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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee this afternoon, as the investigation continues into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council Monday night delayed a vote on extending the contract with the city’s drinking water supplier.

Flint has been getting its tap water from the Great Lakes Water Authority since October, 2015. The switch to GLWA ended an 18-month experiment that had the city get its drinking water from the Flint River, with disastrous results.

Community members talk about policing in Grand Rapids at the first of five scheduled public meetings scheduled for June.
Dustin Dwyer

Police department leaders and elected city officials in Grand Rapids listened quietly today at the first public meeting to discuss police and community relations. 

It was the first of five scheduled public meetings on the topic. The meetings came about in part because of a study released in April that showed Grand Rapids police pull over black and Hispanic drivers at disproportionate rates compared to whites. And, there was an incident in March in which a police officer held five unarmed black boys at gun point.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents
U.S. Air Force / Creative Commons

It was a traumatic, emotional weekend for the Chaldean community of Metro Detroit. Chaldeans are a Christian minority from the Middle East, mostly from Iraq, and many live in Southeast Michigan.

The fiercest rivalry in Michigan politics right now is between two candidates for governor who still have not actually announced they’re running.

We are seeing this rivalry play out between Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley in the nascent petition drive to make the state legislature part-time.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The city of Grand Rapids launches a series of public meetings today on police- community relations.

The meetings come after a study showed Grand Rapids police disproportionately pulled over black and Hispanic drivers in the city compared to whites.

As Michigan Radio reported when the study came out:

The study took into account the demographics of drivers at 20 intersections. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A tentative deal to steer more newly hired teachers into 401(k)-only retirement plans has stopped a surprising budget showdown between Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Snyder.

  But key details remain to be finalized in a matter of weeks before the Legislature's summer recess.

  The decisions will affect not only future school employees but also a $55 billion state spending plan that is poised to receive Snyder's imprint after he was excluded from earlier talks.

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

The Michigan Democratic Party must pay a $500,000 fine for violations related to bingo games that were used as political fundraisers. The fine is one of the largest ever assessed by the Federal Elections Commission.           

The violations were self-reported to the government by then-party chair Lon Johnson.

“I’ve always believed that how you run a campaign or how you run a political party is indicative of how you will govern, and I think it’s important that we follow the law,” he said.

Lindsey Smith

City commissioners in Grand Rapids are expected to vote next week on a budget that includes more money for affordable housing.

A preliminary plan released by the city in April included slightly more than $866,000 for the 2018 budget to launch an Affordable Housing Community Fund. The plan proposes about $1 million per year for future years. 

Grand Rapids is in the middle of a housing crisis, with relatively few homes or apartments available in the city, and prices skyrocketing.

child's drawing on chalkboard
iRon leSs / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

This week, The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a news release about a federal court update concerning how well Michigan protects children in the state’s child welfare system. The State agency’s release claims Michigan has made significant progress in better protecting children. Yet, an advocacy group is countering the state’s claim, saying there’s a long way to go before the state can guarantee the safety and welfare of children in foster care.

Steve Carmody / MICHIGAN RADIO

With so much happening around Michigan and in Washington D.C., Stateside invited U.S. Sen. Gary Peters to stop by to explain what's important to him and to Michigan right now. The Senator has a number of legislative items he's working on for the state and for the Great Lakes, but he also took the time to talk about former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony and President Trump’s tweets.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new tax break for redeveloping blighted land in Michigan is now law.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bill Thursday as he sat in the gutted lobby of a 120-year-old office building in downtown Saginaw. The Berringer building has sat unused for years as a series owners have tried and failed to renovate it.

teacher with two students
department of education / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Top lawmakers in the state Legislature have reached a tentative agreement with Gov. Rick Snyder about changes to the state’s teacher retirement system.

 

House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, and Senate Majority Leader Meekhof, R-West Olive, have been aggressively pursuing a plan to shut down the state’s hybrid pension and 401(k) system. Meekhof and Leonard want to put all new hires into a 401(k) plan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds many of Michigan’s state lawmakers have been penalized for not properly filing their campaign finance reports.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network scoured through state records and found fifty percent of current state lawmakers have paid fines for failing to follow Michigan’s campaign finance reporting requirements.

Executive Director Craig Mauger says most paid small amounts, while a few had to pay thousands of dollars.

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

There’s no end yet to the standoff between Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature’s Republican leaders that’s delayed wrapping up the state budget. But they are talking again.

 

 

Bottles of water
Flickr user Daniel Orth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Nestle wants to draw more spring water from its well in Osceola County.

As Michigan decides whether to approve Nestle’s request, there's a group with an especially large stake in that decision: Native American tribes who have treaty rights to those waters.

Spartan stadium
Flickr/Ken Lund / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Three Michigan State University football players have been charged with sexual assault stemming from an incident in January in which they allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on campus. 

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the this case and others, including former Olympic gymnastics and MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Grand Rapids police officer directing traffic.
Flickr user lincolnblues / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Grand Rapids will add an extra million dollars in next year’s budget to improve community and police relations. But city leaders still haven't decided how that money will be spent.

In April, many people in the city were outraged over an incident in which Grand Rapids police officers held five unarmed black boys at gunpoint. That same month, the city released a study showing that police were more likely to pull over black and Hispanic drivers than white drivers.

So yesterday, city commissioners decided to add a million dollars per year over the next five years for that goal. They just didn't decide how to spend the money.

Everyone’s back to the political games in D.C. and Lansing now that lawmakers are back from the annual Mackinac Island Policy Conference where one of the agenda items on the to-do list was restoring political civility.

Flint resident holding protest sign again  Phil Stair.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Genesee County Land Bank official resigned today, a day after a tape surfaced of him using a racial epithet to describe Flint residents.

dugganfordetroit.com

At the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference this week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan flatly explained to a mostly white audience the systematic racism that shaped the city of Detroit and the surrounding region. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessnberry talk about the impact of Duggan's speech and his vision for Detroit's future.

Stateside 6.2.2017

Jun 2, 2017

Lt. Gov. Calley joined Stateside today. He said a part-time legislature would give voters "more efficient" government and better laws. And, an EPA science advisory board member offers his take on pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord.

As state political leaders leave the Grand Hotel after this week's Mackinac Policy Conference, there's a state budget waiting for them to settle and approve in Lansing.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Mackinac Policy Conference wrapped up today. Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team, Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta​, were on the island covering it all week.

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley announced a government reform initiative, but it was not the announcement many expected him to make. Republicans are in the preparatory stages of dropping their names in the hat for Michigan’s next gubernatorial election, and it was thought that Calley could announce his candidacy at this year’s policy conference.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
Michigan House Republicans

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley said he would make a big announcement at the Mackinac Policy Conference. It was widely expected that he would announce his candidacy for Governor. That’s not what he did.

Instead he released a ten point plan he calls “Clean Michigan’s Government.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, with his two-year-old granddaughter on his lap and United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon looking on on the [far right], signs the COP21 Climate Change Agreement on behalf of the United States on April 22, 2016
Thomas Cizauskas / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump announced the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. The agreement calls on participating countries to make efforts to limit global temperature rise.

The United States joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries who did not sign on to the accord.

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is getting pushback for his big announcement earlier this week. Calley says he’ll push for a ballot proposal that would make Michigan’s legislature part-time.

Calley and other advocates say it’ll help clean up Michigan’s government. They argue it would cut down on taxpayer expenses and lawmakers should have to live and work at home under the laws they pass.

But even term-limited lawmakers, with no dog in the fight are arguing against the proposal.

Soo Locks
Jim Newsome / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan’s congressional delegation is getting ready to fight for a big piece of federal spending on infrastructure. They want roughly $1 billion to upgrade the shipping lanes of the Soo Locks.

“There’s been no comprehensive improvement in the locks in over 50 years, and we are concerned we are on borrowed time,” said  Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The locks in Sault Sainte Marie don’t have enough room to handle modern, larger ships. The locks also have a lot of aging components. 

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
Michigan House Republicans

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is raising his profile ahead of an anticipated run for governor next year.

Calley used a conference of political and business leaders this week to roll out a government reform agenda.

The plans include making it easier to get information from the government, forbidding elected officials from going directly into lobbying the state, and financial disclosure by politicians.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

One of the big topics during this week's Mackinac Policy Conference is higher education: how to help schools turn out the workforce that Michigan's businesses need, while also tackling funding challenges.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel is attending the Mackinac Policy Conference. The University Research Corridor  – consisting of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State – recently released its latest report on contributions those schools make to Michigan in the areas of life, medical and health sciences.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Progressive Democrats are using Flint’s water crisis as a backdrop for a battle over the federal budget.

On Thursday, a group of Flint residents and Progressive Democrats gathered outside the city’s water treatment plant to promote an alternative to President Trump’s budget plan.

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