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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Rick Pluta / MPRN

We're following the twists, turns, and drama surrounding Michigan's presidential recount. 

Stateside 12.7.2016

10 hours ago

We hear an election observer's take on recount laws dating back to the 1870s. And we learn how to prevent prolonged sitting (even if you have a desk job) to stave off the harm it does to the body.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The legal battles over the statewide recount of Michigan's presidential election results have been raging.

At the same time, another story is clearly emerging: Precincts that cannot be recounted because of Michigan's recount law, which dates back to 1954.

Craig Camp / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission says the state is wrong to eliminate minimum wage protection for workers on some small farms. 

According to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs' Wage and Hour Division, small farms with fewer than 500 man-days in any quarter of the previous year are exempt from paying the minimum wage.  A "man-day" means any day during which an employee works at least one hour. 

Today, we hear the latest on the precincts being left out of the presidential vote recount in Michigan. And we learn about a new curve ball that could threaten federal funding for Flint.

A lead service line removed from a Flint home. Lead service lines were useful because the metal is flexible and can bend - making installation easier.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It has been well over a year since the world learned that Flint was in the throes of an environmental disaster.

In the early months of this year, the Flint water crisis brought a steady stream of political leaders promising aid and vowing this would never happen again: President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, President-elect Trump.

So here we are, at year's end, and Flint hasn't seen a penny of that promised federal aid to help replace its damaged lead water pipes. And now there's a new curve ball that could threaten that federal funding.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The vote recount continues in Michigan, even as State Attorney General Bill Schuette and the campaign of president-elect Trump keep pushing forth with challenges to that recount.

Recounting began Monday in Oakland and Ingham Counties. Wayne County began today.

And there's a growing awareness of technical problems, coupled with possible human error, adding up to precincts that cannot be recounted under Michigan law.

Ballots being prepared for the recount in Ingham County.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

The Detroit News reports that nearly a third of the precincts in Wayne County - most of them in Detroit - may not be able to be recounted in the presidential recount which began Monday in Michigan, due to broken machines and mistakes by poll workers.

Wayne County starts its recount on Tuesday. From the News:

“It’s not good,” conceded Daniel Baxter, elections director for the city of Detroit.

Today, we hear about the lame duck bill that would be "Citizens United on Steroids" for our state. And attention Midwesterners: Turns out you do have an accent. 

Ballots waiting to be recounted in Ingham County.
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

It's been quite the legal whirlwind of lawsuits and early-morning judicial ruling, but the Michigan recount began today.

Local clerks are working furiously to meet the order to hand-count more than 4.8 million votes cast by Michiganders in the presidential election.

The first recounts are happening in Oakland and Ingham counties.

Matthileo/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There isn't much we in America can agree on these days.

However, some might say we are pretty well united on one thing: Most of us think the Citizens United ruling stinks and needs to go.

Thetoad / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Police officers, fire fighters, and other municipal employees are planning what they are titling a “call to action” Tuesday at the state Capitol.

Lawmakers are holding a second hearing on a series of bills that would cut health benefits for municipal retirees like police officers and fire fighters. The bills would aggressively scale back retiree health benefits in cities with high unfunded liability costs. 

Report shows declining road conditions in Michigan.
Michigan Infrastructure Commission

During his January 2016 State of the State address, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder apologized to the people of Flint for the water crisis in that city, saying "government failed you."

During that speech, he called for the creation of an independent commission to examine Michigan's infrastructure needs. He later signed an executive order creating the commission.

The largest vote recount in Michigan’s history has been ordered to begin this afternoon at noon.

Very early this morning, federal judge Mark Goldsmith ordered the state to, “cease any delay in the commencement of the recount of the presidential vote cast in Michigan as of noon…”

Voters in Midland cast ballots for Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians on Tuesday.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued his ruling regarding the presidential recount a little after midnight, following a rare Sunday hearing in his Detroit courtroom.

Goldsmith heard arguments over the logistics of the recount and how much the state would have to spend, but in his written opinion, he said what’s most important is the integrity of the presidential election in Michigan.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein's lawyers argued that waiting until Wednesday to start a recount would cut too close to the Dec. 13 deadline to have it finished.

Sink in Flint with a warning sign.
Virginia Tech

A federal appeals court may weigh in this week on a lower court order that directs the state of Michigan and the city of Flint to start delivering water to homes without a working filter.

The city’s is still dealing with a public health crisis after it was found tap water was contaminated with elevated levels of lead. Recent tests by researchers with Virginia Tech show significant improvement in lead levels, but the use of filters is still encouraged.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It looks like the ballot recount in Michigan will move forward, unless the courts decide to get involved. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the recount as well as a state bill that would tighten up voter ID laws and another that would ban plastic bag bans.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The Obama Administration has detailed in a nearly 60-page report the federal government's role in Detroit's turnaround.

  The report was released Saturday and says a federal and local partnership started in 2011 used financial, technical and other support to help the city which emerged two years ago from the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy.

  Federal staff was assigned to City Hall to work with community, business and philanthropic leaders to identify resources to assist in Detroit's recovery.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A push to curtail health care benefits for municipal retirees in Michigan is setting off a fight between those who say billions in debt can no longer be ignored and critics who contend it would cheat people out of coverage.

  The new Republican-sponsored plan could be enacted yet this year. It aims to address $11 billion in unfunded liabilities.

  Starting in May, newly hired municipal workers would no longer qualify for health insurance in retirement. Local governments could instead contribute to a tax-deferred account such as a health savings plan.

The Michigan Senate.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Some lawmakers are hoping to pass a bill in this lame-duck session of the Legislature that would force new teachers into a 401(k)-style retirement system, and move the state away from supporting a traditional pension system.

Supporters say it would save the state money in the long term. Critics say it will blow a major hole in the state budget in the near term.

A sign posted in a Troy polling place in 2014.
ACLU of Michigan

In the lame duck session of the Michigan Legislature, a package of bills is being debated.

It would require already-registered Michigan voters to present a photo ID card. If you did not have an ID at the polling place you could vote, but you’d have to present an ID to election officials within 10 days or your vote would not count.

The vice chair of the House Elections Committee, Democrat Representative Gretchen Driskell joined Stateside to talk about why she voted "no" on the voter ID proposals in committee.

Today we sort through the flurry of controversial lame duck bills and hear from an Arab-American comedian who believes "comedy is most needed in times of despair." We also cheers to Repeal Day with FDR's martini.

Campaign representatives will look at ballots, but they're not allowed to touch them.
flickr user Michael Dorausch / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today, the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on President-elect Donald Trump’s request to stop a recount of votes in this state.

Two Republicans on the board voted today to prevent the recount, while two Democrats said it should proceed.

The state chair of the Republican Party, Ronna Romney McDaniel said the party expected this result.

A state spokesman announced the recount will begin Tuesday or Wednesday, barring a court order.

The number of hate incidents logged during the 10 days after the general election.
Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a new report showing that it received 40 hate incident complaints in the 10 days following the U.S. general election on Nov. 8, 2016.

Hate incidents are defined as acts of hostility directed at a person based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The center recorded 22 incidents in Ohio, 16 in Indiana, 25 in Illinois, and 13 in Wisconsin. There were 867 incidents nationwide.

Many hate incidents have been reported by the media in Michigan.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

It’s the Michigan Legislature’s lame duck session, and a lot is going on.

Susan Demas and Ken Sikkema joined us today to take a look at what our legislators have on their plate.

Ballots
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Plans to move ahead with a ballot recount in Michigan are on hold. The state Republican Party and President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign have filed an objection to the recount request by Green Party nominee Jill Stein. A state elections board meets tomorrow morning to consider the objection.

Michigan’s ballot recount is delayed until at least next week. We check in with Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum. Plus, the iconic and once-shuttered Belle Isle Aquarium is approaching its old glory. We find out just what it's taken to bring it back.    

To find individual interviews, click here or see below: 

A Senate committee approved a bill that would end pensions for incoming new teachers in Michigan. They would be put into market-based 401 (k)-style plans.
Matthileo / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The lame-duck session in Lansing has been quacking along at a fast pace.

Yesterday, a Senate committee approved a bill that would end pensions for incoming new teachers in Michigan. The pensions would be put into market-based 401 (k)-style plans.

Senator Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, who represents the 34th District, which includes Muskegon, joined Stateside to talk about it. Hansen was one of the two Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee, along with Mike Nofs, who voted against the effort.

Voting in Michigan.
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

For county clerks all over Michigan, the presidential vote recount has them scrambling to hand-count some 4.8 million ballots in less than two weeks.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum took a few minutes away from the scramble to discuss the process on Stateside.

Screen shot of Breitbart.com on November 29, 2016.
screen grab

Update: December 1, 2016:

LOS ANGELES - Breitbart is encouraging a boycott of Kellogg's products after the cereal maker said it would no longer advertise on the news and opinion website, formerly run by President-elect Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon.

The Kellogg Company cited company "values" in explaining its decision; a spokeswoman said Thursday it has "nothing to do with politics."

Breitbart has been condemned for featuring racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content.

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