Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A pair of bills moving through the state Legislature would increase the number of "promise zones" in Michigan.

The Promise scholarship program lets certain high poverty communities use a combination of private and state money to guarantee college tuition or other post-secondary education funding for local students.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Syrian American community and its supporters are urging Governor Snyder to resume efforts to re-settle refugees in the state.

Snyder had taken a welcoming stance toward Syrian refugees.

But he’s withdrawing that welcome, at least temporarily, in light of last week’s terrorist attacks overseas.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s public works director has resigned.

Howard Croft played a highly visible role in the city’s drinking water crisis.

Appointed by Flint’s emergency manager in 2011, Croft oversaw the city’s switch from Detroit water to the Flint River, and back again after serious problems developed from the river water. 

  • In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, Gov. Snyder puts his effort to get permission for Syrian refugees to re-settle in Michigan on hold. 
  • Rick Pluta, Lansing bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, spoke to Gov. Snyder about his decision this morning.

Marcie Casas

Update 2:30 p.m.: Judge Christopher Yates has ruled Hewlett-Packard must hand over the source code to Michigan.

Original post:

Michigan is squaring off with technology company Hewlett-Packard over source code for an unfinished computer system upgrade.

The state hired HP in 2005 to replace the Secretary of State's computer system. The $49 million project was supposed to be finished by 2010. 

Michigan terminated its contract with HP in August, on grounds that the company had missed deadlines and failed to deliver a complete project.

A big economic development project in Grand Rapids seems to have Republican lawmakers rethinking their opposition to industry-specific tax breaks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Backers of a ban on fracking in Michigan will deliver hundreds of thousands of petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office this week.

Supporters need to collect a quarter million signatures to ask voters next year to approve a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Michigan.

Hydraulic fracturing is a process used in nine out of 10 natural gas wells in the United States, where millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the rock and release the gas.

Michigan governor puts refugee acceptance efforts on hold

Nov 15, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan's Republican governor, who has bucked many party leaders for welcoming Syrian refugees, is putting efforts on hold following the deadly attacks in Paris.

Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement Sunday that the state is postponing efforts to accept refugees until federal officials fully review security clearances and procedures.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s senior U.S. Senator wants a top level meeting with Canadian officials to raise objections to a planned nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron.

The election of a new Canadian government is raising hope among opponents of a plan to build the waste dump less than a mile from the shore of Lake Huron.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says she’s working with the U.S. ambassador to Canada to set up a meeting with the new Canadian environment minister.

flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Gov. Rick Snyder would veto legislation allowing concealed weapons in schools if it doesn’t give districts a choice.

Bills sitting on the state Senate floor would allow people to carry concealed weapons in gun-free zones. But Senate Bills 442 and 561 would also ban them from openly carrying in those areas, which is currently allowed in schools.

Snyder vetoed similar legislation in 2012.

"I vetoed it once. I’d veto it again,” the governor told WJIM Radio host Steve Gruber on Friday.

Gov. Snyder is taking heat regarding decisions made by his Emergency Managers that lead to the Flint water crisis
Gov. Rick Snyder / screengrab

A state elections board has rejected a petition seeking to recall Governor Rick Snyder over the Flint water crisis.

The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers says the petition is premature since there are still inquiries underway into what happened in Flint, and the allegations are unproven. Democrats and Republicans on the board voted to reject the petition, which says Snyder is “culpable” for the contamination.

Jeb Bush
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says a slimmed-down tax code and fewer environmental regulations would boost the economies of manufacturing states – and promises to adopt that sort of “pro-growth” strategy should make the Republican ticket attractive to voters in industrial states like Michigan and Pennsylvania come November of 2016.

“The only way to grow income for the middle class and lift people out of poverty is to grow the economy, and I know how to do it,” he told a crowd gathered at the Kent County Republican headquarters in Grand Rapids.


Democrats in the state Legislature want to establish water as a “human right” under state law. It’s part of a package of bills meant to address tap water contamination and mass water shutoffs in cities like Flint and Detroit.

“What we’re seeing is a complete disregard for human life, human safety, and the future of our children,” said Melissa Mays, a Flint resident who says her entire family has health problems because of contaminated water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Secretary of State has released the initial list of Republican and Democratic candidates who will appear on the March 8 presidential primary ballot.

The Republicans:

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Michigan’s use of emergency managers. The Flint water fiasco, the decline of the Detroit Public School system – that all happened under the watch of state-appointed emergency managers.

While much has been said and written about Detroit getting through bankruptcy quickly, there are a lot of long-lasting effects of the city’s time under an emergency manager, including, but certainly not limited to, Belle Isle Park being turned over to state management, which some Detroit residents find frustrating.

user alkruse24 / Flickr

With the roads funding plan behind them, the Michigan Legislature is on break until December. When they return, fixing Detroit Public Schools will be at the top of the legislative agenda.

Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a controversial plan for DPS that would start a new district responsible for educational instruction and general operations while leaving the roughly $500 million in legacy debt with the old district.

  • Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality is asking the city of Flint for information that would show where the city's lead service lines are. Federal regulations require those homes to be sampled to determine the health of the water system, but Flint doesn't know where those houses are. Lindsey Smith gives us an update.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s presidential primary ballot will begin to shape up this week.

Michigan’s Republican and Democratic presidential primaries are March 8. 

But who gets a spot on the ballot? Hundreds of people are running for president of the United States. Of course, you’ve heard of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But how about John Blyth or Mike Diggs?

Protesters in Flint.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be watching over the state of Michigan's shoulder to make sure our drinking water is safe.

The EPA will audit the state's drinking water safety program after the state Department of Environmental Quality admitted it failed to use the correct protocols when it approved the switch to the Flint River as the primary source of drinking water for Flint.

That mistake led to dangerously high lead levels in that city's drinking water.

Flint's Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee joined us today to discuss the EPA’s audit.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be watching over the State of Michigan's shoulder to make sure our drinking water is safe. Flint's Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee joined us today to talk about the EPA's audit.
  • Nearly five decades after fighting as an infantryman in Vietnam, Tim Keenan of Traverse City realized it was time to go back to Vietnam.
Jake Neher / MPRN

State lawmakers are taking a three-week break for deer hunting and Thanksgiving.


And they’ll have a lot of work waiting for them when they return to Lansing.

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry explained the politics behind the freshly passed roads funding bill and how it won't actually fix roads for a few years. He also gave an update on the Flint drinking water crisis and how it resulted in a new mayor in that city. 

Lars Plougmann

Michigan would end straight-ticket voting under a bill that cleared the state Senate on Tuesday.

Voters would no longer be able to fill in one dot to vote for all candidates representing one political party on a ballot.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that will increase fuel taxes and registration fees and re-prioritize spending to raise more than $1 billion to fix roads.

Today on Stateside:

  • Over the past few days, thousands of federal inmates were released from prison due to a change in the way the federal government sentences drug criminals. Brandon Sample gives us a closer look at the largest one-time release of federal prisoners.

  • The Rovi Media Collection is the largest media collection in the country: CDs, DVDs, and video games. All entertainment, and now all in the care of Michigan State University.



It was 2008 when Michigan launched a generous tax-credit program to lure Hollywood filmmakers here. At the time it was so popular, only one legislator voted against it. And Hollywood came: big stars, big productions could be seen shooting throughout the state.

A deli that accepts food stamps
Flickr user Eric / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A Michigan senate bill would let some state workers arrest people for retail trafficking of food stamps and other benefits.

The bill would give a small group of specialized state agents power to arrest retailers without a warrant if they have probable cause.

Currently, agents with the state Department of Health and Human Services can only take action against benefit recipients engaged in trafficking.

Today on Stateside: 

These 14 states were in the bottom of the rankings. Michigan was ranked the worst.
Center for Public Integrity

Fiftieth out of fifty states.

That's where Michigan ranks in a report released today by the Center for Public Integrity.

The last time we wrote about this, Michigan ranked 43rd out of 50. 

Gov. Rick Snyder

Now that state lawmakers have cobbled together a roads package, the spotlight can turn to fresh priorities.

For example, fixing Detroit’s collapsing school system.

The governor estimates it will take more than $700 million to rehabilitate Detroit’s public schools and warns that if the state doesn’t tackle the mammoth school debt, things will only get worse.