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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

U.S ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

DETROIT (AP) - President Donald Trump's spending plan for 2018 includes $77.6 million for operation and maintenance of Great Lakes shipping channels and related infrastructure, including the lock system at Sault Ste. Marie.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Detroit District oversees operations in Michigan and parts of Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Detroit skyline
Debbie Malyn / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's been a great effort to revitalize Detroit in recent years, but new figures from the US Census Bureau show the city is still losing population. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what it's going to take for Detroit to see some growth.

Stateside 5.26.2017

May 26, 2017

On the program today, a former legislative leader is critical of a bill to give a road salt contractor a sweetheart deal. Plus, we hear about an interceptor missile base that’s supposed to shoot down nuclear missiles aimed at the U.S. east coast—whether it actually works or not. Michigan is one of the finalists. 

Citizens at a public event in 2015 expressed some concern about making Battle Creek a military target. But more were interested in the potential jobs the missile complex may deliver.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan is one of three states waiting on the Trump administration to review a missile defense system base. Fort Custer located between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek is one site being considered for the interceptor missile base. The other two are Camp Ravenna in Ohio and Fort Drum in New York.

Michigan’s entire Congressional delegation supports the Fort Custer site.

These interceptor missiles are called the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD). They’re designed to intercept incoming nuclear missiles.

Here’s the problem: the GMD system is flawed.

More than a dozen state senators have sponsored a bill that would eliminate Michigan's income tax by 2022.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is debating concealed guns and a sweetheart deal for a salt mine.

To discuss those bills, Stateside welcomed Vicki Barnett – a former mayor of Farmington Hills and former democratic legislator – alongside Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow with Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislator.

Regarding concealed weapons, some members of the legislature support repealing a law that requires training and a permit in order to carry and conceal firearms. Supporters say Michigan law currently lets anyone openly carry firearms, so people should not have to pay more, and file extra paperwork simply to carry firearms inside jackets or other clothing.

profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee's decision to stay out of the Democratic race for Michigan's governor makes the field a little less crowded, but there's still competition for a spot on next year's ballot. 

Last week, Stateside spoke with Democratic candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former head of the Detroit Health Department.

Today, Gretchen Whitmer joined the show. Whitmer served for 14 years in the Michigan House and Senate, including four years as Senate Minority Leader. She was the interim prosecutor for Ingham County during the last half of 2016. She kicked off this year by announcing her run for governor in 2018.

Sen. Patrick Colebeck

Controversial legislation surrounding license plate fundraising is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

Republican lawmakers have tried for years to pass similar legislation. The bill would create a Choose Life fundraising license plate with proceeds going to the Choose Life Fund for nonprofit organizations for, “life-affirming programs and projects.”

The Choose Life Fund was created by Right to Life of Michigan – an anti-abortion group.

Democrats in the House attempted to pass several amendments to broaden the scope of where proceeds would go. All failed.

The non-profit agency Samaritas is the largest resettler of refugees in Michigan.
Courtesy of Samaritas

The number of refugees re-settled in Michigan has dropped sharply over the past six months.

That parallels a larger national trend, according to new analysis of U.S. State Department data from the Pew Research Center.

Pew examined refugee resettlement data from October 2016 through April of this year.

Democratic Congressman Sander Levin of Royal Oak
http://www.house.gov/levin/

Lawmakers across the United States, both Republicans and Democrats have been reacting to President Trump’s White House budget proposal released Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D- Royal Oak,  has served in the House since 1983. He calls the cuts "extreme" and "based on false assumptions."

Rep. Upton says Trump’s budget plan is bad for Michigan

May 24, 2017
The Trump Administration's budget would eliminate the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Lawmakers across the United States, both Republicans and Democrats, have been reacting to President Trump’s White House budget proposal released Tuesday.

Among the many cuts, the budget excludes funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and cuts research funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5 billion. Former president, Barack Obama signed a bipartisan bill that allowed for the funding.

Groups brainstorming
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Elected leaders in Grand Rapids are trying to satisfy critics who say they’re not doing enough to change police policies and outcomes critics say are racially biased.

It's part of a larger effort launched after violence in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The Trump Administration released its proposed federal budget. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would get zero dollars if the plan is approved as is. Over the past seven years, it received $2.2 billion in funding to preserve the Great Lakes.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss how that cut could affect Michigan residents.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A showdown is brewing in Lansing over the fate of teacher retirements. 

Teachers can currently choose between a full 401(k) type plan or a hybrid 401(k) and pension plan.

Many Democrats, like Senator David Knezek, oppose the legislation.

“We have example after example after example of why this doesn’t work,” he said. “Why it doesn’t make fiscal sense in the short term. Why it doesn’t make fiscal sense in the long-term. But what we are I think leaving out of that conversation is the real impact that it has on people’s lives.”

Both the Michigan House and Senate introduced identical bills today to address teacher pensions.
Pkay Chelle / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Both the Michigan House and Senate introduced identical bills today. What message are legislative leaders trying to send by doing that?

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump has now been in office for more than 120 days.

To assess how Trump’s presidency has gone so far, Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst, hosted Issues & Ale-President Trump: A Michigan Report Card.

A view of sand dunes and Lake Michigan
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

The broad takeaway from President Trump's budget proposal, released earlier today, is this:

Military spending and high-earners win, while social safety net programs and the Great Lakes lose.

Stateside spoke with Dustin Walsh of Crain’s Detroit Business about the proposed budget and how it would affect Michigan. Walsh said, like most budget proposals, this one represents something closer to a “wish list” than an actual policy proposal.

Consultant john Young stands in front of his Power Point presentation.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city council members want more information about a deal to keep the city on water from Detroit.

Monday night, council member took turns grilling Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) CEO Sue McCormick and a consultant hired by the state who's recommending Flint agree to sign a 30-year deal to get its tap water from Detroit. The contract is part of a plan that includes tens of millions of dollars in new investment to repair Flint's broken water system. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State Republicans and Democrats are sparring over a proposal to keep some key Affordable Care Act provisions in place in Michigan, even if Congress succeeds in repealing Obamacare.

A petition campaign that collapsed in scandal last year is re-launching and some GOP leaders are concerned the issue could threaten Republican control over Lansing.

student protestor
Corey Oakley / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state Senate Judiciary Committee this week heard testimony on campus free speech legislation. This comes on the heels of some high profile cases in which appearances by controversial speakers were derailed by campus protests. This Week in Review, Michigan Radio Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether campus free speech legislation is necessary.

They also look at legislation that would limit when a state administrative rule can be stricter than a federal rule, new projections that show there's less money than anticipated heading to the state's general fund, and another delay in the completion of an unfinished jail in downtown Detroit.

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

The State of Michigan received some good news and some bad news this week. Projections show income tax revenue over the next couple of years will likely be less than expected: around $300 million less for the state’s general fund.

But the sales tax-based School Aid Fund is projected to bring in more than expected – about $340 million more.

person writing on paper
LucasTheExperience / Flickr

Two more petition campaigns were given the go-ahead Thursday by a state elections panel to start collecting signatures, including one to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan.

The Michigan state capitol building
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Controversial legislation on state regulatory rules is making its way through the Legislature.

The House approved a bill Thursday to prevent the state from being tougher on things like environmental and workplace safety than the federal government.

Proponents of the legislation, say less regulation is the way to go and a federal standard is enough regulation for the state.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard supported similar legislation that failed in the Senate last year, and again voted in favor.

Committee hearing held on campus free speech legislation

May 18, 2017
Jayel Aheram / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The Senate Judiciary Committee took testimony this week on recently introduced campus free speech legislation.

The legislation would require Michigan's public colleges and universities to adopt a policy on free expression that includes, at a minimum, 12 statements spelled out in the act.

One required provision of the policy would be the mandatory expulsion or one year suspension of  a student who has twice been found responsible for infringing on the expressive rights of others.

raymondclarkeimages / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Nothing like having your car totaled by a driver who was probably playing Pokemon Go to sharpen your focus on distracted driving.

That's what happened to state Rep. Martin Howrylak (R-Troy), ironically, while the he was writing House Bill 4466. That bill zeros in on drivers and their hand-held cell phones.

Detroit fire captain suspended over Facebook posts

May 17, 2017
CAIR-Facebook

The Detroit Fire Department has disciplined a captain for allegedly posting xenophobic and racist material on his Facebook page.  

According to David Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the more than 50 offensive posts targeted Muslims, Jews, blacks and immigrants, and some of the most offensive were posted when the captain was on duty.

Walid praised the leadership of the Detroit Fire Department.

Michigan still has one of the highest rates of juvenile lifers in the country.
Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Senate subcommittee has passed a budget cutting the Department of Corrections' budget by $40 million. The department says that would mean cutting jobs and programs to fight recidivism. Both Republicans and Democrats want to see lower prison populations.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether this plan could get bi-partisan support.

Stateside 5.16.17

May 16, 2017

He's the son of Egyptian immigrants, a physician, and he wants to be Michigan's next governor. Today on Stateside, we meet Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. Plus, a salute to the retiring director of the Michigan Opera Theatre. 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Congressman Dan Kildee's decision to not seek the Democratic nomination for governor has changed the playing field for existing and potential candidates.

And that includes Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.

Michiganders could decide next year whether to legalize marijuana in the state and many politicos are wondering how that ballot question could affect the 2018 election.

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