Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

MDOC Spokesperson Chris Gautz told us that while it was “a very serious situation,” the events of September 10 at Kinross Correctional Facility don’t meet the definition of a “riot.”
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

On September 10, there was an uprising at Kinross Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, it’s the most serious incident inside a Michigan prison anyone can recall since the 1981 riot at what was then called Southern Michigan Prison in Jackson.

Inside the Michigan Capitol looking up at the dome.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan legislators are turning their attention from away lawmaking to campaigning.

State lawmakers have a couple days on their calendar next month, but for the most part, Michigan legislators will be busy campaigning.

But as state lawmakers leave Lansing, there’s still more to do on the legislative agenda.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley says it’s a common problem nearing the end of a legislative term. State lawmakers leave to campaign for re-election and leave thousands of bills waiting for action.

photo by Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers need to be more transparent. That was the message sent by the House today when it approved bills to expand Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The bi-partisan bills would open state lawmakers and the governor to freedom of information requests. Those offices are currently exempt. They would create what they are calling the Legislative Open Records Act, which is a FOIA specifically for the legislature.

Stateside 9.21.2016

Sep 21, 2016

Today, amid national tension, we learn how one sheriff works to implement changes in training and community outreach. And, we hear how an ArtPrize installation unveils stories of human trafficking in Michigan.

Tracey r / CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Michigan is one of 21 states seeking to block the Obama administration's efforts to make more white-collar workers eligible for overtime pay.

The coalition of states filed suit Tuesday in federal court in Texas asking the court to stop a new U.S. Department of Labor rule from taking effect on December 1.  

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups also filed a legal challenge to the rule on the same day.

Inside the capitol in Lansing, Michigan
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Spending by lobbyists at the state capitol is on pace to break last year’s record.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports lobbyists reported spending $21.7 million during the first seven months of 2016. During the same period last year, lobbyists spent $21 million.   

In all of 2015, lobbyists reported spending a record $38.7 million wooing Michigan lawmakers. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about a sudden rule change that takes away Flint's power to sue the state over the city's lead-tainted drinking water crisis.

Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's plan to keep out Syrian refugees and a push to strengthen lead regulations in Michigan before Election Day. 


The Michigan State Capitol
user aunt owwee / Flickr

Michigan is one of two states that completely exempts the governor's office from the state's Freedom of Information Act.

Massachusetts is the other. Michigan's public records law also exempts the Legislature, one of a minority of states to do so.

That could change under a package of bills being voted on by the House today.

Plastic bag
user Newtown grafitti / Flickr -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

LANSING, Mich. - Efforts to rid Michigan communities of plastic shopping bags would be banned under a bill set to advance in the Republican-led Legislature.

The House Commerce and Trade Committee could vote on the legislation Tuesday. The measure won Senate approval in May.

The bill would prohibit local governments from enacting ordinances that regulate, prohibit or impose a fee on the use or sale of "auxiliary containers" - which is defined as reusable or single-use bags, cups, bottles or other packaging from stores and restaurants.

Stateside 9.19.2016

Sep 19, 2016

Today, we check in with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha a year after she proved elevated lead levels in Flint kids correlated with the switch to Flint River water. And, Michigan Radio's sports commentator breaks down the Lions' home opener.

According to the report, if Michigan lawmakers don't appropriate $7.5 million, the state could lose $20.5 million in matching federal funds for child care.
U.S. Army / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Any parent can tell you that child care is one of the biggest challenges a family can face. A new report finds that Michigan can do better in helping families who need day care. A LOT better. 

Michigan's missed out on tens of millions of federal dollars that could help more parents and kids access quality child care. In fact, if state lawmakers don't commit another $7.5 million to child care by the end of this month, Michigan will lose $20.5 million in matching federal funds.

Michigan’s 1st Congressional District is huge - almost 25,000 square miles - and it is where, with the pending retirement of Republican Congressman Dan Benishek, former Marine Corps General Jack Bergman – a Republican – is facing former Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson.

The city of Flint is slowly replacing damaged lead service lines. But city officials say they need money from the federal government to pay for much of the work.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the U.S. House of Representative could vote on spending billions of dollars to fix the nation’s crumbling municipal water systems.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a $10 billion bill that included $100 million specifically to replace Flint’s damaged pipes. The pipes have been leaching lead into the city’s drinking water.

But U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, is concerned the House legislation does not include money earmarked for Flint.

Longtime Macomb Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco.
Macomb County

A typically low-profile county office has become one of the most high-stakes political contests in Michigan this year.

It’s the race for Macomb County public works commissioner.

Republican Candice Miller is leaving her seat in Congress to challenge Democrat Anthony Marrocco, a longtime incumbent, for the post.

“This could be one of the most expensive races, if not the most expensive race, that happens on the state or local level this fall,” said Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Stateside 9.16.2016

Sep 16, 2016

Today, we hear how private donations can influence public policy. And we learn there's a wide racial divide in Metro Detroit when it comes to how people view police.

More refugees will be settled in the Kalmazoo and Ann Arbor areas, Samaritas says
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

As soon as next week, the details of the Foundation for Excellence's $70 million gift will be presented to the Kalamazoo City Commission

The city manager and the mayor have been working with the donors to determine how it will work. 

Some city commissioners have been expressing reservations about the gift since it was announced this summer. Matt Milcarek​ is one of them.

According to Craig Mauger, Meijer was one of several entities that donated to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee on the day a senate panel began considering whether to block local plastic bag regulation.
Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The first line of a release from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network reads:

"The same day a Senate panel began considering whether to block local efforts to curb the use of plastic bags, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee reported receiving a $20,000 contribution from the political action committee of one of Michigan's largest retailers."

According to MCFN executive director Craig Mauger, that retailer is Meijer. 

flickr user Gage Skidmore/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A new poll by Epic MRA on behalf of the Detroit Free Press and other news media outlets across the state shows that Donald Trump has cut into Hillary Clinton's lead in Michigan. 

Clinton still leads, but with 38% compared to Trump's 35%. 

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, is also gaining ground with 10%.

Detroit's downtown area, with multi-million dollar development, is thriving, while many of the city's neighborhoods and the schools continue to struggle.
Rich Evenhouse / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Picture a tree. It has two branches. One bears green leaves. The other struggles to remain viable.

That tree is Detroit and those two branches represent the two very different narratives that we've seen play out this week.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside to talk about these two approaches to rebuilding the city of Detroit.

Donald Trump is lashing out against an African-American pastor who interrupted him Wednesday to chide him for campaigning in her Flint, Mich., church.

"Something was up," Trump told Fox and Friends on Thursday morning, calling the Rev. Faith Green Timmons a "nervous mess."

"I noticed she was so nervous when she introduced me," he said. "When she got up to introduce me she was so nervous, she was shaking. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. Then she came up. So she had that in mind, there's no question."

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Freedom of Information Act could be changing in Michigan.

A House committee approved a bill Thursday that would prevent public bodies like the government from suing someone that requests information through a FOIA request. The bill is part of a larger attempt by lawmakers to make FOIA more transparent.

The bill comes after The Daily News in Greenville was sued when it asked Montcalm County during the August primaries for personnel files of some county sheriff candidates. This bill would prevent a lawsuit like this from ever occurring.

Stateside 9.15.2016

Sep 15, 2016

Today, we learn that hearing voices may, or may not, be associated with a mental health problem. And, we hear why it's crucial to give doctors more time to think about their patients' diagnoses. 

Work crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate has approved a $10 billion water projects bill that includes money for Flint, Michigan - nearly a year after a public health emergency was first declared there because of lead-contaminated water.

Senators approved the bill by a 95-3 vote. It goes to the House, where approval of a similar bill - minus the Flint provision - is expected as soon as next week.

“The people of Flint have waited too long. They cannot wait any longer and we must take action,” U.S. Senator Gary Peters, D-MI, said today.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents will continue to drink water from Detroit well into next year.

While Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump was making the rounds in Flint on Wednesday, learning about the city’s drinking water crisis, the city’s state appointed oversight board quietly approved extending a deal that delivers fresh water from Detroit.

Flint switched back to Detroit water last fall.  The new extension will keep the water flowing through next Spring.

Medical marijuana bills headed to governor’s desk

Sep 14, 2016
user eljoja / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Big changes may be on the horizon for medical marijuana in Michigan.

Wednesday the State House voted in favor of a package of bills that would legalize edibles and require medical marijuana clinics be licensed and pay sales tax. The bills have already made their way through the Senate and are now on their way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk for consideration.

The bills would require medical marijuana clinics be licensed and pay sales tax. The bills would also legalize non-smokable forms of marijuana like edibles and oils. 

Tracy Samilton/Michigan Radio

Emidio "Mimi" Soltysik says his run for president under the banner of the Socialist Party USA banner is more of an organizing project than a traditional campaign.

Soltysik described that project to a group of about 20 people at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Wednesday night. With his calm and gentle demeanor, the former musician comes across more as a guru of socialism than a fiery revolutionary.

The purpose of his campaign is to get people "plugged in" to their communities, he says, not get the most votes possible.

Libertarian candidate for President Gary Johnson.
Gary Johnson for President 2016

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson pitched his vision for the country to the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday.

Johnson is for limited federal government across the board — free trade, lower taxes, loosened drug laws, fewer immigration restrictions, and more judicious use of military power.

But Johnson says the government does have a role to play when it comes to providing basic protections for citizens.

Stateside 9.14.2016

Sep 14, 2016

Today, we discuss the "questionable" report of a Marine trainee's suicide. And, we hear how humans could soon leave the Holocene behind by pushing Earth into a new geological era. 

Dawud Walid told us that in his work in the civil rights field, "we're always skeptical about government investigating ... actions of its own members."
flickr user DVIDSHUB / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to launch an investigation in to Raheel Siddiqui's death. 

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training with the United States Marine Corps on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died. 

The Marines say the 20-year-old committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. Siddiqui's family says that's absolutely not the case. 

Raheel Siddiqui
Facebook

The United States Marine Corps says a 20-year-old Taylor man committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. 

The family of Raheel Siddiqui says that's absolutely not the case.

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died.

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