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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

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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.


Dr. Larry Nassar.
Michigan Attorney General's office

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Lawyers for 13 women and girls have told Michigan State University that they plan to sue the school over alleged sexual assaults by a doctor who also worked for USA Gymnastics.

A notice was filed Tuesday in the Court of Claims. It's a procedural step under state law.

The letter accuses Dr. Larry Nassar of "digital penetration" without proper notice "under the guise of providing care" at his office at Michigan State, from 1996 to 2015. Attorney Stephen Drew says most were gymnasts from across Michigan.

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

Lawmakers could be making changes to Governor Rick Snyder’s mission to scale back the use of tax incentives to attract jobs and investment. Two packages of bills offering incentives to businesses passed in the Senate Tuesday.

Proponents of the packages say they will spur economic growth by providing incentives like tax abatements and redirecting tax revenues toward economic development projects.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

The estimated cost of recounting all the votes in Michigan’s presidential election continues to rise. State officials plan to charge Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein almost $1 million to conduct the recount. But Secretary of State Ruth Johnson guessed as much as $2 million.  Republican Party attorney Eric Doster thinks it will be closer to the $10 million cost of running a statewide election.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today is the official start of the lame-duck period for Michigan’s 98th Legislature.

Some of us remember the frenetic pace of the lame-duck in 2012, when state lawmakers passed something like 300 bills. That included "right to work" and a new emergency manager law to replace the one voters had just repealed.

Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, joined Stateside to discuss what’s on the to-do list this year during lame duck.

39 arrested at Detroit minimum wage protest

Nov 29, 2016
Demonstrators block traffic in Detroit early Tuesday morning.
D15 / McConnell Communications Inc

Detroit police arrested 39 people this morning during a protest outside a McDonald's on Grand River Avenue. 

The protest was part of a national campaign of planned strikes and civil disobedience to fight for a $15 hourly wage and the right to unionize.

According to Commander Elvin Barren of the Detroit Police Department, the protest was peaceful, and about 350 people participated. 

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

Donald Trump has selected five people for his cabinet. His most recent choice is Republican Rep. Tom Price, R-GA, as Secretary of Health and Human Services. 

Though Price has served as Georgia's 6th District congressman since 2004, most of his childhood and young adulthood was spent in Michigan. 

Price was born in Lansing, Michigan and graduated from Dearborn High School, according to Congress' Biographical Directory. He also pursued post-secondary education in Michigan.

Recall organizer Alex Harris (right at podium) could not convince a panel of Genesee County officials to approve his petition language against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (left)
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An effort to recall Flint’s mayor has been derailed.

It didn’t take long for the Genesee County Board of Electors to dispatch the petition, maybe two minutes.

The extremely short meeting ended after recall organizer Alex Harris admitted he didn’t have evidence of his first claim against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver that she didn’t pay her water bill.

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

Republican Donald Trump is officially the winner of the presidential race in Michigan. A state elections board certified the results today, but now a recount looms.

This afternoon, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers will, in all likelihood, certify the results of the November 8th election - bringing Campaign 2016 to an official close and opening the door to Recount 2016.

Unprecedented

Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania are about to become the center of the U.S. political universe as the Green Party and its presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, try to upset the order of things and make elections officials in those three states go back and check their work.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the Genesee County Election Board  will decide whether to approve language for a recall petition against Flint mayor Karen Weaver.

Organizer Alex Harris has run recall efforts against two previous Flint mayors, Woodrow Stanley and Don Williamson. Stanley was recalled.  Williamson stepped down before a recall vote.

Harris himself has run unsuccessfully for seats on the Flint city council and school board.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan regulators have directed their staff to develop rules designed to toughen utilities' defenses against cyberattacks.

  Michigan Public Service Commission Chairwoman Sally Talberg says natural gas and electric providers face attempted intrusions into their computer system on an almost daily basis. She says federal and state governments need to work with utilities to create programs to deal with security issues.

President Donald Trump continues to claim, despite a lack of proof, that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election. Trump won the election, but lost the popular vote by nearly three million.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

President-elect Donald Trump is condemning the push to force recounts in three states pivotal to his Nov. 8 victory.

In a statement released by his transition team, Trump called the developing recount effort "a scam."

He says, "The people have spoken and the election is over."

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Money talks - and in 2016, it also wins elections. In 91% of state house races this year, the candidate with more money won. 

That's according to analysis by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Executive Director Craig Mauger compared the election results with financial reports.  

“In the other 8 races where the candidate...who had less money won, it was often very close.  Both candidates raised a lot of money,” says Mauger.

“As far as we're concerned here in Michigan, there's no suggestion or allegation that there were any hacks or any attempts to that," Woodhams said.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Yesterday, New York Magazine published an article that quickly went viral. It's entitled "Experts Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing States."

One of those swing states mentioned in the piece is Michigan, and one of the experts cited is J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society.

Fred Woodhams from the Secretary of State's office joined Stateside to discuss the likelihood of election hacking in Michigan. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The Detroit Pistons are coming back to ... well, Detroit.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about who stands to win and who stands to lose after the Pistons leave the Palace of Auburn Hills for the new Little Caesar's Arena in downtown Detroit.

They also discuss the State's argument that literacy is not a constitutional right when it comes to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Detroit school children, and the future of Detroit's two major newspapers.


Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

One of the most divisive elections in our country’s history is now in the rear-view mirror.

At Monday night’s Issues & Ale Pundit Summit, we debriefed and began to look forward into the new political climate established on Nov. 8.

According to Halderman, pink counties have a paper trail. Blue counties do not.
Image courtesy of J. Alex Halderman

A blog post in New York Magazine has been sweeping around the internet because it calls into question the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Ingham Co. Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As the Prosecuting Attorney for Ingham County, Stuart Dunnings III was the guy who sent people to prison. Today, the disgraced former prosecutor stood before a judge in Genesee County Circuit Court after pleading guilty to a felony charge of misconduct in office, and a misdemeanor charge of engaging the services of a prostitute.

Dunnings had been facing 15 prostitution-related charges that were spread over three counties. He was sentenced to three years probation, with the first year to be served in county jail.

Gov. Rick Snyder.
Courtesy Detroit Regional Chamber / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder declined to endorse Donald Trump during the election. (He didn't endorse any candidate for president, according to our It's Just Politics ​team.)

And the Associated Press reported that Gov. Snyder referred to Trump's comments about women as "revolting and disgusting."

Senator Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC in 2011.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some Detroit leaders, clergy, and activists spoke out against Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. Attorney General on Monday, denouncing him as someone who would “take us back to the Jim Crow era.”

They said Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, has a particularly bad history when it comes to African-American voting rights, and other civil rights issues.

But Rev. Paul Perez, with the Detroit conference of the United Methodist Church, says that’s not the only area of concern.

On this episode of Stateside, we dig into the question of whether Michigan students have a right to literacy, and what a re-write of the North American Free Trade Agreement could mean for Michigan and our biggest trading partner, Canada.  Also, a mold-breaking Michigander shares her story of making it as an advertising executive... there's a new Yelp-like app for migrant workers... an indigenous game developer talks about healing water through songs... and Michigan Radio's John U. Bacon breaks down the sporting news from this past weekend.

Water faucent in Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

This week, delinquent residential water customers in Flint are facing a choice: pay up or their service may be cutoff.

The city of Flint has had some success getting commercial water customers to pay up past due accounts using a carrot and stick approach. Pay up and continue to get a state credit on their bills or risk losing water and sewer service. More than ¾ Flint commercial water customers are now up to date on their water and sewer bills. There are a few, including two apartment complexes, that are facing shutoffs.

Michigan flag.
wikimedia commons

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about a loss to Trump’s transition team, newspaper cutbacks, a possible state flag makeover.

President-elect Trump claims that he is going to bring back coal production, but is there a market demand for it?
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Energy policy will change under the new administration and state policies in places such as Michigan are more likely to look like Trump policies than Obama polices. That's the opinion of Mark A. Barteau, the director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute.

Trump has made clear statements that he believes climate change is a hoax and he plans to dismantle the Obama administration’s energy policies. This will affect gas and oil production. Trump has also said he’ll bring “clean coal” production back, but it's not certain there is market demand.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0, cropped

The mayor of Warren is defending a social media post that caused some panic and confusion among residents this week.

In a Facebook post late Wednesday, Jim Fouts referenced a “major environmental scandal brewing in Macomb County” that “could be a mini version of what happened in Flint.”

Following the post, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says his office was flooded with calls about the safety of the area's drinking water.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Hackel scolded Fouts for stirring up panic.

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