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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

sign that says flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sued the City of Flint this week. The state says the city council's refusal to approve a long term deal to buy water from a Detroit-area system endangers a public already troubled by a lead-tainted water crisis. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the lawsuit filed by the state agency that's been blamed for much of Flint's water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A campaign to oust Flint’s mayor from office reached a milestone today.  

This afternoon, recall campaign organizers dropped off nearly nine thousand petition signatures with the Genesee County clerk’s office. If there are enough valid signatures, Flint residents could vote as early as November on the recall.

Ingham County

Michigan cities and towns are hurting for cash. Many have had to cut services like street and sidewalk repair. Some have had to reduce the size of their police and fire departments. 

The usual suspects of municipal finance woes—weak property tax revenues and rising employee retirement costs—share much of the blame.

But today there is another culprit: the state of Michigan itself.

picture of choose life louisiana license plate
msmail / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gov. Rick Snyder has vetoed legislation requiring Michigan to create and sell an anti-abortion fundraising license plate. 

(Read his veto letter here.)

"But SB 163 is not about a license plate," Snyder said in a statement released Friday. "It's about the State of Michigan making a political statement." 

The Republican governor said that political statement could "bitterly divide" millions of residents and was inappropriate for a state-issued plate.

JORDANMRCAI / CREATIVE COMMONS

The political and legal drama continues to swirl around the beleaguered people of Flint.

The latest twist?

The state is suing the city of Flint for not approving a plan to get its drinking water from Detroit’s Great Lakes Water Authority.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FEMA will soon take part in a joint preliminary damage assessment of four Michigan counties hard hit by flooding this month.

Gov. Rick Snyder asked federal disaster officials to assist with a review of damage and response costs to flooding in Bay, Gladwin, Isabella and Midland counties.

Courtesy Photo / justicebobyoung.com

Former Michigan Supreme Court justice Robert Young Jr. has officially launched his campaign for U.S. Senate in Michigan.

In a video announcement streamed live over Facebook on Wednesday, the 66-year-old Republican said he'll seek the 2018 nomination for the seat held by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat.

"I have the experience and the guts to know how to unseat Debbie Stabenow. I am the disrupter that [Washington] DC needs," Young said.

downtown Flint street
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

On Monday,  the Flint City Council decided not to sign a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority - at least, not yet. The GLWA is providing Flint's water for now, and it's also Detroit's water source. In the long run, the city could be on the hook for about $600,000 a month in additional if it doesn't sign it. The mayor wanted the deal, but the council didn't.

“Morning Edition” host Doug Tribou and senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what this means for the future of Flint water. 


The Vogue Theater in Manistee, MI was restored after a Rural Development Office feasibility test was conducted.
PunkToad / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Agencies across the country are waiting and wondering if their programs will be on the federal government's chopping block this year. They're hoping a groundswell of public support will help convince Congress to spare their funding.

One of the threatened programs is the USDA's Rural Development Office. It provides grants to businesses that are supporting rural communities and residents.  

According to Director of the Alliance for Economic Success Tim Ervin, small grants can make a big difference. Projects the Rural Development Office funds range from revitalizing movie theaters to launching regional recycling programs to creating a senior center.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of delinquent Flint water customers are once again at risk of losing their homes.

Today, a state oversight board struck down a moratorium on putting unpaid water bills on county tax rolls.

Doctor Jim Hines climbs aboard his campaign bus with a box of petition signatures to be dropped off with state elections officials.
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

A doctor from Saginaw Township is the first candidate for governor to file petition signatures to appear on the ballot next year.

Doctor Jim Hines filed more than 22,000 signatures to appear on the August 2018 Republican primary ballot. It takes 15,000 signatures to qualify. The petitions must still be checked and certified by elections officials.

Hines says he’s a fan of President Trump and Governor Rick Snyder, who were also political novices when they first ran for their jobs.

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new state medical marijuana licensing board met for the first time Monday.

The meeting was mainly for the board to hear public comment about how the new medical marijuana program should operate. It won’t start issuing licenses until next year.

John Kroneck came to the meeting to represent Michigan Prevention Association. That group is concerned about potential consequences of expanding the medical marijuana system.

A sign that says "City of Flint Municipal Center"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city council members say they need more information before they can approve the agreement with the Great Lakes Water Authority. The 30-year deal is part of a broader agreement addressing Flint's water crisis.  The council did approve a three month extension of the current contract instead.  

Governor Rick Snyder was overseas last week as his top legislative priority tanked in the state House. And now he has to pick up the pieces.

'Good jobs'

The state’s economic developers have big dreams of landing big employers offering thousands of workers big paychecks. So, they hatched this idea of letting big businesses keep the state income taxes paid by their employees in exchange for creating jobs in Michigan. The legislation is known as “Good Jobs for Michigan.”

A recall petition for Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A recall petition targeting Flint’s mayor reaches a milestone this week.

Recall organizer Arthur Woodson declined to comment last week on the status of the campaign. However, in the past Woodson has said volunteers have collected more than 6,000 signatures since a judge cleared the way for recall petition process to begin in April.

Flint Mayor Weaver, Lansing Mayor Bernaro, and Ret. Brig. Gen. Michael McDaniel stand next to the lead pipe.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Flint’s pipe replacement program faces a critical deadline at the end of this week.

By Friday, Flint needs to replace its 2,037th lead or galvanized service line.

That would be approximately 7% of the estimated number of suspect pipes tied to the city’s lead tainted tap water crisis.

The mandated 7% threshold is part of the federal Lead and Copper Rule.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder's administration agreed that he would publicly oppose many future labor-relations bills in a bid to secure Democratic votes in the Michigan House for economic development tax incentives.

A Republican legislative official and a Snyder administration official who told The Associated Press about the agreement spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the private meetings.

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder wanted a tax incentive package to lure big employers. A majority of Republicans and Democrats like the idea. But then, Speaker of the House Tom Leonard yanked the legislation because of a rumor the governor had cut a deal with Democrats for their support.

Stateside 6.23.2017

Jun 23, 2017

Today, we talk with a Federal Reserve bank president about why he’s holding town halls to hear from people about the economy. Plus, we find out more about that canceled risk analysis on Enbridge Energy’s Line 5.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint City Council is defying state and federal government officials, as well as the city’s mayor, and is putting off a vote on a drinking water contract for another two weeks.

Enbridge Energy's Line 5 oil and liquid natural gas pipelines run under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan recently terminated its contract with an independent contractor that was analyzing any potential risk posed by Enbridge Energy’s 64-year-old Line 5 pipeline.

Firing that contractor leaves a lot of unanswered questions. The state says the company, Det Norske Veritas, a Norwegian firm, failed to follow conflict of interest rules. An employee of the firm was working on the state’s request for a risk analysis of the 64-year-old pipeline and then also did work for Enbridge.

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

The legislature has passed a state budget, and it’s headed to Governor Snyder’s desk for approval.

Stateside talked to two reporters covering the capitol and Lansing to go over some of the Highlights in the budget. Kyle Melinn is the editor of MIRS, a news service that covers state government. Rick Pluta is the Captol bureau chief for Michigan Radio.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Nearly every week you'll hear something about the Federal Reserve Bank. But how often do you think of the Fed and how it affects your local economy?

Hamza Butt / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

You’ve heard that advertisers are keeping track of every online site you visit. They keep track of the data to try to determine what you’re likely to buy. Well, that online data collection is just the beginning.

John Cheney-Lippold, assistant professor of American culture at the University of Michigan and author of the book We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves, helped explain the difference between data that is trying to sell you a product, and data that truly knows who you are as a person.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University trustees clashed today  over a trustee’s recent outing of a whistleblower in a sexual assault case involving the school’s football program.

MSU Trustee Mitch Lyons has come under fire for his comments on a Tuesday radio interview that former player Auston Robertson reported a January sexual assault incident in a meeting with Mark Dantonio.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley
Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

The ballot campaign to adopt a part-time Legislature amendment in Michigan decided to skip getting its petition approved by a state elections board. The leader of the campaign, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, says he’s comfortable fighting any challenges in court.

Getting a petition form pre-approved is a voluntary step that’s supposed to avoid legal hassles later on. But Calley says he doesn’t think a court battle can be avoided.

USDAGOV / CREATIVE COMMONS - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A group of 13 Republican Senators continues to work in secrecy, writing a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will see a "discussion draft" of the bill tomorrow.

Their goal? A vote a week from tomorrow, on June 29.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Political intrigue is being blamed for the collapse of a deal for the state to offer big tax breaks to employers who bring a lot of jobs to Michigan.

An angry state House Republican leader abruptly canceled a vote Tuesday shortly before midnight on Governor Rick Snyder’s top priority for the Legislature’s spring and summer session. House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, accused the governor’s bargaining team of making side deals with Democrats and unions without informing GOP leaders.

exterior of the Michigan state capital
Pkay Chelle / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

These are busy days in Lansing. Among other things, the legislature is working out the final details of the state budget before its summer recess. Last week, state Attorney General Bill Schuette charged a number of current and former officials with crimes related to the Flint water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The East Lansing city council has approved a tentative deal paving the way for a $132 million development project that would change the look of the college town’s downtown.

The 12-story complex will include hundreds of apartments and retail space.   

Mayor Mark Meadows hopes the Center City District project will attract more older people to East Lansing’s downtown.    

“Now someone can open a retail space that doesn’t just cater to somebody who’s 18 to 24 years old,” says Meadows.

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