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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Refugee children play in Warren, MI in 2015.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some of the people most directly affected by President Trump’s immigration order spoke about their hopes and fears Thursday.

Trump’s executive order has caused “generalized panic” among refugees and some immigrant communities. That’s according to the head of the state’s largest refugee resettlement agency.

Sean De Four is vice president of that agency, Samaritas, until recently an arm of Lutheran Social Services. De Four says the group is proceeding as if Trump’s order halting refugee re-settlement is temporary, but some of their clients don’t share that hope.

Stateside 2.2.2017

Feb 2, 2017

Today we learn why one expert says without steady growth, pumping billions into infrastructure is just a "Ponzi scheme." And, we hear Rep. Mitchell from Michigan's 10th District explain why Great Lakes drinking water is "not an issue we can risk" with Canada's nuclear waste storage site.

What if the issue with our infrastructure isn't that we're not spending enough, but that we've already spent too much and spent it the wrong way?
Wikimedia Commons

Across our state and across our country, we're talking about infrastructure: How it's failing, what that means, and what it's going to cost to fix.

What if the issue with our infrastructure isn't that we're not spending enough, but that we've already spent too much and spent it the wrong way?

Courtesy of Sandra Stahl

The Next Idea

 

When Sandra Stahl works on civic engagement in Detroit, there’s one question she hears again and again.

“Where are all the young people?”

 

 

Flickr user Still Burning / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Senate has adopted a criminal justice overhaul that aims to improve public safety by sending fewer people to prison. The 21 bills passed with almost unanimous support from Republicans and Democrats.

While crime and the number of prisoners is on its way down, state Senator John Proos (R-St. Joseph) says the state can do better. He says the key is making sure inmates succeed once they are released.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims. Then it began garnishing wages, and tax returns, often without the wrongly-accused person even knowing what he or she supposedly did.

The UIA's director has apologized for the errors. But the mistakes, pinned on a computer system, have had thunderous repercussions in homes all over Michigan.

michigan.gov

Governor Rick Snyder’s chief of staff has taken a new job at the White House. Jarrod Agen is the new communications director for Vice President Mike Pence. Agen was Snyder’s communications director before assuming the position of chief of staff 13 months ago. Agen helped shape the “Grand Bargain” that led to the Detroit bankruptcy deal, and he was a central figure in the Snyder administration’s response to the Flint water crisis.

Tampons.
user m.p.3. / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The so-called “tampon tax” has got to go. That’s the message of lawmakers in both chambers of the state Legislature.

Democrats and a couple Republicans are teaming up to get rid of Michigan’s use tax and sales tax on feminine hygiene products.

Michigan exempts food, medication and other necessities from taxes, and lawmakers argue feminine hygiene products are just as essential. 

Government records revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan and Louisiana are the only two states that don’t apply their public records laws to the legislature and the governor’s office. A bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers have rolled out bills to change that.

Michigan is ranked among the worst states in the country when it comes to government ethics and access laws.

Ontario Power Generation

Members of Michigan's congressional delegation have sent letters to the Trump administration and the Canadian government in hopes of stopping a planned nuclear waste site along Lake Huron.

Ontario Power Generation wants to store low and intermediate level radioactive waste less than a mile from Lake Huron.  The utility insists the plan is safe and other options are too expensive.

The Canadian government is taking public comment on the proposal.    

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

A Senate committee approved Betsy DeVos' nomination to become U.S. Secretary of Education yesterday, despite strong opposition from Democrats and a tense vetting process. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss how DeVos' positions on charter schools and school-choice could keep her in the spotlight if and when she's confirmed in a full Senate vote.

They also discuss what's at stake in Michigan following President Trump's executive order on immigration, whether state Attorney General Bill Schuette's support for Trump's immigration order puts him at political risk, and Dan Gilbert's plan to turn the Wayne County jail site into a soccer stadium.

The Michigan State Capitol
user aunt owwee / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s trying to learn more about President Trump’s executive order on immigration. But he says it’s the start of a national discussion on the subject. Snyder says he is reaching to other governors and the Trump administration to better understand the order and its effects.

  

The governor released a statement this morning while he is overseas on a trip to Israel.

  

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is in charge while the governor’s away. He says criticism of the order is overblown.

Stateside 1.31.2017

Jan 31, 2017

Today's 12-11 vote by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions means Betsy DeVos' nomination to be Secretary of the Department of Education moves to the full Senate. On the show today, we discuss the pros and cons of a DeVos confirmation. We also continue to hear reactions to President Trump's executive orders on immigrants and refugees.

Screenshot from the Pathways to Prison trailer

Tonight at 8 p.m., Detroit Public Television will debut a new documentary focused on the high rate of imprisonment in the U.S. and Michigan.

It's entitled Pathways to Prison.

Samaritas is the largest resettler of refugees in Michigan.
Courtesy of Samaritas

The White House continues to insist that the President's executive orders on immigrants and refugees will make America safer.

The West Michigan group Samaritas begs to differ.

Stateside 1.30.2017

Jan 30, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear reactions to President Trump's executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. We speak with attorneys and someone who was held up at the border this weekend. We also hear statements on the issue from Michigan congressional leaders.

Lyse Messmer / Michigan Radio

President Trump today said he was right to ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Courtesy of Farah Al-khersan

Across the country, immigration lawyers flocked to airports and border crossings this weekend to help travelers stranded by President Trump’s executive order.

Not all of them, however, were able to offer their services.

Farah Al-khersan, an immigration attorney of West Bloomfield, was blocked from re-entering the United States when she and her husband tried to cross back over from Sarnia Friday night.

Voting sign
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There is no evidence of any widespread election fraud during the state’s 2016 presidential election, according to a forensic analysis released Monday by the Anderson Economic Group.

Anderson Economic Group CEO Patrick Anderson says they looked into two claims.

BetsyDeVos.com

A U.S. Senate committee votes tomorrow on the nomination of west Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. Secretary of Education.

Michigan groups for and against the controversial nomination were busy over the weekend lobbying before the vote.

Gary Naeyaert is the executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project, which was founded by Betsy DeVos.

Thousands of protesters gathered yesterday at Detroit Metro Airport and in Dearborn, Hamtramck, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor to demonstrate against President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Chanting slogans like “No ban, no wall!” and “Refugees are welcome here,” thousands of protesters jammed parts of Detroit Metro Airport Sunday evening.

It was yet another demonstration against President Trump’s executive order that bars arrivals of immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A state official who's conducting a wide-ranging review of Michigan's embattled unemployment benefits office is apologizing for the fiasco that led at least 20,000 people to be falsely accused of fraud.

Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda Stokes adds that lawmakers should consider reducing the country's highest financial penalties for unemployment fraud.

She told The Associated Press that people affected are angry and she is, too. She says their plight "shouldn't have happened."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

This week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to increase deportation efforts when it comes to undocumented immigrants. Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the impact that could have on Michigan. 

They also discuss Trump's call for an investigation into his voter fraud claims, a trip to the White House for Detroit auto CEOs, and a bill to create guidelines for school closures in Michigan.


Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey has broken her public silence about irregularities in the city’s November’s election results.

Michigan’s presidential recount was halted mid-process. But the partial recount revealed that more than half of Detroit precincts were legally ineligible to be recounted, because reported vote counts didn’t match the actual number of ballots.

That prompted the state to launch an audit, which is still wrapping up. Winfrey has said very little during that time.

Caleb Pluta

Governor Rick Snyder says enforcing immigration laws is not a top priority of state and local police in Michigan. That’s after President Donald Trump signed executive orders to curtail immigration from majority Muslim countries, and targeting immigrants in the country illegally.

“I don’t see that as one of their primary functions. We’re actually doing very well bringing violent crime down within the state of Michigan,” he said. “I appreciate the great work of the State Police and or local partners, and we’re going to continue to work hard on making Michigan a safer place.”

Caleb Pluta

State officials say any federal investigation will not turn up widespread vote fraud in Michigan, despite unsubstantiated accusations by President Trump that millions of people voted illegally.

President Trump says illegal voting kept him from winning the popular vote, but there’s no evidence of that. State officials – who are also Republicans – say that’s certainly not true in Michigan.

President Donald Trump continues to claim, despite a lack of proof, that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election. Trump won the election, but lost the popular vote by nearly three million.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It's been a busy week in the world of politics. For instance: Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette was accused of posturing, and President Donald Trump continues to stir things up in Washington.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside to break it all down. 

taliesin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A state lawmaker wants to make sure police officers can't use a resignation to hide bad behavior.

Legislation introduced this week would require law enforcement agencies to keep a record of the reasons and circumstances surrounding a resignation.

If a resigning officer applies for a job at another department, the potential employer would be allowed to request a copy of their record.

Detroit health department employee Mariah Allen says the EITC will be a "great relief" for her family.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Tens of thousands of Detroit households who qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit don’t claim it, leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table.

Now, the city is expanding services to help eligible residents get that money.

The Earned Income Tax Credit helps lower-income working families, and it’s a substantial boost for many. The average EITC refund is $2400.

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