Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has hired a new chief financial officer with experience with troubled city finances.

Jody Lundquist comes to Flint from Benton Harbor, where she was the city’s finance director. Like Flint, Benton Harbor spent years being run by an emergency manager, appointed by the governor to fix the city’s money problems.

Benton Harbor exited direct oversight more than  a year ago. Flint did the same a few months back.

There are rumors that powerhouse Oakland County Executive and outspoken Republican L. Brooks Patterson may not run again in 2016, leaving Republicans in a bind.

State Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth.
Michigan Republicans

One state legislator says the process of creating a regional authority to manage southeast Michigan’s water needs to start from scratch.

The Great Lakes Water Authority was finalized last week. The Authority will lease and run what’s now the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s system outside Detroit city limits for $50 million a year.

Public Domain

A Michigan House bill would give judges more discretion when it comes to sentencing first-time felons who carried a gun during their crime.

Right now, first-time offenders face a mandatory two-year sentence for a felony firearm charge, on top of any other charges they're facing.

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

A bill that would end local wage and benefit laws has cleared the state Senate.

The legislation would stop communities from setting their own living wage and workplace rules – among other things.

Elizabeth / Creative Commons

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a new law tying welfare benefits to school attendance.

For more than two years, a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services policy has ended cash assistance for families with children who persistently miss school. This cements that policy in state law.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The United States Army has wrapped up its training exercises in Flint and other Michigan cities.

For the past week, low flying helicopters and explosions could be heard as special training exercises popped up, often unexpectedly in urban areas.

The intent of the exercises has been to give members of the military specialized training in urban environments.   

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The state House has approved a Republican plan to boost road funding by about $1 billion a year. It would shift most of the money from existing funds in the state budget.

Democrats criticized the plan. They say it relies too heavily on projected economic growth in coming years. And they strongly oppose provisions that would increase fees for alternative fuel vehicles and eliminate a tax credit for the working poor.

Potholes are a familiar obstacle on Michigan roads.
Flickr user Michael Gil / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Drivers can all agree: Potholes are a fact of life here in Michigan. But does it have to be that way?

Jack Lessenberry’s recent opinion piece for Dome Magazine, Why Budapest Has Better Roads, examines Central Europe’s approach to infrastructure.

The difference, he says, would be shocking to Michiganders. “I drove hundreds and hundreds of miles on roads in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, former East Germany, without seeing anything we in Michigan would call a pothole,” he says.

Kevyn Orr surrounded by the press
Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy on Flickr / Flickr

The state's Emergency Loan Board is not very transparent regarding how it makes decisions for state emergency management or consent agreements.

The board is made up of three members who are appointed by the Governor, and they have the ability to lend millions of taxpayer dollars to schools.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry explains the latest road funding proposal, an effort by the Snyder administration to prevent sexual assault on college campuses and the latest on efforts to help ease the foreclosure crisis in Wayne County.

This photo gives you a sense for why the pig was called "Giggles."
Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor / Facebook

There’s one less candidate running for mayor of Flint.

A post overnight on the “Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor” Facebook page announced the four-legged candidate was dropping out of the race for Flint mayor.

Giggles entered the race after a mistake in the city clerk’s office meant none of the two-legged candidates qualified for the August Primary.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that will allow a private corrections company to accept inmates who've been security risks at other prisons at a facility in northern Michigan.

The Baldwin private prison – closed since 2005 – is owned by the GEO Group. The new law allows GEO's currently dormant North Lake Correctional Facility to house “level five” inmates who've been convicted of fighting and attempting to escape. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will consider a resolution Tuesday that calls on the Iranian government to release a Flint man from prison.

There is also a similar resolution making its way through Congress.

Amir Hekmati was arrested on spying charges while visiting relatives in Tehran. The retired U.S. marine denies the charges

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has again extended the deadline for homeowners to avoid tax foreclosure.

Facing the prospect of an unprecedented foreclosure crisis, the county has expanded its outreach efforts to distressed homeowners, and had already moved back the original March payment deadline to Monday. 

Today on Stateside:

- Who will jump into the race for Michigan’s next governor? Believe it or not, the 2018 speculation game is heating up.

- Does Ty Cobb deserve a new biography? We check in with writer Charles Leerhsen. His new book explores Cobb's life, and comes away with a somewhat different look at the Tiger legend.

Jake Neher / MPRN

For the first time, Michigan will spend general fund dollars to prevent sexual assault on college campuses.

State lawmakers recently approved a budget with $500,000 dollars in grant money that programs can apply for.

matthew_hull / morgueFile

A strain of bird flu that has devastated poultry farms across the Midwest has reached Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed the first cases of highly pathogenic avian flu H5N2 in the state. They were found in wild geese in Macomb County.

A certain fact in politics: it is never too soon to start thinking about elections; particularly if you want to win them.

2016, 2018, 2020…

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A plan to boost road funding by about $1 billion a year could clear the state House this week.

House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, is pushing a plan that would rely mostly on shifting existing funds in the state budget and expected revenue increases in the coming years.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

At least one prominent Republican at the state Capitol believes Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is likely to be dissolved.

State lawmakers are debating ways to help turn around public schools in Detroit. Gov. Rick Snyder hopes to sell them on a plan to turn around the district. It includes shifting money from districts across the state to help DPS pay off debt.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A coalition of pastors and other groups is asking a judge to force the city of Flint to go back to getting its tap water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. 

Last year, the city shut off the DWSD pipeline and started tapping the Flint River. Since then, there have been numerous problems with the city’s tap water, from being cloudy and smelly to having high levels of e-coli and other chemicals.

Budget tiles
Simon Cunningham / Flickr

The state has completed the 2016 budget. Republicans and Democrats celebrated an increase in education funding and early literacy programs.

The Legislature also carved out money for Michigan roads, but not the estimated $2 billion needed annually to fix the state's crumbling infrastructure.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan would give police less freedom to seize and sell property under bills making their way through the state Legislature.

The state House approved the bills on Thursday with wide bipartisan support.

Under the legislation, police would have to report more information about the property they seize through Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan house is considering a package of bills that would require an electronic recording of interviews with kids during a child abuse or neglect investigations.

House bills 4547, 4548 and 4549 would also allow the video recordings to be considered in a probation violation hearing or a hearing to get information removed from the statewide Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor’s race is just a governor’s signature away from getting back on track. 

The race was thrown into chaos in April after the city clerk gave candidates the wrong date to submit petition signatures. No candidate submitted enough signatures by the correct deadline to qualify for the August primary. 

Tracy Samilton

It's the way of politics.

GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz delivered a well-received speech before a packed crowd at the Livingston County GOP Lincoln Dinner in Howell, Michigan on Wednesday.

But most people will only hear about the joke he made at Joe Biden's expense. 

Thetoad / Flickr

The Legislature has approved budgets for the coming fiscal year.

The K-12 schools budget was enthusiastically endorsed by Republicans and Democrats. Every school district in the state will see a funding bump of $70 to $140 per student under the new K-12 budget the Legislature just sent to Governor Rick Snyder.

Today on Stateside:

  • How much personal debt is too much? Dr. Kristin Seefeldt talks about why debt levels among poor, near-poor and moderate-income households has ballooned over the past decade. 
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan House is considering a bill that would exempt some footage obtained from police body-warn cameras from the Freedom of Information Act.

The bill would make police audio and video recordings taken in a private place, connected to an ongoing investigation, or relating to a civil action exempt from FOIA.