Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

The group that’s trying to legalize marijuana in Michigan is telling the state: See you in court.

And the outcome of the challenge could have a huge impact on politics, law-making, and future elections in Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, bids are due on contracts to start replacing Flint’s lead service lines.

But there are concerns about what’s in the contracts.

Service lines are a prime source for lead leeching into the city’s drinking water.  However, to date, the city of Flint has only unearthed 33 lead service lines. 

Mayor Karen Weaver’s Fast Start program is set to get back up to speed this week.  The city is using $2 million dollars from the state to pay for the next round of excavations. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Late-night drama over rescuing Detroit's school district capped lawmakers' closing days in Lansing before they broke for a summer recess.

  The $617 million bailout ultimately passed - barely. The Detroit restructuring, along with completing the state budget, were priorities.

  But legislators also finalized, advanced or left until later other legislation.

  About $165 million more is being directed to Flint's water crisis.

NOAA

The state has unveiled the first part of a strategy to protect what it calls Michigan’s “globally unique water resources.”

The 30-year water strategy is a product of the state’s Office of the Great Lakes, which is part of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

It’s a vision for water stewardship that mixes social, environmental, and economic goals.

user mconnors / morgueFile

Michigan State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, introduced a new bill to ban registered sex offenders from working in organizations that serve sexual assault victims or children.

He drafted the bill in response to recent reports that three registered sexual offenders were found working for The Listening Ear in Lansing. The Listening Ear runs a crisis hotline for sexual assault victims. 

Hertel said he assumed it must be illegal already for the organization to have neglected screening volunteers for being on the sex offender registry, but it was completely legal.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has met an EPA deadline to upgrade equipment at the city’s water plant.

The EPA sent the city of Flint a letter one week ago saying the city had until today to install and have operational equipment to add additional chlorine and other chemicals to the city’s water supply.

Flint gets its tap water from Detroit already treated with chemicals to impede the growth of bacteria and other organisms. But chemicals, like chlorine, lose their effectiveness the longer they are in the system.  

Republicans and Democrats in Lansing have very different views of the budget that was unveiled.
Thetoad / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The big news coming out of Lansing this week was the passing of a nearly $55 billion state budget, which included a $617 million in funding for the Detroit Public Schools. 

Some Republicans are praising the budget and the DPS bailout, and others like the House Education Chair State Rep. Amanda Price called it a "great day for the kids in Detroit."

Wikimedia Commons

The City of Detroit is trying to help people who have criminal records clear up those past mistakes in order to get a job.

Melvin Hollowell is Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit and he joins Stateside to talk about Project Clean Slate. The program seeks to help Detroit residents expunge their records so they can get back into the workforce.

Listen to the full interview above. 

GUEST
Melvin Hollowell is Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit

Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, speaks to reporters on the Senate floor after the Senate passed Senate Bills 710, 711, and 819 - 822, measures that would reform Detroit's public schools.
senatorgoeffhansen.com

A $617 million bailout of Detroit Public Schools was approved by Michigan late Wednesday, eliciting a range of responses from lawmakers across the state. Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, came to tears during last night’s legislative session.

“We’ve been living this for over a year,” Hansen said on Stateside. “You get to the end and it’s not exactly as you envisioned it.”

Courtesy of Michigan House Republicans

The Michigan Senate approved a $617 million bailout for Detroit Public Schools Wednesday night, and lawmakers are sharing their thoughts. State Rep. Amanda Price believes that the package’s approval will bring a “brighter future” for the kids of Detroit.

Senator David Knezek of Dearborn Heights says the legislature missed a huge opportunity to help struggling Detroit schools.
Courtesy of Sen. Knezek

State lawmakers passed a $617 million dollar package for Detroit Public Schools on Wednesday night.

Democratic Senator David Knezek of District Five, which includes part of Detroit, joined us on Stateside to discuss the package.

It’s a big step backwards for DPS, he said.

“The package that we passed last night sets up Detroit Public Schools for failure,” Knezek said. “It sets up the children for failure.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A small group of Flint pastors came to the state Capitol today to thank lawmakers for approving more money for Flint.

“We thank you Lord for the resources that have been allocated for Flint,” one of the pastors intoned beneath the Capitol dome around noon.

The pastors and others prayed in a small circle in the Capitol rotunda, the day after lawmakers approved $165 million for Flint’s water crisis. 

Reverend Ira Edwards calls the money “patchwork," but says he’s glad to see lawmakers moving forward.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city officials will require contractors pay a prevailing wage to workers who replace the city’s lead service lines.  Though for a time, that wasn’t going to be the case.

Next week, the city of Flint will receive bids on a project to remove up to 500 lead service lines.

When the formal request for proposals went out earlier this month, it contained a provision that workers would receive standard union wages. But Wednesday, city officials proposed an addendum that the prevailing wage would not be applied to this project.

Raheel Siddiqui
Facebook

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, has received a response to an inquiry submitted to the United States Marine Corps following the death of Private Raheel Siddiqui, a 20-year-old trainee from Taylor, Michigan who died on March 18 while at Parris Island, S.C., for basic training.

Flickr user Leonard Witzel/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It’s been four years since the repeal of a Michigan law that required motorcycle riders to wear helmets – an effort that was led by American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) of Michigan.

Vince Consiglio is the president of ABATE of Michigan and has averaged 25,000 miles a year on his motorcycle since 1974. He believes wearing a helmet should be a choice made by motorcyclists.

“If you are riding at 50 miles an hour and you hit [a car] head-on,” Consiglio said on Stateside. “There’s no helmet that can protect you.”

Stateside 6.8.2016

Jun 8, 2016

Today on Stateside, we talk with David Moran from the Michigan Innocence Clinic about how the criminal justice system handled the Davontae Sanford case.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, left, and Bernie Sanders, right.
berniesanders.com/hillaryclinton.com

Depending on who you ask, referring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is either obvious or massively premature.

The point of contention?

Members of the Democratic National Committee who will serve as unbound delegates at the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

Children walking together
Public domain

Legislation requiring child-placing agencies to make reasonable efforts to keep siblings together in the foster care and adoption systems is going to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

The bills say if siblings could not be placed together due to safety or other concerns, agencies should prioritize sibling visitation and interaction.

The state already places siblings together when feasible under provisions of federal court oversight of Michigan's child welfare system.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry discusses legislation to bail out Detroit Public Schools, a grassroots campaign to legalize marijuana, and takeaways from last week's Mackinac Policy Conference.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint may have equipment in place by the end of the week to improve chlorine levels in city water.   

But it may not be operating.

The Environmental Protection Agency sent the city of Flint a letter last week saying there is an “urgent need” to have the ability to boost chlorine levels in the city’s water supply. They set a date of Friday June 10th to have equipment “installed and operational.”

Chlorine and other chemicals are added to water supplies to kill bacteria, like Legionella.  Warm summer weather helps bacteria to grow. 

Stateside 6.7.2016

Jun 7, 2016

Today, we look at how plastic bag bans have fared in California, and we learn about a bill that would change the way school districts offer free lunch.

Governor Rick Snyder is trying to make the best of it as a plan he endorsed to try and save the Detroit Public Schools is starting to look like it isn’t going to happen.

The Detroit Public Schools are in financial crisis. The district could go into default - bankruptcy is even an option - if the the state Legislature doesn’t adopt a bailout plan this month. If that happens, it’s possible tens of thousands of students in the city could be without a school to go to come fall.

Stateside 6.6.2016

Jun 6, 2016

Today, we learn about a celebrated young pianist's return to Detroit. And, we look at how Kalamazoo-area nonprofits are changing emergency relief.

police officer directing traffic
Flickr user lincolnblues / Flickr

The Grand Rapids City Commission tomorrow will vote on whether to hire an outside consultant to study if its police force is racially biased when pulling over drivers.

A similar study conducted in 2004 found no systemic bias in Grand Rapids. But after the riots in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, people who spoke at community meetings still felt racial targeting was a problem in Grand Rapids. 

That's why city leaders are recommending a second study based on more current data. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder is optimistic that Michigan’s budget plan for next year should be wrapped up in the next week or two. 

Time is running short. The state legislature is only has a few weeks until it is scheduled to adjourn for much of the summer and there is still a lot left to do.

The state senate is expected to tackle funding for Detroit public schools this week. Last week, the state house passed a $617 million package that Democrats complain does more to protect the interests of charter school operators than students.

State Rep. Andy Schor's second-grade son was suspended for bringing a Swiss Army knife to school.
ppdiaporama / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Legislation in the state Senate would relax Michigan's "zero tolerance" approach to discipline in public schools.

State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, introduced the bills. He says he has personal experience with the current policies.

"The pencil sharpener was broken in my son's classroom when he was in second grade, so he took my Swiss Army knife, which he shouldn't have done, but he brought it in to sharpen his pencil and another student said, you know, 'Ms. So-and-so, Ryan's got a knife,’ and he got suspended for it," Schor said.

Lars Plougmann

A citizen’s group took Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey to court Friday, in an effort to get a proposed city ordinance on the ballot.

The ordinance would require the Detroit clerk to publicly post real-time election results.

Tom Barrow is president of the group Citizens for Detroit’s Future, which spearheaded the drive to make the ordinance city law.

Barrow says the group gathered more than enough certified petition signatures, and did everything by the book according to the city charter and state law.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. - The chairman of a legislative committee investigating Flint's water crisis says it will take longer than initially projected to produce a report with recommendations.

Republican Sen. Jim Stamas of Midland had hoped to issue findings by now. But he announced Friday that discussions continue, and the report will be issued "in the future."

Gov. Rick Snyder at the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference
Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

Zoe Clark from It's Just Politics is at the Mackinac Policy Conference and there's been no shortage of news at what many would consider to be the Super Bowl for political junkies. Clark joined Stateside to discuss what hasn't been discussed that much over the last few days:  The city of Flint and the water crisis that continues there.

Governor Snyder at the Mackinac Policy Conference in 2014
flickr user A Healthier Michigan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference wrapped up this morning. There was a lot of buzz up on Mackinac Island about an EPIC-MRA poll which finds Governor Snyder's disapproval rating is 52%.

Pages