Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Gov. Rick Snyder talks about Wednesday's criminal charges against two MDEQ employees and one Flint official.
SnyderLive / screen grab

Gov. Rick Snyder says two state employees charged with crimes in the Flint water crisis have been suspended. Snyder spoke about the criminal charges filed by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality District Engineer Mike Prysby, former supervisor of the MDEQ’s Lansing District Office Stephen Busch, and Flint Utilities Administrator Mike Glasgow were all charged.

Read more about the charges here.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation see today’s criminal charges as just a step in the right direction.

On a conference call with reporters, U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, welcomed the filing of criminal charges against two state regulators and a Flint city employee in the Flint water crisis.

“But it would be incomplete if that justice did not also include those who did this to Flint … meaning the state government,” says Kildee.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announces charges in his team's investigation into the Flint water crisis on April 20, 2016.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An official in the state Attorney General's office says warrants were issued this morning in 67th District Court against Flint Utilities Administrator Mike Glasgow, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality District Engineer Mike Prysby, and former Supervisor of the MDEQ’s Lansing District Office Stephen Busch.

The charges stem from their involvement in the Flint water crisis.

Attorney General Schuette launched the investigation three months ago.

In addition to the charges against the three individuals, Schuette said more people will be charged.

  • Flint Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee is pressing for federal aid for the city as it tries to recover from the water disaster. But has that momentum stalled out on Capitol Hill?

Courser announces run for Lapeer County prosecutor

Apr 19, 2016
Courser web site

The Lapeer County Clerk's Office confirmed today that former representative Todd Courser is one of three candidates who've filed to run in the Republican primary. One of his opponents is incumbent Prosecutor Timothy Turkelson. 

Courser resigned his House seat in September as his colleagues were about to vote on expelling him. 

Courser and fellow lawmaker Cindy Gamrat were involved in a sex and cover-up scandal that rocked the state Capitol for weeks. 

Courser tried to regain his House seat in a special election and lost.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is “not impressed” by Governor Snyder’s pledge to drink only Flint water for the next 30 days. 

The governor made the pledge to drink filtered Flint water yesterday.

“I’m going to start drinking that tonight and do that for the next 30 days … when I’m at work and at home,” Snyder told reporters on Monday. The governor says he wants to be a “role model” to show filtered Flint tap water is safe to drink.

A taxpayer-financed prison from the tough-on-crime era is back in the news. The Northlake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, Michigan has been a conundrum for taxpayers since it was opened in 1999 (amid more than a little controversy).

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder is pledging to drink filtered Flint tap water for the next 30 days. 

People in Flint don’t trust that special filters are enough to clean lead from their tap water. In many homes, the level of lead in unfiltered tap water is well above the federal action level of 15 parts per billion. 

In Flint today, the governor encouraged city residents to trust the filters. Snyder says he filled up several gallon jugs today at a home with a lead service line that has tested above the federal action level for lead in the past.

Gov. Rick Snyder said in a press release: "Heidi [Grether] has decades of experience in environmental quality issues, and has effectively served during times of crises and recovery."
Michigan Radio

Democrats in the Legislature say they’ll try to stop the state from spending taxpayer dollars on Governor Rick Snyder’s criminal defense team.

State Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, says the state is responsible for defending the governor against civil lawsuits. But he says the governor should pick up the costs of his own criminal 

“You know, I would suggest the governor do what other elected officials have done and create his own legal defense fund, which the law allows for, and do it that way, and not use our taxpayer dollars for criminal defense lawyers.”

  • Cruise ships have plied the Great Lakes since the 1800s. Starting this summer, the Pearl Mist will stop in Muskegon as she travels between Chicago and Toronto.
  • It’s playoff time for a pair of Michigan sports teams, as the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons have kicked off their respective post-seasons. We check-in with Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder does not appear to like a state Senate plan to close two prisons and lease a private prison.  

A Senate subcommittee approved the plan last week as a way to save $15 million.  

Snyder asks,“If you’re closing prisons, why lease another?”

“I view this as part of the normal budget process…..that wasn’t part of our budget recommendation,” Snyder told reporters.

Senators are proposing closing prisons to save money as Michigan’s prison population declines.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan State University pollster says new survey numbers suggest Governor Snyder has suffered “some permanent” damage from the Flint water crisis.

MSU’s State of the State Survey polled nearly 1,000 people between December and March, during the height of the crisis.

Survey director Charles Ballard says the percentage of people rating Snyder’s job performance as “poor” more than doubled, from 21% to 44%. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Political pressure for seats in the Michigan House is revving up as the candidate filing deadline approaches on Tuesday.

While Republican strategists largely contest the opinion, some Democrats say 2016 could be the best shot they have had to seize back the House from GOP control since 2010, when Republicans scored a landslide 20-seat victory. That was the largest seat swap since 1964.

Ann Arbor Democratic Rep. Adam Zemke, a Democrat campaign leader, says, "Everything is lined up for us in 2016."

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Flint residents are being urged to run water in tubs and kitchens each day to flush any lead and coat the pipes with chemical protection.

  The announcement was made Saturday at a forum attended by state and federal officials. The state of Michigan says it will pay for the extra water use, which starts May 1 and lasts for two weeks.

  The cost is expected to be $300,000.

  Flint still is recovering from using the Flint River for 18 months without corrosion control. The water leached lead from old plumbing.

Sgt. Anthony Gazvoda in Afghanistan
Sgt. Anthony Gazvoda

Anyone who goes to fight for the U.S. military in Afghanistan is putting themselves in harm’s way. However, few had a more dangerous job than Grayling, Mich. native Army Sgt. Anthony Gazvoda.

Gazvoda’s job was to clear the roads for his fellow soldiers. This meant he was on the lookout for Improvised Explosive Devices and potential ambushes. By the time Gazvoda left the service with an honorable discharge and a commendation for valor, he had been involved in 34 firefights and dealt with 32 IED incidents.

  • In 1964, when legislators in Michigan created a state minimum wage, the idea was to create a system where no worker would be paid less than minimum wage. That was true for farm workers, too. Until now
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found where you live can make a difference in how long you live.
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In 1964, when legislators in Michigan created a state minimum wage, the idea was to create a system where no worker would be paid less than minimum wage.

But in a departure from previous practice, the state agency that enforces the law ruled in a pay dispute case that agricultural workers are not protected under the minimum wage law.

Sub Committee chair Mike Zimmer (lower left) delivers a report on new lead/copper testing as members of the governor's special Flint water team listen, including Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan would have the toughest lead testing standard in the nation under a sweeping proposal unveiled today in Flint, where the drinking water is still contaminated with lead and residents remain dependent on bottled water donations.

To make sure other Michigan cities don’t suffer the same fate, Gov. Rick Snyder and a team of experts have unveiled a plan to tighten water testing regulations and lower the threshold for action.   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents will not be a water bill next week. But instead, they’ll get a statement showing a state credit.

The state gave Flint $30 million to help city residents who’ve been unable to drink the water since April 2014. 

Flint CFO Jody Lundquist expects some confusion when people open what they expect is a bill, but instead will show the state credit. 

“Please do bear with our customers service staff as they work to address any questions we anticipate you may have,” says Lundquist.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate’s rejection of a quarter billion dollars in aid to Flint has the city’s mayor looking to Lansing for help.

Flint backers in Washington were unable to convince a Republican senator from Utah to end his opposition to the Flint appropriation. 

It was stripped from a funding bill this week.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she’ll “press on” and ask state lawmakers for more help.

  • Gov. Rick Snyder’s appearance at this week’s Pancakes & Politics breakfast was marked by his insistence that his staff and “career civil servants” misled him about the Flint water crisis.
user GPDII / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


It began with a concern raised by some Michigan companies: Some foreign visitors can’t drive with their foreign driver’s licenses, particularly those from China.

Could something be done in Lansing to clear the way for a Chinese executive visiting, say, Dow Chemical, to drive on his or her own?

The result was Senate Bill 501.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Two prisons would close under a plan adopted today by a state Senate budget subcommittee.

The budget proposal does not specify which prisons would be closed. That would be up to the Department of Corrections.

The proposal also calls for the state to lease a privately owned prison in the northern Michigan town of Baldwin that’s currently used to house out-of-state inmates. The move is a response to a decline in the number of prison inmates.

  • A $200,000 question in Lansing City Hall as the city attorney abruptly resigns yet gets a full year's salary and more. Judi Browne Clarke is president of the Lansing City Council.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s something brewing around Lansing’s City Hall.

On March 4, Lansing’s city attorney Janene McIntyre resigned voluntarily, but the Lansing State Journal reports that McIntyre was still paid $160,000 in salary and accrued benefits. McIntyre and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero have repeatedly declined to discuss the details about why she left and why she was given such a substantial payment by the city.

  • New water tests from Virginia Tech show lead levels are improving in Flint, but the water is still not safe to drink without a filter.
Stephen Harlan / flickr creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit mayor Mike Duggan announced plans today to recruit more Detroit-based, minority contractors for the city's expanding blight-removal efforts.

Duggan wants them to help meet increased demand for home demolition and rehabilitation in the city's neighborhoods.

Duggan announced several upcoming fairs to connect contractors with opportunities. The first will be held on May 13 at the Northwest Activities Center at 18100 Meyers Road.

Marc Edwards alerts the people of Flint that they should take precautions when dealing with drinking water in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Marc Edwards and his team from Virginia Tech tested 269 Flint homes last summer to help uncover the major lead problem in the city's drinking water.

The team came back to Flint last month to try to retest those same homes.

They found that the city is still not meeting the federal action level for lead, 15 ppm, today. They recommend that residents continue to use water filters and bottled water for drinking and cooking.

Watch Edwards and the Virginia Tech team talk about the results of those tests below:

The barge in the middle of the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

An upcoming state senate bill would curb new oil pipelines in the Great Lakes.

Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says he'll introduce legislation this week that would block new pipelines from running through Great Lakes waters.

The bill would also require existing lines to undergo a third-party safety review – including Enbridge's Line 5 beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Jones says his bill would shut down the 63-year-old line, and others, if the safety review deemed it unsafe.

  • Leading off the show is John U. Bacon as he tackles a number of issues in the Michigan sports world.

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