Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Stateside went on the road for a live show from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit on Thursday, May 12, 2016.

You can watch the live broadcast below as host Cynthia Canty interviews several guests, including:

Virg Bernero, mayor of Lansing.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing's mayor has vetoed a city council decision on affordable housing, which may or may not be about affordable housing.

The city council approved a moratorium on tax breaks for affordable housing on a five to three vote.   

Mayor Virg Bernero says the moratorium discriminates against low income residents, so he vetoed it Wednesday.  It will take six votes to override his veto. 

The veto is the latest salvo in a conflict between the mayor and city council involving affordable housing.  

Drawing of a pothole forming.
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

With pints in our hands, we talked about Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure Tuesday night at our Issues & Ale event.

Host Jack Lessenberry spoke with experts from around Michigan. Together, they tried to find the source of the state’s infrastructure problems.

Expert Mike Nystrom represents the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association. The group represents the companies that are trying to rebuild the state’s bridges, sewers, roads and waterlines.

Stateside 5.11.2016

May 12, 2016

Free Press reporter Keith Matheny and Enbridge’s Jason Manshum talked about a 1980 oil spill in the U.P. and whether more spill sites should be reexamined.

Flickr user anderfhart/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It's been 20 years since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed during the Clinton administration, and the TV and radio industry claims to still feels its effects.

The legislation sparked public controversy because of the changes it brought to broadcasting, having introduced media cross-ownership and being the first update in government policies for communications in over 60 years. Today, smaller, independent programmers continue to compete with growing media giants in securing a hold on the market.

State lawmakers at odds over best DPS rescue package

May 11, 2016
Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, speaks to reporters on the Senate floor after the Senate passed Senate Bills 710, 711, and 819 - 822, measures that would reform Detroit's public schools.
senatorgoeffhansen.com

Michigan lawmakers are at odds over the best rescue package for Detroit Public Schools, including one plan that could leave the district $80 million in debt by September.

A new memo from State Treasurer Nick Khouri predicts a dark future for DPS if an agreement cannot be reached among lawmakers, with teachers missing paychecks and the district going severely into debt.

Map showing the location of Waukesha, WI.
Screencap from Google Maps / Google

The request of Waukesha, Wisconsin to divert water from the Great Lakes should be rejected, according to a resolution introduced today in the Michigan Senate.

The resolution says Waukesha's request does not meet some of the requirements set by the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact for permitting a water diversion.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about the end of Flint water hearings in Lansing and whether Detroit's struggling school district will get the cash infusion it needs from the state.


Senators Jim Stamas and Jim Ananich at a hearing on the Flint water health emergency with local officials and members of the public at the University of Michigan
senatorjimstamas.com / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The legislative committee in charge of examining what went wrong with the Flint water crisis has concluded.

When Midland Republican Sen. Jim Stamas was appointed chairman, he promised to take testimony on the mistakes that led to the Flint water disaster "at all levels of government,"and to ensure that something like this never happens again. 

However, neither Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder nor any of the former emergency managers in charge of the city of Flint were called to testify. 

flickr user Ted Eytan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

"What bathrooms can transgendered people use?" has become a hot-button question not only in Michigan, but across the United States.

Public comments pour in as the Michigan Board of Education continues to draft its voluntary guidelines to assist schools in addressing the needs of their LGBTQ students.

flickr user amboo who? / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Gender identity has become a big issue in the public discourse over the last few years. There has been a heated debate over legislation involving so-called "bathroom bills" and others involving the fight for legal protections for members of the LGBTQ community.

Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom are saying that Britain has a long way to go before transgender people achieve equality. Some MPs are seeking to follow the Republic of Ireland's lead and pass laws that would allow people to declare which gender they are, regardless of what doctors or anyone else says.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has not spoken about why Lansing's former city attorney Janene McIntyre resigned, nor why she was given $160,000 in salary and accrued benefits upon doing so.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are still unanswered questions and a growing pile of legal bills swirling around the sudden resignation of Lansing's former city attorney.

Janene McIntyre resigned March 4, but was still paid $160,000 in salary and accrued benefits. Now legal costs related to the separation are mounting.

In the meantime, neither McIntyre nor Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will say why she left and why she was given such a generous payout. 

Stateside 5.10.2016

May 10, 2016

Judi Brown Clarke joined us to discuss the mysteries surrounding the sudden resignation of Lansing's former city attorney. And, Dr. Eden Wells laid out how concerned residents of Michigan should be about Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

Sen. Gary Peters joined Cynthia Canty in the studio for today's "Stateside"
Mercedes Mejia

There are some important issues that seem to be mired in Republican resistance on Capitol Hill, federal aid for Flint, and hearings on a new Justice for the United States Supreme Court among them.

Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., joined Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside to talk about the latest developments and what it might take to get these efforts running through the Senate.

american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan State Board of Education holds its final public session Tuesday on controversial guidelines to help schools come up with plans to deal with gay and transgender students.

If adopted, the voluntary guidelines for schools cover allowing students to choose how they are gender-identified, which bathrooms they can use, and what their names and pronouns are.

Board President John Austin says LGBT kids are more likely to skip school, struggle academically, and attempt suicide than other students. He says that’s a reality schools have to address. 

Stateside 5.9.2016

May 9, 2016

On today's show, Sen. Gary Peters joins us in-studio to talk about Flint funding, choosing a new Supreme Court justice and autonomous cars. And, Shobita Parthasarathy shares some lessons that Michigan could learn from India's commitment to grassroots innovation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan National Guardsmen are no longer distributing bottled water at three Flint fire stations as part of the state response to the water crisis.  

Just before noon, guardsmen loaded pallets of the cases of bottled water onto trucks behind Flint Fire Station #8. 

For months, this was one of five Flint fire stations where residents went to pick up bottled water and filters.  But the city is transitioning to nine neighborhood giveaway sites manned by paid employees.

Staff Sergeant Thomas Vega says it’s a sign of progress in the Flint water crisis.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A legislative panel investigating the Flint water crisis will hear a report tomorrow about how serious the problem might be in the rest of the state.

The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and Public Sector Consultants released a report last month on Michigan’s water infrastructure. 

Mike Nystrom with MITA says the report found Michigan is up to a half billion dollars short annually of what it should spend on water infrastructure.

There is no agreement at the state Capitol about how to fix Detroit’s schools and time is growing short as the possibility of a default looms. But, it’s not Republicans versus Democrats on this one. This is a showdown between Republicans.

hstreetagent

The Fair Housing Center of Southeast and Mid Michigan has filed a discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development against Ypsilanti Township. The complaint relates to an ordinance the township passed last year banning government subsidies in a new development. That would exclude tenants with Section 8 vouchers. It is the first time a Michigan municipality has attempted to ban subsidized housing.

Blanche Jackson, right, with Rep. Sandy Levin. Jackson successfully appealed a finding of unemployment fraud, but the state still says she owes $4000.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, says the state needs to fix its “lawless” unemployment claims system, or risk losing federal money to administer the program.

The state switched to an automated claims processing system, the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MiDAS), in 2013.

Since then, fraud claims have spiked. But many people say they’ve been falsely accused, and that the system for appealing is a nightmare.

Stateside 5.6.2016

May 6, 2016

On today's show, we take a look at the history of the Mexican repatriation. A new study shows that when it comes to marriage, "opposites attract" no longer applies. And, we wonder whether Donald Trump isn't just a national version of Michigan's Geoffrey Fieger.

Mexican and U.S. flags
Flickr user Ken Bosma

Throughout this year's presidential campaigns, there's been a lot of talk about immigration in this country. We've heard proposals ranging from reform that would be a roadmap to citizenship, to building a wall between the United States and Mexico.

We've had immigration arguments for a long time, about as long as the U.S. has been a country, and these debates always escalate when the economy takes a downturn. 

When there are labor shortages, we turn to Mexico and encourage immigration. But the moment the economy tanks, we want to send those workers packing back to Mexico. 

prison cells
Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

There's a category in which Michigan beats countries like China, Russia, Thailand, Cuba and Iran. Michigan imprisons its citizens at a far higher rate.

And Michigan is actually below the national average. States such as Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Mississippi imprison as many as one out of every 100 residents. 

The U.S. turns to incarceration much more readily than the rest of the world. 

Rashida Tlaid says Donald Trump's rhetoric has caused damage that will take years to address.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The Republicans have one candidate left standing for the party's presidential nomination.

Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich both suspended their campaigns this week, leaving Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Time is running out for the petition drive to recall Governor Rick Snyder.

A spokesman says the Stop Snyder petition drive has collected around 400,000 signatures. 

Crowd waits to hear President Obama speak in Flint, Michigan.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder stepped before a crowd of thousands of Flint residents Wednesday in advance of President Obama's speech at Northwestern High School.

The reaction was not warm. 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joins us to talk about what it will take to end the free-for-all of political games and blame-shifting in the ongoing water crisis. 

Bill would update Michigan car seat regulations

May 5, 2016
Baby in car seat
Intel Free Press / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A bill in the state House would change car seat requirements for Michigan children.

Right now, the state's child safety restraint regulations are generally based on age and height. 

Under the bill, a child's weight would also be included.

Amy Zaagman with the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health says the legislation would bring Michigan up to date with national standards.

Stateside 5.5.2016

May 5, 2016

On today's show, we touch base with the Michigan Radio It's Just Politics team to help wrap our minds around the DPS plan narrowly passed by the state House. We speak with a University of Michigan researcher about what makes people really care about climate change. We also learn about spider venom and how it could hold the holy grail of natural pesticides.

Steven Johnson was surprised to learn he might be heading to Lansing next year to represent Michigan's 72nd District.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It took 15 hours and an all-nighter, but the state House narrowly managed to approve a package of six bills aimed at fixing the Detroit Public Schools. 

Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics team Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta sit down with us today to talk about the bills, and about how the House and Senate have different views about how to keep DPS doors open. 

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