Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

www.michigandems.com/lon

Michigan Democrats held their party convention in Detroit over the weekend.

Their mission was to choose their top leader and to figure out how to win come Election Day 2016.

The first order of business was easy: Chairman Lon Johnson had no competition for the top leadership spot.

The second order of business, however, was a bit more involved.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Flickr

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow is worried about a potential shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.

“I am very concerned and actually quite shocked that it’s gotten to this point,” Stabenow said during a visit to St. Joseph Monday morning.

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

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee says a majority of "reasonable Republicans" would be willing to avoid a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security next week.

But on Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner says that's exactly what will happen, if the Senate does not pass a DHS funding bill that can also pass in the House.

Homeland Security will shut down by Friday, February 27th, if a funding bill is not approved.

A number of House Republicans say the funding bill must include provisions to roll back recent presidential orders on immigration, which allow certain people brought to the United States illegally as children to remain in the U.S., and defer deportation of their parents.

Democratic state Representative Gretchen Driskell’s nascent campaign for Congress relies in part on the assumption that Hillary Clinton will be at the top of the Democratic ticket next year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Democrats are gathering to conduct party business and to re-elect their leader for another two-year term.

Lon Johnson is expected to be chosen as chairman again at the party's convention Saturday afternoon in Detroit. He took charge in 2013.

  He says the party's infrastructure has improved under his watch, but Democrats have to start winning races.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan felt a bit like a Monty-Python sketch this week as the Snyder administration looked on the bright side of a gaping budget hole and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s State of the City oozed optimism. Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clarke discuss whether things really are as bright as they say or if dark clouds are looming.


quicksandala / morgueFile

The state Auditor General says the Michigan Department of Transportation spent millions of dollars on commuter rail cars that aren’t being used.

The audit found the department missed out on applying for federal mass transit funds that could have defrayed the state’s costs, and failed to ensure all railway crossings are safe.

The report also found the state spent almost $10 million refurbishing rail cars that were never put to use.

“The projects got delayed, and then the issue became, OK, you put the money into the overhaul,” said Tim Hoeffner of MDOT. “You need to keep them available. And the question is, how long should we keep them available.” 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Shiawassee County officials missed a deadline to get a millage on the May ballot.

So, the county will continue making do without sheriff's road patrols for now.

Hartman Aue is the new chairman of the County Commission.

He says previous commissions "kicked the can down the road," and ignored budget deficits until they got out of control. 

Then, they cut $1.5 million out of the Sheriff's Department budget.

I’m so old I can remember when the California presidential primary, which takes place at the beginning of June, often played a major role in choosing both parties’ nominees.

These days, the contests start nearly two years before the election, and tend to be decided by the end of March, but there’s no reason that might not be different next year.

How much does your vote count? Thanks to gerrymandering, it depends on where you live.
Theresa Thompson / Flickr

Michigan Republicans would vote for their presidential nominee on March 15 of next year, under a bill that’s cleared the state Senate. But there’s still a lot to settle as far as the GOP nominating process.

Budget tiles
Simon Cunningham / Flickr

Each Thursday, we talk to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. Today, we take a look at Governor Snyder's budget priorities and the lingering question of how Michigan will fund its road improvements.

Courtesy of City of Detroit, Mayor's Office

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan delivered his State of the City address this week.

Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes says Duggan didn't talk much about the auto industry, but instead focused on entrepreneurship and how to support small businesses.

This reflects much of Detroit, and Michigan's deeper history, according to Howes.

"Both Detroit and Michigan's roots were planted by entrepreneurs and really the Michigan that a lot of people knew and think back on, the golden age if you will, was the fruit of the entrepreneurial spirit," says Howes.

Michigan House Republicans

Governor Snyder delivered his proposed budget for the next fiscal year yesterday and Lt. Governor Brian Calley was at his side. Calley presented the transportation portion of the administration's budget.

After the announcement, some critics noted there's not much of a backup plan if voters turn down a ballot proposal in May to increase road funding.

Calley says the backup plan is the status quo.

Update 2/12/2015:

 The Michigan Senate adopted legislation early today to establish a March 15th, 2016, Republican presidential primary.* It could position the state to join a Midwest super-primary sometimes dubbed the “Big Ten” primary.

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a budget-cutting executive order, and presented a spending plan for the coming fiscal year. Schools, universities, and local governments were spared cuts as part the order to help clear away a deficit.

Saunteel Jenkins / LinkedIn

Detroit's City Council is re-interviewing two finalists for an open seat, after failing to reach a super-majority of votes as required by the city's charter.   

A city council seat has been open since November 7, when Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins resigned to take over a non-profit group in Detroit.

wikipedia

Michigan Senator Gary Peters says he supports the President asking Congress to authorize war against a terrorist group.  

But he says the request should have come sooner.

The U.S. has been carrying out a military air campaign against the Islamic State for six months.

Michigan Radio

It’s estimated that in the United States some 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

“It is a tragedy, one that we have to deal with,” Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters said. “In my mind we have a sacred obligation to take care of those who have served us overseas, so we need to address it immediately.”

This week, Jack and Emily discuss what we can expect from Governor Rick Snyder’s budget address later this morning as well as some high points from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s State of the City address last night.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Last night Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan gave his first State of the City address since the municipality emerged from bankruptcy.

"Well, as we gather here tonight, I can sum up the condition of our city in a phrase we haven’t been able to use for years. Detroit is now on the road to recovery."

Duggan outlined progress made in getting families into once abandoned houses, demolishing blight, and putting up street lights.

taxcredits.net

Governor Snyder is set to deliver his budget proposal for the next fiscal year tomorrow morning in Lansing. The just released Michigan Radio/Public Sector Consultants poll takes a look at where the voters of Michigan would like to see the state invest.

michigan.gov

Governor Rick Snyder will present his budget proposal tomorrow, including plans to tackle a deficit. But he will also propose some new spending on public safety.

A lot of the initiatives will focus on preventing and prosecuting sexual assaults. The governor will propose an initiative that targets university campuses, and an additional $3.4 million to make sure rape kits are processed in a timely fashion.

“I think everyone would agree that sexual assault has to be dealt with, and there’s going to be a priority placed on those kinds of crimes,” said Colonel Kristie Etue is the Michigan State Police director.

Three months ago, Gretchen Driskell was elected to a second term in the Michigan House of Representatives. Yesterday, she announced that next year, she will run for Congress.

There was a time when such an early announcement would have sparked derision and ridicule. The election is almost two years away. 

Budget tiles
Simon Cunningham / Flickr

A Michigan Radio/Public Sector Consultants poll of 600 likely voters in Michigan found that if they were making today's tough budget decisions, a majority would invest more in job creation, and most would make cuts to prisons.

The findings were released today - a day before Governor Snyder is expected to announce where he thinks money in the state budget should be spent, and where it should be cut.

Today on Stateside:

  • Governor Snyder will present his recommended budget for 2015-2016 on Wednesday morning and Detroit Free Press Lansing reporter Paul Egan joins us to discuss.
  •   Third grade teacher from Keith Elementary in Walled Lake speaks about her first book: Diary of a Real Bully.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Anybody worried about the water coming out of their taps in Flint can get a city employee to come test their water personally – on the city’s dime.

That’s according to about a dozen or so letters the city says it is sending out to people who’ve complained about their water quality in city meetings or in letters to city hall.

Michigan's Capitol.
Graham Davis / flickr

The state of Michigan is facing a revenue shortfall, and cuts will have to be made, but one state senator says education is not on the chopping block.

More from the Associated Press:

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Just three months after the November elections, a Democrat has announced she’ll run against Republican Congressman Tim Walberg.

Second-term Michigan State Representative Gretchen Driskell (D-52nd) is challenging Walberg in the Seventh Congressional District.

Mlive

Traverse City has become the second city in Michigan to recognize Indigenous People's Day on the same date as Columbus Day.

Angeline Antoine is a member of the group Idle No More Michigan that put the resolution before the Traverse City City Council.

She says Columbus never set foot on American soil -- and he mistreated the natives he came into contact with.

"If we can recognize these truths, then we can open dialogue for reconcialiation and break down the barriers between the native and non-native community," she says.

morguefile

An organization of Michigan biotech companies is pushing to fix for a law they say unfairly burdens medical device companies with a requirement to hire a pharmacist.

The Pharmacy Control and Drug Practice law, Public Act 280 went into effect Sept. 30, 2014.

Pages