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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

It is petition signing time in Michigan.

When you go vote tomorrow it is very likely that you will be greeted by a petition circulator.

These circulators look for registered voters because they need to submit enough signatures to the state in order to quality for next year’s ballot. Maybe you’ve already met folks trying to get you to sign onto a petition regarding marijuana legalization, redistricting, or whether Lansing should move to a part-time Legislature.

water going into cup from faucet
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

One candidate for governor says Michigan’s failure to provide clean, affordable water to all epitomizes its “political dysfunction.”

Abdul El-Sayed said this applies to the Flint water crisis, and to ongoing mass water shutoffs in Detroit--and there’s “pretty good evidence” the latter is also causing a “public health crisis” in Detroit.

El-Sayed is a Democrat, and a medical doctor. He was also the city of Detroit’s health department director.

Traffic lights
Thomas Hawk / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

District judges want Gov. Snyder to drop his opposition to bills that would get rid of so-called driver responsibility fees. They say the fees are ruining people's lives because they lose their driver's license if they can't afford to pay them. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why Gov. Snyder is concerned about the bills.


sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

When voters in South Lyon head to the polls on Tuesday, they're going to see a pretty big empty spot at the top of their ballot.

That's because nobody wanted to run for mayor. Not in time to meet the city's deadline and get on the ballot anyway.

But that doesn't mean voters won't have any choices. 

Seven write-in candidates have stepped up -- they just won't have their names on the ballot.

Today on Stateside, we discuss Amazon's next potential disruption: auto dealerships. We also hear how Detroit's lopsided mayor's race still reveals divisions. And, we discuss the bill that'd scrap state ballast water rules – the ones that help keep out invasive species.

Fairy's signature black-and-white "Andre the Giant" face appeared on a water tower in downtown Detroit.
Eugene Kim / Flickr

Detroiters will vote for mayor on Tuesday, and first-term incumbent Mike Duggan is expected win re-election handily.

That’s despite his opponent having one of the best-known names in Detroit political history.

And it’s despite Duggan’s time in office exposing some major rifts in a rapidly-changing city.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrats tried and failed today to get a congressional committee to subpoena documents from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder related to the Flint water crisis.

Questions have been raised about when Snyder learned of a deadly Legionnaires; disease outbreak.

arrow sign says voting
Flickr user justgrimes / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Election Day in Michigan is Tuesday, November 7. Michigan Radio's "Morning Edition" host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry preview some of the issues for voters around the state: 

Detroit has finally updated rules and strengthened penalties for rental properties in the city.

The Detroit City Council officially revised the city code Tuesday. City Council member Andre Spivey, who sponsored the revised rules, says everyone recognized the need for update.

The number of Detroit rental properties has surged in the past decade, but fewer landlords are registered with the city now than 30 years ago. Spivey says they hashed out enforcement details with landlord groups to make sure everyone is treated fairly.

State of Michigan

A $1,000 donation to Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s campaign from a top aide to Governor Rick Snyder is drawing fire.

Rich Baird has been the governor’s point man in Flint dealing with the city’s water crisis.  He’s been seen often at Mayor Karen Weaver’s side during the crisis.

Earlier this fall, Baird bought eight tickets at a Weaver fundraiser at $125 each.  

MICHIGAN STATE POLICE

They've been described as "obnoxious and counterproductive," and that was from the former lawmaker who helped pass legislation authorizing Michigan's Driver Responsibility Fees.

Now, the Michigan District Judges Association has weighed in against these fees. The judges have sent a letter to Governor Snyder asking him to get rid of the fees, which they call an "outrageous burden" on the backs of Michigan's working class.

HTTP://WWW.SENATORJIMMARLEAU.COM/

It is against the law in Michigan for anyone who holds political office to use campaign funds to pay personal expenses.

That said, it can be challenging to figure out if this is happening when elected officials use campaign money to pay off credit card balances, and then skimp on the details.

Such is the case with Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, as outlined in a front-page story by Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan.

Detroit skyline with GM building
Pixabay.com

The city of Detroit is offering $1 million in grants to help lift residents out of poverty and into jobs. The initiative is a partnership between the city and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.

Grants are available to community organizations offering services like literacy education, vocational training, and support services to Detroit residents enrolled in SNAP -- the federal food assistance program.

Jeff Donofrio is executive director of workforce development for the city of Detroit. He says low-income job seekers in the city often face many challenges.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tuesday afternoon, a state oversight board is expected to vote on allowing the city of Flint to enter into another 30-day contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority.

The Receivership Transition Advisory Board meets at 2 p.m. in Lansing.   

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver hopes the board acts in the city’s financial and public health interests. Though Weaver admits she is tired of Flint’s future being decided by outside groups.

http://www.senatorjimmarleau.com/

A state lawmaker could be in trouble for failing to explain thousands of dollars in expenditures by his campaign committee.

The Detroit Free Press reports that state Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, used his campaign fund to pay $114,000 on his personal credit card. Filings by his campaign committee often did not provide details on what the cards were used for.

Sign of Flint Police Headquarters
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is getting some help from the federal government to combat its violent crime problem.

The $1 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department will help fund community programs on Flint’s north side for the next three years. Flint is one of nine communities nationwide to receive the grant from the U.S. Justice Department.

Hamilton Community Health Network, Flint city officials and local neighborhood groups will work together to develop community-based crime reduction plans and programs.  

Exam room.
Brandy Berthelson / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Wednesday marks the start of the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

This fifth enrollment season is the first one under President Trump, and it’s marked by what critics call his efforts to undermine the ACA.

Marianne Udow-Phillips from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation joined Stateside to walk us through what to expect.

Listen above for the full conversation, or read highlights below.

We are now a year away from Election 2018. It’s the time when the concept of who a candidate might be is starting to create the reality of who that candidate will be.

We are in the period of time when candidates running for office in 2018 are trying to solidify their status as the front-runner, figuring out who’s got that all important political momentum.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Latino leaders and others told the Lansing city council during a public hearing last Monday night why the city should rename part of a city street after activist Cesar Chavez. 

The civil rights icon died in 1993. 

In 1994, Lansing officials renamed part of Grand River Avenue street for Chavez. But a public vote reversed the decision the next year.   

Marisol Garcia says the rebuke still stings.

“It does because I have children,” says Garcia. “For them to see that the city of Lansing is not accepting of an important leader to our community…it’s hurtful.”

"Out of water" sign after Oakland County water main break
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Thousands of people in Oakland County are still dealing with a mandatory boil water advisory this weekend. It was issued after a broken water transmission main caused system pressure to drop, and then extended after another leak was detected. The CEO of the Great Lakes Water Authority called it an "unprecedented" event in the regional water system's history, but this Week in Review, senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry tells Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth why he wasn't surprised.

Today on Stateside, an author details the "ecological unraveling" of the Great Lakes. We also hear why Detroit was the "obvious choice" for the inaugural Women's Convention, and how state regulators could shift the medical marijuana industry to benefit some and keep others out. Also today, Sen. Gary Peters joins the show and says, "We can't just have an open blank check for military use around the world."

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In Lansing, lobbyists, big business, and small caregivers are jockeying to influence rules for growing and dispensing medical marijuana.

At the same time, lawmakers are considering beating voters to the punch by approving recreational marijuana in a way that could be very business friendly.

Don Harder / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

​Some members of the Legislature want to eliminate the elected Michigan Board of Education. They say the Board of Education has become little more than a debating society. But, if it’s so irrelevant, one has to wonder why those legislators get so worked up about the education board’s actions.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and the former Republican majority leader in the state Senate, along with Vicki Barnett, the former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside to discuss the Board of Education.

COURTESY OF TASHMICA TOROK

The organizers of the Women's March are holding the inaugural Women's Convention at the Cobo Center in Detroit. It starts today and runs through the weekend.

Phoebe Hopps, a Michigan coordinator of the Women's March, said Detroit was an "obvious choice" for the convention.

Senate Democrats / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With the controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s call to a grieving military widow, lost in many of the conversations was where the soldier actually was stationed. He was in Niger, a landlocked country in western Africa with over 20 million citizens. Few Americans knew the U.S. military had any presence there.

Senators still have unanswered questions. The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee was briefed by two top Pentagon officials about U.S. military presence in West Africa.

Hopeful applicants in Leoni Township plan to camp out for nearly a week for the chance to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary license.
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

A group of hopeful applicants plan to camp out for nearly a week for the chance to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary license.

Cars, trucks, and an RV are already lined up outside the Leoni Township Hall, just outside Jackson. The township will begin taking applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses November 1.

Flickr/jnn1776 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Arab-American Civil Rights League is speaking out against legislation that would ban local governments in Michigan from using revenues to "specifically support or otherwise assist" undocumented immigrants.

Under HB 5053, residents of municipalities that don't comply within 60 days would be able to sue or file a complaint about their local government with the state attorney general.

Today on Stateside, the state agriculture chief warns against scrapping NAFTA, and the only female wrestler at UM Dearborn explains why she's fighting for a chance to compete against men. Also today, we recap Detroit's only mayoral debate with one of the panelists who questioned the candidates last night.

University of Michigan Professor Rosina Bierbaum says scandals like Flint's water crisis have eroded public trust in the safety of drinking water
Courtesy of Raiz Up

There's a political and legal battle happening over Flint's drinking water.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson ordered Flint's City Council to choose a long-term source of drinking water, scolding the council for taking so long to green light the city's deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority.

The Council punted this week, okaying a short-term deal with the GLWA. But the tug of war between Flint's Mayor Karen Weaver, the council, the state, and Judge Lawson continues.

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