Politics & Government

Politics & Government
3:07 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

State opposes Conyers in lawsuit over election

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

DETROIT – The Michigan attorney general's office is urging a judge to stay on the sideline in the controversy over U.S. Rep. John Conyers' re-election campaign.

The Detroit Democrat has been barred from the August primary ballot because of problems with his petitions. He's appealing to the secretary of state's office and also asking a judge to throw out a law that sets rules for collecting signatures.

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Stateside
3:00 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

In its 2nd year, right to work impacts teacher's unions

Teacher's unions have felt the impact of Right To Work.
Credit user frank juarez / Flickr

Michigan is now into its second year of right to Work. 

The law took effect in March 2013, making Michigan the 24th state where workers don't have to join a union as a condition of employment.

Many unions have yet to feel the impact of right to work, because they were already under contracts, or were able to sign new agreements or extend their existing ones before the law went into effect.

But Michigan's two teacher unions have certainly felt the impact of right to work. 

Doug Pratt is the Director of Member and Political Engagement for the Michigan Education Association, and he joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Government
11:22 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Lansing City Council passes city budget

The Lansing Police Department will move about 70% of its officers into the Hill Center by the end of August.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing City Council signed off on next year’s budget last night.

The only controversial part of the budget centered on moving the bulk of the city’s police department from Lansing’s north side to the south side.

Many north-side residents worry moving the patrol and investigative units will bring more crime to their neighborhoods.

Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski insists police officers will remain highly visible in north side neighborhoods.

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Politics & Government
5:44 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

State Senate could triple road funding increase passed by House

The Senate plan calls for about triple the funding for roads compared to what came out of the House.
Credit net_efekt / Flickr

The Michigan Senate could vote this week on bills that would increase state funding for roads by $1.3-1.4 billion a year. That’s almost triple the amount recently approved by the state House.

Under the Senate plan, people would gradually pay more taxes at the pump over the next few years.

The proposal was brought to light the same day the Michigan Chamber of Commerce unveiled a poll suggesting most Michiganders are ready to pay more for better roads.

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Politics & Culture
5:30 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Stateside for Monday, May 19, 2014

Today marks the 1,000th day that Amir Hekmati has been in an Iranian prison. U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, joined us to discuss what is being done to free the Michigan Marine. 

And it's morel hunting season in Michigan. A top morel hunter and chef joined us on the program today.

Next, the BBC's Justin Webb went for a test drive in one of Google's driverless cars. 

Then, the Republican's minimum-wage bill cleared the state Senate last week, and could demolish Raise Michigan's petition drive that would set minimum wage even higher. 

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Stateside
5:28 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Should Michigan Democrats look for a new ally?

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Should the Democratic Party in Michigan be looking for a new ally– one that is traditionally seen as having closer ties with the GOP?

MLive columnist Rick Haglund thinks the answer is yes. He thinks that Democrats in Michigan would be wise to join forces with big business. 

And, Mark Brewer, former chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, agrees. 

They both joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:22 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

State bill could kill Raise Michigan's petition drive

Credit Light Brigade / Flickr

A bill to raise Michigan's minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour by 2017 is now on its way to the state House. The bill would increase the minimum wage for tipped workers from $2.65 to $3.50 an hour. 

The bill cleared the Senate late last week by a vote of 24-14. It's an attempt by the Republicans to kill a petition drive that would raise the minimum wage even higher, to $10.10 an hour, even for tipped workers. 

That petition drive is being led by the group Raise Michigan. Danielle Atkinson joined us. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Government
3:12 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Poll shows strong support for raising taxes to pay for repairing Michigan roads

More than two-thirds of those polled said they would be willing to pay $10 a month more for gasoline, if it meant more money to fix Michigan’s roads.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A proposal to greatly increase Michigan’s gas tax goes before a state Senate committee tomorrow.

The proposal has already cleared the state House. Among other things, it calls for taxing fuel based on price, instead of volume. It would generate about $500 million in new tax revenue. That's about a third of what Gov. Rick Snyder and others say is needed to fix the roads.  

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Politics & Government
1:32 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

The 'Grand Bargain' may see progress this week at the state capitol

Governor Snyder hopes the State House will make progress toward approving the ‘Grand Bargain’ this week.

Critics complain it’s not fair for the rest of the state to pay for Detroit’s financial missteps. Supporters say restoring Detroit to financial health is important to all of Michigan.Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan RadioEdit | Remove

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Politics & Government
1:27 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Gov. Snyder wants the state House to consider minimum wage legislation soon

The state Senate already approved a bill to increase Michigan’s minimum wage, in steps, to $9.20 an hour.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder hopes the state House will turn its attention soon to a proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage.

The Senate already approved a bill to increase Michigan’s minimum wage, in steps, to $9.20 an hour.

Snyder says it was good to see the bill pass in the Senate with bi-partisan support.

“I hope the House will take it up relatively soon. And make a serious review of it,” says Snyder.

Supporters say Michigan’s minimum wage has needed an increase for a long time.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Will objections slow Detroit's trip through bankruptcy?

Detroit’s bankruptcy process has been speedy so far--but hit a few apparent stumbling blocks last week, as creditors filed a slew of objections to the city’s plan of adjustment.

They included representatives for some Detroit bondholders, who are upset about the proposed “grand bargain” to use more than $800 million to minimize pension cuts, and protect the Detroit Institute of Arts from possible liquidation.

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Politics & Government
10:15 am
Sun May 18, 2014

Michigan Senate eyes bigger gasoline tax increase

The talk of pumping more money into transportation infrastructure comes on the heels of a House vote to gradually allow Michigan's 19-cents-a-gallon gas tax to go as high as 32 1/2 cents over time.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan senators are considering whether to significantly increase gasoline taxes over five years to mend roads and bridges.

The talk of pumping more money into transportation infrastructure comes on the heels of a House vote to gradually allow Michigan's 19-cents-a-gallon gas tax to go as high as 32 1/2 cents over time.

It would initially generate $450 million a year, mostly by diverting money from elsewhere in the budget.

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Politics & Government
1:28 pm
Sat May 17, 2014

Debate over Keystone XL pipeline heating up

This weekend, opponents are launching a campaign to convince the Obama administration to say ‘no’ to the Keystone XL pipeline.
Credit epaabuse.com

The two sides of the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline are stepping up their campaigns.

For six years, the Obama administration has been reviewing the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would carry tar sands oil south from the Canadian border to the Texas Gulf Coast.

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Politics & Government
7:19 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Conyers asks Secretary of State to State to put him on ballot

U.S. Congressman John Conyers is challenging the decision to bump him from the August primary ballot on a couple of fronts.

Congressman John Conyers is asking Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to put his name on the August Democratic primary ballot. The veteran lawmaker is asking the state’s top elections official to reverse a decision by the Wayne County clerk.

In the filing, Conyers' legal team says two nominating petition circulators should not have been disqualified for not being registered voters.

Conyers says they were registered, but, in fact, that shouldn’t matter because the requirement itself is unconstitutional, a violation of the First Amendment.

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Politics & Government
2:46 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Michiganders to stop paying fee for non-existent federal program

Since 1982, Michiganders have paid about $800 million in utility fees to support a non-existent nuclear waste disposal program.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DTE and Consumers Energy electric customers may notice a slight dip in their monthly bills.

Since 1982, utilities have tacked on a 15 to 20 cent fee on monthly electric bills.

It was supposed to pay for a federal program to dispose of spent fuel from nuclear power plants. Only one problem: The program never actually disposed of any waste.

Last fall, a federal court ordered an end to the fee.

Michigan Public Service Commissioner Greg White was part of the lawsuit.

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It's Just Politics
2:38 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Rumors of the demise of minimum wage petition drive are greatly exaggerated

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

So now that the Michigan Senate has approved a new, higher minimum wage, with bipartisan support (14 Rs, 10 Ds) no less, this is practically a done deal. Right?

Not so much. The headlines and stories that said it would “kill” the petition drive are speculative and premature.

This Senate bill is – at the bottom of it all – an effort to pull the rug out from under the ballot drive to raise the Michigan minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. It's a cause beloved by Democrats and progressives.

So why then did 10 out of 12 Senate Democrats go along with it? Particularly after some had already blasted the proposal as a gimmick and too paltry – especially for workers earning the lower tipped wage?

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Politics & Government
11:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Groups ramp up efforts to put part-time Legislature on ballot

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A group behind a petition drive to return Michigan to a part-time Legislature is ramping up its efforts.

Most states have a part-time legislature. Michigan used to, but the 1963 state constitution changed that.

Norm Kammeraad thinks lawmakers now have to please lobbyists and rich people to keep their full-time jobs.

“We’re at a point where, unless you’ve got a lot of money or financial clout – which that’s probably only about 2% or 3% of Michiganders – you’re not being represented,” Kammeraad said.

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Politics & Government
7:37 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

In-state tuition for veterans one step closer to November ballot

Credit Luke Hayter / Flickr

All honorably discharged military veterans would be guaranteed in-state tuition at Michigan's public universities and community colleges, under a plan that has cleared the State House.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, says the proposed constitutional amendment would benefit the state economically. He says it would attract veterans and their families to live and work here.

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Politics & Government
7:24 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Hearings continue for Detroit recovery plan

Credit user: {megan} / Flickr

The newly-formed state House committee on Detroit's recovery and Michigan's future continued its hearings today.

At stake is exactly what the state's role should be in helping Detroit out of bankruptcy, and whether the state will kick in $195 million to the "grand bargain" to shore up pensions and protect the city's art collection. 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes, joined us. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Government
6:11 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Michigan’s economy improves, but at a slower pace

Credit Matthileo / Flickr

The long, harsh winter slowed the state’s economic recovery. And it took a bite out of tax revenues, leaving Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature with less money to work with as they put the finishing touches on a new state budget.

A budget conference today looked at all kinds of factors affecting the state’s economy, to come up with a new revenue forecast for lawmakers to use.

There are still a few variables that could affect the state’s short and long-term economic future. New home building is one. The auto industry is another.

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