Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is proposing budget cuts that include asking employees to sacrifice.

"And trust me, every county employee has a right to be mad about this,” Evans said during the first in a series of community meetings where he is outlining the State of the County.

Evans says if the county is going to eliminate its annual deficit and restore underfunded pension funds, there will have to be cuts. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New emergency managers have been picked to run the Highland Park and Muskegon Heights school districts.   

Steve Schiller will take over as emergency manager at Muskegon Heights, where he worked as a teacher and administrator for 30 years. During the last few years, he’s worked as a consultant for other emergency managers.

Released by the family

A Michigan Congressman took to the U.S House floor today to ask Congress not to forget Flint native Amir Hekmati and other Americans imprisoned in Iran.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, made his comments alongside a large photo of Hekmati and a tally of days he's sat in prison - 1,324. 

DTE's St. Clair Power Plant in East China, Michigan.
user cgord / wikimedia commons

The law that allows some Michigan school districts, businesses, and households to buy electricity from a competitor to their regional utility was the central issue in a state House hearing. It was part of the Legislature’s preparations to decide how to overhaul Michigan’s energy policies.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor and city council are getting a pay raise. 

They are going back to their salary levels before the state takeover.

Flint’s elected leaders saw their salaries reduced to zero when the first emergency manager stepped in in December, 2011. Since then, as their roles running the city were slowly restored, their pay checks grew. 

Olympia Development

There was a lot of frustrated head-shaking at city hall in Detroit today, as the city council yet again delayed a vote to let construction get going on the $650 million Red Wing arena and entertainment district.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll shows four in five Michigan voters have made up their minds about next month’s ballot question that would hike the state sales tax.

But the man who took the poll is taking the result with a grain of salt.

Mark Grebner, with Practical Political Consulting, says it’s not unusual to see consistent poll numbers going into a vote on a ballot question.

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

 

Governor Rick Snyder says one of his long-term ambitions is to improve Michigan’s access to electricity by extending the power grid to connect the upper and lower peninsulas.

The Upper Peninsula has just one major power plant, which is operating under a special deal struck with the state. The rest of the UP’s electricity has to come through Wisconsin.

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, is urging his colleagues in U.S. House to pass a resolution calling on the Canadian government and the Obama administration to halt the creation of a nuclear storage waste site. The site would be built about a mile from Lake Huron.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White spoke to Rep. Kildee about what the proposed site could mean for Michigan and the possible impact of his resolution.

Here's their conversation:


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint city councilman is standing by his statement that the city’s water situation amounts to a “genocide” by Governor Snyder and Flint’s emergency manager.

Councilman Wantwaz Davis made the original “genocide” charge on his Facebook page last Sunday. 

“Either they are trying to run us out of here, the low/moderate income people,” says Davis, “Or inadvertently or intentionally - I hope that it’s inadvertently - I think that it’s going to create a genocide.”

Rebecca Kruth

The federal government this week closed its annual application period for H-1B visas after applications exceeded the annual cap of 65,000.

Some Michigan business leaders are calling for the government to raise the cap, which they say hurts the state’s economic growth.

CAIR

The Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has filed a federal lawsuit to compel the U.S. government to evacuate American citizens trapped by the conflict in Yemen. 

"The U.S. government has done absolutely nothing to protect, evacuate and repatriate its own citizens, estimated at 55,000,- that are currently stranded in Yemen," said Lena Masri, staff attorney at CAIR Michigan. 

Struggling to repay student loans is something that unites many of us. Across the country, almost 40 million people are trying to repay $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

Here in Michigan, 1.5 million people are trying to erase more than $39 billion in debt.

Earlier today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, was on the campus of the University of Michigan, where she hosted a roundtable on college affordability.

Dingell is one of the sponsors of a bill in the House called the "Bank on Students Emergency Loan Reinforcement Act."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is looking to borrow its way out of its budget deficit.

Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose wants to ask the Michigan Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board for a $7 million loan.   

The term of the loan would not exceed 15 years and the interest rate would not exceed 3%. Annual payments on such a loan would be less than $600,000 annually. 

Job cuts as Michigan closes regional prison stores

Apr 8, 2015

Michigan is slated to close three regional prison stores in Ionia, Jackson, and the Upper Peninsula.

That means around 30 employees who staff the stores will lose their jobs.

The stores stock items like toiletries and food, which inmates can purchase through an electronic kiosk system.

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler talks about the $478 billion federal highway bill, which faces uncertain reception in Congress, and how it would benefit state highway and bridge work.
  • Patrick DeHaan from GasBuddy.com discusses why the forecasted gas prices for this summer  are so low.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of Flint pastors today called on the city and governor’s office to let Flint get its tap water from Detroit again.

Nearly a year ago, Flint stopped getting water from Detroit, and instead turned to the Flint River for its tap water.   

Since then there have been complaints about the appearance, taste, even health and safety of Flint’s tap water. 

FLICKR USER SEAN_MARSHALL / FLICKR

The struggle to figure out a way to pay for road and bridge repairs isn't just a Michigan story.

It's happening on the federal level as well.

The Obama administration is sending a six-year, $478 billion highway bill to Congress, where it faces a dubious reception.

Pothole in a road.
Wikimedia Commons

Michigan voters head to the polls in less than a month to vote on a ballot proposal to raise the state's sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to fund roads. For this Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry explains why there's a lack of support for the proposal and what will happen if voters reject the tax increase. 


Covering the planned Red Wings arena construction
User: WXYZ-TV Detroit / YouTube

Detroit's City Council is delaying a vote that would let the new, multi-million dollar Red Wings arena move ahead.

It was supposed to decide today whether Olympia development could go ahead with its current plans to build around one historic hotel, the Eddystone, while razing another, the Park Avenue.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters will decide May 5 if they want to add a penny to the state sales tax to pay for fixing Michigan’s roads.  The proposal also includes money for schools and local governments.   

John-Morgan / creative commons

Road repair isn't the only issue at stake when we head to the polls next month to decide the fate of Proposal 1. The Earned Income Tax Credit is part of that proposal. The program is designed to help the working poor, but was scaled back in Michigan in 2011.

State lawmakers have approved boosting the EITC if voters approve the road funding ballot proposal that would raise the sales tax from six percent to seven percent. Nearly 800,000 low-to-moderate income families in Michigan could see this targeted tax relief expanded if the proposal passes.

Hekmati family

A Michigan congressman says Iran should release a Flint man from prison or possibly face problems getting its nuclear deal with the U.S. approved.

Iran recently reached a framework for a deal on its nuclear program with the Obama administration.  The deal is far from complete.  There are many details still to be worked out regarding inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities and the lifting of economic sanctions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A month from today, Michigan voters will decide a proposed increase in the state sales tax.

Polls suggest voters will reject the one-penny sales tax hike to pay for repairing Michigan roads. Money would also go to schools and local governments.

Opponents of the sales tax hike plan to step up their “vote no” campaign.

Today on Stateside:

Michigan Legislature
Matthileo / Flickr

The official merger of the state Department of Community Health with the Department of Human Services will happen this Friday.

  The new entity will be called the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and will house 14,000 employees.

One month from tomorrow, voters in Michigan will decide the fate of Proposal 1, the ballot measure that would raise more than a billion dollars in new money for roads.

The voting begins

For some, voting has already begun. Absentee ballots for the May 5th vote have been out for more than a week. And, along with the absentee ballots, political pollsters have been in the field, too. They’re trying to figure out just where voters stand on the issue and for those pushing Proposal 1, it doesn’t look good.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For-profit and non-profit breast milk banks will come under more scrutiny if proposed regulations are adopted in Michigan. 

There’s a growing demand for breast milk.

State Representative Erika Geiss wants to make sure that the milk is handled properly and breast milk donors and customers are treated right.

Jeb Bush
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

There’s a busy spring in store for Michigan Republicans looking to see the party’s presidential hopefuls in action.

Four potential GOP candidates have plans to visit the Great Lakes State during April and May.

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Governor Rick Snyder said today that he would veto a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act if it's sent to his desk by the Legislature. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the measure in Indiana that has been stirring controversy.

Snyder says he would not sign a Michigan RFRA unless it is coupled with legislation adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state's civil rights law.

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