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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

dictionary turned to the word tax
Alan Cleaver / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

President Trump's tax speech in Missouri Wednesday gave him a chance to throw down the gauntlet to Congress:

Congressman Paul Mitchell, a Republican from Michigan's 10th district, wrote an op-ed piece in the Detroit News this week spelling out his thoughts on why tax reform matters.

One of Mitchell's main arguments for reform is the benefit of simplicity — that the House Republican tax reform plan will make the system, and filing taxes, simpler. 

Michigan's oddly-shaped 14th congressional district, currently represented by Brenda Lawrence, is one example of political gerrymandering.
Public Domain

There's ballot petition currently circulating that seeks to end gerrymandering in Michigan.

The Board of State Canvassers approved the format of the petition on August 17, and the group spearheading the campaign, Voters Not Politicians, has been collecting signatures since then.

Anita Belle, left, and Jennifer Kurland are seeking the Michigan Green Party's nomination for Governor and U.S. Senator.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Two members of the Michigan Green Party have announced they’re running for statewide office in 2018.

Anita Belle is seeking the Green Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate. She would challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow.

Belle is an elections-integrity and reparations activist from Detroit. She says the government needs to make majority-black cities like Detroit and Flint “whole” for their water crises.

Mental health administrators Nicole Lawson, Christina Nicholas, and Jillian Trumbell demonstrate at the Michigan Capitol
Rick Pluta / MPRN

More than 300 thousand people in Michigan depend on public mental health care, and the state is wrestling with the question of who should oversee and administer those services.

Michigan is debating whether mental health funding will be taken away from community mental health groups and transferred instead to private insurers in Michigan’s Medicaid Health plans.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow expects hurricane relief will be a top agenda item when Congress returns to work after Labor Day.

Michigan’s senior senator says the country needs to “come together” to help people in Texas and Louisiana suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

flooded street in Midland
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As people in Texas and Louisiana struggle to deal with the impact of Harvey, the storm is also generating new conversations about how to deal with flooding in other parts of the country.

Mid-Michigan is still recovering from floods in late June, and many Michigan cities have had problems in recent years.

City of Flint

A Flint city councilman faces a decision: run for re-election in November or run in a potential mayoral recall election.

Scott Kincaid easily won the August primary in Flint’s 9th ward.  A few days later, he filed to run in a mayoral recall against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

However, a judge ruled Tuesday that Kincaid can not run in both elections in November. Kincaid has until next Tuesday to decide which seat he’ll pursue.

man reading newspaper with fake news written on it
Mike MacKenzie / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

A conservative news website is busy pumping out stories on political candidates. The stories quickly take off on social media as people share them with friends and family.

But a closer look at the website, called Conservative Intel LLC of Grand Rapids, reveals it isn't a news operation at all.

Amer Zhar in front of brick wall
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Dearborn likes to boast that is has the highest proportion of Arab Americans in the country. But according to the U.S. Census, about 89 percent of the city’s approximately 100,000 people are white.

That’s because according to the United States’ government, Arab Americans are white.

“It’s a real mis-identifier [sic], you know,” said Michigan-based comedian and writer Amer Zahr “It’s one thing to not be identified. It’s worse to be misidentified because we’re not white in any way that ‘white’ means.”

Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Problems continue to plague Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Karen Spranger’s office.

Spranger was unable to present a proposed budget to Macomb County Commissioners as scheduled on Monday.

The County Executive’s office say that’s because she submitted an incomplete proposal weeks late.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

With pressure on them building, Flint city council members will sit down with their attorney Tuesday afternoon to discuss their options in their fight against tying the city to a 30-year water deal.

The state and Flint’s mayor support the deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority, under which the city would continue to get its drinking water from southeast Michigan.

CRAIG STANLEY / NBC NEWS

As white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, some carried shields and a flag with a slightly modified Red Wings logo. Evidence suggests they were members a Michigan-based group called the Detroit Right Wings.

To explore the history of right wing extremism in Michigan, Stateside spoke with JoEllen Vinyard, a professor of history at Eastern Michigan University and the author of Right in Michigan's Grassroots: From the KKK to the Michigan Militia.

The Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills
Corey Seeman / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

After nearly 30 years, the Palace of Auburn Hills has announced that it will soon close its doors for good. Palace officials this week announced that Bob Seger's September 23rd concert will be the venue's final event. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about how businesses and the city of Auburn Hills itself will fare without revenue from the former home of the Detroit Pistons.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Witnesses in court today agreed there are issues with signatures on a recall petition against Flint mayor Karen Weaver. 

However, it remains unclear whether that will be enough to stop November’s recall election.

Handwriting expert Robert Kullman testified to numerous instances where one person filled in petition information for two signatures.  

"If the prosecutors were picking one person and saying, this is the rare one, that would be very different. But they're picking 250 people and saying, they're all rare, without exercising the discretion," Labelle said.
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A former prison food services worker says he was fired because he would not serve rotten potatoes to inmates. Steve Pine worked at the Kinross Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula until this past weekend. He was employed by Trinity Services Group, a private contractor that provides food services to state prisons.

Pine tells The Detroit Free Press that he refused an order to have inmates sort through the potatoes. He was afraid that would lead a disturbance like one that occurred at the prison last September. 

Detroit houses
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

It used to be property taxes skyrocketed when home values went up. Sometimes tax bills increased by double digit percentages in a single year.

Voters fixed that with the passage of Proposal A in 1994. The constitutional amendment capped how much property taxes could go up in a year at five percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The man heading Flint’s lead pipe replacement program has a new contract.

The council voted 9-0 on a reconsideration vote during a special meeting Thursday. The council deadlocked 4-4 August 14 on extending a personal services contract for Mike McDaniel.

McDaniel has been the program director of the Fast Start program that has replaced more than 3,000 services lines during the past year. However, he’s been working without a contract since April.    

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge wants to hear testimony from a handwriting expert in the next few days before deciding if a recall election against Flint’s mayor can take place in November.

Mayor Karen Weaver’s attorney launched a final legal attack on the recall petition this week, arguing before a judge that the county clerk’s office certified the petition despite numerous forgeries.

Kid Rock / YouTube

There seems to be growing public doubt about political polls ever since Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidency, when many polls had him trailing Hillary Clinton.

Harry Enten, a senior political writer at FiveThirtyEight, recently looked at a poll released by Delphi Analytica that showed, in a hypothetical U.S. Senate race, sitting Senator Debbie Stabenow trailing Michigan native Kid Rock, although Rock hasn’t officially announced his candidacy.

The "Diag" on the University of Michigan's main campus in Ann Arbor.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan is nearing a milestone. Michigan's oldest public university celebrates its bicentennial this weekend.

August 26th, 1817 was the day Lewis Cass, then governor of the Michigan territory, and the so-called judges of the territory, decided to establish an educational system headed up by the “University of Michigania,” a full 20 years before Michigan became a state.

Imagine a blind date without someone in the other chair. This week, we are on the political dating circuit, meeting some of Michigan’s statewide hopefuls who will not appear on next year’s August primary ballot.

We’re talking about ticket-building and why some candidates for statewide office aren’t waiting until after next year’s primaries to go public with their aspirations.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell
Kalamazoo Public Library

The city of Kalamazoo just picked up a $500 million windfall.

This week, Kalamazoo city commissioners approved a public-private partnership called the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence. It’s a partnership between the city and two local philanthropist-businessmen: William Parfet and William Johnston.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell said he saw the public-private partnership as the best way forward for his city, which had been staring down financial problems.

Stan Grot
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

There’s a new candidate for Michigan secretary of state.

Stan Grot announced he’s running today. He’s a Republican and current Shelby Township clerk. 

“He’s had integrity from the day one that I met him," said Jay Howse of Macomb County. "I’ve always had confidence in his decisions and I know he’ll be right.”            

One role of the Secretary of State is as the top elections officer.

Lansing city hall
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The future of Lansing city hall may rest with paperwork filed today.

Would-be developers had until 5 p.m. to submit their proposals for the property across the street from the state Capitol. The proposals will now move to a committee for review.  

Mayor Virg Bernero says the half-century-old building needs too much work to maintain. He wants to sell the building and use the proceeds to relocate city offices.

Bob Mical / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


America has now seen back-to-back weekends with white supremacist marches. First in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one counter-protester was killed, then last Saturday in Boston, where a small "Free Speech Rally" was dwarfed by more than 10,000 counter-protesters.

After Charlottesville, President Donald Trump declared there was blame “on many sides," then later doubled down, declaring there were “fine people” on both sides.

Stateside 8.21.2017

Aug 21, 2017

Today on Stateside, eclipse watchers react to watching the sun through their crackers, boxes, and special glasses. And we hear a columnist explain why she thinks Donald Trump and Charlottesville are symptoms of not dealing with slavery's legacy. Finally, a Trump rally organizer explains the "nonstop barrage of attacks" she's felt in the aftermath of Charlottesville. 

David Daley's book "Ratf**ked"
Liveright, 2017


If they know what it is, most people despise gerrymandering, the practice of drawing legislative or congressional districts largely based on partisan advantage. It’s hated, unless it's your party that's benefiting.

Last year, Stateside talked with David Daley, a former editor-in-chief of Salon and the author of Ratf**ked:Why Your Vote Doesn't Count, a book that deals with this very issue. Stateside​ host Lester Graham caught up with him to discuss the second edition's new epilogue on the 2016 election.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Trump Republicans are rallying tonight in the West Michigan town of Hesperia, with more rallies planned around the state in coming months.

Meshawn Maddock, a rally organizer from the Michigan Trump Republicans and former co-chair of the Trump campaign in Oakland County, joined Stateside today to explain why she's rallying.

Michigan State University sign
MSU

This week, Michigan State University denied a request from a white supremacist group to rent space on campus. The university said it denied the request due to safety concerns following the violence that broke out last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Southeast Michgian's Congressional districts post-2010 redistricting.
Michigan House of Representatives

Democrats in Michigan and a handful of other states need to win some statewide races by 2020. Otherwise, they risk ensuring Republican majorities for another decade--even if Democrats get more votes at election time.

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