Politics & Government

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. 

Stateside
4:14 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Michigan is closer to putting money down for Detroit's "grand bargain"

Credit Peter Martorano / Flickr

Michigan has taken a big step closer to putting money down on the table of Detroit's "grand bargain."

The newly formed House Committee on Detroit's Recovery and Michigan's Future approved an $11 billion package that would see the state send $194.8 million dollars to Detroit. And it would create a panel to oversee city finances for at least 13 years. The aid package now goes to the full House. 

We were joined by the chair of that House committee. State Rep. John Walsh, R-Livonia. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Detroit
1:41 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Jamie Dimon says $100 million investment in Detroit was not done for charity

Credit Shawn Wilson / Wikimedia Commons

For a lot of people, Jamie Dimon will forever be linked to the mortgage crisis that hit Detroit as hard as any city.

But there was no mention of that at yesterday's announcement, of course. Instead, there was a plated lunch - chicken and salad, with cupcakes - an uplifting video, and a standing ovation led by Michigan's governor, Rick Snyder.

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Detroit
11:58 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Koch brothers' group tries to derail Detroit bankruptcy deal

Detroit's skyline.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Listen to the broadcast version of this story.

Michigan lawmakers are debating a $200 million aid package for Detroit as the city moves through bankruptcy. Until now, state lawmakers haven’t been willing to help it with anything that could be called a “bailout.”

While Governor Rick Snyder supports the current deal, many of his fellow Republicans appear to be balking, especially after a threat of political retribution from the Koch Brothers political network.

Detroit officials have been doing lots of talking in Lansing for the past week, lobbying hard for the state aid package.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

JPMorgan comes to Detroit with $100M plan, and gets a warm welcome

James Dimon
Credit en.wikipedia.org

Global financial giant JPMorgan Chase is bringing Wall Street money to the Motor City.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon formally unveiled his company’s plans to put $100 million into a range of targeted initiatives at a Detroit luncheon Wednesday.

Dimon called the effort a “long term investment” in a rebounding city.

“We believe in Detroit’s future, and we want to see the city recover its economic strength,” said Dimon.

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Politics & Government
9:13 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Senate Democrats do not support plan to fix roads

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It looks like efforts to boost state road funding by about $1.4 billion may have stalled in the state Senate. That’s after Senate Democrats came out against the plan because it would significantly increase the state’s gas tax.

Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, says increasing the amount people pay at the pump would disproportionately hurt the poor.

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Politics & Government
9:11 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Detroit bills could be on fast track through state House

Credit Thetoad / Flickr

UPDATED AT 10:30 on 5/22/14 with a correction.

Legislation providing $195 million to the Detroit bankruptcy settlement is on its way to the floor of the state House. A state House committee approved its part of the so-called “grand bargain” today. It’s designed to help pull the city out of bankruptcy, guard against the sale of city owned masterpieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and minimize cuts to pensions.

But timing is becoming tight for the Legislature to approve the state’s part in the so-called “grand bargain.” 

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Stateside
6:18 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

MSU research finds a candidate's weight can affect election chances

Credit user Tobyotter / Flickr

Does a political candidate's weight affect his or her chances of getting elected? Or even getting on the ballot in the first place?

New research by a Michigan State University professor and his wife, a Hope College professor, indicate the answer is “yes.”

Mark Roehling is a human resources professor at MSU and he joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Stateside
6:12 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Michigan Legislature starts voting on "grand bargain" money for Detroit

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The first votes by state lawmakers on a $195 million cash infusion for Detroit happened today.

The newly formed House Committee on Detroit's Recovery and Michigan's Future approved an 11-bill package. The measures now go to the full state House.

While Gov. Rick Snyder supports the current deal, many of his fellow Republicans appear to be balking – especially after a threat of political retribution from the Koch brothers' political network.

*Listen to Sarah Cwiek's report above.

Politics & Culture
6:07 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is considering the largest sale of state-managed forest land in its history to a British Columbia-based limestone mining company.

So who gets to decide if the Canadian company can buy 10,000 acres to set up a mine in the Upper Peninsula?

On today’s Stateside we looked at what the proposed limestone mining operation could mean for UP residents.

Then a rare, 80-year old American Agave plant at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens is nearly ready to bloom – for its first and only time.

First on the show, the first votes by state lawmakers on a $195 million cash infusion for Detroit happened today.

The newly formed House Committee on Detroit's Recovery and Michigan's Future approved an 11-bill package. The measures now go to the full state House.

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Weekly Political Roundup
5:17 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Support for Detroit a political liability?

Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This week on All Things Considered, host Jennifer White talks about the status of state support for the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings and the risk of political fallout for lawmakers who support such measures.We have that conversation with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, 

Recently, Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by billionaires David and Charles Koch, announced they would run ads against a grand bargain for Detroit and against any Republican lawmaker who votes to support such a plan.

According to Ken Sikkema, while there may be some political risk involved for Republican lawmakers, it is imperative that the Legislature moves on this issue to get Detroit out of bankruptcy promptly.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
2:14 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Lawyers for Conyers argue to get back on ballot

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) testifies at a hearing in 2009.
Credit Rep. John Conyers office / Flickr

DETROIT -- A Detroit judge says he might make a decision Friday in a dispute over whether one of the country's longest-serving congressmen gets on the primary ballot.

Several nominating petitions turned in by U.S. Rep. John Conyers have been thrown out because people gathering signatures weren't registered voters or put a wrong registration address on the petition. The Detroit Democrat doesn't have enough signatures.

Conyers' lawyers asked federal Judge Matthew Leitman on Wednesday to throw out a Michigan law that puts restrictions on circulators. But the judge questioned why critics would claim the law is a burden when the campaign believed it had followed it.

Leitman says he might rule Friday. He first wants to see what state election officials say that day about Conyers' candidacy.

Conyers has been in Congress since 1965.

Politics & Government
8:26 am
Wed May 21, 2014

The week in Michigan politics: Detroit bankruptcy and minimum wage

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the latest in the Detroit bankruptcy including:

  • An expected vote today in the state legislature on the $195 million bailout for Detroit
  • New York’s Lieutenant Governor, Richard Ravitch said yesterday in his testimony on Detroit’s bankruptcy that the “whole country is watching.”
  • The Koch brothers are buying attack ads targeting lawmakers who plan to help Detroit through bankruptcy
  • JP Morgan Chase is expected to announce it’s investing $100 million in Detroit.

Lessenberry also gave an update on the minimum wage debate in the state legislature.

Week in Michigan politics interview for 5/21/14

Politics & Government
8:48 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Bill boosting minimum wage to $9.20 an hour to get hearing in state House

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The debate over raising Michigan’s minimum wage moves to the state House Wednesday.

A legislative panel will hear testimony on a bill that cleared the state Senate last week. Senate Bill 934 would gradually increase the wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.20 an hour. After 2017, the minimum wage would rise with inflation.  

State Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, chairs the panel. He says he’s open to the plan – but he has some concerns.

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