared their opposition or support of settling Syrian refugees in their respective states. 

However, Detroit Free Press Capitol Hill reporter Todd Spangler tells Stateside host Cynthia Canty that state governors have no legal say when it comes to accepting refugees. 

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

For this Week in Michigan Politics, I spoke with senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry about how the terrorist attacks overseas could impact Michigan, and whether Governor Snyder has the power to put on hold efforts to bring Syrian refugees to Michigan.  We also got an update on proposed bills to allow people to carry concealed weapons in gun-free zones.