Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

It will get harder from here.

Wayne County Commissioners have approved a consent agreement with the State of Michigan to deal with the county's fiscal emergency.

Of the 14 commissioners, only one, Jewel Ware, voted no.

The agreement means the county will be able to avoid the appointment of an emergency manager, if it can meet the terms.

Today on Stateside:

Even though the price of crude oil fell to a six-year low earlier this week, a BP refinery shutdown in Indiana is driving gas prices up. GasBuddy.com’s Patrick DeHaan talks to us about the shutdown and what to expect in the next few weeks.

MCity’s recent opening in Ann Arbor is a big sign that Michigan intends to be a leader in developing self-driving cars. Dino Grandoni looked at the “gold rush” of self-driving cars in a recent piece for The New York Times.

Wikimedia Commons

A group of unions has launched a petition drive to double Michigan’s corporate income tax and use the additional revenue for roads.

Union leader Tom Lutz is with the Citizens for Fair Taxes Campaign. He says corporations should have to give back about half the net tax reductions that resulted from the state’s 2011 business tax overhaul.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Senate is one step closer to confirming Gov. Rick Snyder’s appointment of a former Consumers Energy lobbyist to a panel that regulates utilities.

The state Senate Energy and Technology Committee signed off on the appointment of Norm Saari to the Michigan Public Service Commission during an advice and consent hearing on Thursday. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley doesn't seem worried about his single-digit position in the polls.

O'Malley is running for the Democratic nomination for president, and is currently running far behind Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"A person can become very, very famous in our country overnight, once the people of Iowa make their determination," O'Malley told reporters outside the Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor Wednesday night, where he was to attend a private fundraiser. "In fact, President Obama defeated the inevitable front-runner" eight years ago in that very first contest, he noted.

Atlantic Council / Flickr

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump isn't getting a lot of love from politicians in his own party, let alone from Democrats.

But U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, fast gaining a reputation for straight talk herself, had some rare words of praise.

Today on Stateside:

Donald Trump came to Michigan on Tuesday to, well, be Trump. In 50 minutes, he touched on and criticized just about everything. Detroit Free Press reporter Kathy Gray share what she saw.

We asked you about experiences every Michigander should have at least once, and you responded in force. Michigan Radio’s Kimberly Springer brings us the top 70 items on the Michigan bucket list.

Courtesy photo - Paul Clements / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Paul Clements will try again to unseat longtime Congressman Fred Upton.

The political science professor at Western Michigan University got 40% of the vote the last time he ran against Upton, in 2014.

Donald Trump speaks at the 2015 CPAC in Maryland
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Donald Trump came to Michigan on Tuesday to, well, be Trump.

As a few dozen Democrats protested outside the Birch Run Expo Center last night, the crowd inside was certainly receptive to Trump and his message.

Flickr user Greg Skidmore / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We will not head to the polls to choose our next President for another 15 months.

Yet, candidate announcements have been raining down on us since March 23, when Ted Cruz became the first major candidate to jump into the race. With 17 Republicans showing up in major polls and five Democrats, it's proving to be a crowded field.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wowed his fans at an appearance in Michigan tonight.

People paid between $25 and $125 to see Trump.

They rose to their feet and cheered when the announcer declared: “The next president of the United States … Donald Trump.”

The actress best known for playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on “Little House on the Prairie” in the 1970s and early 80s moved to Michigan two years ago with her actor husband Timothy Busfield.

On Monday, she announced a run for Congress in Michigan’s 8th District. It covers cities like East Lansing, Howell, Fenton, Clarkston, Lake Orion and Rochester.

Today on Stateside:

Melissa Gilbert, best known for her role in Little House on the Prairie, wants to go to Congress. She’s running as a Democrat in Michigan’s 8th District, but personal financial troubles and her relatively new status as a resident could stand in her way. Detroit Free Press reporter Todd Spangler joins us to talk about it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A small group of protesters is greeting people outside of tonight’s Donald Trump event in Birch Run, north of Flint.  

Trump is currently leading polls among Republican presidential candidates. Tonight’s event is sold out.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Organizers expect to sell out today’s speech by Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump. 

Trump is scheduled to speak this evening at the Birch Run Expo Center. The event is a fundraiser for the Saginaw and Genesee County Republican Parties.

Michael Moon is the chair of the Genesee County GOP. He says Trump’s controversial comments about a Fox News anchor have spurred sales during the past few days. 

State Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, claims Michigan Republican leaders are on a campaign to destroy him as he faces an internal investigation into abusing his office to cover up an extra-marital affair.

Courser posted a rambling, 27-minute audio statement on the internet where he acknowledged being a “broken messenger” (using the phrase multiple times), but blamed the “Republican establishment” for trying to bring him down. 

Thomas Hawk / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Gov. Rick Snyder is applauding Michigan’s largest county for moving toward a consent agreement with the state.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans has called for a consent agreement to deal with the city’s troubled finances. The county commission approved that option after a state review team last month found a financial emergency exists and Snyder confirmed that finding.

Today on Stateside:

The story stunned Detroit News readers: recordings indicated GOP State Rep. Todd Courser had a phony email sent out alleging he'd paid for gay sex behind a Lansing bar, all to provide what he called "a controlled burn" to direct attention away from an extra-marital affair with fellow State Rep. Cindy Gamrat. Detroit News Lansing reporter Chad Livengood brings us Courser’s response to the story.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Can American legislators help to convince the Canadian environmental minister to say no to a plan to store nuclear waste underground less than a mile from Lake Huron?

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow hopes so. She unveiled legislation today related to a nuclear waste storage site planned for Kincardine, Ontario.

Melissa Gilbert, the actor who gained fame playing Laura Ingalls on TV’s Little House on the Prairie, says she’s running for a mid-Michigan congressional seat as a Democrat.

  Gilbert made the announcement via e-mail and social media. Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District seat is currently held by freshman Republican Mike Bishop. Gilbert has lived in Howell since 2013 with her husband, actor Timothy Busfield. He is a Michigan native.

Courser web site

It was the story that stunned Detroit News readers.

Recordings were published Friday that indicated State Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, had sent out a phony email last May alleging he paid for gay sex behind a Lansing bar. The email was meant to provide what he called a "controlled burn," to direct attention away from an extramarital affair with fellow State Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell.

Bytemarks / flickr


State officials say Michigan’s unemployment computer system is saving money, streamlining the unemployment process, and rooting out unemployment fraud. It's called the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System, or MiDAS, and it's been handling unemployment claims in Michigan since 2013.

Courser website

Update 3:11 p.m.

The Speaker of the House in the Michigan Legislature said state officials seized evidence from the offices of Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, and Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, as part of their investigation into whether the two lawmakers used state resources to hide their relationship.

More from Chad Livengood and Leonard Fleming of the Detroit News:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There will be plenty of security inside and outside of tomorrow’s Donald Trump speaking event near Flint.

Trump will be speaking in Birch Run, which is police chief Al Swearengin’s town.    

He says they’ve had bigger events, including this past weekend’s Dirt Fest music festival at the Expo Center. 

Michigan lawmakers and the Snyder administration are writing up new energy policy. It’s a big deal that almost no one is paying attention to. And that means the issue will be driven by special interests.

Courser web site

The state House leader has ordered an investigation into whether two Republican lawmakers used their publicly funded offices to try and cover up an extra-marital affair.

State Representatives Todd Courser (R-Lapeer) and Cindy Gamrat (R-Plainwell) have been Tea Party favorites and alliance of two often at odds with their own party’s leaders.

The Detroit News obtained audio recordings made by a staffer where Courser can be heard outlining his plan to create a fake scandal in an effort to paper over the real one.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Each week  Jennifer White speaks to Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, about the latest in state politics.

This week, they discussed the federal civil rights complaint filed by the Detroit Public Schools elected board against Governor Rick Snyder.

Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

It doesn't look like the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority is going to have trouble finding companies to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge between the U.S. and Canada. 

The WDBA met with interested construction and engineering firms during several informational sessions in Detroit and Windsor this week. 

Today on Stateside:

Ann Marie Sastry is a former University of Michigan professor, a material science researcher, and the founder of Sakti3 — one of 30 companies invited to showcase its work at the first-ever White House Demo Day. She’s developing the next generation of low-cost batteries that could change everything.

Dan Austin’s recent piece for Detroit Free Press talks about new life at the home of the Detroit Stock Exchange. Austin joins us today to give us a lesson on the history of the DSE.

flickr user Joe Gratz / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

By the end of September, survivors of sexual assault will have new rights.

The Sexual Assault Victim’s Access To Justice Act sets up an array of victims' rights in sexual assault cases.

The act requires police agencies to inform survivors about how they can get help and support, where the survivor can get free medical care and testing, and to do it all within 24 hours of the first contact with the survivor.