Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Ben Carson Twitter / https://twitter.com/realbencarson

Republican Ben Carson formally kicked off his presidential campaign in his hometown of Detroit today, with an event that included a gospel choir, five opera singers from Nashville, and a video ad featuring Mount Rushmore, a soaring bald eagle, and amber waves of grain.  

The retired neurosurgeon and former Fox News contributor is a long-shot candidate in what’s already a crowded primary field.

But he’s hoping he can build on his outsider status, his powerful biography and his tea party popularity.

Today on Stateside:

Candidates and possible candidates are crisscrossing Michigan today. Detroit Free Press reporter Kathleen Gray tracks the comings and goings of presidential contenders.

How one Michigan restaurant chain is "going green" with its trash: phasing out petroleum-based plastics. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

U.S. Senator Rand Paul says Republicans need to be as passionate about the entire bill of rights as they are about people’s right to own a gun.

Sarah Perks, of Caledonia, was among a couple hundred people who stood to listen to Paul’s 20-minute speech. The Republican presidential hopeful talked about people’s right to a fair trial and privacy at an event in Grand Rapids Monday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint mayor’s race is even murkier today.

It appears the one candidate that did file his petitions before a state deadline may not have enough valid signatures.

Other Flint mayoral candidates missed the filing deadline because the city clerk gave them the wrong date.

Speculation continues that Governor Rick Snyder is eyeing a run for the White House.

Just last week, former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman fanned the flames by telling reporters that he met with Snyder in California and that, “he’s running.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. - Flint's mayor and others seeking the job could be left off an August primary ballot due to what one official calls a "clerical error."

Mayor Dayne Walling, Councilman Wantwaz Davis and businesswoman Karen Weaver turned in their nominating petitions after an April 21st deadline. State elections officials say Flint Clerk Inez Brown mistakenly told candidates the deadline was Tuesday.

Rebecca Kruth

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to more than 2,000 Detroit students as part of the city's first College Signing Day.

Students from more than 40 Detroit high schools came to hear Obama speak about the importance of committing to higher education.

"In fact, we should all be as excited about college signing day as we are about the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the Playoffs," she said.

user jdurham / morguefile

State representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth Township) has sponsored a bill to reverse a law in effect since 2006 requiring all public schools in Michigan to start after Labor Day. That law was passed to support the tourism industry by extending the vacation season, but Heise says it has made little difference to tourism revenues while burdening schools with a very inconvenient schedule.

The law would provide an option for schools to start before Labor Day as long as the preceding Friday was still a vacation day. "That way, everybody's guaranteed a four day weekend," Heise says.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Supporters of a proposed state sales tax hike are taking their campaign to Michigan’s farmers.

Tuesday, Michigan voters will decide on a ballot proposal that will increase the state sales tax from 6% to 7%. Most of the money raised through the ballot question will go to fix Michigan’s roads. 

Governor Snyder met yesterday with agri-business leaders in Genesee County to make his pitch for the May 5th vote. 

Kymberly Janisch / Flickr Creative Commons

Homelessness continues to be a big problem in Michigan. But the state is making progress, according to a report recently released by the Michigan Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The report says more than 97,000 Michigan residents experienced homelessness in 2014.

Wayne County may put its home up for sale

Apr 30, 2015
Guardian Building Detroit
Aidan Wakely-Mulroney / Creative Commons

The historic Guardian Building, which houses several Wayne County offices in downtown Detroit, may soon have a "for sale" sign in its window.

The county said it plans to gauge buyer interest in the iconic Art Deco building over the next two months.

Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

Bills to expand access to medical marijuana in Michigan may be benefiting from efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

 At least three Michigan groups are already pursuing petition drives to legalize marijuana in 2016. 

Today on Stateside:

Mark Grebner, President of Practical Political Consulting, talks about the expected voter turnout for Proposal 1 next week and what that could mean for proponents.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts joins us to discuss the city’s plans to swap out all of its streetlights for LEDs, with hopes of reaping economic, safety, and environmental benefits.

Trumbull Ave. is a new collection of poetry set in Detroit. We talk with poet Michael Lauchlan about his new book.

The rumor that Governor Snyder will run for president is out there and Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry tries to reveal the rumor’s origins and any possibility of truth.

Michigan Radio’s Jennifer Guerra talks about her special State of Opportunity documentary, Mr. Knight’s Neighborhood, which describes Coach Jimmy Knight’s role as “King of Second Chances” for kids at Cody High School in Detroit.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Governor Rick Snyder today renewed his opposition to allowing people to openly carry firearms in schools. He made the remarks while pro-gun activists rallied down the street outside the state Capitol.

 “What we’d like to see as a compromise is to allow concealed carry in schools. That will help alleviate the problem of any disruptions caused from carry,” said rally organizer Brady Schickinger, who directs the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s financial emergency is over, and the city is regaining a degree of local control.

Gov. Snyder issued the order today lifting the city’s “financial emergency” designation.  

FLICKR USER SECRETLONDON123 / FLICKR

A week from today we’ll know the results of Proposal 1, the ballot measure that changes how fuel is taxed in Michigan to fund road repairs. It also increases the sales tax from 6% to 7%. Some of the extra revenue would go to schools.

It’s a controversial measure. There are vocal supporters and vocal opponents, but what will that actually mean in terms of voter turnout?

Snyder endorsed the report from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget indicating a notable decrease in unemployment in Michigan over the past month.
gophouse.com

There is continuing speculation about whether Gov. Rick Snyder will run for president. Recent trips around the country to sell Michigan’s story have only fanned the rumor flames that Snyder is, indeed, considering a run.

The facts as they stand now are as follows: the governor is making trips across the country, talking up Michigan. He’s been in places like California and Washington D.C, neither of which are typical early indicators of a run, as Ohio or New Hampshire might be.

Kate Wells

Detroit has struck a deal with the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, the Moroun family, which gives the company a strip of city-owned land they need in order to build a second bridge span.

The bargain: a land swap between Detroit and Moroun

The three acres surrounding the Ambassador Bridge are currently part of Riverside Park on the city’s southwest side.

user Marlith / flickr.com

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry breaks down what happened during the U.S. Supreme Court's hearing over gay marriage bans in Michigan and other states, why the state Senate also held a hearing on a religious freedom bill that same day, and why Michigan has the highest insurance rate in the country and possible changes to fix that. 


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Jerry Ambrose had the shortest tenure of any of the city of Flint’s emergency managers.

It started in January 2015 and ended today.

But he has been there almost since Gov. Snyder put the city under state receivership after a ‘financial emergency’ was declared in 2011.

american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / Flickr

On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over same-sex marriage, state lawmakers took testimony on a bill that could shape how some businesses react to the court’s ruling.

State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, introduced the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). He says Senate Bill 4 would simply protect religious practices against government interference.

user H.L.I.T. / Flickr

Last year, 876 people died in Michigan car crashes, according to the state police.

Another 71,000 were injured.  

Some of those injuries were catastrophic, leaving people with lifelong brain damage, in wheelchairs, or hooked up to ventilators.

Today on Stateside:

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on the challenge to same-sex marriage bans in Michigan and three other states. Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics co-host Rick Pluta reports.

U of M's music department makes a flute-like musical instrument using the stalk of a dead giant agave plant. Professor Michael Gould explains. 

Robbie Howell / Flickr

Michigan's hospitals say they could be forced to make major cuts to their trauma centers if bills to overhaul the state's no-fault auto insurance law go through.

All Michigan drivers are required to buy no-fault auto insurance. A portion of premiums goes into a fund for unlimited medical care for catastrophic crash victims.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city leaders are discussing a city budget without a deficit.  That’s a very big deal. 

“For the first time, in a decade, the city of Flint, as of July 1, will be in a positive financial situation,” says Flint Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose.

Ambrose delivered the proposed city budget to the city council Monday.

Today on Stateside:

Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network explores what we can expect to hear tomorrow from the Supreme Court justices on Michigan’s historic same-sex marriage case.

Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics co-host Zoe Clark speaks with Stateside's Cynthia Canty about why lawmakers are staying mum on the May 5 road-funding vote. 

wikimedia commons

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans today rolled out a financial recovery plan he says could save the county's general fund $230 million over the next four years. 

Alternatively, if no action is taken, Evans said the county's deficit could balloon to more than $170 million by 2020.

A majority of Michigan's 148 state legislators did not respond to an Associated Press survey asking them how they'll vote on next Tuesday's road-funding ballot proposal.

As Dave Eggert with the Associated Press reports:

Thirty-one, or 21 percent, of the Republican-controlled Legislature's 148 members sent back responses to a short email with three questions. The vast majority — 23 — came from among 58 Democrats, with all but one saying they would vote for the constitutional amendment. Of the eight Republicans who answered out of 90, three were in support.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s one week to go before Michigan voters decide if they will support a one penny increase to the state sales tax. 

Union supporters will spend part of this week towing a school bus around the state.    You’ll know it if you see it. It’s the one with a massive concrete block crushing its windshield.

Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to take up the historic Michigan-based case that could determine the legality of same sex marriage throughout the United States.

The Court will hear arguments on four same sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The Justices will weigh the rights of voters who approved the bans, the rights of gay and lesbian couples who want to be married, and the rights of same-sex couples who are already married in states that allow it.

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