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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will outline her plan for the source of her city’s tap water.

On Tuesday, Flint’s mayor will be joined by federal, state and local officials to release her recommendation for the City of Flint’s long-term primary and back-up water sources.

Prison bars
powelli / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A former camp counselor from suburban Detroit was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for taking nude photos of young boys and posting them online. The judge who sentenced 22-year-old Matthew Kuppe said he thought the sentence was too harsh, but Kuppe's plea deal left him with no choice. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry take a closer look at the case.

They also talk about former state Sen. Virgil Smith's possible bid for a Detroit Council seat, a lawsuit to force state Attorney General Bill Schuette's office to turn over personal emails that discuss public business, and a push to ban  7-day auto insurance plans in Michigan. 

A police officer wearing a body camera
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pennstatelive/32513699213

 


This week’s political roundup examines two instances of government trying to restrict access to information.

Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and former Republican Majority Leader in the state Senate, and Darci McConnell, president & CEO of McConnell Communications, which consults for state Democratic causes and clients, joined Stateside to explain the issues.

Equity PAC

In Grand Rapids there is a new PAC – a political action committee. PACs are formed all the time by politicians, industry groups, and others, to raise money for candidates and advocate for certain political issues.

A group of concerned citizens in the Grand Rapids area decided that if they were going to have any voice in government and policy, they needed a PAC too. 

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

Lansing's City Council did an about-face last night. 

The Council reversed its earlier unanimous decision to declare Lansing a "sanctuary city". The 5-2 vote means the city is not a sanctuary for immigrants, particularly undocumented immigrants.

The Trump Administration has threatened to punish sanctuary cities by withholding federal funds.

The Michigan and Lansing Chambers of Commerce had been urging Lansing's City Council to rescind that earlier resolution.

Rich Studley, the president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, joined Stateside to explain why they rejected the resolution.

Empty classroom
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Hundreds of Detroit parents angered by school closure threats are having their kids opt out of the state's M-STEP test. They say the standardized tests are used to justify closures. 

The Great Lakes from space.
NASA

The Trump Administration has proposed massive cuts to Great Lakes restoration projects in its 2018 fiscal year budget plan, and Congress should say no.

Meet the city of Detroit's Chief Storyteller: Aaron Foley
City of Detroit

One of the most primal human experiences is storytelling. And now that ancient tradition is coming to Detroit City Hall.

Mayor Mike Duggan's team has a new member: Aaron Foley now holds the title of Detroit's Chief Storyteller.
Aaron's been a journalist at MLive, Ward's Automotive, and for the past year and a half, the editor of BLAC Detroit magazine, covering black life, arts and culture.

Foley tells Stateside leaving BLAC was difficult, but says he couldn't pass up the challenge of starting a project like this from the ground up.

"You have this project in multiple forms, where we go across the city, talk to residents, talk to neighbors, talk to people about what they'd like to see in their neighborhoods," Foley said.

"Also, to talk to them about what's coming to their neighborhoods. There's a big push to make sure that everyone is included in whatever goes on in any neighborhood, whether it's a tree coming down, or a new housing development ... and this is just taking that an extra step forward."

According to Foley, one of the goals of this project is to bring people from different parts of the city together and to create more of an awareness of citizens' own neighborhoods. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) wants to see the Trump administration put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over his support of the Syrian government.

Putin criticized last week’s U-S air strike on a Syrian airfield, where a chemical weapons attack was launched on a Syrian city.

The Michigan Democrat says President Trump should pressure his Russian counterpart to drop his support of  Syrian Preisdent Bashar al-Assad, who Peters describes as a “war criminal’.

Stateside 4.10.2017

Apr 10, 2017

Today, we hear from a woman who served four years in prison for child abuse she didn't commit. And, we learn how much hope Michigan's Syrian-Americans are taking from President Trump's decision to launch cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase.

Syrian flag
Allyson Neville-Morgan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s been a week of extra-high emotions for the 10,000 Syrian-Americans who live in Michigan.

The chemical weapon attacks that killed men, women and children in Syria was followed by President Trump’s decision to launch cruise missiles, as punishment for that, at a Syrian airbase.

How much hope are Michigan’s Syrian-Americans taking from the president’s action?

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A coalition of community groups is encouraging Grand Rapids residents to contact the city manager and police chief after a March 24th encounter between police and a group of five African American boys.

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

An ethics watchdog organization is asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate a Twitter battle that broke out between Michigan Congressman Justin Amash and White House staffer Dan Scavino. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the group's allegations that Amash violated House rules and Scavino violated the Hatch Act

They also discuss a study that shows an increasingly bleak future for Michigan roads and bridges, legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients, and a report that says roughly $40 million was spent on the state's 14 congressional races in 2016. 

street facing Michigan capital
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing has become Michigan’s first official “sanctuary city.” Other cities, such has Detroit, have avoided that declaration and instead use terms such as “immigrant friendly” or “welcoming city." And there's a reason for that.

The term “sanctuary city” could put Lansing at risk of losing federal grants—all of them.

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

The Michigan legislature is considering a number of controversial bills on topics as diverse as concealed weapons and vaccinations.

Our political roundup duo joined Stateside today, as they do most Fridays, to break down the bills. That duo includes Vicki Barnett, former mayor of Farmington Hills and former Democratic legislator, and Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and former Republican majority leader in the state Senate.

Flickr user spyker3292 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last September at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Center near Ionia, an inmate died. He’d been in some kind of confrontation with another prisoner.

Corrections officers used stun guns to subdue 24-year-old Dustin Szot, who was serving time for home invasion. An autopsy listed his death as a homicide due to blunt force trauma. That's according to a recent article by The Detroit Free Press' Paul Egan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds roughly $40 million was spent on Michigan’s 14 Congressional races in 2016.  $9.4 million was spent in just one Michigan Congressional race, the battle for the formally vacant seat representing the U.P. and northern Michigan.

“That’s a large sum of money considering the fact that really none of these 14 Congressional races were that close in Michigan in 2016,” says Craig Mauger, the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee has re-introduced legislation to change the federal rules governing lead in drinking water.

Lead exposure has been linked to serious health problems in children and adults. 

The current federal action level is 15 parts per billion. Kildee wants the EPA to reduce that benchmark to five parts per billion by the year 2026.

Kildee’s bill would also tighten rules regarding water testing, service line inventories and improve public education

state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The meter continues to run on the state’s legal expenses for the Flint water disaster.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

An ethics watchdog organization wants the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Congressman Justin Amash violated House rules during a twitter fight with a White House staffer. The group filed ethics related complaints against both Amash and White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino.

Michigan History Center

100 years ago this week, the United States officially entered what was then called "The Great War." We know it today as World War I.

Lansing City Hall building
Michigan State Historic Preservation Office / Flickr

Lansing City Council officially designated itself a "sanctuary city." That move follows the Ann Arbor City Council's decision to not have police or city employees ask people about their immigration status. The Trump administration says "sanctuary cities" could lose their federal funding. Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether that would impact the two communities.

A home being demolished in Detroit.
City of Detroit / via Facebook

The agency in charge of most of Detroit’s demolition program is hitting back at a recent city auditor general’s report.

That report, issued late last month, accused the Detroit Land Bank Authority of poor management and dubious practices.

The DLBA has run most of Detroit’s aggressive anti-blight program under Mayor Mike Duggan, helping demolish almost 11,000 structures during his term.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Lansing is taking a stand against the Trump administration’s attack on “sanctuary cities.”

Will President Trump’s Twitter rage be turned against Michigan’s senior U.S. Senator if Debbie Stabenow votes against his nominee for the Supreme Court? And would it make a difference?

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The tweet came at 12:33 p.m. last Saturday.

Fraser home falling into the sinkhole.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A $3 million grant to fix the massive sinkhole in Fraser was at the center of a battle in the state Legislature this week. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the fight over the funding, which sparked a row between Macomb County Public Works commissioner Candice Miller and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekoff before ending in a stalemate.

Stateside 3.31.2017

Mar 31, 2017

On today's program, Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith stops by to explain what the recent Flint water settlement means for residents. Plus, an author shares her detailed account of a Michigan community coming together to save its dunes from development. 

state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

An increase in money for the private firm that's providing food for state prisoners and some cuts to water protection are a couple of the things making their way through the Michigan Legislature.

As we do every Friday, Stateside spoke with Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow with Public Sector Consultants and the former Republican majority leader in the state Senate and Vicki Barnett, a former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator in the House.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Flint are still digesting the terms of this week’s legal settlement and what it’ll mean for them.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal, under which the state and federal governments will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years.

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