Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry discusses best practices at the Detroit Police Department following recent shootings involving police officers, legislation that would make it a hate crime to assault a police officer, and security after Monday's shootings at the Berrien County Courthouse.


Kym Worthy (file photo).
waynecounty.com

Michigan’s largest county has formed a special unit focused on solving and prosecuting crimes against LGBT people.

 

The unit in Wayne County will focus first on prosecuting a dozen current cases – including six murders -- and re-opening three unsolved “cold cases” in Detroit.

 

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says crimes against LGBT people often go unreported, and can be more difficult than other cases to solve. 

 

A picture of Viola Liuzzo, in the park that bears her name.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit is launching a two-year investment campaign in some neighborhood parks, starting with a park named for a murdered civil rights activist.

Viola Liuzzo was the Detroit activist and mother killed by Ku Klux Klan members near Selma, Alabama in 1965.

The northwest Detroit park that that honors her was dedicated in 1982, but had fallen into disrepair.

Now, it stands to get almost $1 million in upgrades, from new playscapes and picnic shelters to some functional landscaping.

Stateside 7.12.2016

Jul 12, 2016

Today, we learn about how educational opportunity can improve the lives of inmates. And, we look at the history of bathrooms in America.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

According to Terry Kogan, public "multi-user" restrooms didn't really exist in America until the 1870s.
flickr user Ted Eytan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Deciding who should be allowed to use what bathroom has consumed a lot of attention across the country, and certainly here in Michigan.

With all the controversy about public restrooms and transgender people using the ones that match their gender identity, let's roll back the years to figure out just how sex-segregated bathrooms came to be in the first place.

Terry Kogan is a professor at the University of Utah's College of Law. He has spent the past decade considering the rights of transgender people, and the public restroom question in particular. 

More than 300 people came to Ypsilanti High School to participate in a meeting on police-community relations.
Daniel Rayzel / Michigan Radio

Ypsilanti residents are calling for action to improve police-community relations following related nationwide events over the past week.

Courtesy of UICA, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University

Few things are as polarizing in American society as the debate between gun control advocates and gun rights activists.

These arguments often play out in national and state legislatures, with many gun control advocates feeling the National Rifle Association has undue influence over politicians.

Michigan Radio’s Vincent Duffy hosted a panel discussion on the role that guns play in politics and elections at our latest Issues & Ale event.

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

The state has asked a court to dismiss a legal challenge filed by the campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan.

The MILegalize campaign wants a court to order state elections officials to count petition signatures regardless of how long ago they were collected. The state is defending a rule that says signatures more than 180 days old can’t be counted, unless a campaign goes through the onerous process of making sure each signer is a registered voter.

 

The sultry days of summer are no break from politics. In fact, the state Legislature’s summer recess is becoming a political wedge itself.

Stateside 7.8.2016

Jul 8, 2016

Today, we discuss racism, unconscious bias, and how many white people want to believe we live in a post-racial society when inequalities still exist. We also discuss the right to record police, and how that right could be "critical" to bringing reform.

To hear individual interviews, click here or see below:

Suzanna Shkreli is the Democratic Party's pick to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop in the 8th Congressional District
http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week the Democratic party chose a candidate for the 8th Congressional District. 

29-year-old Suzanna Shkreli is seeking to replace actor Melissa Gilbert, who has unofficially withdrawn for health reasons.

Shkreli has never held political office. She's an assistant prosecutor in Macomb County.

Jewell Jones
Campaign video screen grab

Democratic precinct delegates have selected a new candidate to run for a Detroit-area state House seat.

Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones will replace the late Rep. Julie Plawecki on the August 2 primary ballot.

Jonathan Kinloch, chair of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party, says delegates selected Jones based on his active engagement in the party and in his community.

John Dingell, 29, is sworn in as a member of Congress in 1955 by House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas
John Dingell website

When he retired, John Dingell was the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history.

He was sworn in on Dec. 13, 1955 which began a long career that lasted through 11 presidencies until the Democrat retired at the end of 2014. In retirement, he's not showing any signs of slowing down as he took some time from "celebrating the hell" out of his 90th birthday to join Lester Graham on Stateside.

John Dingell turns 90 today, meaning he's spent barely over one-third of his life not representing Southeast Michigan in Congress. 

With 59 years of service, Dingell remains the longest-serving congressman in the history of the United States. His wife, Debbie, succeeded him as the representative from Michigan's 12th Congressional District when he retired in 2014. 

U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop
U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop/C-SPAN

The U.S. Department of Justice will make $40 million available to victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.

That's according to U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester.

“Every victim deserves an advocate," Bishop said in a press release. "It’s been nearly four long years for these victims and their families, and now we’re finally getting some positive news,”

The meningitis outbreak was tied to tainted steroid injections administered at clinics in several states. Hundreds of people were sickened, and 76 died – including 19 in Michigan.

Charles Pugh

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office says Charles Pugh will be extradited to Michigan Thursday.

The former Detroit City Council President faces six charges of criminal sexual assault. 

Pugh is accused of criminal sexual conduct with a 14-year-old boy in 2003. That's six years before he entered politics and was elected to city council. 

Pugh has been living in Manhattan, where he was arrested last month. 

The prosecutor's office says he will be arraigned via video conference once he arrives in Michigan.

Left courtesy of michigan.gov/Right courtesty of Michigan Attorney General's office

This week, State Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that if Governor Snyder wants to appeal a court decision regarding teacher pay, he'll have to hire his own attorney.

The AG is sitting this one out.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to discuss the ever-widening split between Michigan's two top Republicans. 

Michigan roads
User nirbhao / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

While many of us were getting ready for the holiday weekend last Friday afternoon, Governor Snyder announced his veto of a road funding bill that would have given some relief to 45 large cities.

Senate Bill 557 was sponsored by Republican Senator Marty Knollenberg of Troy. It was unanimously approved by the House and Senate, a feat remarkable in and of itself.

It would have repealed a requirement that larger cities pay for part of the state's cost for highway construction projects within their border.

Yet, the governor hauled out his veto power to whack the road bill.

Stateside 7.7.2016

Jul 7, 2016

Today, we hear about new technology that helps create sensory experiences for children with autism. And, a doctor explains why removing the stigma of addiction could improve opioid abuse treatment.

 

To hear individual interviews, click here or see below:

Earth First

A group of Earth First activists held a rowdy protest at the Midland home of State Attorney General Bill Schuette to demand the immediate shutdown of an aging oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. 

A statement by Earth First issued after the protest says until Schuette shuts down Enbridge Line 5, he can expect more protests at his home.

Schuette spokeswoman Andrea Bitely says protesters violently beat on the door and windows while Schuette's wife was home alone, and they defaced the property. 

Nino / Morguefile

The city of Detroit has reached a settlement with a former animal control officer who alleged widespread wrongdoing.

Brittany Roberts filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the city, animal control and police departments in October 2015.

She made a number of claims, ranging from unsanitary conditions at the city’s animal shelter, to deliberate animal cruelty.

Roberts claimed she was retaliated against and eventually fired for raising concerns.

This week, the Detroit City Council officially signed off on a $63,000 settlement in the case.

Stateside 7.6.2016

Jul 6, 2016

Today, we look at the chilly relationship between AG Bill Schuette and Gov. Snyder, and we learn about a fatal disease threatening Michigan's deer.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

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

Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced that if Governor Snyder wants to appeal a court decision over teacher pay, he's on his own.

Many in Michigan are viewing the announcement as a sign that the relationship between the AG and the governor, once icy, has now all but frozen over.

Suzanna Shkreli, the Democratic Party's new candidate for Michigan's 8th Congressional District.
Suzanna Shkreli / Facebook

The Democratic challenger in Michigan's 8th Congressional District may not be Melissa Gilbert, of "Little House on the Prairie" fame, but instead a 29-year-old assistant prosecutor from Clarkston. 

Suzanna Shkreli, who received her law degree from Western Michigan University and works in the child protection unit of the Macomb County Prosecutor's office, will take Gilbert's place and become the candidate to challenge Rep. Mike Bishop, a first-term Republican.

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Courtesy of Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says it will be up to Governor Rick Snyder to hire his own attorney if the administration pursues an appeal of a court decision. It says the state owes roughly $550 million dollars to teachers for illegally withholding 3% of their paychecks to fund retirement health benefits.

  

Schuette’s spokeswoman, Andrea Bitely, says the attorney general doesn’t think the state can win the case. 

Julie Plawecki
http://housedems.com/

Thirteenth District Democratic Party Chairman Jonathan Kinloch says "there are a lot of moving parts" in naming candidates to fill the vacancy left by the sudden death of State Rep. Julie Plawecki.

Plawecki, who represented the 11th House district, died of a heart attack on July 25 while hiking in Oregon.

Kinloch says Plawecki's daughter has expressed interest in running in the special primary election on August 30. The election was called by Governor Snyder to fill the remainder of Plawecki's term through the end of 2016.

Stateside 7.5.2016

Jul 5, 2016

Today, we look at a proposed community benefits ordinance in Detroit. And, a conversation about whether schools are doing enough to help dyslexic students.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A proposed Detroit city ordinance is facing a well-organized, but so far anonymous, challenge.

A coalition gathered more than 5,000 signatures in favor a community benefits ordinance.

The ordinance would require large-scale developments that receive public money or use public land to return some benefits to surrounding communities.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This weekend, Michigan delegates to the Republican National Convention get to work on the party’s national platform.

This will be Meshawn Maddock’s first convention as a delegate. At the state party convention this spring, she was chosen to be one of two Michiganders on the platform committee. Maddock has spent the past few weeks reviewing past party platforms and getting input from her fellow Michigan Republicans.

Maddock says there are certain issues about which she doesn't want to see the party’s position shift.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This month’s Republican and Democratic National Conventions are big parties. 

But they’re expensive parties for the participants.

Charles Niswander is a Bernie Sanders delegate. He’s looking forward to being in Philadelphia for the DNC. 

But there’s a cost: $3,000 to $4,000 in travel and hotel.

“There is a part of me that feels like they would rather keep poor, working people out and not have their voices heard as much,” says Niswander.  

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