Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler talks about the $478 billion federal highway bill, which faces uncertain reception in Congress, and how it would benefit state highway and bridge work.
  • Patrick DeHaan from GasBuddy.com discusses why the forecasted gas prices for this summer  are so low.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of Flint pastors today called on the city and governor’s office to let Flint get its tap water from Detroit again.

Nearly a year ago, Flint stopped getting water from Detroit, and instead turned to the Flint River for its tap water.   

Since then there have been complaints about the appearance, taste, even health and safety of Flint’s tap water. 

FLICKR USER SEAN_MARSHALL / FLICKR

The struggle to figure out a way to pay for road and bridge repairs isn't just a Michigan story.

It's happening on the federal level as well.

The Obama administration is sending a six-year, $478 billion highway bill to Congress, where it faces a dubious reception.

Wikimedia Commons

Michigan voters head to the polls in less than a month to vote on a ballot proposal to raise the state's sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to fund roads. For this Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry explains why there's a lack of support for the proposal and what will happen if voters reject the tax increase. 


Covering the planned Red Wings arena construction
User: WXYZ-TV Detroit / YouTube

Detroit's City Council is delaying a vote that would let the new, multi-million dollar Red Wings arena move ahead.

It was supposed to decide today whether Olympia development could go ahead with its current plans to build around one historic hotel, the Eddystone, while razing another, the Park Avenue.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters will decide May 5 if they want to add a penny to the state sales tax to pay for fixing Michigan’s roads.  The proposal also includes money for schools and local governments.   

John-Morgan / creative commons

Road repair isn't the only issue at stake when we head to the polls next month to decide the fate of Proposal 1. The Earned Income Tax Credit is part of that proposal. The program is designed to help the working poor, but was scaled back in Michigan in 2011.

State lawmakers have approved boosting the EITC if voters approve the road funding ballot proposal that would raise the sales tax from six percent to seven percent. Nearly 800,000 low-to-moderate income families in Michigan could see this targeted tax relief expanded if the proposal passes.

Hekmati family

A Michigan congressman says Iran should release a Flint man from prison or possibly face problems getting its nuclear deal with the U.S. approved.

Iran recently reached a framework for a deal on its nuclear program with the Obama administration.  The deal is far from complete.  There are many details still to be worked out regarding inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities and the lifting of economic sanctions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A month from today, Michigan voters will decide a proposed increase in the state sales tax.

Polls suggest voters will reject the one-penny sales tax hike to pay for repairing Michigan roads. Money would also go to schools and local governments.

Opponents of the sales tax hike plan to step up their “vote no” campaign.

Today on Stateside:

Michigan Legislature
Matthileo / Flickr

The official merger of the state Department of Community Health with the Department of Human Services will happen this Friday.

  The new entity will be called the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and will house 14,000 employees.

One month from tomorrow, voters in Michigan will decide the fate of Proposal 1, the ballot measure that would raise more than a billion dollars in new money for roads.

The voting begins

For some, voting has already begun. Absentee ballots for the May 5th vote have been out for more than a week. And, along with the absentee ballots, political pollsters have been in the field, too. They’re trying to figure out just where voters stand on the issue and for those pushing Proposal 1, it doesn’t look good.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For-profit and non-profit breast milk banks will come under more scrutiny if proposed regulations are adopted in Michigan. 

There’s a growing demand for breast milk.

State Representative Erika Geiss wants to make sure that the milk is handled properly and breast milk donors and customers are treated right.

Jeb Bush
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

There’s a busy spring in store for Michigan Republicans looking to see the party’s presidential hopefuls in action.

Four potential GOP candidates have plans to visit the Great Lakes State during April and May.

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Governor Rick Snyder said today that he would veto a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act if it's sent to his desk by the Legislature. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the measure in Indiana that has been stirring controversy.

Snyder says he would not sign a Michigan RFRA unless it is coupled with legislation adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state's civil rights law.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

Indiana has been in the national spotlight this week after passing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Today, Gov. Rick Snyder said he will veto such a law if it comes to his desk without legislation that adds protections for LGBT people to Michigan's civil rights law.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder
Gov. Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder says he would veto a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act if the Legislature sends it to him.

The governor, who’s previously expressed skepticism about the legislation, went further than he ever has before, and told The Detroit Free Press he’s willing to reject the legislation if there are no accompanying protections for LGBT protections added to the state’s civil rights law.

Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has announced a new program to grow neighborhood businesses and match them with the right physical space.

The program is called Motor City Match.

"There is tremendous interest among entrepreneurs who want to open or grow their businesses in the city of Detroit," said Duggan. "The Motor City Match program is designed to expand the growth we are seeing downtown, Midtown, and Corktown to key neighborhood corridors across our city." 

Classroom
User Motown31 / Creative Commons

This Week in Michigan PoliticsEmily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss the likelihood of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act being passed and signed into law in Michigan, and if the state will take over some of the hundreds-of-millions of dollars in debt from the Detroit Public Schools. 


A gay couple marries in Michigan.
Emily Fox

We've said it before, and then we said it again.

There's no Michigan or federal law that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people from discrimination.

Michigan's civil rights law protects you from discrimination based on your religion, race, color, national origin, age, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

DETROIT – The federal government has ended 10 years of management of Detroit's public housing system and restored it to local control.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says in a statement Tuesday that the change is effective March 16. U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro says the update "represents an important milestone in Detroit's road to recovery."

Bwmoll3 / Wikimedia commons

Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters signed onto letters Monday to try to stop federal cuts that would hurt the state.

Both senators signed onto letters sent out Monday. One urges a senate subcommittee to support health clinics for primary medical care.

Today on Stateside:

  • Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics are here to give us a break down of this week’s political news, including Governor Snyder’s controversial pardon of a drunk driver, and Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislation.
  • As part of Michigan Radio's "Learning to Teach" series, here is a postcard that explains, from the teachers’ perspective, what we need to do to keep them here in Michigan.

  • Michelle Richard, an education specialist with Public Sector Consultants joins us for another segment of the "Learning to Teach" series, to talk about teacher evaluations.
  • Keith Kindred, a teacher of social studies at South Lyon East High School, is here to present The Next Idea relating to teacher preparation and what that should entail.
  • No recognition for same-sex marriage in Michigan makes taxpaying difficult for same-sex couples. Joe Henchman, Vice President of State Projects at the Tax Foundation in Washington, joins us to explain.
  • Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo brings the Spartans to the Final Four for his seventh time, so Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon talks about that journey and what’s yet to come.
  • Jason Gasperich, director of sustainability for Connor Sports, talks about the Final Four floors and how they were made in Michigan.
It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Political news continues to surface even though lawmakers at the state Capitol have begun their two week spring break.

On Friday, an investigative report, by the Associated Press, about a controversial pardon made by Governor Rick Snyder came out.

“As we share in the bad times, we must equally share in the good times!”

United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams fired up the rank and file at the UAW convention last week in Detroit. The meeting comes as the Union is preparing for a round of bargaining that will begin later this year with the domestic auto companies.

Getting a ticket
Jimmy Emerson / Creative Commons

Michigan drivers who have trouble keeping track of paper proof of insurance forms may soon have another option.

The state House this week passed a bill that would let drivers use smartphones or other electronic devices to show proof of insurance when pulled over.

Many insurance companies already offer apps and other ways for insured drivers to view their information electronically.  

U.S. Supreme Court

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office has delivered the state's defense of its same-sex marriage ban to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state’s 59-page brief focuses largely on states’ rights. The attorney general argues the case is not specifically about marriage, but who gets to decide the question.

Mike Mozart / Creative Commons

Governor Rick Snyder used his pardon powers to erase the drunken driving conviction of a politically connected lawyer who was appointed to a state economic board in 2011.

Snyder followed the recommendation of the Michigan parole board and pardoned Alan Gocha Jr. in December — one of only 11 pardons out of roughly 750 applications since the governor took office.

Energy drink founder pours money into politics

Mar 26, 2015
Mike Mozart / Creative Commons

Manoj Bhargava isn't a household name, but a report from the Center for Public Integrity says the Michigan-based billionaire’s campaign contributions rival the Koch Brothers'.

Bhargava is the founder of 5-hour Energy drinks.  Since 2009, he’s made about $5.3 million in state and national campaign contributions through his Michigan-based companies.

Cedar Bend / Flickr

Michigan families could lose their cash assistance if one or more of their children persistently miss school. That’s under a bill approved by the state House on Thursday.

The Michigan Department of Human Services already cuts off welfare payments due to child truancy. House Bill 4041 would put that policy into state law.

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