Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Gavel made from dollar bill
Glenn Sapaden / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation that opens the door for raising Michigan judges' pay after 15 years of stagnant judicial salaries.

Judges' salaries haven't increased because their pay is currently tied to Supreme Court justices, who haven't seen a raise in years.

Snyder's office says the measure signed Tuesday would allow regular salary evaluations for trial court and Court of Appeals judges.

The change won't affect Supreme Court justices' pay.

Gary Peters
User: Gary Peters / Facebook

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D) has two big projects on his plate in an effort to strengthen protections for the Great Lakes and provide funding for the city of Flint in the wake of the water crisis.

The U.S. Senate recently gave unanimous approval to a funding bill that includes important protections for the Great Lakes. The bill re-authorizes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is the federal agency that oversees pipelines.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry and I talk about what Donald Trump's victory in Michigan says about our state's Republican Party, the future of John Kasich's Republican presidential campaign, and how Bernie Sanders' win was "one of the biggest upsets in state history", among other things. 


The Michigan Capitol in Lansing.
Matt Katzenberger / flickr.com

While most people watched the big presidential primary races in Michigan, Grand Rapids voters, and voters in Allegan and Lapeer counties ,filled empty seats in the Michigan House of Representatives.

In Grand Rapids, a vacancy in the 75th District was left when Brandon Dillon resigned last summer to become the Democratic Party chairman in Michigan.

In that district, Democrat David LaGrand beat out Republican Blake Edmonds. LaGrand is a business owner, a lawyer, and Grand Rapids school board member.

Bernie Sanders speaking in Traverse City, Michigan.
Todd Church / Flickr

Bernie Sanders pulled off an upset win over rival Hillary Clinton in Michigan's Democratic primary.

Polls going into Tuesday indicated that Clinton had a double-digit lead over Sanders -- so much for the polls.

Sanders took 49.9% of the vote. Clinton took 48.2%. 

Sign in Flint, Michigan.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Flint polling places needed more ballots due to an unusually high turnout in a city that has been in the spotlight because of contaminated water.

Flint Clerk Inez Brown says it's the first time in her 20 years in office that she's had to send more ballots during the day of an election. She tells The Flint Journal that turnout Tuesday is "unprecedented," especially among voters who want to vote in the Democratic primary.

State OKs oil drilling permit for Southfield church

Mar 8, 2016
wikipedia http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has granted a controversial permit to drill oil on church-owned property in Southfield.

Traverse City-based Jordan Development Co. applied for the permit to drill an exploratory oil well on 1.5 acres of land leased from the Word of Faith International Christian Center.

The city opposes the drilling. Some residents say it will lower property values, increase emissions and pose a risk of contamination.

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

In a crowded field for the Republican nomination for president, Donald Trump continued to stay at the front of the pack.

With the win in Michigan, Trump picked up more delegates toward his goal of winning the Republican nomination.

If he secures the nomination, Trump will seek to become the first Republican to win Michigan in a presidential election since 1988, when George H.W. Bush was elected.

  • Unless you paid extra-close attention in high school government or civics classes, delegate counts can be confusing and hard to piece together. To help sort it out, we have Charlie Spies here with us.
  • He was a murderer at 18.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

That moment you step up to the voting machine to cast your vote is arguably the foundation of our democracy.

But here’s something you might not know: Those voting machines that we rely on are wearing out, and fast.

Two years ago, a presidential commission on elections warned of an impending national crisis because of these worn-out voting machines, and according to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, Michigan is in the thick of it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters going to the polls today may run into people who want to recall Governor Rick Snyder.

Organizer Rev. David Bullock calls it a “soft launch” for the recall campaign. They won’t be collecting signatures. But they will be collecting names.

Bullock says they’re looking for people willing to volunteer on the recall campaign.

“So that we can have the volunteer core that we need, and know where people are across the state,” says Bullock, “So that when we pull the trigger, in that 60 day period, we have everybody in place.”

  • Flint Congressman Dan Kildee joined Stateside to share his thoughts on the debate between the two Democratic front-runners
  • The Big Ten Tournament gets underway in Indianapolis — something Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, left, and Bernie Sanders, right.
berniesanders.com/hillaryclinton.com

The race to the White House has finally come to Michigan. With the Republican debate in Detroit last week, Democrats arrived in Flint on Sunday with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders holding a debate at the Whiting auditorium.

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee  joined Stateside to share his thoughts on the debate between the two Democratic front-runners.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This isn’t your grandparents’, or even your parents’ Republican Party. Some might even argue this may not be the Republican Party of four years ago.
 
You may love it, or you may hate it, but there’s few that would debate that there’s never been a Republican primary race like this. Insults and rancor have largely overpowered debates on policy and governing. The headlines, more often than not, have focused on the fighting and the verbal zingers between the candidates rather than who would make a better Commander in Chief.

Gov. Rick Snyder in a file photo.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Governor Rick Snyder is holding firm to his vow to stay in office amid growing calls for his resignation.

Both Democratic presidential candidates called for Snyder to resign during their debate in Flint. It was the first time former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said he should step down over Flint’s water crisis.

The governor says that’s not going to happen.

“I’m not resigning, I’m going to solve this problem,” Snyder told reporters after an appearance in Detroit on Monday.

“I said I was sorry and I’m going to fix it.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is getting a $25 million loan to remove its lead pipes. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says the Union Labor Life Insurance Company has agreed to the low cost loans.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says she’s hopeful that the U.S. Senate will soon take up a bill with tens of millions of dollars for Flint.

The legislation has more than $100 million earmarked for fixing Flint’s water system and added health care for people exposed to lead in their tap water.

But a Republican senator is holding up the bill. Utah Senator Mike Lee says the state of Michigan should first spend its own money to fix Flint’s water issues, before the federal government should get involved. 

CNN

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders didn’t agree on much during Sunday’s debate in Flint.

But both want Republican Governor Rick Snyder to resign for his administration’s handling of the Flint water crisis.

“His dereliction of duty was irresponsible. He should resign,” Sen. Sanders (D-VT) said from the stage at the Whiting auditorium.  A statement which drew applause from the partisan audience. 

A few minutes later, Hillary Clinton echoed Sanders’s call.

Bill Clinton campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Detroit

Mar 5, 2016
Virginia Gordan

An enthusiastic crowd of union members and other Hillary Clinton supporters welcomed former President Bill Clinton to Detroit today.

Speaking to a packed auditorium papered with campaign signs that said, "Fighting For Us," the former president spoke about Secretary Clinton's 40 year commitment to reducing income inequality, promoting civil rights, and creating economic opportunity. 

Bill Clinton said too many people have been left behind economically.

Bernie Sanders campaigns in Michigan

Mar 5, 2016
Bernie Sanders at a campaign stop in Traverse City, Michigan.
Sanders campaign

Bernie Sanders held a rally in Traverse City Friday.

He told a packed crowd that the decline of Detroit, and the decline of the American middle class, is partly due to international trade policies.

He says many trade policies cater to big money interests.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Stumping for votes in Michigan ahead of next week’s primary, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton called for a “new bargain for a new economy” at a campaign stop Friday.

Speaking from a factory floor in Detroit, Clinton said that “creating good-paying jobs and raising incomes is the defining economic challenge of our time.”

Clinton outlined a vision to meet that challenge.

She said U.S. corporations should practice “economic patriotism,” and treat workers as assets, not costs.

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

The Trump campaign made a stop in Cadillac Friday at the Wexford Civic Center in preparation for next week’s primaries. Thousands of supporters and a handful of protestors greeted the Republican presidential front runner.

Rabbi Chava Bahle was one of about ten protesters that stood outside the rally.

She says she came down from the Sutton’s Bay area because she sees it as her responsibility as a religious leader.

  • The Republican presidential candidates debated in Detroit last night. U.S. Rep.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With the Democratic Presidential Debate taking place Sunday in Flint, Michigan, the national spotlight is once again focusing on the city’s lead-tainted drinking water.

Some people in Flint are getting tired of being in the glare of the national spotlight.

The whirl of electric clippers mixes with ESPN’s Sports Center on the TV and music from the radio as six men wait for one of two barber chairs to open up in the Consolidated Tattoo and Barbershop in downtown Flint.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Supreme Court recently blocked the Obama administration’s climate change rules. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would have required states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. It was based on the output of each state’s power usage.

It was a surprise move because lower courts had not yet come to a judgment on the rules.

The Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council, James Clift, indicates the effort to reduce the greenhouse emissions that cause climate change does not end with the court’s stay.

flickr user Bart / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

An audit of the unit within Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality that’s responsible for making sure water systems are following drinking water regulations declares the state’s oversight is “not sufficient.”

The report was released Friday morning by the Michigan Office of Auditor General.

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Four Republican presidential candidates spent a scant seven and a half minutes talking about Detroit, Flint, and manufacturing at a debate held in Detroit Thursday night.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Chanting everything from “Flint lives matter!” to “Nazi scum, off our streets!”, a range of protesters confronted Republican presidential debate-goers in the snow outside Detroit’s Fox Theater Thursday night.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Ohio Governor John Kasich talked strategy in Detroit before the GOP presidential debate there Thursday—though he hardly talked about Michigan at all.

Kasich did say Michigan is “important.” The state holds its primary next Tuesday, and Kasich has campaigned here through the week.

But Kasich said the way things are shaking out, the Republican presidential race is “all coming down to Florida and Ohio.”

NOAA

A group of business, industry, government, and environmental organizations in the Great Lakes region are asking presidential candidates to commit to protecting the lakes.

The coalition asked each candidate yesterday to support a specific list of priorities it calls the Great Lakes Protection & Restoration Platform.

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