Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of the Michigan Attorney General’s investigation into the Flint water crisis is threatening to take state agencies to court to force them to turn over documents.

Todd Flood has been leading Attorney General Bill Schuette's investigation into Flint’s lead-tainted water since January.

The probe has already resulted in criminal charges against three government officials.    A lawsuit has also just been filed against companies that acted as consultants to the city during the switch from Detroit water to the Flint River.

Democratic congressional representatives are staging a sit-in on the House floor to push a restriction on suspected terrorists' ability to buy guns.
Rep. Dan Kildee / Twitter

Five Democratic Michigan representatives are participating in a sit-in aimed at closing what they call the 'terror loophole.' They propose closing the loophole with what they call the #NoFlyNoBuy law. It would make it more difficult for those specifically on the FBI's no-fly list to buy guns.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about an approved plan for Waukesha, Wisconsin to divert water from Lake Michigan, Enbridge Energy's announcement that it will spend $7 million on new equipment to clean up oil spills, and the growing use of body cameras in police departments.

In full disclosure, Enbridge Energy is a financial supporter of Michigan Radio.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After months of wrangling, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is reluctantly agreeing to hook the city up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline for the city's drinking water.

Emergency managers made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water to the KWA pipeline as a way to save money. Flint's city council gave its stamp of approval as well. But Flint’s new elected leaders wanted out of the deal because of the cost.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Ingham County’s new prosecutor says she wants to restore the public’s trust in the prosecutor’s office.

Former state senator Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t take office until next month, but she got a jump on things by being sworn in this week.

Whitmer is replacing Stuart Dunnings III, who is mired in a prostitution scandal. Whitmer says restoring credibility to the office is key.

One Michigan GOP delegate is hoping to prevent a Trump nomination at the Republican convention.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

As the Republican Convention in Cleveland approaches, there’s a sense among some Republicans that the party needs a Presidential candidate who is not Donald Trump.

One MI GOP delegate is fighting to prevent Trump from becoming the Republican nominee. Wendy Day wants to beat Hillary Clinton in November, but she doesn’t want the victor to be Donald Trump.

A pro-marijuana group is going to cA pro-marijuana group is going to court to get a question onto the November ballot.ourt in order to get a petition onto the November ballot.
Flickr user Global Panorama / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

MI Legalize, a group trying to legalize marijuana in the state, is making the court its battleground. The group is hoping to get the question of marijuana legalization on the November ballot.

A state elections board shut down the group's petition, because it failed to get the signatures within the 180-day limit. Now the group is suing to get its question on the ballot.

Jeff Hank, executive director and general counsel of MI Legalize, joined us to discuss his group’s litigation.

GUEST

Stateside 6.20.2016

Jun 20, 2016

Today, we hear about a Detroit couple's effort to stop "humpers and dumpers" from using their neighborhood's streets. And, we look at how creativity fuels innovation.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters says now’s the time “to act on guns”.

Peters and his fellow Democrats get their long-sought votes on gun control after the massacre in Orlando, Florida, but election-year politics ensure no changes in the nation's laws.

Democrats are expected to vote tonight to block two Republican amendments, saying they don't do enough. Republicans are expected to block two Democratic amendments, saying they threaten the rights of gun owners.

ANTIOCHLA.EDU / ANTIOCH UNIVERSITY

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Some lawyers and gay rights supporters say lingering statutes criminalizing sodomy and laws prohibiting same-sex marriage could be used to harass gay couples in Michigan, despite court rulings that render those laws moot.

  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that laws banning sodomy are unconstitutional. But a Ferndale attorney, Rudy Serra, says if a conservative prosecutor and judge paired up in Michigan they could financially devastate a gay couple.

Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - To rescue Detroit's school district from potential insolvency, Michigan is turning to a familiar playbook.

  It will shift more than a quarter of the state's $250 million annual payment from tobacco companies to Detroit schools. The move is the latest in a line of tapping the legal settlement when the governor and lawmakers are in a pinch.

  With the latest Detroit bailout, all but $26 million, or about 10 percent, of the yearly tobacco cash is automatically spoken for.

Flint River and water plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says Flint’s water system still faces major problems. EPA chief Gina McCarthy sent a warning to Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

The letter says the city’s water treatment plant is understaffed – and the water distribution network is too large and sprawling.

Stateside 6.17.2016

Jun 17, 2016

Today, a former University of Michigan football player explains how a plant-based diet radically improved his health. And we hear about racial and economic disparity in Detroit from the author of Arc of Justice.

There's a new book out about gerrymandering, but it's so much more than that. 

And it's getting a lot of attention.

Flickr user Saginaw Future Inc./Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The legislature is off for its two-month summer break, but there will be a lot of work to do when lawmakers get back to work at the end of the season.  

Kenn Sikkema and Susan Demas joined us today for our weekly political roundup and two of the biggest issues that could be on the agenda when work resumes in Lansing has to do with renewable energy mandates and solar power regulations.

Lester Graham/Michigan Radio

Yesterday we heard the latest Detroit Journalism Cooperative installment about jobs and poverty in Detroit

One of the experts we heard from was Kevin Boyle, a professor at Northwestern University and the author of Arc of Justice, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

A demolition in Flint.
Genesee County Land Bank

A new Special Inspector General’s report says a federal program that funds blight removal lacks key safeguards against waste and corruption.

Michigan has received more than $381 million in blight removal funds from the US Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund – by far the most of any state.

The HHF was originally intended to help homeowners facing foreclosure. Starting in 2013, Treasury allowed some of the funds to be diverted to blight removal, mostly in the form of demolitions.

Stateside 6.16.2016

Jun 16, 2016

On the show today, a special Detroit Journalism Cooperative report on jobs and poverty in the poorest neighborhood in Detroit. Plus,  a guy who's bicycled all over the world says biking in Northern Michigan is the best anywhere. And he's got a book telling you the best places to ride.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

A man begs for money from a patron leaving one of Midtown’s critically acclaimed restaurants, where a roasted mushroom salad is $14.
Bill McGraw / Bridge Magazine

While Detroit has seen positive changes in the police department and the inclusion of African Americans in civic life since 1967, the decline of manufacturing and flight of people over the past five decades have contributed to significantly higher levels of unemployment and impoverished residents in the city. Reynolds Farley, a retired University of Michigan sociologist, notes that in 1950, Detroit had the nation’s “most prosperous black population.”

Jodi Westrick/Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, we sipped Brewery Becker’s “historic” ales and lagers while discussing a similarly historic topic: public trust in state government.

The Flint water crisis, gerrymandering, term limits, campaign money and more were on the minds of audience members and panelists at our Issues & Ale event.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Flint’s lead service line replacement may take a little longer to get started.

Today’s 3 pm deadline for contractors to bid on the work has been extended.

Contractors will now have until next Tuesday to submit bids on replacing up to 500 Flint service lines.

City officials decided to give the contractors more time to refine their bids, after changes were made to original Request for Proposals or RFP.   The addendums to the original RFP came after concerns were raised by contractors during a mandatory pre-bid meeting last week.

Pictures of Money / Flickr

A Washington D.C. group has filed a complaint against a Michigan non-profit for its political spending.

Citizens for Responsible Ethics, or CREW, filed a complaint with the IRS against Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility. 

Jordan Libowitz is with CREW. He says Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility failed to report  $290,000 in political spending in 2014.  He says that violates the group's non-profit status.

"So we're seeing a disturbing trend with more and more groups trying to get away with this because they think they can," Libowitz says.

Jim Wallace / Flickr

Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario are negotiating a strategy for improving and managing waterways.

 

Governor Rick Snyder and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met in Detroit to announce the beginnings of the joint plan. Wynne says the goal is to double maritime trade in the region and reduce pollution and invasive species. 

           

“We want Michigan to do well as we want Toronto to do well, and, really, collectively, we are competing with other jurisdictions,” said Wynne.  

 

A man protests the poor quality of Flint's water
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A congressional committee has signed off on legislation that could save Flint millions of dollars -- money that could be used to fix its damaged water system.

Today, the U.S. House Appropriations committee approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The bill includes a provision that would allow the state of Michigan to forgive $21 million in Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans taken by the city of Flint.

Senator Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, participated in a filibuster on the senate floor Wednesday meant to call attention to legislative inaction on gun control.
Gary Peters / Facebook

Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., took the Senate floor on Wednesday as part of a Democratic filibuster meant to draw attention to gun control issues in the wake of Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando, in which 49 people at a gay nightclub were killed by a gunman using a legally purchased assault rifle.

Stateside 6.15.2016

Jun 15, 2016

Today, a veteran Detroit teacher tells us what she expects from the so-called bailout by the state and how they've survived. And, we meet a man who converted to Amish and his friend who wrote a book about it.

People voting
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A pair of new state House bills would remove political party vignettes from the November ballot.

Vignettes are those little pictures that appear next to a party's name on the ballot.

Every morning at 9 a.m. we bat around story ideas for the day during our news meetings. We come up with our own ideas, but we don't always know what YOU are interested in.

That's why we have this little project called MI CuriousIt works like this:

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry discusses gun laws in the wake of the nightclub shootings in Orlando, the latest on a sex cover-up scandal involving two former state representatives, and legislation that would require public schools in Michigan to teach students about genocide.


Former state representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
images from Courser/Gamrat offices

Former state Representative Todd Courser will face trial on perjury and misconduct charges. At the same time, a judge dismissed criminal charges against former state Representative Cindy Gamrat.

The judge said the state’s case against Gamrat was simply too weak to go to trial.

The state has 21 days to appeal the decision, but Gamrat says she hopes this is the final word on the matter.

“I think I have a lot of mixed emotions,” Gamrat said after the hearing. “It’s been a really hard journey.”

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