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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint continues to struggle to replace damaged pipes.    

Mayor Karen Weaver said bids from contractors to replace up to 500 service lines came in “extremely high”. 

But there is an offer on the table that could potentially present the city with a big savings.

Walter Wang is the owner of JM Eagle, a California company that produces plastic pipes.  Back in February, Wang offered to give the city enough plastic PVC pipe to replace thousands of damaged lead service lines for free.

But to date, Flint officials have not accepted Wang’s offer.

Former chief medical executive Dr. Matthew Davis received an email on the Genesee County Legionnaires' outbreak nearly a year before its public announcement.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Did the Michigan Department of Health and Human services know about a possible Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Genesee County a year before it was publicly disclosed? Emails recently released by Governor Rick Snyder’s administration raise that question.

Dr. Matthew Davis, who served as the state’s chief medical executive and on Snyder’s Flint water task force, has previously denied knowledge of the increase of Legionnaires’ cases in Genesee County prior to leaving his post in April 2015.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

 

Governor Rick Snyder has signed an education budget for the coming fiscal year. But there are questions about a provision that will send $2.5 million to private and religious schools for state mandates such as fire drills. The provision could run against a section of the state constitution that says no public money can be used to support private or parochial schools.

Snyder acknowledged there may be legal issues with the budget. “But at this point, I thought it appropriate to move ahead and let’s address the legal questions separately,” Snyder said.

The latest re-invention of public schools in Detroit is underway with the state trying yet again to overhaul the district facing huge financial and academic difficulties.

But it’s still too early to declare victory.

This new plan out of Lansing is without the support of legislative Democrats, the Detroit delegation and Mayor Mike Duggan. But it does return the Detroit public schools back to the control of a locally elected school board. This is coming after many state appointed emergency managers over seven years have tried but failed to turn around the district.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

A Republican state legislator leading the effort to overhaul criminal justice in Michigan says rehabilitation is as important as punishment.

State Senator John Proos says the public is safer and taxpayers save money when released felons don’t re-offend – and when juveniles don’t become permanent clients of the criminal justice system.

Michigan state Rep. Plawecki dies at age 54

Jun 26, 2016
http://housedems.com/

State Rep. Julie Plawecki, D-Dearborn Heights, has died while hiking with a daughter in Oregon. She was 54.

State Sen. David Knezek, a fellow Democrat from Dearborn Heights, announced Plawecki's death late Saturday night on Facebook. House Minority Leader Tim Greimel released a statement Sunday saying the caucus was deeply saddened by her death. A spokeswoman for Greimel, Katie Carey, said Plawecki's family said she died of an apparent heart attack.

Crew works on replacing a lead service line in Flint earlier this year.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city officials are scheduled to sit down with seven contractors tomorrow with hopes of getting the city’s pipe replacement program back on track.

Contractors submitted bids last week to replace hundreds of lead service lines in Flint.

The pipes connect homes to city water mains, and are a prime source of lead that’s leeching into Flint’s drinking water.

But Mayor Karen Weaver says those bids were “extremely high.” She says Monday’s meeting is intended to hopefully find ways to reduce the cost.

The state will pay the full costs of bottled water and filters in Flint after the federal emergency ends August 14.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is setting aside more money for future disasters and emergencies.

This past week, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill to raise the cap on Michigan’s Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund from $4.5 million to $10 million.   

The fund provides state assistance to counties and municipalities when federal assistance is not available.

Stateside 6.24.2016

Jun 24, 2016

Today, we learn about the power of smells. And, if we know early childhood education is so important,  why don't we pay the teachers more?

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Republican presidential candidate at a campaign stop in Warren, Michigan (prior to his stop in Cadillac).
Jake Neher / MPRN

Two of the biggest Michigan political stories this week were the announcement of more lawsuits involving the Flint water crisis, and the "Dump Trump" movement in the presidential race. 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that his office has filed a civil suit against three companies (Veolia North America and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam) for their role in the Flint water crisis.

Stateside 6.23.2016

Jun 23, 2016

 

Today, we touch base with members of Michigan's congressional delegation to hear their views on the sit-in in the U.S. House over gun control. And, we learn about efforts to bring the arctic grayling, a once-prized fish, back to Michigan waters.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Rep. Dan Kildee / Twitter

Earlier today, House Democrats ended their 25-hour sit-in on the house floor.

Led by U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, revered for his role in the civil rights movement, Democrats demanded votes on gun control issues such as universal background checks and blocking gun sales to anyone on a no-fly list.

The protest drew a range of reactions from their colleagues and constituents.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (right) of Michigan's 12th Congressional District participated last night in a sit-in protesting legislative inaction on gun control. Also pictured: Representatives Catherine Clark and John Lewis and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Rep. Debbie Dingell / Twitter

Of the hundreds of legislators who spoke as they occupied the House chamber last night in a historic sit-in to protest Congressional inaction on gun control, it may have been the words of Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., that made the biggest impact. 

"I lived in a house with a man who should not have had access to a gun," Dingell said in a passionate address delivered at roughly 12:25 a.m.

Stateside 6.22.2016

Jun 22, 2016

Today on Stateside, we hear the first installment of our series Starting over in Michigan. Sharing strong cardamom-scented coffee, Syrian refugees Maan and Bayan tell host Cynthia Canty about their first impressions of Dearborn, their new home.

Attorney General Bill Schuette faces legal complexities in his civil lawsuit to acquire damages for Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced today he's suing companies that he says allowed the Flint water disaster to, in his words, "occur, continue and worsen."

A refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos
Razi Jafri

More Syrian refugees have come to Michigan seeking a new life than any other state.

The State Department reports that 505 Syrian refugees settled in our state between May 2011 and May 2016. And more are on the way.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Does the newly-passed state rescue plan for Detroit's public schools do enough to meet the future needs of the struggling district and its students?

A newly-released study from the non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan points to growing challenges in funding the education of Detroit's kids -- factors the new state plan did not take into account.

Craig Thiel with the CRC joined us today to discuss the findings. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of the Michigan Attorney General’s investigation into the Flint water crisis is threatening to take state agencies to court to force them to turn over documents.

Todd Flood has been leading Attorney General Bill Schuette's investigation into Flint’s lead-tainted water since January.

The probe has already resulted in criminal charges against three government officials.    A lawsuit has also just been filed against companies that acted as consultants to the city during the switch from Detroit water to the Flint River.

Democratic congressional representatives are staging a sit-in on the House floor to push a restriction on suspected terrorists' ability to buy guns.
Rep. Dan Kildee / Twitter

Five Democratic Michigan representatives are participating in a sit-in aimed at closing what they call the 'terror loophole.' They propose closing the loophole with what they call the #NoFlyNoBuy law. It would make it more difficult for those specifically on the FBI's no-fly list to buy guns.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about an approved plan for Waukesha, Wisconsin to divert water from Lake Michigan, Enbridge Energy's announcement that it will spend $7 million on new equipment to clean up oil spills, and the growing use of body cameras in police departments.

In full disclosure, Enbridge Energy is a financial supporter of Michigan Radio.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After months of wrangling, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is reluctantly agreeing to hook the city up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline for the city's drinking water.

Emergency managers made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water to the KWA pipeline as a way to save money. Flint's city council gave its stamp of approval as well. But Flint’s new elected leaders wanted out of the deal because of the cost.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Ingham County’s new prosecutor says she wants to restore the public’s trust in the prosecutor’s office.

Former state senator Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t take office until next month, but she got a jump on things by being sworn in this week.

Whitmer is replacing Stuart Dunnings III, who is mired in a prostitution scandal. Whitmer says restoring credibility to the office is key.

One Michigan GOP delegate is hoping to prevent a Trump nomination at the Republican convention.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

As the Republican Convention in Cleveland approaches, there’s a sense among some Republicans that the party needs a Presidential candidate who is not Donald Trump.

One MI GOP delegate is fighting to prevent Trump from becoming the Republican nominee. Wendy Day wants to beat Hillary Clinton in November, but she doesn’t want the victor to be Donald Trump.

A pro-marijuana group is going to cA pro-marijuana group is going to court to get a question onto the November ballot.ourt in order to get a petition onto the November ballot.
Flickr user Global Panorama / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

MI Legalize, a group trying to legalize marijuana in the state, is making the court its battleground. The group is hoping to get the question of marijuana legalization on the November ballot.

A state elections board shut down the group's petition, because it failed to get the signatures within the 180-day limit. Now the group is suing to get its question on the ballot.

Jeff Hank, executive director and general counsel of MI Legalize, joined us to discuss his group’s litigation.

GUEST

Stateside 6.20.2016

Jun 20, 2016

Today, we hear about a Detroit couple's effort to stop "humpers and dumpers" from using their neighborhood's streets. And, we look at how creativity fuels innovation.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters says now’s the time “to act on guns”.

Peters and his fellow Democrats get their long-sought votes on gun control after the massacre in Orlando, Florida, but election-year politics ensure no changes in the nation's laws.

Democrats are expected to vote tonight to block two Republican amendments, saying they don't do enough. Republicans are expected to block two Democratic amendments, saying they threaten the rights of gun owners.

The guidelines have been controversial, but the board president expects them to pass this month
ANTIOCHLA.EDU / ANTIOCH UNIVERSITY

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Some lawyers and gay rights supporters say lingering statutes criminalizing sodomy and laws prohibiting same-sex marriage could be used to harass gay couples in Michigan, despite court rulings that render those laws moot.

  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that laws banning sodomy are unconstitutional. But a Ferndale attorney, Rudy Serra, says if a conservative prosecutor and judge paired up in Michigan they could financially devastate a gay couple.

Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - To rescue Detroit's school district from potential insolvency, Michigan is turning to a familiar playbook.

  It will shift more than a quarter of the state's $250 million annual payment from tobacco companies to Detroit schools. The move is the latest in a line of tapping the legal settlement when the governor and lawmakers are in a pinch.

  With the latest Detroit bailout, all but $26 million, or about 10 percent, of the yearly tobacco cash is automatically spoken for.

Flint River and water plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says Flint’s water system still faces major problems. EPA chief Gina McCarthy sent a warning to Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

The letter says the city’s water treatment plant is understaffed – and the water distribution network is too large and sprawling.

Stateside 6.17.2016

Jun 17, 2016

Today, a former University of Michigan football player explains how a plant-based diet radically improved his health. And we hear about racial and economic disparity in Detroit from the author of Arc of Justice.

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