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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Congressman Dan Kildee's decision to not seek the Democratic nomination for governor has changed the playing field for existing and potential candidates.

And that includes Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.

Michiganders could decide next year whether to legalize marijuana in the state and many politicos are wondering how that ballot question could affect the 2018 election.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A battle is heating up in Lansing over the state’s corrections budget.

Republican Senator John Proos’ subcommittee on corrections passed a budget that cuts the Department of Corrections' budget by about $40 million. Proos said because the prison population is down, continuing to spend about the same amount each year means they are spending too much per prisoner.

Gov. Rick Snyder / screengrab

Governor Snyder got one really good grade, two really bad grades, and a handful of middling grades on his environmental report card from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters this year.

The non-partisan group has Republicans and Democrats on its board.

The report card gives Snyder some credit for taking steps to ameliorate the Flint water crisis, but says the government-caused debacle remains a shameful failing of leadership on his watch. Snyder got an "F" in the new-this-year category of Flint water crisis.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Sterling Heights that sought to avoid the city paying part of the estimated $70 million tab for repairing a massive sinkhole in Macomb County.

Sterling Heights is one of ten cities in the sinkhole's drainage district.

Candice Miller is head of the County Public Works Department. She says the lawsuit had stopped a crucial bond sale in its tracks. Now the sale can happen.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Should state lawmakers be required to file financial disclosure statements? Something to let constituents know if there are potential problems, conflicts of interests?

There are 47 states that agree they should. Those states have some law on the books requiring legislators to file some sort of financial disclosure statement. 

The three exceptions are Vermont, Idaho and Michigan.

Federal Bureau of Investigation badge
public domain

Former Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers is reportedly on President Trump's list of candidates to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Trump abruptly fired James Comey from the position earlier this week. On this Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why Trump might be considering Rogers.

They also discuss Gov. Rick Snyder's latest addition to the state Supreme Court, a resolution that would bring Michigan's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures in line with modern technology, and the grand opening of Detroit's QLINE streetcar.

Trial attorney Geoffrey Fieger appearing on Off the Record with Tim Skubick.
WKAR-TV

The 1998 Democratic nominee for governor of Michigan says he may try again next year.

Well-known trial attorney Geoffrey Fieger appeared on Michigan Public Television’s Off The Record program.

Fieger gained fame as the firebrand lawyer for assisted suicide Doctor Jack Kevorkian. He came out on top of a crowded field to win the 1998 nomination for governor, but lost to Republican incumbent John Engler.

Fieger says he thinks the public is more receptive to his message now.

The Michigan state capitol building
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two sticking points in Lansing lately are prisons and infrastructure.

Wikimedia Commons

Michigan’s attempts to privatize prison food services is still running into problems. The legislature approved outsourcing prison food service in 2012 to cut costs. But it canceled its first contract with Aramark in 2015, after numerous problems.

 

Reports obtained by the liberal watchdog group Progress Michigan show the prisons are still having problems with spoiled food and outside staff.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump's proposed budget calls for cutting money for cleaning up Superfund sites by a third. 

But the EPA's new head, Scott Pruitt, has told employees that he's going to make Superfund cleanups a priority.

Activists fighting for the cleanup of a Superfund site along the Pine River in St. Louis, Michigan hope Pruitt will get some more money so he can keep the promise.  It's one of the most polluted Superfund sites in the state.

Cracked and broken roads
nirbhao / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Roads, bridges, sewer lines, water systems and all the other infrastructure in the state is, by multiple assessments, in trouble in Michigan.

Two studies say the state needs to spend $4 billion a year. The governor wants at least $1.2 billion a year more to get infrastructure back into decent shape.

None of that has happened.

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

The Michigan House of Representatives is expected to vote next week on a joint resolution intended to bring Michigan's constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures in line with modern technology.

The resolution would amend the state constitution to require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before searching a person's electronic communications or electronic data.

Rich Girard / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A former federal prosecutor is calling for an independent special counsel to investigate any ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, now the President Trump has fired the director of the FBI.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Republican State Senator John Proos says Governor Rick Snyder's proposed budget has some misguided priorities.

He says the budget allocates $100 more  per K-12 student for 2018 - and $1,480 more per prison inmate. 

Proos claims the extra prison money is essentially for overhead - covering the cost of empty beds as the inmate population shrinks.   Michigan's prison population is projected to shrink from approximately 42,333 in 2016-17 to 40,415 in 2017-2018.

Stateside 5.10.2017

May 10, 2017

Today, we hear Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow react to President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. And, ever wonder where elevator Muzak comes from? That answer today.

James Comey, former director of the FBI
Brookings Institution / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters joined Stateside today to react to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

exterior of the Michigan state capital
Pkay Chelle / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On May 9, State Representative John Kivela was found dead in a Lansing home from an apparent suicide. The Marquette democrat's death marks the third time in the past year a House member has died. Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss reactions from the Michigan State House. 

Macomb County

Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has agreed to let a move of some of her departments take place -- but only after she was sued by the county. 

Spranger has been butting heads with Macomb County officials and getting into trouble ever since she took office in January.  

The former anti-government activist lost access to her county-owned computer for weeks, after she was caught letting friends, who were not county employees, use it. 

State Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette
John Kivela's office website

There were tears and hugs on the floor of the state House today as colleagues got word that state Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, took his life – one day after his second arrest on a charge of drunk driving.

“I’m sure today is the toughest day we will experience this term together,” House Speaker Tom Leonard told his colleagues in the House. “And I truly have no words about the loss of our dear friend, John Kivela.”

An American flag, an elephant and a donkey.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In Michigan, the news report Inside Michigan Politics ranks the most conservative and the most liberal members of the state legislators. Among conservatives, ranking among the most conservative lawmakers is “branding.” It’s going to be on campaign literature.

For the second year, there's another ranking for most conservative legislators in Michigan. It's put out by the national group American Conservative Union.

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio file photo

Congressman Dan Kildee, who many expected to run for governor, said he won't enter the race. He’s going to run for another term in Congress instead.

That leaves former senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer and former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed as candidates on the Democratic side.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Big business investors are waiting on Governor Rick Snyder to give them a break. A tax break that is, to build on blighted land.

Investors who buy blighted property would get new tax incentives, under a set of bills on their way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

Last year, these so-called brownfield bills were nicknamed after Dan Gilbert, the prominent Detroit developer. That’s because opponents call them a gift to wealthy corporations at the expense of taxpayers.

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

A Michigan congressman has decided against running for governor in 2018 and instead will seek a fourth term in the U.S. House.

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint Township made the announcement Tuesday in an email to supporters. His decision leaves former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer as the highest-profile candidate in the Democratic field.

Abdul El-Sayed, the former head of Detroit's health department, has been aggressively seeking to raise his profile with Democrats. Three other lesser-known candidates also are running.

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

UPDATED @ 8:48 on 5/9/17

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen has been chosen by President Trump to serve on the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Trump once put Larsen on his list of judges and lawyers he would consider naming to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Stateside 5.8.2017

May 8, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear from the MSU professor who was abruptly dismissed from the EPA's science review board. And, in addition to lawyers, should poor criminal defendants have a right to taxpayer-funded experts?

Judge's gavel
Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 


Last week, Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reported on the state Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments about whether indigent defendants have the right to their own court-appointed experts. In this case, the defendant wanted a DNA expert. 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sign
TexasGOPVote / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Trump administration has dismissed some of the scientists who performed scientific reviews for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Robert Richardson, an ecological economist at Michigan State University, was one of the 18 members of the Board of Scientific Counselors from across the country. On Friday, he was notified that he was being dismissed.

There’s a face off between Governor Rick Snyder and Republican leaders over an issue that’s not even at the top of anyone’s to-do list.

The state Legislature is working away on the state budget and Republicans have been cutting Snyder’s budget proposal. They’re squirreling away money but they haven’t decided what to do with it yet.

Screen grab taken from Karen Spranger's Facebook page

Macomb County's new Clerk is a political neophyte who has stumbled into controversy after controversy since she took office five months ago. 

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