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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Mark K. / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s Sunshine Week – a time of year when issues of transparency and open government are put front and center.

 

Democrats in the state House and Senate celebrated the week Tuesday by announcing a package of bills they say will make Michigan government more transparent and accountable.

 

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act will mean the number of uninsured Americans would grow by 24 million by 2026.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

You'll be able to buy the health care insurance plan you want. Premiums will be lower. Everyone will be covered. Access to quality, affordable care will improve.

Those promises from President Donald Trump and Republican leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan seem less likely after a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Stateside 3.13.2017

Mar 13, 2017

Today we hear from outgoing U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade after Friday brought an abrupt demand for her resignation. And, crying at work can be mortifying. On the show today, we teach you how to spin it. We also hear how excluding inmates from Medicaid likely costs taxpayers even more.

COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LAW SCHOOL

Forty-six U.S. Attorneys appointed by President Obama are packing up and cleaning out their desks today. This comes after Friday’s abrupt demand for their resignations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Among those asked to resign was Barbara McQuade of Detroit. 

What’s a Republican governor to do when his own political party is the problem?

We’re hearing a lot about the divide among Republicans in D.C. over the “repeal and replacement” of Obamacare.

President Donald Trump and the House Republican leadership have a plan. But, conservatives don’t like it. Democrats don’t like it. Interest groups like the AARP are already piling on, and let’s add to the list: Republican governors like Ohio Governor John Kasich and Michigan’s own Rick Snyder.

Flickr user 401(K) 2012/Flickr

An additional 650,000 low-income people have been able to get health care through Michigan's Medicaid expansion, with the federal government picking up most of the tab. However, a Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would change how funding for the program is doled out.

Stateside 3.10.2017

Mar 10, 2017

Attorney General Bill Schuette joins our show today. He explains his support for Great Lakes funding, but pins the Asian carp threat on the Obama administration. And, cheers to Friday! We bring you maple syrup aged in a bourbon barrel for a twist on the whiskey sour.

slgckgc / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

American workers are facing an enormous retirement savings deficit. In Michigan, nearly 1.7 million workers have jobs where the employer does not offer a retirement savings plan.

In response to this shortfall, two Democrats in Lansing introduced legislation that would set up an alternative statewide retirement savings plan for employees of businesses who do not have a plan of their own.

NASA / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

President Donald Trump’s budget proposes cutting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million to $10 million.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Bill Schuette was on Dave Akerly's radio show on WILS in Lansing to discuss, among other things, his recent visit with President Trump. When asked about the President’s proposed cuts to Great Lakes protections, Schuette said this:

“Where this really stems from is again, Obamacare and the mayor of Chicago and the Illinois shipping interests really don’t care about the quality of the Great Lakes and the fresh water. And what we don’t want is the Asian carp coming from the Mississippi River up into the Great Lakes.”

"The business incentives are just one small part of what our economic development effort is overall," said Steve Arwood, the CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
MEDC

For years, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative, free-market think tank, has been critical of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), calling it secretive and referring to it as the state's corporate welfare arm.

Last week we talked to James Hohman with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy about the MEDC. 

One of the Mackinac Center's criticisms is that the MEDC uses its billions of dollars to pick winners and losers in the business world. Steve Arwood, CEO of the MEDC, joined Stateside to respond to that criticism and discuss his organization's efforts to boost the state's economy.

STEVE CARMODY / Michigan Radio

A House committee has approved a package of bills to expand the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to cover the governor and the legislature, with a few exemptions.

That has happened before, but Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof buried it. It looks like he might do that again this year.

McLaren hospital in Flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s McLaren Hospital is responding forcefully to state health officials' demands for more information on Legionnaires' disease cases and prevention. 

In a letter to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, McLaren hospital CEO Chad Grant accuses the department of misplacing blame for the Legionnaires' outbreak in Genesee County.

HipHopCaucus

A long-time top Environmental Protection Agency official worries proposed cuts in the federal agency’s budget will hurt cities like Flint.

Mustafa Ali resigned this week as the EPA’s Chief Environmental Justice official.   He helped create the job two decades ago.  Ali  says he’s leaving the agency because of the Trump administration’s plans to cut the EPA’s budget by more than 20%.

NASA / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A coalition of more than 145 environmental, conservation, and outdoor recreation groups is speaking out against the Trump administration's widely reported plans to propose massive funding cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Reports say Trump's proposed budget would slash funding for Great Lakes Restoration programs by 97% from $300 million to $10 million.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan House has approved legislation to prohibit a lawmaker who resigns or who has been expelled from office from running in the special election to fill the seat.

The bill passed 72-36 Thursday is a response to former Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat running in special elections to finish the remainder of their terms in 2015. He had resigned and she had been expelled after being accused of misusing state resources to try to cover up their extramarital affair.

Courtesy of Shannon Cohen

Attention businesses and organizations in West Michigan: women of color are more than ready, willing and able to take on leadership roles.

That's the message on this International Women's Day from a study exploring why women of color are so often passed over for leadership roles in Kent and Ottawa Counties.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

2016 may well go down as the Year of the Lobbyist in Michigan.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network (MCFN) dug into the numbers and discovered spending on lobbying was higher in 2016 than any other year: lobbyists spent $39.99 million last year, which broke 2015's record  of $38.7 million.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A recall petition against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver cleared a major hurdle today.  

The Genesee County Board of Electors voted two to one to approve language for the recall petition.  The decision allows Weaver’s critics to begin collecting signatures.  

Organizer Arthur Woodson says people are upset with the way Mayor Weaver has been running city hall, much in the same way they were when they voted against her predecessor in 2015.

“The people spoke back then and it was because of the water.  And people are speaking again because of the water,” says Woodson.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

In case you needed more proof that politics makes for strange bedfellows, a coalition of religious leaders and casino owners have united to oppose new legislation that would legalize online gambling in Michigan. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether the legislation is a good bet for the state.

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
user alkruse24 / Flickr

There are fewer school districts in severe financial peril, according to a quarterly report compiled by the Michigan Department of Education.

 

Last year, there were 41 school districts and charter schools with deficits. That number is down to 27 this year. And Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whiston says that number could be down to 18 districts by June.

The Genesee County Board of Electors has rejected two previous attempts to recall Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (seated lower left).
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, the Genesee County Board of Electors will consider language in a recall petition against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

The recall is aimed at Weaver’s support for hiring a new garbage hauler. The company was later linked to a federal corruption investigation.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder opened a conference on water infrastructure by pointing to Flint’s water crisis as a “warning signal.”

More than 300 water quality experts and water system vendors are in Flint for this week’s conference. The city’s lead-tainted tap water crisis has spurred concern about aging water systems across the country. 

In his keynote address, Gov. Snyder says Flint is not the only bellwether for infrastructure problems.

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

What can America learn from Flint's water disaster? That's the question at the heart of a national Water Infrastructure Conference starting today in Flint.

Retired National Guard Brigadier General Mike McDaniel is one of the speakers at the conference. He is director of Flint’s FAST Start program, which aims to remove all of the city’s lead service lines over the next few years.

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

If you’re expelled or resign from your seat in the legislature, you shouldn’t get to run for the seat you vacated.

That’s the idea behind a bill making progress in Lansing.

The legislation – which failed to make it through last year’s session – was crafted in the wake of a sex and cover-up scandal.

Explaining the partial inspiration for the bill, sponsor Republican Aaron Miller said, “You learn from things that happen today what legislation needs to be changed for tomorrow.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of experts and vendors will be in Flint this week to talk about the nation’s problems with aging municipal water systems.  

Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will open the three-day Flint Water Infrastructure Conference on Tuesday.   

Flint’s lead tainted water crisis has raised awareness of problems in municipal water systems around the world.

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In elections, it’s all about who shows up.

And last year, Democrats didn’t.

The Democrats’ historic loss in Michigan is due pretty much to the fact that too many voters who would typically vote Democratic simply sat out Election 2016. While Republicans, true to form, showed up at the polls.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is glad U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week recused himself from any future probes involving the possible Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election.

Sessions failed to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the campaign.  Sessions insists the discussions did not involve the Trump campaign. 

Stabenow believes an investigation is warranted into possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Supporters and critics of President Donald Trump held dueling rallies at the State Capitol today.

As part of the so-called “March 4 Trump” events taking place across Michigan, Trump fans gathered to hear speeches and show their support for the president.

President Trump has been in office for a little over a month and a half.  But the supporters who gathered on the lawn of the Capital want him to know they think he is already doing a good job.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Mayor Karen Weaver has told the Environmental Protection Agency that more corrosion control studies have to be done and Flint will need more than two years before the city can begin to supply its own water.

The Flint Journal reports  that the plan and a letter from Weaver were filed Wednesday with the EPA.

Extensive work, including chemical mixing and filtration, also is needed at the city's water treatment plant.

Child reads with teacher
US Department of Education / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state's water bill subsidies for Flint residents ended this week, and that means customers will see a price spike when they get their bills next month. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about how that could give way to more problems for Flint water customers already behind on their accounts.

They also talk about a call from Michigan State University faculty members for the college to turn the investigation surrounding Dr. Larry Nassar over to an outside police agency, an uphill battle to add the right to literacy to the state constitution, and a bill that would require employers to let employees earn paid sick time.

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