WUOMFM

Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The public will get a look tonight at four proposed futures for the site of Lansing city hall.

Developers bidding to buy Lansing city hall have four different visions for the property across from the state capitol.

One would renovate city hall into a hotel. Two other bidders would construct new towers on the current City Hall plaza, each featuring a hotel. The fourth proposal would tear down city hall and replace it with a hotel.

Developers will deliver 45-minute presentations starting tonight at the Lansing Center.

Abdul El-Sayed talks to a voter.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed made a campaign stop in Kalkaska Tuesday night, where he spent an hour speaking to a group of about 25 people. Kalkaska made national news this summer for the Islamophobic views of its' village president, Jeff Sieting. El-Sayed is Muslim, and attendees were happy that he still chose to visit Kalkaska. Danielle Seabolt is the Chair of the Kalkaska County Democrats, who hosted El-Sayed:

Bill Schuette speaks to a crowd of supporters.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“Our next governor, Bill Schuette,” Cynthia Schuette introduced her husband to an enthusiastic hometown crowd in Midland on Tuesday.

Michigan’s attorney general’s interest in the state’s top job has not been a secret. 

In his speech, Schuette laid out his priorities.

rolls of cash
Flickr user Pictures of Money / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  

According to new campaign finance disclosures, Quicken Loans spent more on lobbying state government in the first seven months of 2017 than it had spent in previous years.

The Michigan State Capitol
Aunt owwee / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan lawmakers returned to Lansing last week to launch the fall session.

State House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, joined Stateside today to break down the legislative priorities this session for Michigan’s House of Representatives.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, R-11th District, says he will not seek reelection next year and will retire after four years in Congress.

Trott says he always intended for his congressional career to be brief. He said in a written statement he’s ready to return to the private sector and spend more time with his family. But he possibly faced a tough reelection bid next year, and The New York Times reported over the weekend that Trott was growing increasingly frustrated with President Trump. He recently advised Trump in a tweet to spend more time on the golf course and stay away from microphones.

Trott’s decision will set off a scramble among Republicans and Democrats to find nominees to replace him. Michigan’s 11th District leans Republican, but even Republicans acknowledge it’s possible for a Democrat to take it.   

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of East Lansing businesses and university student leaders wantS the city council to cancel plans for a vote on a city income tax in November.

The ballot proposal calls for creating a tax that would tax residents 1% of their income and non-residents 0.5%.  The tax would generate around $10 million annually. About half the revenues would go toward a property tax rate reduction. City leaders say implementing an income tax would help deal with mounting employee legacy costs

But opposition to the income tax is mounting.

Stateside 9.8.2017

Sep 11, 2017

Today on Stateside, we learn about the racist history of Albert Cobo, and the complicated push to rid Detroit of his name. We also hear how one school district looks beyond standardized tests toward real world "flexible learning." And, we learn why conservations are asking urbanites to help lure bat populations to cities.

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Representative David Trott announced Monday morning that he will not seek reelection in 2018. The announcement comes after speculation by various pundits and the retirement of two other Republican congressmen last week.

Lansing city hall
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A developer is scheduled to be selected to buy Lansing city hall by the end of this week.

Four developers submitted proposals to the city. Mayor Virg Bernero says the winning bidder will be the one that makes the highest and best use of the property.

flint symbol
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

An edict from a former Flint emergency manager stands in the way of a plan to reinstate the city's ombudsman office.

Flint voters approved changes to their city charter in August.  The new city charter is scheduled to take effect in January. The changes include reinstating the city’s ombudsman office.   

But former emergency manager Micheal Brown eliminated the city’s internal government watchdog office.   The intent was to save money. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There are fewer places for Flint residents to get free bottled water these days.

In August, Flint’s seven water distribution centers handed out 11,061 cases of bottled water a day. That's nearly 300,000 cases for the entire month. 

But just after Labor Day, the state closed three of the centers. Of the nine original sites, only four remain, located in different quadrants of the city.   

The Ambassador Bridge
cmh2315fl / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge scored a big victory this week. The Canadian government has finally given the Detroit International Bridge Company permission to build a new bridge next to the Ambassador, just a couple of miles upriver from the site of the publicly funded Gordie Howe International Bridge project. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about hurdles the DIBC still needs to clear before the new span can move forward.  

Ken Lund / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

In a move that surprised many, the government of Canada this week gave the owners of the Ambassador Bridge permission to build a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit.

Canada, Ontario, and the city of Windsor have all had a contentious, even cantankerous, relationship with the Moroun family, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

UpNorth Memories - Donald (Don) / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Cobo Convention Center in Detroit has hired a company to dive into the possibility of selling the center's naming rights.

Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley calls it "incidental good news" that 1950s-era Mayor Albert Cobo's name would be removed from the center should the naming rights be sold. Cobo was controversial in that his urban renewal plans displaced African Americans in Detroit – a lot of them.

A Flint water protest
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 


As the aftermath of the Flint water crisis drags on, attention has now largely turned toward the repercussions for those involved. Fifteen state and local government officials now stand accused of a combined 51 criminal charges. 

And this has led to a rather strange situation where the government is paying both the legal fees to prosecute the officials, as well as the legal fees to defend them. So far that has cost Michigan taxpayers $15.2 million.

The 15 people charged in the Flint water crisis so far.
Booking photos from the Michigan AGs office and others.

Taxpayers from the state of Michigan are funding both the defense and the prosecution in the Flint water crisis investigation.

The tab so far? $15.5 million.

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan lawmakers are back in the capital after a two-month summer break, and they have a long list of items on their legislative to-do list. Among them are an overhaul of no-fault auto insurance, new recycling standards, and the possibility of a rare veto override. 

Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou spoke with the Michigan Public Radio Network's Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta about the Legislature’s top priorities this fall. 

parliament hill in ottawa
robin_ottawa / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

From his earliest days as a candidate, President Trump complained about NAFTA, calling it the worst deal ever.

But soon after taking office, he backed away from his pledge to tear up the trade agreement. Instead, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are re-negotiating NAFTA.

Earlier this week, Canada made a demand that could certainly resonate here in Michigan — a call to roll back the right-to-work laws which allow workers to opt out of paying dues to the unions that represent them in collective bargaining.

Joan Larsen
University of Michigan Law School / screen grab from YouTube video

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen faced members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today. The committee held a hearing on Larsen’s nomination to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. 

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island,,said he’s concerned that a right-leaning group funded a media campaign to win support for Larsen’s nomination.

“What did they think they were going to get for their investment in your candidacy for this court, Miss Larsen. Why would they be spending this money if they did not see some return?”

Christian Cross
Waiting For The Word / Flickr CC /

A federal appeals court is siding with a Michigan county in a dispute over Christian prayers at public meetings.

It ruled the practice by Jackson County commissioners of starting their meetings with Christian-only prayers does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

The case was heard by the entire 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding the opinion of a Detroit federal judge in a 9-6 decision Wednesday.

James Shotwell is chairman of the Board of Commissioners. He says the commissioners just happen to be Christian, and aren't favoring one faith over any others.

state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan's schoolkids made their way back to classrooms Tuesday for the start of a new school year.

Today, it’s our state lawmakers’ turn. They’re back in Lansing for the first day of the fall session.

sign that says "DEFEND DACA"
Flickr user Harrie van Veen https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

President Donald Trump announced yesterday that he'll end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program in six months. Gov. Rick Snyder issued a statement opposing the move and urged Congress to act quickly to clarify the status of so-called "DREAMers."

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss how pressure from Snyder and other governors could affect decisions made by Congress. 

Protesters in Detroit supporting DACA recipients.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

People across the country and across Michigan protested President Trump’s plan to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

That’s President Obama’s program that offers protections to some undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

People protested and marched in several Michigan communities, including Detroit.

Juan Gonzalez is 24-year-old DACA recipient. He came to the U.S. as a toddler, and grew up in Detroit.

JVALASIMAGES / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Last Friday, President Trump was asked about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). It’s the program that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain in the country. They're widely known as "DREAMers."

"We love the DREAMers," President Trump said. "We love everybody."

Former Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer was just one of a number of Democrats at Detroit's annual Labor Day parade.
Whitmer for Governor

Detroit’s annual Labor Day parade attracted the usual mix of union members, activists and political candidates this year.

Those candidates included three of the Democrats running for governor.

Former state Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer has lined up most of the big labor support statewide. She met and marched with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, among others.

City of Flint

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will face a city councilman in November’s recall election.

Scott Kincaid had tried to run both for mayor and for re-election to the city council seat he's held for 32 years. But a judge ruled he couldn’t, and ordered Kincaid to make a choice.

Scott Kincaid announced his choice to run for mayor at a UAW Labor Day rally.

Tax Foreclosures in Detroit
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Wayne County will put more than 6,000 properties up for auction online starting this week.

Tuesday kicks off the first round of bidding in the annual sale for the county’s property tax-foreclosed properties. It’s become something of a real estate bonanza in recent years, as the county has foreclosed on tens of thousands of homes since 2009 — and by one count, as many as one in four properties in the entire city of Detroit.

USFWS

Backers of a ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan are approaching a milestone.

Organizers say hundreds of petition circulators have been busy during the Labor Day holiday weekend collecting signatures.

Josh Hovey is the spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol. He expects their petition drive will collect its quarter-millionth signature this week.

It’s been 15 years since Michigan lawmakers reversed a Governor’s veto but it could happen again this week when the Legislature returns to Lansing from its summer recess.

Some members of the GOP are getting a little fed up with their fellow Republican Governor Rick Snyder and they want to try and muster the two-thirds majority needed to override his veto of a bill they passed earlier this year. It was a pretty innocuous piece of legislation that accelerated tax breaks for car buyers who trade in their vehicles.

Pages