Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city staff snubbed city council members who wanted to hold a special meeting tonight on the city’s drinking water problems.

No city staffer showed up at the special meeting. City Administrator Natasha Henderson had objections to elements of the planned meeting. 

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There were feelings of optimism earlier this week in Lansing that the state Senate might just pass a road funding plan the House passed the week before.

But, once again, that optimism has fallen flat, as the House adjourned without a vote after about eight hours of discussion.

Are we there yet? The Senate says no

Oct 29, 2015

The Michigan Legislature may be inching toward a roads funding package. The roughly $1 billion plan would take $600 million from the state’s general fund and could include a rollback in the state income tax rate. It would also increase vehicle registration fees by 40%. While the House has passed the plan, the Michigan Senate scheduled and then delayed a vote on the plan.

Lars Plougmann

Millennials are the largest generation in America, making up an entire third of the population.

They’re also the least likely to vote.

A report from Tufts University says that less than 20% of people age 18 to 29 voted in the 2014 election.

Andrew Koehlinger wants to do something about that. He’s the project director for VoteSpotter, an app that seeks to get younger voters engaged in the politics.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee says he met with top federal officials yesterday to discuss Flint’s water problems.

Kildee told a town hall conference call last night about the meetings with officials from the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Obama administration is letting Michigan divert almost $33 million from foreclosure prevention to demolition projects.

Detroit and Flint will benefit from the additional funds, which come from Michigan’s share of the federal Hardest Hit Fund.

That program was originally meant to help homeowners facing foreclosure. But as the result of lobbying from state and local officials, the Obama administration has allowed Michigan to divert money from HHF funds toward blight removal three times since 2013.

For this Week in Michigan PoliticsI talked with Michigan Radio's senior news analyst, Jack Lessenberry about why so many students didn't do well on the state's new standardized test and what should be done about bullying in schools. We also got an update on the latest road funding plan


KellyP42 / morgueFile

The stalemate over road funding continues in the Michigan Legislature.

The state Senate was expected to pass a road funding plan on Tuesday that had already been approved by the state House. But it adjourned after about eight hours of talks without a vote.

Today on Stateside:

Rep. Dan Kildee is part of a bipartisan group that is pushing to extend the Export-Import Bank's charter
Steve Carmody

This week, a bipartisan group of House members is  joining forces in an attempt to revive the Export-Import Bank.

The Ex-Im Bank, as it’s known, is a federal agency that finances exports. It’s been around for 80 years, but stopped doing business July 1, after House leaders let its charter lapse.

Among the lawmakers trying to get the bank up and running again is Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s problem-plagued drinking water is expected to play a significant role in next week’s election for mayor. 

For more than a year, people in Flint have been holding protests about the city’s tap water.  

“There’s some people in Flint, Michigan who don’t believe this water is safe,” Pastor Alfred Harris told a crowd at one protest at Flint city hall a few months back. 

Along with complaints about rising lead levels and other problems, many have been calling for changes at city hall.

Library of Congress

One hundred years ago, three women took a cross-country road trip from San Francisco to Washington DC to collect half a million signatures demanding passage of a Constitutional Amendment giving women the right to vote.

Maine-based author Anne Gass is recreating that historic trip and blogging about it along the way.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Time’s running out faster than you may think to mail an absentee ballot for next week’s election.     

Roughly half of the votes in some of next week’s elections are predicted to be cast absentee.  But some absentee votes won’t be counted.

Lansing city clerk Chris Swope says changes in the way the post office processes the mail is adding a day to the delivery of absentee ballots. 

Graham Holliday / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Gov. Rick Snyder says the state government faces 2.5 million cyber-attacks every day.

Snyder spoke at the opening of an international cyber security summit in Detroit on Monday.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Senate could vote Tuesday on a proposal to boost road funding.

Ahead of that vote, Gov. Rick Snyder appears to be warming to the plan which would make big cuts to the state budget.

City of Detroit

Another large-scale, commercial urban agriculture project is set to take root over 22 square blocks of Detroit’s east side.

RecoveryPark Farms will lease 35 acres of blighted, city-owned land to launch the effort.

Today on Stateside:

Another road funding plan is moving in Lansing but, after four years of debate, one has to wonder: has a real solution become an impossible dream?

In the state Legislature, the Senate now has the House plan. The House has the Senate plan. But, even though it’s Republicans calling the shots in Lansing, Republicans can’t agree on what to do about fixing the roads.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

One of three remaining Democrats in the Presidential race stopped in Dearborn Friday.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley met with Syrian and Iraqi refugees now living in Metro Detroit, before addressing the Arab American Institute’s National Leadership Conference.

O’Malley condemned what he calls “xenophobic immigrant hate” coming from Republican candidates.

And he says Democrats should be talking more about Syrian refugees.

via Loveland Technologies

Bidding on this year’s glut of tax-foreclosed homes in Wayne County has wrapped up.

Final numbers aren't available yet. But the annual auction has become a real estate mega-event in recent years, as tax foreclosures have soared and flooded the market with delinquent properties.

Gov. Snyder at a press conference this month announcing his plan to overhaul the Detroit Public School District.
screenshot / Livestream

Gov. Rick Snyder this week announced his plan for overhauling Detroit Public Schools. It includes splitting the district and leaving the debt with the old DPS, while a new district would move forward with school operations and education. 

Thetoad / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  Republican leaders in the state Senate say they’re willing to consider a road funding plan approved late Wednesday night by the state House.

That $1 billion plan eventually raises taxes and fees by $600 million. It also makes $600 million in unspecified cuts to other parts of the budget. And the legislation includes a possible rollback in Michigan’s income tax rate.

Today on Stateside:

Flint water treatment plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

US Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a thorough investigation into what led to Flint's unsafe drinking water.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Kildee seeks answers to questions about the adequacy of the EPA's oversight of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.  

Representatives Gary Glenn and Jeff Irwin
Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

A bipartisan package of bills is being considered by the Michigan Legislature that would subsidize homes, businesses, and churches that generate their own electricity using solar power or other methods of home-grown generation.

The big power-generating companies aren’t happy. They say other ratepayers would end up paying for part of the cost of that renewable energy production.

Representatives Gary Glenn, R-Midland, and Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, are two of the co-sponsors of the package along with Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, and Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan.

CHUCK SZMURLO / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Opponents of a proposed nuclear waste dump along Lake Huron are optimistic a new Canadian government will reject the plan.

The stunning victory of Justin Trudeau will have reverberations beyond Canada's borders after the Liberal Party leader emphatically put an end to a decade of rule by the most conservative leadership in the country's history.

WFIU Public Radio / Creative Commons

The state House met into the night to adopt a road-funding plan, but it seems that a final deal on paying for road repairs remains elusive.

The $1 billion package relies on new fuel taxes and vehicle fees. But half the money would also come from cutting other parts of the budget.

Civil asset forfeiture grants state and federal agents the ability to seize any property they think could be connected to criminal activity.
user GPDII / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Legislature has given its OK to create an alert system for people suspected of killing or injuring on-duty police officers.

The “blue alert” system would be similar to amber alert systems for missing children. It would use media broadcasts and highway signs to send out information on suspects who are at-large and considered a public threat.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, a state Senate committee takes up legislation that would require state agencies to pay the court costs of people who sue the state and win. 

State Sen.Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, says state agencies have an unfair advantage over people in disputes over taxes and permits.

“The weight of the government against the small guy, there seems to be an imbalance there,” says Casperson. “We’re trying to find a way to at least balance that out.”

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the creation of an “independent advisory task force” that will look into the actions surrounding the management and testing of Flint’s drinking water system.

The goal, according to a press release from the governor’s office, is to investigate what happened and to prevent the kind of problems that occurred with Flint’s drinking water system in other systems in the state.

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