Politics & Government

Politics & Government
8:12 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Legislature approves $8.15 Michigan minimum wage

Credit Perezhilton.com

Michigan workers making the minimum wage will get a raise in September.

Gov. Rick Snyder quickly signed the legislation tonight, before organizers of a petition campaign to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour submit signatures Wednesday.

The new law boosts the state’s minimum wage to $8.15 an hour this year. It will gradually increase the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour by 2018. After that, it will rise with inflation.

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Stateside
4:44 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Bridge to Canada takes a back seat to politics in Lansing

A conceptual image of the bridge.
Credit buildthedricnow.com

What's up with the building of the new bridge between Detroit and Windsor?

It appears that the bridge is taking a back seat to politics in Lansing. 

As the Detroit News editorial team wrote, "Gov. Rick Snyder should not still be herding cats to get the new bridge build across the Detroit river."

Much of the opposition to the new bridge continues from Republican lawmakers, even after it was assumed that a new bridge was set to go.

So, now what?

Republican state senators have put in language in a transportation bill that would stop the state from purchasing land for the new bridge. 

John Pappageorge is a Republican state senator from Troy, and he joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
4:41 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Michigan House looks to fast-track minimum wage hike

Credit Thetoad / Flickr

We know that last week the state Senate gave speedy approval to a minimum wage measure.

Now the House is giving a fast-track to its own version, and both are designed to kill off a citizen petition drive to put the question of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour on the November ballot.

Why is the House acting on this issue so quickly?

And what do Michigan voters think about raising the minimum wage?

Kathleen Gray, a political reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us from the State Capitol.

*Listen to the story above.

Politics & Culture
3:24 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder wants it. Big business wants it. And Canada is willing to foot the bill for it.

So why is the new bridge between Detroit and Windsor being sidetracked by politics in Lansing and foot-dragging in Washington?

Also, today on Stateside, a new study finds that female parolees and probationers who live in poor, high-crime neighborhoods, lack the support systems that those in more affluent areas have. That’s not a huge surprise, but how does this impact their chances of winding up back in prison?

And the state House is taking up a proposed increase to the minimum wage.

We know that last week the state Senate gave speedy approval to a minimum-wage measure.

Now the House is giving a fast-track to its own version, and both are designed to kill off a citizen petition drive to put the question of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour on the November ballot.

Why is the House acting on this issue so quickly?

And what do Michigan voters think about raising the minimum wage?

Kathleen Gray, a political reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us from the State Capitol.

*Listen to the story above.

Politics & Government
2:37 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Report identifies 84,641 structures and vacant lots in Detroit that need help

The main image on the report released today.
Credit Data Driven Detroit

The number comes from a much-anticipated report on the state of decay in Detroit's neighborhoods and what can be done about that decay.

The final report from the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force is titled, "Every Neighborhood Has a Future...And It Doesn't Include Blight."

The report's authors say a combination of blight removal and investment in Detroit's neighborhoods should be the goal for the city's leaders.

From the report:

Structure removal alone will not be enough to fully transform Detroit’s neighborhoods. There must be a concentrated reinvestment in Detroit’s neighborhoods, which will allow for the rebuilding of value.

The report draws heavily on a technology project aimed at cataloging buildings in the city. The Motor City Mapping Project relied on teams of people going out, snapping photos of a building or lot, and then attaching information to that cataloged parcel.

Here's how it worked:

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Politics & Government
12:47 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

The Michigan Senate will decide the fate of the Detroit rescue package

Inside the Michigan Senate.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The $195 million Detroit rescue package moves to the Michigan Senate this week after easily clearing the state House by wide margins.

Gov. Rick Snyder is hoping for speedy action to get the deal wrapped up no later than early June.

“I would remind people our work is not done,” Snyder said. “I’d like to thank the House for their wonderful work, but we still have work to get done in the Senate. Hopefully, we can get that done in a prompt fashion, but this is a great opportunity to move Michigan ahead.”

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Politics & Government
2:19 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Wolf hunt supporters deliver their petition signatures Tuesday

Last year, nearly two dozen wolves were shot and killed by hunters in the Upper Peninsula during a state sanctioned wolf hunt.
Credit USFWS Midwest

After spending months collecting signatures, hunting groups plan to deliver their petitions to the Secretary of State’s office tomorrow.

The petition is aimed at cementing a wolf hunt in Michigan law.

In November, voters will decide two ballot questions challenging state laws allowing the state to authorize a wolf hunt. Last year, nearly two dozen wolves were shot and killed by hunters in the Upper Peninsula during a state sanctioned wolf hunt.

Wolf hunt opponents say the hunt is unnecessary for a species just recently removed from the endangered list.

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Politics & Government
11:43 am
Mon May 26, 2014

The end of the road may be coming for Michigan's Driver Responsibility fees

People with driving violations, like drunk driving, have to pay the fees which can climb to a couple thousand dollars.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan is edging closer to ending its very unpopular Driver Responsibility fees.

The state fees were created a decade ago to help raise much needed-money for the state budget.

People with driving violations, like drunk driving, have to pay the fees which can climb to a couple thousand dollars.

Joe Haveman is a state representative from Holland. He says the fees are unfair.

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Politics & Government
8:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Wayne County getting much-needed cash from its treasurer; report finds he owes more

Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz
Credit via Wayne County

Struggling Wayne County will get a much-needed cash infusion, thanks to its own treasurer’s office—and the county’s auditor general thinks it should get even more.

Michigan’s largest county is in major financial trouble, running a deficit of at least $175 million and growing.

The state recently approved a deficit-elimination plan that includes steep cuts and possible asset sales. And there’s been lots of speculation about a possible emergency manager coming down the road.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

2 from Michigan champion the A-10 in Congress--and right now, they're winning

An A-10 Thunderbolt
Credit wikipedia

If Congress has its way, it looks like the country’s fleet of A-10 warplanes will keep on flying for at least for another year.

The Obama Administration has repeatedly tried to retire the A-10 “Warthog,” an aircraft with origins in the Cold War era. The Defense Department says it’s now obsolete.

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Politics & Government
3:06 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

New Michigan law waives fees for vets seeking job licenses

Two bills unanimously approved by the Legislature would waive fees for veterans applying for occupational, security and alarm licensing fees if they were honorably discharged.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws waiving fees for Michigan veterans seeking certain job licenses from the state.

Two bills unanimously approved by the Legislature would waive fees for veterans applying for occupational, security and alarm licensing fees if they were honorably discharged.

Snyder says the bills "will help connect our veterans to job opportunities that may have not been available otherwise." Approximately 680,000 veterans live in Michigan.

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Politics & Government
1:55 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

Turning to Michigan casinos to help collect unpaid child support

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the future, parents who fail to pay their child support might be risking more at Michigan casinos than they realize.

A state House committee recently approved a package of bills to streamline and improve child support collection. One of the bills would require casinos in

Michigan to check to see if big winners owe back child support. Casinos already check to see if big winners owe back taxes.

Ken Kurtz is a state representative from Coldwater. He says this would not be a major inconvenience for casino operators.

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Politics & Government
3:02 pm
Sat May 24, 2014

Duggan: "We got enough" in grand bargain bills

Mike Duggan

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he “completely supports” the Detroit aid package being debated in Lansing, despite the conditions attached to it.

The 11-bill package would put $195 million in state funds toward the $816 million “grand bargain:” a deal to smooth Detroit’s trip through bankruptcy by minimizing cuts to retiree pensions, and shielding the Detroit Institute of Arts’ assets from city creditors.

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Politics & Government
11:23 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Where things stand on completing Michigan's budget

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are tackling some hefty issues like fuel taxes, Detroit's bankruptcy and the minimum wage in the last weeks before their summer break.

They're also trying to finalize Michigan's next spending plan.

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Politics & Government
9:01 am
Sat May 24, 2014

The week in review: Updates on Detroit bankruptcy, and the roads

Credit Shawn Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss the latest with the Detroit bankruptcy including political push back from the Koch brothers and money from JPMorgan Chase, and the ongoing debate about Michigan's crummy and crumbling roads.

Week in Review interview for 5/23/14

Politics & Government
4:29 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Judge: Conyers will be on Aug. primary ballot

Veteran Congressman John Conyers’ name will appear on the August primary ballot. That’s the ruling of U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman, who struck down Michigan’s requirement that only registered voters can circulate candidate nominating petitions.

Earlier today, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson ruled that a problem with petition circulators threatened to bring an end to Conyers’ almost 50-year congressional career. Judge Leitman quickly followed with a ruling that requiring petition circulators to be registered voters violates free speech rights, and is not consistent with other court decisions. 

Also, Michigan does not have the same requirement for people who circulate petitions to put a question on the ballot.

Leitman issued an order that puts Conyers name into the Democratic primary, where he’ll face Detroit pastor Horace Sheffield.

If Conyers is reelected, the icon of the civil rights movement will be the dean of the House.

Politics & Government
2:56 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

State aid to Detroit gets overwhelming support from Republicans (yes, you read that correctly)

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

In Lansing yesterday with the state House approving that $195 million for Detroit, a lot of us were anticipating a close vote. A very close vote.

There was a lot of back and forth about how many votes the Republicans would have to put up and how many the Democrats would have to put up. But, in the end, it wasn’t even close.

Other than the dust-up over the Detroit Institute of Arts millage the package passed by big lopsided margins and overwhelming Republican support. Which, when you think about it, is a very interesting dynamic: overwhelming GOP support for the state coming to the aid of a city run by Democrats.

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Politics & Government
10:24 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Detroit aid package clears first major hurdle in Lansing

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The $195 million state contribution to the Detroit bankruptcy settlement cleared its first major hurdle today, as the state House approved the payment by a wide margin.

Applause erupted as the final bill in the Detroit package was approved by a lopsided majority. 

There were plenty of complaints about parts of the bills – such as years of post-bankruptcy state oversight, and the big withdrawal from the state’s “rainy day” savings.

The package also includes financial oversight requirements that could last for many years.

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Politics & Government
5:34 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Voters will get their say on Michigan's Personal Property Tax August 5

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters will have a chance to drive the final nail into the coffin of the state’s  Personal Property tax this summer. The Board of State Canvassers today designated the PPT question as Proposal 1 on the August 5 ballot. It will be the only statewide question on the ballot.  

Businesses pay the tax based on the value of their equipment and other assets. Many Michigan communities rely on the tax revenues to pay for basic city services.

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Politics & Culture
4:31 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, May 22, 2014

  First on Stateside, we take a look at the "Grand Bargain" in Detroit. The state has taken a big step closer to putting money down to help Detroit. 

JPMorgan Chase is investing $100 million in Detroit's future, but what does that mean for the city, and what are JPMorgan's motives?

Only 28% of you said that Michigan is the best possible state to live in, according to a Gallup Poll. So Michigan kicked off the Why I Stay project, to find out exactly why you are still in Michigan. Michigan Radio's Mark Brush joined us.

Then, a meteor shower is headed our way Friday night, so it's time to dust off those binoculars and look to the sky. 

Michigan's expansion on Medicaid – Healthy Michigan – is on track for enrollee sign-up. 

Last, we learn about a fish that has a notoriously bad reputation: the Asian carp.

*Listen to the full episode above. 

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