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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

fence
Jobs for Felons Hub / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

Research at the University of Michigan indicates a key driver of the high incarceration rates is someone on parole being returned to prison — not for an additional crime, but for a technical violation of parole.

Jeffrey Morenoff, a research professor and director of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, joined Stateside to talk about his new research.

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state accepts the first applications for people who want to get into the medical marijuana business starting tomorrow. The licenses will allow businesses to legally grow, process, transport, or sell marijuana to patients who have medical marijuana cards. 

David Harnz works for the Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Board.  He says it will take three or four months to process the applications.

A lot could happen in the coming days. Congress is poised to deal with several major issues, including the Republicans' tax overhaul and funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow joined Stateside today to discuss those issues, and more. Also on the show today, EMU officials defend the university's contract to boost online degrees, saying professors' concerns are unwarranted.

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

The clock is ticking down to when the U.S. Congress is scheduled to leave for its holiday break.

But a lot could happen within this next week, especially with Congress poised to deal with several major issues, including the Republicans’ tax overhaul and funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow sat down with Stateside to discuss those issues and more.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Racial divisions are a major contributor to the decline of Detroit. White flight started after World War II and continued. There was a late spike in flight from the city after 2000. That’s when City of Detroit employees no longer had to live in the city. That’s led to lost wealth, lost tax revenue, and blighted neighborhoods.

Even when Detroit was majority white, racial lines were strictly drawn.

“You can’t underestimate the intensity of that segregation in housing and the role that it played in dividing metropolitan Detroit by race,” said Thomas Sugrue.

Voters Not Politicians

A grassroots group of citizen activists opposed to partisan gerrymandering is making rapid progress toward its goal of getting a redistricting proposal on the ballot in Michigan in 2018.

An all-volunteer force, about 4,ooo strong and spread over 83 Michigan counties, has collected about 450,000 voter signatures in four months. That's according to Katie Fahey, president of the ballot committee called Voters Not Politicians.

"We have blown our goal out of the water," said Fahey.

Michigan State University sign
Wikimedia Commons / public domain

As the cases against former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar continue to unfold, there have been calls for MSU President Lou Anna Simon to resign. The latest came from State House Speaker Tom Leonard who says MSU hasn't been forthcoming about who knew what, and when, about Nassar's crimes.

Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether removing President Simon is the right response. 

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Legislature has sent Governor Rick Snyder a set of local retirement bills that passed by wide margins once they were stripped of controversial provisions.

The bills stalled last week as local governments and public employee unions protested measures that would give the state sweeping authority over local budgets. 

Those were taken out, and now local governments will have their retirement plans assessed by the state Treasury, says state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Democratic lawmakers are trying once again to repeal the state’s “Right to Work” law.

Five years ago, a Republican-led Legislature made Right to Work the law of the state. It prohibits contracts that make union membership a condition of employment.

Democrats say letting people opt out of unions gives them a free ride to the benefits of the union.

Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, is a bill sponsor. He said strong unions are important to Michigan, but Right to Work diminishes the power of unions and reduces the number of members.

FLICKR USER MARIO.Q / FLICKR

Trade unions plan to launch a petition drive tomorrow to shield Michigan’s prevailing wage law from another petition drive.

The effort is a response to another proposed initiative. It would ban a requirement that contractors pay union-level wages on state-funded construction projects. That’s led by non-union contractors. They say prevailing wage drives up their costs.         

Piyushgiri Revagar / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

Think for a moment about your most deeply held beliefs. Can you recall when you first formed them? Has it been so long that it feels as if they've just always been there?

Research suggests our beliefs may change, for better or for worse, without our even noticing. And that’s being reflected in public opinions that have shifted since Donald Trump launched his campaign for President.

US capital building
Kevin Harber / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Americans are disillusioned and disappointed with Congress. The rock-bottom approval ratings confirm that.

With that in mind, what would you think about a candidate who promises to return or donate to charity any campaign contributions from sources that “taint" the candidate's integrity?

Who refuses to do anything that attacks the character of his or her opponent?

person writing on paper
LucasTheExperience / Flickr

Organizers of a ballot drive want voters to decide if Michigan should have a part-time legislature.

And they're making a push for signatures to get it on the 2018 ballot.

There’s a new battle in Lansing pitting business groups against unions and it could wind up playing out next November with dueling ballot proposals.

A group of trade unions will launch a petition drive tomorrow to try and preserve Michigan’s prevailing wage law. This is the law that requires contractors to pay union-scale wages on state construction projects.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council will hold a public hearing Monday night on a proposal to sell city hall to a developer.

Chicago-based Beitler Real Estate Services proposes turning Lansing city hall into a hotel. It’s part of a complicated deal under which the developer would spend $42 million renovating the building. Beitler would also turn the old Lansing State Journal building into the capitol city’s new city hall.

Sander Levin
levin.house.gov

Last week, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., confirmed that he will retire at the end of this term. On Wednesday, Andy Levin announced his bid to succeed his father. State Sen. Steve Bieda launched his campaign for the Washington D.C. a few hours later.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what kind of advantage Andy Levin could have as a legacy candidate.


Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s partial recount of the November 7 general election is over.

The recount didn’t change the results of any races, but it did highlight some issues that continue to plague the city’s elections.

City clerk candidate Garlin Gilchrist requested a partial recount of that race, which he narrowly lost to incumbent Janice Winfrey.

The recount confirmed Winfrey’s win. But 33 precincts representing more than 7,000 votes couldn’t be re-tallied at all.

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Another example of Michigan’s lack of government transparency was pointed out this week.

The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity looked into and found examples around the country of state lawmakers voting on bills that ended up benefiting their own business interests.

The AP reported in 47  states, those conflicts of interest were easily found. That's because, almost everywhere, lawmakers had to disclose their occupation, income, or business associations. That’s real transparency.

Michigan does not require those disclosures. 

Today on Stateside, we hear why Michigan could soon be the only state to not mandate financial disclosures from lawmakers. And, we discuss whether the Democratic Party is taking black voters for granted.

Zócalo Public Square / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

Congress wants to present a final version of tax reform to President Donald Trump by Christmas.

Many public and private colleges are hoping for some changes before the legislation reaches the president’s desk.

In a statement, Mary Sue Coleman, the president of the Association of American Universities, recently outlined some of the major concerns. Coleman, who is a former president of the University of Michigan, joined Stateside to talk about her concerns.

Nancy Pelosi / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

In the middle of the sexual harassment allegations against Democratic Senator Al Franken, Republican Representative Trent Franks, and Michigan’s Democratic Representative John Conyers, all of whom plan to resign, another allegation was made.

During a rally for Congressman Conyers, clergy, state legislators, and other supporters felt Democratic leaders were treating Conyers differently. They felt the Democratic Party was making decisions about their representative without due process and without consulting the constituents of Michigan’s 13th Congressional District.

One state legislator said the rush to judgment by leading Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi revealed the party felt African Americans are disposable and that their votes are taken for granted.

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Earlier this month, supporters of the push to make marijuana legal in Michigan delivered more than enough signatures to tentatively qualify for a proposal on the November 2018 ballot.

The group Healthy and Productive Michigan is working to stop the measure from passing. The group's mission is to fight legalizing marijuana.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor says a top aide to Governor Snyder is willing to wait for more information before considering cutting funding for bottled water distribution in her city.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

The state is getting public feedback on the future of Enbridge’s Line 5.

State environmental officials held the first of three public meetings on the subject in the Detroit suburb of Taylor Wednesday night.

The state released an alternatives analysis for the pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac earlier this year. It’s also commissioning a risk analysis.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority's public information meeting in Detroit
Virginia Gordan

Construction on the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Detroit and Windsor is expected to begin in the second half of 2018. 

But if you are wondering when you will be able to drive across it, it is still too soon to know.

That's according to Michigan and Canadian public officials who spoke at a public information meeting held in Detroit Wednesday. 

"Although I can't commit today to when the bridge will be open, we will have that information in September of next year," said Heather Grondin, spokesperson for the Windsor -Detroit Bridge Authority.

voting booths
user eyspahn / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Detroit’s election re-count carried on through a second day Wednesday.

Election workers are recounting just over 41,000 ballots cast in the November 7th election. That includes all absentee ballots, as well as results from 60 Election Day precincts with “documented issues at the polls.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

Since John Conyers resigned Tuesday from his 13th District Congressional seat, which he held for 53 years, the race is shaping up to replace him.

Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, and Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s Lansing bureau chief, joined Stateside to discuss who’s lining up to succeed the former dean of the House.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Retiring Detroit Congressman John Conyers leaves behind a “rich legacy” with some “significant blemishes.”

And that entire legacy will likely be an important mold for whoever replaces him, according to Detroit historian and author Ken Coleman.

But that successor will also represent a very different district than the one Conyers represented for most of his nearly 53 years in office.

Andy Levin
Andy Levin campaign

Representative Sandy Levin's 9th Congressional District seat could stay in the family when he retires in 2019.

Sandy Levin's son, Andy Levin, announced his bid Wednesday to succeed his father in Washington, D.C.

The Democrat is an entrepreneur and former head of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic growth.

Levin says he's witnessed four decades of trickle-down economics, which has concentrated all the wealth in the top one percent in the country.

US capitol building
Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

U.S. Representative John Conyers announced his resignation yesterday. Several of the 88-year-old's former staff members have accused him of sexual harassment. His supporters held a rally in Detroit Monday urging Conyers to stay in office. 

Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss his decision to step down immediately instead of finishing his term. 

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