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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Today, we hear about the lame duck bill that would be "Citizens United on Steroids" for our state. And attention Midwesterners: Turns out you do have an accent. 

Ballots waiting to be recounted in Ingham County.
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

It's been quite the legal whirlwind of lawsuits and early-morning judicial ruling, but the Michigan recount began today.

Local clerks are working furiously to meet the order to hand-count more than 4.8 million votes cast by Michiganders in the presidential election.

The first recounts are happening in Oakland and Ingham counties.

Michigan is one of only a couple of states that don’t already require all lawmakers to be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There isn't much we in America can agree on these days.

However, some might say we are pretty well united on one thing: Most of us think the Citizens United ruling stinks and needs to go.

Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Police officers, fire fighters, and other municipal employees are planning what they are titling a “call to action” Tuesday at the state Capitol.

Lawmakers are holding a second hearing on a series of bills that would cut health benefits for municipal retirees like police officers and fire fighters. The bills would aggressively scale back retiree health benefits in cities with high unfunded liability costs. 

Report shows declining road conditions in Michigan.
Michigan Infrastructure Commission

During his January 2016 State of the State address, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder apologized to the people of Flint for the water crisis in that city, saying "government failed you."

During that speech, he called for the creation of an independent commission to examine Michigan's infrastructure needs. He later signed an executive order creating the commission.

The largest vote recount in Michigan’s history has been ordered to begin this afternoon at noon.

Very early this morning, federal judge Mark Goldsmith ordered the state to, “cease any delay in the commencement of the recount of the presidential vote cast in Michigan as of noon…”

Voters in Midland cast ballots for Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians on Tuesday.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued his ruling regarding the presidential recount a little after midnight, following a rare Sunday hearing in his Detroit courtroom.

Goldsmith heard arguments over the logistics of the recount and how much the state would have to spend, but in his written opinion, he said what’s most important is the integrity of the presidential election in Michigan.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein's lawyers argued that waiting until Wednesday to start a recount would cut too close to the Dec. 13 deadline to have it finished.

Sink in Flint with a warning sign.
Virginia Tech

A federal appeals court may weigh in this week on a lower court order that directs the state of Michigan and the city of Flint to start delivering water to homes without a working filter.

The city’s is still dealing with a public health crisis after it was found tap water was contaminated with elevated levels of lead. Recent tests by researchers with Virginia Tech show significant improvement in lead levels, but the use of filters is still encouraged.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It looks like the ballot recount in Michigan will move forward, unless the courts decide to get involved. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the recount as well as a state bill that would tighten up voter ID laws and another that would ban plastic bag bans.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The Obama Administration has detailed in a nearly 60-page report the federal government's role in Detroit's turnaround.

  The report was released Saturday and says a federal and local partnership started in 2011 used financial, technical and other support to help the city which emerged two years ago from the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy.

  Federal staff was assigned to City Hall to work with community, business and philanthropic leaders to identify resources to assist in Detroit's recovery.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A push to curtail health care benefits for municipal retirees in Michigan is setting off a fight between those who say billions in debt can no longer be ignored and critics who contend it would cheat people out of coverage.

  The new Republican-sponsored plan could be enacted yet this year. It aims to address $11 billion in unfunded liabilities.

  Starting in May, newly hired municipal workers would no longer qualify for health insurance in retirement. Local governments could instead contribute to a tax-deferred account such as a health savings plan.

The Michigan Senate.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Some lawmakers are hoping to pass a bill in this lame-duck session of the Legislature that would force new teachers into a 401(k)-style retirement system, and move the state away from supporting a traditional pension system.

Supporters say it would save the state money in the long term. Critics say it will blow a major hole in the state budget in the near term.

A sign posted in a Troy polling place in 2014.
ACLU of Michigan

In the lame duck session of the Michigan Legislature, a package of bills is being debated.

It would require already-registered Michigan voters to present a photo ID card. If you did not have an ID at the polling place you could vote, but you’d have to present an ID to election officials within 10 days or your vote would not count.

The vice chair of the House Elections Committee, Democrat Representative Gretchen Driskell joined Stateside to talk about why she voted "no" on the voter ID proposals in committee.

Today we sort through the flurry of controversial lame duck bills and hear from an Arab-American comedian who believes "comedy is most needed in times of despair." We also cheers to Repeal Day with FDR's martini.

A person marking a ballot.
flickr user Michael Dorausch / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today, the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on President-elect Donald Trump’s request to stop a recount of votes in this state.

Two Republicans on the board voted today to prevent the recount, while two Democrats said it should proceed.

The state chair of the Republican Party, Ronna Romney McDaniel said the party expected this result.

A state spokesman announced the recount will begin Tuesday or Wednesday, barring a court order.

The number of hate incidents logged during the 10 days after the general election.
Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a new report showing that it received 40 hate incident complaints in the 10 days following the U.S. general election on Nov. 8, 2016.

Hate incidents are defined as acts of hostility directed at a person based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The center recorded 22 incidents in Ohio, 16 in Indiana, 25 in Illinois, and 13 in Wisconsin. There were 867 incidents nationwide.

Many hate incidents have been reported by the media in Michigan.

Ken Sikkema expects the Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing to be even more conservative in 2017.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

It’s the Michigan Legislature’s lame duck session, and a lot is going on.

Susan Demas and Ken Sikkema joined us today to take a look at what our legislators have on their plate.

Ballots
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Plans to move ahead with a ballot recount in Michigan are on hold. The state Republican Party and President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign have filed an objection to the recount request by Green Party nominee Jill Stein. A state elections board meets tomorrow morning to consider the objection.

Michigan’s ballot recount is delayed until at least next week. We check in with Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum. Plus, the iconic and once-shuttered Belle Isle Aquarium is approaching its old glory. We find out just what it's taken to bring it back.    

To find individual interviews, click here or see below: 

A Senate committee approved a bill that would end pensions for incoming new teachers in Michigan. They would be put into market-based 401 (k)-style plans.
Matthileo / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The lame-duck session in Lansing has been quacking along at a fast pace.

Yesterday, a Senate committee approved a bill that would end pensions for incoming new teachers in Michigan. The pensions would be put into market-based 401 (k)-style plans.

Senator Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, who represents the 34th District, which includes Muskegon, joined Stateside to talk about it. Hansen was one of the two Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee, along with Mike Nofs, who voted against the effort.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

For county clerks all over Michigan, the presidential vote recount has them scrambling to hand-count some 4.8 million ballots in less than two weeks.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum took a few minutes away from the scramble to discuss the process on Stateside.

Screen shot of Breitbart.com on November 29, 2016.
screen grab

Update: December 1, 2016:

LOS ANGELES - Breitbart is encouraging a boycott of Kellogg's products after the cereal maker said it would no longer advertise on the news and opinion website, formerly run by President-elect Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon.

The Kellogg Company cited company "values" in explaining its decision; a spokeswoman said Thursday it has "nothing to do with politics."

Breitbart has been condemned for featuring racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Changes to Michigan’s voter identification laws might go through in the legislature’s lame duck session. A House committee heard testimony on the bills Wednesday.

The bills would require voters to prove their identity within 10 days of voting if they do not have a photo ID on them at the polls.

The legislation comes in the wake of a state-wide recount and an election filled with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Jill Stein requested a recount of the presidential election in Michigan today. We discuss what that means and what comes next. And, we hear why an MS patient believes responsible adults should have the right to choose marijuana.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein today made an official request for a recount of votes in Michigan.

Michigan Radio's Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta was at today's announcement. He joined Stateside from Lansing to explain the news.

Pluta said at the announcement, the Stein campaign again echoed what they’ve been saying all along.

(courtesy of KQED)

Public school teachers could see changes to their retirement plans. That’s under changes getting pushed through in the state legislature’s lame duck session.

The bills were passed through the Senate Appropriations committee Wednesday by a narrow nine votes to eight. The committee met for several hours taking testimony and engaging in sometimes heated debate.

The current system is a combination pension and 401(k), but the legislation would put all new teachers under just a 401(k) plan.

A person marking a ballot.
flickr user Michael Dorausch / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There’s so much at stake in a recount. So much that must be done correctly, and with the Electoral College vote looming, the clock is ticking.

Melvin “Butch” Hollowell knows what that’s like. Currently the corporation counsel for the city of Detroit, he’s worked on many crucial recounts: the Bush-Gore recount in Florida in 2000, the 2005 recount of the Detroit mayoral election between Kwame Kilpatrick and Freman Hendrix, the 2013 recount involving Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and more.

"354,000 people signed their name on a petition to vote on this issue. They were ignored. I think that's unconscionable," Jamison said.
flickr user Dank Depot / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


From an early-morning fixture on Detroit television to an advocate for legalized marijuana in Michigan, Anqunette Jamison has made quite a transition.

The former Fox 2 Detroit anchorwoman walked away from her TV job to become a volunteer for MI Legalize, one of the groups that’s been fighting to put the question of legalization before Michigan voters.

She’s got a very personal stake in the fight for legalization: Jamison uses marijuana to help with her multiple sclerosis.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has requested a full hand recount of Michigan's presidential vote.

Stein requested the recount on Wednesday. She had already requested recounts in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Republican Donald Trump won all three states. He defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Michigan by 10,704 votes out of nearly 4.8 million ballots cast. Stein alleges that irregularities and the potential for hacking into scanning devices call into question the results.

The Michigan recount could start as early as Friday.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The Green Party is expected to file paperwork to formally request a recount of the presidential election votes in Michigan. This Week in Michigan Politics, senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talks with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about why he's already confident the results are correct.

They also discuss President-elect Donald Trump's choice of Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education, Congressman Sander Levin's decision not to seek re-election as leader of the Ways and Means Committee, and the transition of the Detroit Promise scholarship from a two year to a four year program.


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