Politics & Government

Politics & Government
1:13 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Plan to restructure Detroit's debt expected tomorrow

Lester Graham Michigan Radio

DETROIT – The office of Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says the blueprint for the city's restructuring through and after bankruptcy is expected to be filed Friday in federal court.

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes had set a March 1 deadline for the long-awaited plan of adjustment. The plan will spell out how individual creditors will be treated as Orr reduces the city's $18 billion debt.

Spokesman Bill Nowling says Orr's office plans to file the plan with the court Friday.

A draft given last month to creditors showed retirees and pensioners getting $4.3 billion in payments and bondholders about $1.1 billion over the next 40 years, leaving the city with a nearly $336 million surplus.

Orr had hoped to have the plan ready before January but was delayed by ongoing negotiations.

Politics & Government
11:22 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Minimum wage campaign begins collecting names

The group wants to gradually raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017. It would also end the exemption that allows employers to pay less to workers who earn tips.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The campaign to raise Michigan’s minimum wage will now begin collecting signatures.

A state panel gave the petition campaign the OK to go ahead. The Board of State Canvassers said the petition complies with the law, and now the campaign has until mid-May to collect 258,000 valid signatures. That would put the question to the Legislature. If lawmakers don’t adopt it, then it would go on the November ballot.

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Stateside
4:58 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Mapping all of Detroit's properties, one parcel at a time

A screenshot of the map services provided by Why Don't We Own This.
Why Don't We Own This? Why Don't We Own This?

It's no secret that the city of Detroit and Wayne County have been hit hard by the double whammy of foreclosed and abandoned homes.

For owners of those homes — or those looking to buy as an investment — there's a resource available online: a website called Why Don't We Own This?

We wanted to find out more about the site, and what it means to owners, investors and the neighborhoods.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:55 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

What can be done to save our failing schools? Some believe teachers should be held accountable, but are we are giving them enough support?

Then, snow days aren’t so simple for Michigan schools. Some districts are already over the limit of six missed days that they can have before they must add days to make up for lost class time. And with a month left of winter, there’s still a chance for even more snow days. Later in the hour we ask, what's the best way to make up lost time?

First, like an unwelcome guest, this winter keeps hanging on, serving up record amounts of snow and bitterly cold temperatures.

And then there's a propane shortage.  So those in Michigan and throughout the Midwest who rely on propane for their heat have to worry about getting propane, and when they do, dealing with major price increases.

What's behind the shortage? And what does it mean for the 9 to 10 percent of Michigan homes that use propane for heat?

Judy Palnau of the Michigan Public Service Commission joined us today.

Politics & Government
8:28 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Lessenberry talks potholes, minimum wage, Detroit bankuptcy and same-sex marriage

Matthileo Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss money to help fix potholes, an effort to raise the minimum wage, the possible release of Detroit’s bankruptcy plan, and the upcoming trial challenging gay marriage in Michigan.

Week in Michigan Politics interview for 2/19/14

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Politics & Government
8:24 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Landlords could ban tenants from smoking or growing medical marijuana under bill

A bill in Lansing would let landlords give medical marijuana users the boot.
USFWS

Some Michigan medical marijuana patients and caregivers could soon be banned from smoking or growing cannabis where they live.

A state Senate panel approved a bill on Tuesday that would let landlords decide whether to allow tenants to grow or smoke medical marijuana.

“We’ve had a lot of apartment owners that have people smoking marijuana or growing marijuana, doing damage to the apartments, creating danger for other residents,” said state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, who introduced the legislation.

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Politics & Culture
4:50 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014

There are more than 70 virtual currencies in the marketplace.

You may have heard of the biggest players: Bitcoin, Ripples, and Litecoin, which are taking out the middleman and reinventing the meaning of money. The idea is gaining momentum among college students. Today, we heard how virtual money is opening doors for young Michigan entrepreneurs.

Then, school districts around the nation and right here in Michigan are talking about ways to accommodate transgender students. The ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) is already working on model policies.

And we spoke with some talented Michigan musicians about how their EP (extended play recording) reached No. 2 on the iTunes electronic charts with virtually no promotion.

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Politics & Government
1:36 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Fate of Detroit's water department a big question mark in city's plan to shed debts

Credit Kate Boicourt / IAN

What does the future hold for Detroit’s water and sewerage department?

We should have a better idea later this week, when the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, submits a landmark plan in bankruptcy court this week.

Orr must submit a plan of adjustment for how to deal with Detroit’s estimated $18 billion in long-term debt, and one major sticking point has been what to do with the water department.

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Politics & Government
11:41 am
Tue February 18, 2014

State Senate committee debates snow plowing money, Medicaid expansion

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are considering a mid-year budget bill that would send extra money to state and local governments grappling with higher snowplowing costs.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday talked about spending $100 million more on winter road maintenance.

Legislators in the current budget put an additional $230 million into a special fund for roads or other "risks." They announced half would fund 103 state and local transportation projects across Michigan.

Now lawmakers are looking to use all but $15 million of the balance to account for heavier-than-normal snow removal along highways and local roads.

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Stateside
4:14 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Stateside for Monday, Feb. 17, 2014

Rona Romney McDaniel is building on her family's extensive political legacy. She is taking Terri Lynn Land's seat on the Republican National Committee. What does this mean for Michigan's profile? Michigan Public Radio Network Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta joins us to discuss McDaniel's new position. 

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Politics & Government
3:46 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Michigan's Ronna Romney McDaniel named newest member of Republican National Committee

Ronna Romney McDaniel at the 2012 Republican National Convention
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Over the weekend, Michigan Republicans chose a new member of the Republican National Committee to take the seat vacated when Terri Lynn Land stepped down to run for Carl Levin's Senate seat. 

The new member is someone with quite a Michigan-centric political pedigree.

Ronna Romney McDaniel is Mitt Romney's niece, and the granddaughter of Michigan's 43rd governor, George Romney. 

What does her election mean for Michigan's profile on the Republican National Committee? 

We're joined by Michigan Public Radio Network Lansing Bureau Chief, Rick Pluta. 

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Politics & Government
1:45 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Ann Arbor teen uses snow days, writes legal brief in defense of juvenile lifers

Michigan Supreme Court
user subterranean wikimedia commons

Sixteen-year-old Matelyn Sarosi wasn't building snow men or sipping hot chocolate during her recent snow days. Instead, she was drafting an 18-page legal document calling for a chance at parole for Michigan prison inmates sentenced to mandatory life in prison for crimes they committed before the age of 18. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, Father Gabriel Richard Catholic High School student Sarosi explained her motives behind her brief to the Michigan Supreme Court, which was submitted on Friday. 

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Politics & Government
6:15 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Flint EM to lay out his '7-point' plan to begin city's transition back to local control

Flint has been under an emergency manager since 2011.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Tonight, Flint’s Emergency Manager plans to lay out what has to be accomplished before the city can begin the transition back to local control.

Flint has been under an emergency manager since 2011.

Darnell Earley is the third man to hold the post.   At tonight’s city council meeting, he will present seven points that will have to be met to insure he will also be the last.

“When is the city going to come out of the emergency management? When is it going back into local control? It won’t until we satisfy those seven points,” says Earley.

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Politics & Government
11:44 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Michigan GOP elects Mitt Romney's niece to Republican National Committee

Ronna Romney McDaniel (seen here at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida) was elected Saturday morning during a meeting of the 113-member Michigan Republican Party State Central Committee.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Republican officials have chosen the niece of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to replace Terri Lynn Land on the party's national committee.

Ronna Romney McDaniel was elected Saturday morning during a meeting of the 113-member Michigan Republican Party State Central Committee. McDaniel is the daughter of Ronna Romney, who also served on the Republican National Committee.

Land, Michigan's former secretary of state, resigned last month to focus on her run for the U.S. Senate. Her likely Democratic opponent is U.S. Rep. Gary Peters.

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Politics & Government
8:42 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Lessenberry talks money, politics and potholes

Michigan State Capitol Building
User: mattileo/flickr

This Week in Review, Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry and Weekend Edition host Rina Miller talk about potholes in Michigan, the departure of the state budget director, and cuts to employees in Wayne County.

Click on the link below to listen to the interview

Politics & Government
5:03 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

'Right to work' bill for lawyers delayed while court reviews State Bar membership

The capitol building
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are holding off on a bill that would allow attorneys to end their membership with the State Bar of Michigan. That’s happening while a state Supreme Court task force reviews whether mandatory State Bar membership is appropriate.

Some are calling Senate Bill 743 a “right to work” bill for lawyers.

The sponsor of the legislation is applauding the court’s decision to weigh in.

“Because it’s better suited to be handled by the Supreme Court – the Bar is underneath their jurisdiction – they should look at those questions,” said Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive. “I’m glad that I prompted them to ask the question, but that’s why I did it.”

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It's Just Politics
4:12 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

GOP focusing on “brand management”

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

This week on It’s Just Politics: a couple of interesting events of which we’re taking note. The first item out of D.C., where the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week quickly and quietly approved an increase to the nation’s debt ceiling. No big arguments. No conditions. Which is an anomaly. Raising the debt ceiling has become a battle over the nation’s fiscal soul.

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Politics & Government
3:45 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Flint's EM wants a consultant to look at the city's public safety department

Budget cuts and smaller workforces have strained Flint’s police and fire departments in recent years.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A consultant is being brought in to assess what can be done with the city of Flint’s public safety department.

Budget cuts and smaller workforces have strained Flint’s police and fire departments in recent years.

Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley says efforts to reorganize the city's public safety departments have "really brought into question" their effectiveness.

He says the goal of the new study is to translate the city's financial resources into the public safety services the community needs.

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Politics & Government
8:09 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Snyder budget chief leaves for academia

Snyder's budget chief, John Nixon, is leaving to return to his home state of Utah.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s influential budget chief is leaving the administration to take a job in his native state. John Nixon will depart March 1 for the University of Utah.

Nixon pushed very hard to pay down long-term debt, put more money into the state’s savings account, and get public employees to pay a bigger share of their benefits.

“We’ve been able to do some pretty impressive stuff,” said Nixon. “I know the budget’s in structural balance. I think we’ve laid a strong fiscal foundation for the state that’s going to help move it into the future.”

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Politics & Government
5:20 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

State prison chief: Escape 'had nothing to do with' budget cuts

Michigan Department of Corrections Director Dan Heyns testifies in front of a state Senate budget panel Thursday on a recent prisoner escape in Ionia.
Jake Neher MPRN

The head of the state’s prison system blames a murderer’s recent escape from an Ionia prison largely on human error. That prisoner escaped earlier this month, and was caught in Indiana the next day.

Democrats want to know whether budget cuts had a role in the escape.  

Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) Director Dan Heyns told a state Senate budget panel Thursday that the prison had all the resources, equipment, and procedures it needed to prevent the escape.

Heyns says the blame falls on him and his department – not on the governor and state lawmakers.

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