Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Rosalynn Bliss will be Grand Rapids' new mayor.

Bliss soundly defeated her opponents in today's primary, winning 66% of the vote and negating the need for a run-off election in November.

Screen grab from ad
J Street

A new ad in support of the Iran nuclear deal is making its way to Michigan airwaves this week.

The U.S.-based, pro-Israel organization J Street paid for the ad, which they say "represents growing public support for the Iran deal within Israel's security establishment."

Today on Stateside:

Watchdogs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are keeping a wary eye on a safety issue with airbags: what happens when airbags age? Paul Eisenstein talks with us about the concerns.

It’s almost like something out of “Little Shop of Horrors,” a nasty, giant plant that could lead to blistering, scars, or even permanent blindness. It’s called giant hogweed, and one’s been found near Battle Creek. Gretchen Voyle sits down with us to talk about just what makes this plant so nasty.

Flickr user MoneyBlogNewz / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Let's say you're running a national company and that company has lost $26 billion between 2011 and 2014.

What should you do? Find cost efficiencies? Streamline? Merge? Cut spending?

Today on Stateside:

A group of unions is launching a petition drive to raise the corporate income tax rate in Michigan, a proposal that flies in the face of Gov. Snyder’s tax overhaul of 2011. The It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta break the proposal down for us.

It’s happened to the best of us: you said something online that you now regret. Can you take it back, or will your unfortunate emails, tweets and posts somehow live forever? Kimberly Springer sits down with us to talk about what users can do to combat Internet rant remorse.

A group of unions is launching a petition drive to raise the corporate income tax rate in Michigan. But is that really their end game?

user alkruse24 / Flickr

It’s been almost two-and-a-half years since Michigan’s revamped emergency manager law took effect. Thirteen Michigan cities and five school districts are currently under some form of state oversight.

Now, there are growing doubts about the law’s ability to help schools in financial distress.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

During a debate last night, the four candidates running for Flint mayor largely agreed on what needs to be done.  Just not who should lead the city.

Incumbent mayor Dayne Walling, businesswoman Karen Weaver and councilmen Eric Mays and Wantwaz Davis shared the podium and their opinions during their final pre-primary debate.

Today on Stateside:

Michigan State University released its State of the State survey results today, and Director Charles Ballard joins us to discuss the results.

Living off the grid can be a lot of work, but one Michigan family has been doing it for years. Joe Trumpey tells us, “It’s really not about the sacrifice. It’s about paying attention.”

Flickr user Pictures of Money / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Candidates often publicize the amount of money they have raised by including it in press releases or newsletters. But with campaign financing often criticized for it's ability to sway candidates based on who is funding them, why would candidates willingly draw attention to how much they have received?

Joe DiSano of DiSano Strategies in Lansing says these numbers are targeted at potential donors and their opponents, not ordinary voters.

Norris Wong / Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss a land swap deal between Detroit and the owners of the Ambassador Bridge; the beginnings of a lawsuit over an Enbridge pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac; and how some residents in Hamtramck are getting so fed up with bad roads, they are filling in potholes on their streets themselves. 

Jim Wallace / flickr

After several postponements, the Detroit City Council has voted to approve the first step in a controversial land swap deal.

Detroit will receive almost five acres and $3 million from the Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

This photo gives you a sense for why the pig was called "Giggles."
Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor / Facebook

Flint's mayoral race has been one to watch this year. An incorrect deadline given by the city clerk led to an almost completely write-in election that brought us the campaign of Giggles the pig.

The legislature eventually stepped in and there are now four candidates on the ballot. Next week Flint voters will finally get to go to the polls for the city's August 4 mayoral primary.

Flickr user Christopher Peplin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Legislature has been discussing eliminating the prevailing wage law. The law requires contractors hired by government entities to pay workers at union scale wages.

The law has been in Michigan for a few decades and Chris Fisher, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, believes its bad for Michigan.

Today on Stateside:

Flint’s mayoral race has been one to watch this year, and next week voters will finally get to go to the polls for the city’s August 4 mayoral primary. Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody joins us to explain some of the chaos.

Detroit’s auto industry saw over 1.6 million light-vehicle sales in May, the most ever recorded for that month. But Detroit News’ Daniel Howes is worried that, “the wheels are starting to wobble,” for the industry.

Michiganders are feeling better about the economy, but lukewarm on other topics
morguefile user Penywise / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

In Michigan we get a regular glimpse of what people in the state are thinking about the economy, how well they’re doing financially, what they think of the president, the governor, Congress, the state Legislature, and local government.

Michigan State University released its State of the State Survey today. Charles Ballard is the director of the survey.

Today on Stateside:

Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark sit down to talk about Donald Trump’s recent political moves, and the effect he could be having on the Republican presidential field.

Northern Michigan’s tourism industry is huge, but workers are having a hard time finding places to live. Leelanau County Commissioner Ty Wessel joins us to talk about the newly created affordable housing task force and its goals in the area.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, a popular tourist spot in Northern Michigan
flickr user Rodney Campbell / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Northern Michigan’s tourism industry is huge. Likely this summer alone you or someone you know has headed up that way at least once.

At first blush, that sounds as though all that tourism is nothing but great for the economy. It creates a lot of jobs at businesses like restaurants and hotels.

The primary election for Grand Rapids' new mayor will take place next Tuesday
All photos courtesy of candidate Facebook pages

Grand Rapids voters will be electing their first new mayor in more than 10 years, and the primary is a week from tomorrow.

Current Mayor George Heartwell is being term-limited out after serving in office for more than a decade.

There is no stopping him.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump can’t stop talking. But, is that really such a bad thing for his fellow Republicans?

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

U.S. Senator Gary Peters wants service members who were forced out of the military for their sexual orientation to have their statuses upgraded.

Peters is co-sponsoring the Restore Honor to Service Members Act to help simplfy the process of getting a less-than-honorable discharge for being gay changed to honorable.

Church pew with hymnal
Bala Sivakumar / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Federal and local law enforcement officials are hosting a summit in Detroit on Monday to help area religious leaders make places of worship more secure.

The training session will focus on best practices during emergencies, including active shooter situations.

Attendees are also being encouraged to communicate more with each other, including making others aware of threats they've received or suspicious individuals.

Jason Lorenz / City of Flint

Along the mix of downtown buildings and neighborhoods filled with small single family homes, the city of Flint also has its share of mobile home parks.  

The trailer parks are the usual collection of mobile homes laid out in neat lines. But in some cases, it’s not so neat.

Flint has torn down thousands of old, dilapidated homes in the name of blight elimination.  The city is now turning its attention to its handful of trailer parks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s less than two weeks before Flint’s primary for mayor. 

Today, another candidate jumped in the race. 

City councilwoman Monica Galloway was elected to the city council two years ago. Now she’s seeking the city’s top elected job.  

Today on Stateside:

Fiat Chrysler is rushing to assure customers that it does have a software fix to prevent hacking into the Jeep Cherokee and other vehicles, as demonstrated for Wired by two hackers. Paul Eisenstein joins us to talk about this development.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A union-led petition drive is trying to increase the state’s Corporate Income Tax rate from 6% to 11%. The revenue would be used to fix roads.

Increasing the rate by 5 percentage points would generate about $900 million a year toward Governor Rick Snyder’s goal of $1.2 billion in new revenue for road repairs. It would also be a major change to the 2011 business tax overhaul engineered by Snyder and Republicans in the Legislature.

The primary election for Grand Rapids' new mayor will take place next Tuesday
All photos courtesy of candidate Facebook pages

All four Grand Rapids mayoral candidates, Rosalynn Bliss, Robert Dean, John George and Willard participated in a town-hall style forum hosted by Michigan Radio, The Grand Rapids Press and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Each candidate was given the opportunity to make an opening statement, followed by a question-and-answer session. The event was moderated by Zoe Clark, Executive Producer for Stateside on Michigan Radio, and questions will be asked by Lindsey Smith, Michigan Radio West Michigan reporter and Matt Vande Bunte, The Grand Rapids Press government reporter.

Today on Stateside:

What would things be like if the people of a community got to see and interact with their police officers in relaxed, friendly settings every day, and not just in crisis or crime? Kalamazoo’s Department of Public Safety is rolling out the Community Policing Special Unit to find out

Detroit turns 314 this week! The Detroit Drunken Historical Society is putting on Fête d'Anniversaire, a birthday party celebrating the folklore of Detroit’s French roots.

Minor league baseball is coming to Metro Detroit. Andy Appleby is the founder of the United Shore Professional Baseball League, and he joins us to talk about their plans in Utica.

This year, legendary producer, director and “king of B-movies” Roger Corman will receive the Michigan Filmmaker Award at the Traverse City Film Festival. He sits down with us today to talk about his life and career.

The music industry sure has changed a lot over the last half century, but one venue in downtown Ann Arbor has survived it all. The Ark is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox brings us the story of how its leadership plans to keep it around for the next 50 years.

Governor Rick Snyder has affirmed a finding that Michigan's most-populated county is in a state of fiscal crisis.

The determination by the governor is the next step toward forcing the county to accept an agreement that includes big cuts to get to a structurally balanced budget.

The initial review was requested by Wayne County Executive Warren Evens, who says the county does not have to follow Detroit into emergency management and bankruptcy.

The Detroit City Council has reversed course and agreed to hike the city’s water and sewerage rates.

The Council voted 5-4 to approve a 7.5% increase Tuesday, after voting it down last month.