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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

A Flint fire truck.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is hiring nearly three dozen new firemen.

A $3.7 million federal grant is paying to replenish a department that has seen more than 30 retirements and other departures in the past few years.

“Our firefighters have been doing an outstanding job with … so few firefighters on duty,” says Flint Fire Chief Raymond Barton, “Just imagine what they can do if you almost double [the number responding to calls].”

Flint officials hope to fill the new firefighter jobs with city residents over the next six months.

Marijuana plants.
user A7nubis / flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

LANSING, Mich. - Marijuana won't be on Michigan's statewide ballot in November.

The state appeals court and the Michigan Supreme Court each turned down appeals Wednesday by a group trying to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

A group called the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee submitted 354,000 signatures, apparently enough to get marijuana on the ballot. But the Board of State Canvassers said more than 200,000 were collected outside a 180-day period, a decision that left the group short of enough names.

Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A lawsuit filed today threatens to blow a $4 billion hole in the state budget.

The legal action says that’s how much the state shortchanges local governments every year.

The lawsuit says the state’s been playing a shell game with local revenue sharing payments.

John Mogk is a Wayne State University law professor who filed the lawsuit. He says the state has been improperly claiming payments made to school districts, charter schools, and for road repairs against local governments’ share of sales tax revenue.

Stateside 9.7.2016

Sep 7, 2016

Today, we hear what's to come for the eight state employees charged with crimes in the Flint water crisis. And, we learn that labels didn't stop one family from achieving full inclusion for their son with a developmental disability.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There was a probable cause hearing today for the eight defendants charged by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in the Flint water disaster. What does that mean, and how does today's hearing fit into the legal process?

Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning joined Stateside to provide some answers.

For starters, what is a probable cause conference?

Demonstrators at Capitol seek stronger gun laws

Sep 7, 2016
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Michigan lawmakers returning for the fall session today were greeted by a "die-in" outside the state Capitol.

The protest was organized by the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.

According to Linda Brundage, executive director of the Coalition, the goal of the "die-in" was to draw attention to the 91 people killed by guns each day in the U.S., and to highlight inaction by state lawmakers on bills to reduce gun violence.

"There is very good legislation languishing in the Judiciary Committee eliminating open carry in our schools and libraries," said Brundage.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Michigan's ban on straight-ticket voting keeps moving up the judicial ladder.

In the latest edition of The Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at the state's latest move to reinstate the ban and whether voters will have the option in November.

Stateside 9.6.2016

Sep 6, 2016

Today, we take a look at opioid addiction in Michigan. And, we celebrate the Upper Peninsula with the "official unofficial ambassador" of the U.P.

Gov. Snyder office

This week…a state senate committee holds a hearing on Governor Snyder’s pick to head the Department of Environmental Quality.  

Heidi Grether is a former oil and gas industry lobbyist.  That doesn’t sit well with Mike Berkowitz. He’s the Sierra Club’s legislative and political director.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

Former President Bill Clinton was a crowd-stopper today as he marched in Detroit’s Labor Day Parade on behalf of his wife’s presidential campaign.

The parade was often delayed as Clinton was stopped for selfies. He showed off a Detroit-made Shinola watch he was sporting on his wrist.

The visit comes two days after Republican nominee Donald Trump stopped by an African-American church in Detroit. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State legislators return to Lansing this week and there’s a lot on the agenda.

State Senator John Proos (R-St. Joseph) hopes the state House will act on a package of bills aimed at reducing recidivism in Michigan’s corrections system.  A higher number of ex-cons in Michigan return to prison compared to other states.

“What can we do to off-load some of those costs, invest in areas that might increase offender success and give us the best chance towards decreasing crime in our communities and seeing that continued drop in violent crime in our communities?” asked Proos.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, up to 40,000 people will take part in the annual Labor Day walk across the Mackinac Bridge.

Bridge Authority CEO Bob Sweeney says the view from the bridge on foot is spectacular.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to take in the scenery of the Straits of Mackinac,” says Sweeney, “You get some beautiful scenery of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.”

This is the 59th year of the five-mile bridge walk.

The 5-mile-long Mackinac Bridge that connects Michigan's two peninsulas is the third-longest suspension bridge in the world. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Republican-led Michigan Legislature returns for voting this week after a three-month summer break, with plans for an abbreviated calendar before the crucial November election determines which party controls the House.

  Both chambers will have three weeks in session before the election, or nine days.

  There could be a lot on the docket, but lawmakers may leave until the post-election "lame duck" period final resolution of high-priority items such as energy and criminal justice legislation.

DANIEL RAYZEL

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - Battle Creek city commissioners are scheduled to cast final votes Tuesday on ordinances aimed to regulating panhandling and loitering.

  The Battle Creek Enquirer reports  the proposals would outlaw remaining "idly" within 25 feet of an intersection and soliciting money from anyone waiting in line or near building entrances. Last month five commissioners voted in favor of the ordinances and four dissented.

DonaldJTrump.com

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tried to woo African-American voters in a visit today to a Detroit church.

Trump came under intense criticism earlier in the campaign after he said African-Americans have nothing to lose by supporting him. There was no evidence of the fiery and often-intemperate candidate in his remarks to the Greater Faith Ministries International congregation. 

Trump said he was mostly there to listen, and that he wants to use his business experience to help restore cities like Detroit.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

While Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may have taken up most of Detroit’s attention on Saturday, another candidate was trying to shore up votes for Election Day.

Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein held a rally in the Eastern Marketplace with her running mate Ajamu Baraka. This was their first joint appearance since the Green Party convention in August.

kids getting on a school bus
woodleywonderworks / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Summer's almost over, and kids all over Michigan are getting ready for the new school year. This Week In Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth look at the School Reform Office's annual list ranking the state's lowest performing schools. They also talk about the latest in the straight-ticket voting saga and whether third party candidates will affect election outcomes in Michigan.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Federal officials say it will take at least three months of testing before Flint can distribute water from a new pipeline in the in the wake of its crisis with lead-tainted water.

  The Flint Journal reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told city and state officials that Flint must demonstrate its ability to treat water from the Karegnondi Water Authority.

Stateside 9.2.2016

Sep 2, 2016

Today, a superintendent explains how students benefit from starting school before Labor Day. And, we Cheers! to the weekend with tequila from a tire shop.

Dohn Hoyle, the director of public policy of The Arc: "There's not been anything that we've seen ... that leads us to believe that the governor's original [mental health funding] plan makes any sense."
Matthileo/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder has put forth a proposal to privatize all or part of Michigan's mental health system. The governor has suggested $2.4 billion be shifted to Medicaid HMOs rather than public mental health organizations, according to reports in Crain’s Detroit Business.

Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley has been heading up discussions with work group of public mental health agencies and advocacy groups. But it appears those talks have broken down.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature gets back to business next week after its 12-week summer break. 

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas joined us today to talk about what we should expect to see from the Legislature in the remaining months of 2016.

Outside the U.S. Supreme Court.
user dbking / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is asking the United States Supreme Court to reverse two lower courts and allow the state’s ban on straight-ticket voting to take effect.

Lower courts have ruled the ban violates the rights of minority voters in cities who are most likely to use the option. It allows a voter to support a political party’s entire slate of candidates with one mark on the ballot.

Common Cause is one of the groups challenging the ban. Director of Voting and Elections Allegra Chapman says it’s time for Schuette to give up.

Stateside 9.1.2016

Sep 1, 2016

 

Today, we hear how Michigan may be overlooking its gifted students in schools. And, is it possible that the tattoo on your body isn't actually yours?

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Courtesy of Jewell Jones

The sudden death this summer of State Representative Julie Plawecki forced Democrats to take quick action.

She had been running unopposed for the State House seat in the 11th District, which covers Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Garden City, Livonia and Westland.

21-year-old Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones is the party’s choice to run in Plawecki’s place.

If he wins in November, he’ll become the youngest person ever elected as a state lawmaker.

Flickr user Digital_Third_Eye/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Audio Pending...

Donald Trump’s visit to an African-American church in Detroit this Saturday calls to mind his words about the city the last time he came to Michigan:

“At what point do we say, 'enough,'” Trump said. “It’s time to hold failed leaders accountable for their results, not just their empty words over and over again.”

But Daniel Howes of the Detroit News has a somewhat different view of Detroit.

“You’d think Donald Trump, who people say is a ‘quick study,’ would have done a little studying before he opened his mouth,” Howes said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A top Republican lawmaker says money for Flint’s water crisis is on “the short list” as Congress returns to work next week.

During a tour of Flint today, Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) was briefed on water distribution efforts in the city of nearly 100,000.

“The demand has not gone down,” one distribution center supervisor told Upton and Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint). 

Stateside 8.31.2016

Aug 31, 2016

 

Today, we learn that kids in Battle Creek will be going back to school without their cell phones (at least in class). And, we hear reactions to Trump's forthcoming third visit to Michigan.

Long Haul Films

Audio Pending...

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled to be in the congregation at Great Faith Ministries in Detroit on Saturday. There, he will reportedly not be speaking, but afterward, he will sit down to record a TV interview with the church's leader, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson.

The interview will air on Jackson's Impact Television Network. 

Someone who will most certainly not be tuning in to watch the interview is writer and Detroiter Aaron Foley. He wrote an article about Trump's visit for BLACDetroit.com.

Donald Trump
Flickr user Gage Skidmore/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump will visit Detroit Saturday, hoping to appeal to African-American voters. 

He'll visit a congregation at Great Faith Ministries International, although word is he won't be speaking.

Then, he will sit down to tape a TV interview with Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, which will then be broadcast on Jackson's Impact Television Network.

This latest visit to Michigan comes on the heels of the summer nominating convention held last weekend by Michigan's Republican Party.

Contractors break ground as part of a project to remove more than 200 service lines in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s long delayed second phase of its lead pipe replacement program is finally underway.

The city is replacing more than 200 lead and galvanized pipes connecting Flint homes and businesses to city water mains. The pipes are a primary source of lead in Flint’s drinking water.

Janet Hensley watched from her front door as contractors used shovels to dig up the front lawn of her home on Flint’s east side.

Little blue and yellow flags are dotted through Hensley’s block. The flags mark the location of natural gas lines and other underground utilities. 

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