Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

From a state summary report. It shows 45 cases. Forty-two more cases were found from  May 2015 to Nov. 2015.
State of Michigan

There has been a spike in Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area, and state officials say it's unclear whether the spike is related to the contaminated water in Flint.

The potentially fatal respiratory disease is caused by Legionella, a type of bacterium found naturally in fresh water. 

The CDC says it can grow in the water of hot tubs, air conditioning units, hot water tanks, fountains, and large plumbing systems.

Photo courtesy of www.whitehouse.gov

Following President Obama's final State of the Union address, Stateside reached out to some of Michigan's congressional delegation for analysis.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp., tells Stateside host Cynthia Canty that the speech was a little heavy on rhetoric. But Miller says she agrees with the president regarding formalizing military force against ISIS. "The Congress is shirking its responsibility by not debating the issue," Miller says.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Members of the Michigan Army National Guard are helping distribute cases of water and filters to people in Flint.

 

  

Governor Snyder activated the guard yesterday to assist with Flint’s drinking water crisis. The first half-dozen guardsmen arrived Wednesday morning.

 

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about the Flint water crisis: how Flint is getting help at the federal level, when Governor Snyder first knew about the water problem and how this crisis has hurt him politically. Lessenberry also talks about why teachers at the Detroit Public Schools are protesting many issues by staging "sickouts."


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder found himself bombarded with questions about Flint’s water crisis as he toured the North American International Auto Show on Tuesday.

Before the governor could offer opening remarks to reporters about the auto show, reporters began peppering Snyder with Flint-related questions.

Snyder highlighted the state’s ongoing efforts to help Flint residents deal with unsafe drinking water.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Gov. Rick Snyder is adding his voice to those calling for an end to teacher “sickout” protests in the state’s largest school district.

Dozens of Detroit public school buildings have closed this week with teachers staying home, and several more have been forced to close in recent weeks.

Snyder hopes teachers will find other ways to protest state control of Michigan’s largest district, health and safety issues in classrooms, and other problems. He says there are other avenues to call attention to those issues that don’t hurt students.

  • Should you be lucky enough to nab the winning Powerball ticket, you would also surrender your privacy. Republican State Rep. Ray Franz wants to fix that.
Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, has been fighting for the release of Amir Hekmati and other Americans held prisoner by the Iranian government since 2013
Steve Carmody

At last year’s State of the Union address, Flint Congressman Dan Kildee’s guest seat was unoccupied. It was left empty for Marine veteran Amir Hekmati of Flint, who has been held in an Iranian prison since August 29, 2011.

At tonight’s State of the Union speech, Kildee will once again use that guest seat to focus attention on Hekmati and the other Americans imprisoned in Iran. This time, Hekmati’s sister Sarah will fill the seat.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

  

The Powerball jackpot has hit a record $1.5 billion for Wednesday night's drawing.

Should you beat the astronomical odds and actually win that eye-watering jackpot, you would also surrender your privacy.

And that's something State Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama, wants to fix.

He's introduced a bill that would allow it to be your choice whether the world knows you’ve won the lottery. 

  • Meanwhile, those thriving gay communities in Saugatuck and Douglas are surrounded by what is arguably the most religiously conservative area of the state.
Thetoad / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Republican state lawmakers are looking into legislation meant to prevent teacher “sickouts” like the ones that closed about 60 Detroit schools on Monday.

Teachers in the state’s largest district say it’s their only way to protest problems in the district – from state control to overcrowded classrooms – because teacher strikes are banned under state law.

“I couldn’t be any more disappointed,” said state Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Twp., who chairs the Senate Education Committee.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder continues to defend himself against questions about when he knew the extent of the Flint water crisis.

On Monday, the governor was in Flint to announce the formation of a joint city-state panel to examine the city’s water crisis and ways to address it. 

The Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee will be composed of state officials with emergency management, environmental quality, health and human services, and other state agencies. Flint’s mayor and Genesee County officials will also be on the committee.

The state Legislature returns to the Capitol this week and Governor Rick Snyder will kick off the political year in Lansing with his State of the State address next week.


Researchers at Virginia Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents. Dr. Edwards and his team there were among the first to call attention to lead contamination in Flint's water.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

Five new centers have been set up in Flint to get water filters and testing kits to city residents.

It’s another step to address the lead contamination crisis in Flint as Governor Rick Snyder faced a growing crescendo of criticism over the weekend on the state’s handling of the crisis.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of protesters angry at Governor Rick Snyder gathered in front of Flint city hall Friday.

People holding signs saying “Fire Rick Snyder” and “Arrest Snyder,” along with one protester wearing a giant Rick Snyder papier-mache head and prison stripes, made their displeasure with Michigan’s governor clear. 

Monica Lewis-Patrick with We The People of Detroit says she believes something criminal has happened with Flint water.  But she says the problem is deeper.

Paul Wright / Flickr Creative Commons /http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Department of Corrections is setting up a 30-person unit to monitor the department's 184 private contracts for services, including food and medical treatment.

The department came under intense scrutiny last year for major problems with its food service provider.

Gov. Rick Snyder's office

Governor Rick Snyder says he would like to give Flint’s mayor "more authority." 

Flint has been under state oversight since 2011, when Snyder appointed the first of four emergency managers to run the city.   The last emergency manager left in April 2015.

But this week, after meeting with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver about the city’s drinking water crisis, Snyder suggested it’s time to move closer to local control.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State emergency center officials say they are working to better understand what has been done and what needs to be done in Flint.  

The governor declared Flint’s lead tainted drinking water a ‘state of emergency’ this week. The city had switched from Detroit water to water from the Flint River in April 2014 to save money, and did not reverse its decision until October.

State officials opened the Emergency Operations Center in Lansing to reporters on Thursday.

Southwest Michigan Volunteer Militia members training in 2010
Pete Tombers

A self-styled armed militia continues to occupy a wildlife refuge building in Oregon. The FBI says it is hoping for a peaceful end to the occupation.

The story out of Oregon got us wondering about Michigan’s history of militias, and whether what’s happened in the Beaver State could happen here as well.

Gov. Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver met today to discuss the city’s water crisis, and the state’s role in solving a problem it helped create.

State-appointed emergency managers decided to save money by using the Flint River for drinking water damaged pipes. That move damaged pipes and caused lead to leach into the water. 

Following the meeting, Governor Snyder publicly apologized for a second time for the state’s role in Flint’s water crisis.

“We want to work closely together to earn the trust of the people of Flint,” he said.

Listen to this week's political roundup here:

Governor Snyder this week declared a state of emergency in the city of Flint due to the city’s water crisis. This follows the resignation of Dan Wyant, the director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and news that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the city’s contaminated water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials are now going door to door in Flint handing out water filters.

Genesee County reserve sheriff’s deputies started knocking on doors just after 10 am in a neighborhood on the city’s north side.  If someone answers, deputies  hand out bottled water and filters to homeowners who need them. 

While thousands of water filters have been handed out, many people in Flint are still not using them to filter lead from their drinking water.

Sheriff Robert Pickell says the homes in this neighborhood are some of the oldest in town, with some dating back to 1900. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a controversial elections bill, but has called for a fix to clear up some confusion in the new law.

The new law puts limits on local officials’ ability to campaign for millages and other local ballot questions in the two months before an election. Local officials say it’s basically an effort to silence them.

  

Steve Carmody

A settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit against Genesee County and several sheriff's deputies in the death of a Flint woman.

The lawsuit claims that Joice Howard's repeated requests for medication and treatment for seizures were denied while she was held at the Genesee County Jail.

"Genesee and several deputies did not afford Ms. Howard medical attention which contributed to the events leading to her death," said Neal Wilensky, the lawyer for Howard's estate. "It was a deliberate indifference claim against several of the Genesee deputies."

Flint water treatment plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayer Karen Weaver are set to meet on Thursday to discuss the city’s water emergency.

The meeting comes two days after Snyder declared a state of emergency in Genesee County due to high lead levels in tap water. That move could lead to a request for federal aid for Flint and its water system, which could be a topic of discussion at the meeting.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Common Cause, a political watchdog group, is calling on Governor Snyder to release all documents related to Flint’s water crisis.

The governor’s office is not covered by Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.  

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry explains the straight-ticket voting law that Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law, another proposed bill that would block school districts and municipalities from informing the public about ballot measures within 60 days of an election, and Lessenberry explains what Governor Snyder's state of emergency declaration means for Flint. 


People voting
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that eliminates the choice of voting a straight-party ballot with a single mark on Election Day, despite the fact that the option has been upheld twice by voters.

However, voters will not have the opportunity to challenge the new law on the ballot because Republican lawmakers tucked into it a $5 million spending provision that makes it immune to a referendum.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed off on a state of emergency declaration for the city of Flint. It moves the city closer to getting help to recover from its drinking water crisis. 

“The health and welfare of Flint residents is a top priority and we’re committed to a coordinated approach with resources from state agencies to address all aspects of this situation,” Snyder said in a written statement.

  • Paul Eisenstein joins us from Las Vegas to talk about what GM and Ford are showing off at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.
     
  • The DIA is offering us a chance to see work by some of the most important modern African-American artists in an exhibit called "30 Americans." 

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