Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder will ask the state Legislature to kick in half of the $12 million needed to switch the city of Flint back to the Detroit water system. The rest of the cost will be shared by Flint and the C.S. Mott Foundation.

Today on Stateside:

Gov. Rick Snyder taking questions this morning after the announcment.
Gov. Rick Snyder / screengrab

Gov. Rick Snyder this morning held a press conference in which he said he supports reconnecting the city of Flint’s water supply back to Detroit’s water system.

Snyder said he will ask the Legislature to provide half ($6 million) of the $12 million bill to reconnect the system. The city of Flint will pay $2 million, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation will contribute $4 million.

Mayor Dayne Walling said he expects the city to reconnect to the Detroit system in two weeks.

Flint water treatment plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder made the announcement at 10 a.m. this morning (Oct. 8).

You can watch the announcement below (if it doesn't load, try this link):

He was joined by Flint Mayor Dayne Walling, Director of Environmental Quality, Dan Wyant, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services, Nick Lyon, Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive at DHHS, and Ridgway White of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Nikolai Nolan / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The City of Southfield has purchased the closed Northland Center mall for $2.4 million.

Northland fell into receivership last year, after years of financial struggles.

The mall closed its doors for good in March, shortly after losing its last anchor store, Macy's.

Since then, Southfield Mayor Donald Fracassi said the city has been monitoring bids and offers to redevelop the property.

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

The state House has overwhelmingly approved bills to overhaul Michigan’s medical marijuana system.

The legislation creates legal protections for dispensaries and for patients using non-smokable forms of cannabis.

Bill sponsors say patients should not face prosecution for using forms of marijuana that are safer than smoking.

Today on Stateside:

jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the latest on the Flint water problem, how Michigan State University doesn't want to release  the names of student-athletes who were suspects in criminal cases to ESPN, and Lessenberry reflects on the life of Grace Lee Boggs.

David Goehring / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new state Senate bill would add the Fostering Futures Scholarship fund to Michigan’s voluntary contribution schedule.

The state-funded program helps foster youth in Michigan pay for tuition and other costs associated with college.

Under SB 543, taxpayers would be able to donate a portion of their return to the fund via a check-off a box on their tax form.

CedarBendDrive / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan State University has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to put a hold on an order to release the names of student-athletes who were suspects in criminal cases.

MSU is supposed to comply with the lower court order by the end of the month. But the university asked for a delay while the case is appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Today on Stateside: 


It's the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

Syrian men, women, and children are fleeing the war and carnage in their homeland, desperately trying to get to a country that will welcome them, and let them begin new, safe lives.

It's forced the White House to consider admitting more refugees to the United States, with Secretary of State John Kerry recently pledging the U.S. will accept 100,00 refugees a year by 2017. That's up from the current 70,000 a year.

Detroit mayor nominates water department leaders

Oct 6, 2015
Detroit Press Office

A new leadership team is planned for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Mayor Mike Duggan has nominated Gary Brown as director of the department and Palencia Mobley as deputy director and chief engineer.

The Board of Water Commissioners is expected to vote on the nominations Wednesday, according to the mayor's office. 

City of Detroit

As Lansing gears up to debate a radical reorganization of Detroit schools, Mayor Mike Duggan is pushing for a larger role in the city’s future education system.

Duggan outlined his vision for a complete education overhaul earlier this year.

It shares the same basic structure as Gov. Snyder’s proposal for Detroit schools, but differs on a few key points.

Both call for a bankruptcy-style restructuring — without the actual bankruptcy filing — that would split the Detroit Public Schools into “old” and “new” districts.


Republican candidate Ted Cruz brought his presidential campaign to Michigan and Kalamazoo today.

Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, was greeted enthusiastically.


“We need to bring the power out of Washington and back to ‘we the people!” That is what this campaign is about!” Cruz told the cheering crowd of several hundred people.

Today on Stateside:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today was the last day for Flint residents to register to vote in next month’s mayoral election. 

But some people in Flint don’t want to wait for a change at city hall.

Chanting “Walling gotta go,” a small group of protesters marched in a circle outside Flint city hall. 

Boggs Center

Philosopher, activist, and writer Grace Lee Boggs has died at her home on the east side of Detroit. She was 100.

Over the past 70-plus years, she played roles in most of the major social movements this country has known: labor, civil rights, Black Power, women's rights, and environmental justice.

Audio Pending...

It’s hard to sum up the life of someone who kept changing. But that was Grace Lee Boggs. At different times in her life, she was a Marxist, a socialist, a Black Power advocate, and feminist. 

Robert Scott / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, this week introduced legislation that would get rid of health benefits for domestic partners of state employees.

Right now, domestic partners may apply for benefits as long as they live together.

Under the bill, public employers would be banned from offering domestic partner benefits.

With the hand-wringing over what appears to be short-term, hasty-decision-making in Flint (the move by a state-appointed emergency manager to try and save money by breaking away from Detroit’s water system and to, instead, pull water from the the highly corrosive Flint River), the city’s water crisis has now become a political crisis as well.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Round two of what’s become known as the “world’s largest municipal property auction” starts this week.

That would be Wayne County’s annual tax foreclosure auction.

More than 26,000 properties remain after the auction’s first round last month, when just over 2,000 properties sold.

Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

LANSING, Mich. - Two conservative ex-lawmakers who had an extramarital affair and attempted to conceal it have been sued by former aides. 

The Detroit News and MLive.com report former state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat were sued Friday by Keith Allard and Ben Graham in Ingham County Circuit Court. 

Many media outlets are livestreaming the press conference. Here is MDEQ Director Dan Wyant speaking at a podium with a "taking action" sign affixed.
screen grab / MLive UStream

Researchers found elevated lead levels in Flint's drinking water, and pediatricians found that the water was likely poisoning some kids in the city. Today, the state revealed that it too had tested kids and their findings seem to be consistent.

Dr. Eden Wells, the state's chief medical executive, said that before the city switched to Flint River water, kids' lead levels in two "high risk" zip codes were 2.7 times higher than the rest of Genesee County. Now they're 3.2 times higher - a statistically significant difference.

One of the things I most dislike about most politicians is their unwillingness to admit when they’ve screwed up.

Take Dennis Williams, the leader of the United Auto Workers union. He and his lieutenants were so out of touch with the membership that they negotiated a contract that the angry workers rejected by almost two to one.

Yesterday, when the results were in, Williams said. “We don’t consider this a setback,” we consider this “part of the process.”

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Michigan would release more inmates on parole under bills approved by the state House on Thursday.

The legislation would guarantee release for many prisoners who’ve served their minimum sentences and are deemed unlikely to re-offend. It does not apply to inmates currently behind bars.

Researchers at Virgina Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

Yesterday, Gov. Rick Snyder admitted that the decision to switch the city of Flint's water supply from Detroit's system over to the Flint River was not well planned.

“In terms of a mistake, what I would say is, is there are probably things that were not as fully understood as when that switch was made,” Snyder said.

Today on Stateside:

First Lady Edith Wilson acted as de facto President of the United States for over a year after her husband's stroke
Library of Congress / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

One of the big questions of the 2016 presidential race is whether we’ll finally see a woman in the White House.

But there’s a little-known secret that’s finally coming to light: It wouldn’t be the first time a woman has run the country.

From late 1919 until March 1921, first lady Edith Galt Wilson was the de facto president of the United States.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan Senate bill that would ban "sanctuary city" ordinances, which protect people living in the U.S. illegally, is drawing opposition from some lawmakers.

The proposed bill would prohibit city policies that discourage local law enforcement officials from questioning an individual's immigration status.

Courser website

Fourteen candidates to fill an open Michigan House seat are scheduled to appear at a debate Friday evening in Lapeer County, including the man who resigned the seat.

Todd Courser stepped down near the end of a marathon session as House members debated expelling him over allegations he used his office to cover up a romantic affair with another state lawmaker. An hour later, the House voted to expel State Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, with whom Courser had a romantic relationship.