Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Snyder endorsed the report from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget indicating a notable decrease in unemployment in Michigan over the past month.
gophouse.com

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder expects to make mid-year cuts in the state budget because tax revenue is $289 million short of initial predictions.

His administration and legislative economists are meeting Friday to settle on revised budget numbers. The shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars is mostly being blamed on businesses cashing in tax credits at a higher rate than expected.

The nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take same-sex marriage cases from Michigan and three other states. The high court will decide this term whether the states' bans are constitutional.

In its decision to hear the case, the Supreme Court said the cases will be consolidated to answer two questions. From the decision:

What happens in politics when you want to get rid of someone and they just won’t quit? We are, of course, talking about Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema.

Agema consistently courts controversy and has done his party no favors with social media posts that go after Muslims, gays and African-Americans.

Lauri Rantala / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Snyder has long said he's wanted e-cigarettes treated more like tobacco products under the law.

In his veto, Snyder said House Bill 4997, Senate Bills 667 and 668 would have kept e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products from being regulated as tobacco products under Michigan law.

Kildee says one way Iran can show it can be trusted to work with the U.S. is if Iran releases Amir Hekmati, a Flint man who has been imprisoned in Iran for nearly three years. A retired U.S. marine, Hekmati was arrested on charges of spying while visiting
Hekmati family

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan plans to leave his guest seat empty at next week's State of the Union address to call attention to the case of a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran.

Michigan's Capitol.
Graham Davis / flickr

The Michigan legislature has begun its new session and that means new leadership in the House and Senate. Republicans have strong majorities in both after the last election.

Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics joined us to talk about the new leadership.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Human Services will lose 270 jobs this year, including about 100 layoffs.

The job reduction is the result of the $7.5 million budget cut approved by lawmakers last June.

That's according to Bob Wheaton, DHS spokesman, who said staff will receive layoff notices by tomorrow. The effective date of the layoffs is expected to be February 15.

user Joshuashearn / wikimedia commons

Today, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed two bills aimed at changing how a person can obtain a concealed pistol permit in the state.

Senate Bills 789 and 790 were passed during the Legislature's last "lame duck" session. 

Gov. Snyder said there were several elements of the bills he supported, but there was one loophole he didn't support -- the legislation, he said, could have put victims of domestic abuse at risk.

From his veto letter:

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

A federal judge says 300 gay and lesbian couples are legally married, and the state has to recognize them.

They were married on March 21, 2014. That’s the only day same-sex marriages were legal in Michigan. It was after a federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, and before an appeals court put that decision on hold.       

Jay Kaplan, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, says the appeals court decision did not affect the marriages that were performed.

Today on Stateside:

  • The Lansing Board of Water & Light fired its general manager yesterday.
  • Students with a passion for working on social issues try their hand at turning their ideas into action - a look at the innovative program OptiMIze.
  • Writer George Bulanda tells us about the history of milk trucks in Detroit.
  • U.S. Rep Debbie Dingell joins us to discuss her opposition to a pending gun bill in the Michigan Legislature.
  • Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes shares his thoughts on the auto show going on now in Detroit.
  • A group of UofM engineers is hoping to reduce the impact of one of the leading causes of flight delays: bad weather.
Atlantic Council / Flickr

Governor Snyder is facing increasing pressure to veto legislation that would let some people who have personal protection orders against them carry a concealed weapon.

Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has written a letter to Snyder urging him not to sign it.

Dingell joined us today from Washington D.C.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan state government is about to undergo a major reshuffling.

During the next 18 to 20 months, approximately 2,000 state employees will have to pack up and move out of their current offices.   Five state agencies are taking part in this large-scale game of musical chairs. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents turned out Tuesday to complain about the quality of Flint's water and safety concerns.

Chanting “Clean water…that’s all we want,” a small group gathered outside city hall to protest against the quality of the city’s water and rising water bills.

Reporters getting a closer look at the Chevy Bolt concept.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

This week, Jack and Emily discuss Detroit schools’ new emergency manager, Dave Agema’s latest controversy and the North American International Auto Show.


Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids’ city manager wants police officers to start wearing body cameras by March.

City Manager Greg Sundstrom and Police Chief David Rahinsky do not believe racial profiling is a problem in the Grand Rapids Police Department. But there have been claims to the contrary in the wake of incidents in New York and Ferguson, Missouri.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water & Light fired its general manager today during a brief, hastily called meeting. 

With little discussion, the BWL commission voted five to three to terminate J. Peter Lark’s contract. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is getting its fourth, and possibly its last, emergency manager.

Flint city finance adviser Jerry Ambrose is replacing outgoing emergency manager Darnell Earley. Earley is leaving after 15 months to take the same job with the Detroit Public Schools.

Voters approved term limits in November; so Grand Rapids will get a new mayor this year.

The first candidate to announce he’s in the running is Jared Funk. The 24-year-old may not have a job right now. He may not have a college degree either. But he’s got spirit.

“It’s the ideas and inspiration and enthusiasm of youth that I think the city really requires at this time and that it can be tempered by those who have more experience and who are wiser and more saged [sic] in politics and in governing,” Funk said.

Digital Archaeology / Flickr

A new commission will be tasked with finding ways to cut Michigan’s prison spending without compromising public safety. Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation on Monday creating the panel.

Michigan currently spends about $2 billion a year on its corrections system. Advocates say much of that money is wasted “warehousing” criminals who have already served their minimum sentences and who pose no threat to public safety.

.matter. / Flickr

  More low-level offenders will be able to have their criminal records erased from public records under a bill Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Monday.

People will be able to ask the court that convicted them to erase up to one felony or two misdemeanors.

“We really think that this gives people with records a really meaningful second chance,” said Shelli Weisberg with the ACLU of Michigan.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to start signing bills Monday as part of a package to boost state road funding. The legislation is contingent on a May ballot question that would raise Michigan’s sales tax from six percent to seven percent.

If voters approve the plan, the new revenue is expected to raise more than $1 billion for roads and infrastructure, $300 million for schools, $130 million for mass transit, and almost $100 million for local governments every year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has torn his right Achilles tendon and will be in a cast for six weeks.

The Republican governor told reporters Sunday that he felt a "pop" after jogging during a vacation in Florida. He's since visited doctors in Florida and Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint's emergency manager says he will not approve a return to Detroit's water system, even though the city's switch to using water from the Flint River has been rife with problems.

Flint ditched its water contract with Detroit, and began using water from the Flint River instead this spring.  Complaints surfaced early on about the water's taste. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state emergency loan board approved a modified firefighters contract that Emergency Manager Darnell Early says will save $600,000 in the first year, and $6 million dollars long-term. 

Firefighters had proposed their own concessions, but the State Treasury says those were rejected because they didn't achieve the same cost savings.

YouTube

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark discuss stories which seem new but are actually just more of the same. Dave Agema, President Obama and the 114th Congress are all giving Michigan a sense of Déjà vu.


Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes subject to clean-up by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
User airbutchie / flickr.com

A proposal to continue a wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program has been resurrected in Congress after falling short last month.

Rep. David Joyce, R-OH, introduced the bill Thursday. It would extend the soon-to-expire Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for another five years and authorize spending $300 million annually.

At this time next year, we will likely be poised to dive into the Michigan presidential primary season. You might find this slightly nauseating but the presidential campaigns are already ramping up, particularly on the Republican side.

Warren Evans on Instagram

With the start of the New Year, Warren Evans became the new county executive of Wayne County, and with it he's inheriting a daunting pile of problems.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes recently published the article "Fiscal fight fraught for Wayne County's Evans." He joined us to discuss what Evans has inherited from his predecessor, Robert Ficano, and what he can do to improve the county's financial situation.

Dave Agema
Dave Agema / Facebook

This year is starting off with some controversy for Michigan Republicans. Republican National Committeeman, Dave Agema, re-posted an article on his Facebook page that leveled attacks at African-Americans and Muslims.

This is not the first time Agema has courted controversy and there are renewed calls for him to step down.

John-Morgan / creative commons

One of Governor Snyder's first challenges of the New Year might come from his own party. There could be a push by Republican lawmakers to roll back the personal income tax rate.

Governor Snyder is gearing up to ask voters to approve a boost in the state's sales tax to pay for road repairs, so a call to cut individual income taxes might seem like a mixed message to some.

Detroit News Lansing Bureau reporter Chad Livengood joined us to talk about this. Listen to our conversation with him below.

AUDIO

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