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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Stateside 3.14.2018

Mar 14, 2018

Today on Stateside, Michigan high school students reflect on this morning's National School Walkout, during which they demanded action from lawmakers on school safety and guns. Also today, a trans opera singer talks about the risky decision he made to follow his dreams.

Brian Ellison
Ellison for Senate campaign

A Michigan man running as a Libertarian for U.S. Senate says he wants to raise money to buy 20 pump style shotguns for homeless individuals.

"Not only are the homeless constantly under threat from would-be criminals," says Brian Ellison, "but they are also under threat from governments at various levels that criminalize activities that homeless people rely on for survival."

Ellison says he has no fears that the guns would be misused, for example, to shoot police who are trying to move people off an illegal encampment.

A cafeteria worker's gloved hand grabs waffle fries with tongs.
U.S. Air Force

An effective food system in the state’s prisons should go beyond just feeding prisoners. That’s the message of some lawmakers in the state Senate.

The governor announced he wants to end privatized food service in the state’s prisons. Senator John Proos, R-St. Joseph, said this is an opportunity to go a step further. He’s put together a work group to explore training inmates in food services. Proos said there are thousands of available jobs across the state in the restaurant industry. 

A street pole in the middle of flood water
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has declared a state of disaster for 17 counties and two cities hit hard by recent flooding from heavy rain and melting snow. He also opened the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to local governments in those areas. 

U.S. Treasury

Michigan says more than one-fifth of local governments have an underfunded pension plan, retirement health care plan or both.

The Treasury Department on Monday issued the results of an initial round of reporting required under the Protecting Local Government Retirement and Benefits Act.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is not ruling out some “pain” as the city deals with a rising legacy costs.

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor sat down with his Financial Health Team for the first time today to discuss ways of dealing with the capitol city’s long-term liabilities.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With real estate prices climbing steadily in some parts of Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan is putting out more details about his plan to guarantee some affordable housing remains in the city.

Duggan first laid out the plan in his state of the city address last week. 

kate wells / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Senate may vote this week on a package of bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. However, some groups are expressing concern that the legislation would retroactively extend the time victims would have to file lawsuits and remove an immunity defense for governmental agencies.

Former Detroit State Senator Bert Johnson.
Bert Johnson

Voters in one Michigan Senate district will have to wait until November to get a new state senator.

Michigan’s 2nd Senate District covers parts of Detroit and some small bordering communities, including Highland Park, Hamtramck, and the Grosse Pointes.

Bert Johnson has been the district’s state senator since 2010, but resigned earlier this month after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to commit theft charge. He put a “ghost employee” on his Senate payroll after borrowing money he couldn’t pay back.

The legalization of marijuana in Michigan is emerging as an issue in the race for the state's next attorney general.

Attorney General candidate Patrick Miles, an Obama-appointed official who served six and a half years as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, has taken a position on legalization of marijuana in Michigan. He said last week, upon further reflection, he’s for it.

Gratiot construction site
Tony Brown / Michigan Radio

It looks like Wayne County may finally have a solution for its long-stalled jail project. The county has reached a tentative agreement with Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures. Gilbert's company will construct a brand new $533 million "criminal justice center," pending approval from the county commission and building authority.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the plan and what it could mean for Wayne County.


Stateside 3.9.2018

Mar 9, 2018

Today on Stateside, we discuss whether or not a "Marshall Plan for Talent" can work if children can't read. And, we learn about a program being rolled out at the University of Michigan hospital that will give priority to people who can pay more.

Michigan Municipal League / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is calling it a “Marshall Plan for Talent.” He wants the legislature to approve $100 million for programs, equipment and scholarships to train the hundreds of thousands of workers that will be needed in the next several years.

justgrimes / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Voters’ rights groups are gathering signatures for a constitutional amendment to make registering to vote easier in Michigan. The “Promote the Vote” campaign is being backed by several groups including the League of Women Voters of Michigan.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Election officials across the nation are concerned about hacking schemes that might corrupt the outcomes. But how likely is that?

Riley Beggin, a reporter with Bridge Magazine, joined Stateside today to talk about her recent report titled, “As hacking fears mount, Michigan election security gets middling marks.”

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Victims would have more rights under bills passed by the state House Thursday.

One bill would require defendants be physically present in the courtroom when a victim or victim’s family gives an impact statement at sentencing. The other is aimed at making sure students don’t have to go to school with someone who sexually assaulted them.

money
Mathieu Turle / unsplash

Some lawmakers in Lansing want people to work to get Medicaid. The Senate introduced a bill Thursday. It would add work requirements to the Medical Assistance Program, or Medicaid.

Medicaid is a federal program that gives low-income people – along with children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities - health insurance.

If passed, able-bodied adults would be required to work or continue school for 30 hours per week as a condition of receiving medical assistance.

Michigan Legislature
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state House has sent a bill to Governor Rick Snyder that forbids local governments from adopting ordinances dealing with questions employers may ask in job interviews.

The bill would expand an existing ban on local regulations that limit the information employers can ask for. It’s an effort to preempt local rules that bar asking about salary histories and criminal backgrounds. There are no such local regulations in Michigan, but they have been adopted in other states.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It may soon be easier to register to vote in Michigan.

Nine in ten people eligible to vote in Michigan are already registered. Most registered when they got a driver’s license or state identification card.

Nevertheless, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson wants to allow people to register to vote online through the state’s existing Express SOS software program.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan delivered his annual State of the City address last night. He talked about ways to improve the city's public schools, and the city's demolition program.

Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry joined Morning Edition host Doug Tribou to discuss the speech.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan covered a lot of ground in his annual state of the city speech Tuesday night.

ENBRIDGE INSPECTION VIDEO SHARED WITH THE STATE OF MICHIGAN

A Republican report released last week by the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology found that social media accounts linked to Russian propagandists were tweeting and posting about Enbridge's Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

Keith Matheny, a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined Stateside today to explain what's known about these Russian trolls.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan congressional leaders are asking the EPA about the status of an investigation into the causes of the Flint water crisis.

The EPA Office of Inspector General launched its investigation in January 2016 into the causes of the crisis that exposed the people of Flint to lead-tainted tap water and other health threats.

However more than two years later, the full report has still not been released.

Gun laws across the country are under the microscope at state capitols. And Michigan is no exception. But the reality is, we’re not seeing a re-thinking of gun policy. Instead, everyone’s just returned to their corners.

There’s increasing pressure for Lansing to do something following the school shootings in Parkland, Florida.

Richard Spencer
User V@S / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A white supremacist, Richard Spencer will speak at Michigan State University this evening – much to the dismay of many in the community. Spencer’s request to speak was initially denied by the campus – but a lawsuit resulted in a compromise between the two sides. Spencer is permitted to use the MSU pavilion on the outskirts of campus during spring break.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State University campus is preparing for Monday’s event featuring white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend Monday’s speech at the MSU Pavilion.

The speech comes during the university’s spring break. But many people are expected to take part in a demonstration a short distance from the event. 

Someone shooting a gun at a gun range.
Peretz Partensky / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Democrats in Lansing want a state law that requires background checks for all firearm purchases. This is one of a number of ideas lawmakers have floated since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. But the House Republican leader says he’s focused on improving mental health services, while other Republicans have proposed allowing certain teachers to carry weapons.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the divide in the Capitol over how to keep kids safe from gun violence.


Vice President Mike Pence told a Detroit audience Friday that the country is basking in the benefits of President Trump’s policy decisions, and that school safety is the administration’s new “top priority.”

Pence was in Detroit for an event sponsored by the group America First Policies touting Trump’s recent tax cuts. He was introduced by Michigan Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Bill Schuette.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan members of Congress are taking a public stance in support of a Metro Detroit man facing deportation.

Ded Rranxburgaj, a native of Albania, entered the U.S. illegally in 2001. In January, he claimed sanctuary at Detroit’s Central United Methodist Church before he could be deported. The family, including two sons, has been living there ever since.

Stateside 3.2.2018

Mar 2, 2018

Today on Stateside, a state lawmaker argues for a "sky marshal system in the schools." We talk to a co-director of Flint Town, a new Netflix series that looks at the city through the eyes of the police. Also, a bill in the Michigan House Representatives could make it easier for large water withdrawals. Our Friday Roundtable gives their opinion. 

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