Politics & Government

Weekly Political Roundup
5:17 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Support for Detroit a political liability?

Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This week on All Things Considered, host Jennifer White talks about the status of state support for the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings and the risk of political fallout for lawmakers who support such measures.We have that conversation with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, 

Recently, Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by billionaires David and Charles Koch, announced they would run ads against a grand bargain for Detroit and against any Republican lawmaker who votes to support such a plan.

According to Ken Sikkema, while there may be some political risk involved for Republican lawmakers, it is imperative that the Legislature moves on this issue to get Detroit out of bankruptcy promptly.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
2:14 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Lawyers for Conyers argue to get back on ballot

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

DETROIT -- A Detroit judge says he might make a decision Friday in a dispute over whether one of the country's longest-serving congressmen gets on the primary ballot.

Several nominating petitions turned in by U.S. Rep. John Conyers have been thrown out because people gathering signatures weren't registered voters or put a wrong registration address on the petition. The Detroit Democrat doesn't have enough signatures.

Conyers' lawyers asked federal Judge Matthew Leitman on Wednesday to throw out a Michigan law that puts restrictions on circulators. But the judge questioned why critics would claim the law is a burden when the campaign believed it had followed it.

Leitman says he might rule Friday. He first wants to see what state election officials say that day about Conyers' candidacy.

Conyers has been in Congress since 1965.

Politics & Government
8:26 am
Wed May 21, 2014

The week in Michigan politics: Detroit bankruptcy and minimum wage

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the latest in the Detroit bankruptcy including:

  • An expected vote today in the state legislature on the $195 million bailout for Detroit
  • New York’s Lieutenant Governor, Richard Ravitch said yesterday in his testimony on Detroit’s bankruptcy that the “whole country is watching.”
  • The Koch brothers are buying attack ads targeting lawmakers who plan to help Detroit through bankruptcy
  • JP Morgan Chase is expected to announce it’s investing $100 million in Detroit.

Lessenberry also gave an update on the minimum wage debate in the state legislature.

Week in Michigan politics interview for 5/21/14

Politics & Government
8:48 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Bill boosting minimum wage to $9.20 an hour to get hearing in state House

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The debate over raising Michigan’s minimum wage moves to the state House Wednesday.

A legislative panel will hear testimony on a bill that cleared the state Senate last week. Senate Bill 934 would gradually increase the wage from $7.40 an hour to $9.20 an hour. After 2017, the minimum wage would rise with inflation.  

State Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, chairs the panel. He says he’s open to the plan – but he has some concerns.

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Politics & Government
8:46 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Committee vote expected in Detroit aid agreement

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan wants the city to be able to get out from under state oversight if it's managing its finances.
Credit Mike Duggan

There could be a first vote tomorrow in the Legislature on an almost $200 million deal to aid the city of Detroit. Mayor Mike Duggan was one of those who testified prior to the historic vote. Duggan says, overall, he supports the plan.

“I want you to be comfortable we’re not going to be coming back in two years, four years, six years – that we’re going to solve this once and when we do solve it once, you’re going to be proud of how progress is made,” Duggan told the House Committee on Detroit’s Restructuring and Michigan’s Future.

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Politics & Culture
4:51 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A State House committee is expected to vote today on Michigan's proposed contribution to the "grand bargain" – a plan to bolster Detroit's finances. 

Any romantic relationship between a teacher and a student is shocking to most people. Writer Kristina Riggle of Grand Rapids tackled this very thorny subject in her new novel. 

Electronic music fans from around the world are getting ready for the Movement Electronic Music Festival that hits downtown Detroit Memorial Day weekend. 

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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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