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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Photos courtesy of VOTEBUSUITOWSU.COM and Renee White

After the 2016 Election, we talked to a few Donald Trump supporters and asked about their vote. With the first 100 days of the Trump presidency just around the corner, Stateside reached out to a couple of those Trump supporters to get their thoughts on his performance as Commander in Chief so far.

People loading cases of bottled water into an SUV
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

All nine state water distribution sites will remain open for at least another month in Flint.

A settlement of a lawsuit gave the state the option to close two of the sites starting in May.

But Mission Flint spokeswoman Tiffany Brown says the number of people picking up cases of bottled water at each of the sites is still high enough to warrant keeping them open.

Brown says Flint residents would receive plenty of notice if the decision to close one or more the sites is made. 

Sen. Jim Ananich at Stateside's live show in Flint: "Michigan should lead the way [in water quality standards]. We should have the best standards of anywhere in the country and other people should follow us and we should start that here in Flint."
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

This week brought an important development in the future of Flint and its drinking water.

Mayor Karen Weaver says she wants Flint to return to a long-term agreement with the Detroit-based Great Lakes Water Authority. This reverses the plans to connect Flint to the new, competing Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).

The Michigan Senate Minority Leader, Senator Jim Ananich, D-Flint, joined Stateside's live show in Flint last Saturday to talk about the state of the city and why something needs to be done about the water rates. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Donald Trump was elected President by pledging to "Make America Great Again." 

Economist Marina von Neumann Whitman thinks the proposed Trump budget would deeply harm the very things that make our country great.

Gun in holster on hip
Teknorat / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM / cropped from original

Wednesday was the annual Second Amendment March in Lansing. Gun enthusiasts took to the Capitol for speeches and mass open-carrying of firearms.

According to the march’s website, they met for a, “peaceful gathering to demonstrate the political strength of Michigan’s legal gun owners and Second Amendment advocates.”

Dean Greenblatt is an attorney in Bloomfield Township. He represents Michigan Open Carry in several pending court cases.

University of Michigan Professor Rosina Bierbaum says scandals like Flint's water crisis have eroded public trust in the safety of drinking water
Courtesy of Raiz Up

Three years ago this week, officials switched Flint's water source to the Flint River, sparking the water crisis there. The river wasn't properly treated, and began corroding lead water pipes, which then leached lead into the drinking water.

Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry talks to Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about why it took the city so long to listen to residents' concerns. 

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Fraser, Michigan will finally get funding for a sinkhole that opened up in a residential neighborhood last Christmas.

Lawmakers have been at odds over whether to give Macomb County a grant or a loan.

Now the Michigan Department of Transportation has agreed to send the money to make the necessary repairs.

“We are very happy for Macomb County that everybody came together and came to a resolution on this,” said State Rep. Jeff Yaroch, R-Richmond. “It was very reasonable for the state to help in this, which is a state of emergency.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Today, people in Flint marked the anniversary of the start of the city’s drinking water crisis.

It was three years ago, when Flint officials pushed the button switching the city’s tap water source from Detroit to the Flint River.  Improperly treated river water damaged pipes, which then leached lead into the drinking water.

Since then, Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water has drawn national attention and local protests.

Supporters of Jose Luise Sanchez-Ronquillo rally in front of ICE offices in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Supporters of Jose Luis Sanchez Ranquillo say they expect to know as early as Tuesday if he faces imminent deportation, or has a chance of remaining in the U.S.

The Ann Arbor father of two is fighting to say in the country. 

Family members say Sanchez was detained after what he thought was a routine immigration check-in last week.

That’s not a new thing. But anecdotally, immigration attorneys say it seems to have picked up steam in the early days of the Trump administration.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Today, a judge put a recall campaign against Flint’s mayor back on track.

Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey Neithercut says Genesee County election officials were correct when they approved language in a recall petition against Mayor Weaver.    

The petition language cites the mayor signing a contract to hire a new trash hauling company for the city of Flint in response to an 'emergency.' A court later issued an injunction blocking the city from hiring Rizzo Environmental. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Genesee County judge is scheduled to hear arguments Monday concerning a recall petition targeting Flint’s mayor.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has been in office for a year and half.    

There have been several efforts to recall her from office. But so far only one has received the green light from the Genesee County Election Commission.

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature is back in Lansing after a two week break. Before they left for vacation, lawmakers in the House and Senate were at odds over how to fund a fix for the sinkhole mess in Macomb County. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether legislators will be able to play nice long enough to get this sorted out.

Michigan state Capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan Republican legislators are divided when it comes to the budget.

The Detroit News reports the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services cut energy assistance and food aid in what’s known as “Heat and Eat.”

So far about $200 million face cuts from Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed budget. Senator Jim Marleau, who chairs the subcommittee, says he’s received marching orders from Senate Republican leaders in an attempt to cut the state income tax or pay down state debt.

Screen grab taken from Karen Spranger's Facebook page

It's been a bumpy first few months in office for new Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Karen Spranger and her staff.

Last night, the county ethics board met to discuss ethics complaints filed by a former top aide, someone Spranger fired shortly after taking office.

The meeting ended with a $100 fine against Spranger for an ethics violations, a fine she intends to appeal.

But that is just scratching the surface of what's happened since Spranger was elected last November.

Ann Arbor city hall.
Heritage Media / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

A resolution spelling out more protections for undocumented immigrants is expected to be addressed on May 1 by the Ann Arbor City Council. 

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor says the proposed resolution's goal is to make city policies clear so undocumented immigrants will not be afraid to get help from police or to interact with other city officials.

The uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act is likely influencing some of the health care rate increases.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump's budget proposal contained big cuts to programs that are not about defense and the military.

One of the programs on the Trump chopping block is the Community Development Block Grant program.

It's slated to be completely eliminated in the proposed Trump Budget.

Book cover: "The Intersection: What Detroit has gained, and lost, 50 years after the uprisings of 1967."
Courtesy of Lester Graham

 

This year marks 50 years since the 1967 uprising in Detroit. A new book reflects on what's happened since those hot, angry four days in July. 

Saugatuck Dunes.
Rapid Growth Media

Michigan's lawmakers are reacting to an unconfirmed report that the EPA is thinking of shutting down its Region 5 office in Chicago. Under the plan, the Chicago office would merge with the Region 7 office in Kansas.

Republican Congressman Fred Upton represents Michigan’s 6th District, located in the southwest corner of the state along the shore of Lake Michigan. He spoke with Stateside about the potential proposal, which he said was “not a wise move.”

Detroit Public School Distric sign
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools Community District school board has chosen Nikolai Vitti as its first permanent superintendent. Vitti grew up in Dearborn Heights and is currently the superintendent in Duval County, Florida.

Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what the district's new pick means for Detroit schools. 

IRS Form 1040.
stockphotosforfree.com

A question worth mulling over on this Tax Day: Does having to pay income taxes make you work harder? University of Michigan researchers have some new insight into the psychology of taxes, thanks to a new study.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (right) stands next to the lead drinking water line that was pulled from a home in Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It was April 16 of 2013, almost exactly four years ago, when emergency manager Ed Kurtz signed the contract that switched the city of Flint to the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA). It was heralded as a cost-cutting move.

That decision led to one of the biggest water contamination crises in American history.

The lead poisoning forced the city to go back to getting its water from the Great Lakes Water Authority, which serves Detroit, until the KWA system was in place.

Delta County Airport near Escanaba is one of the nine rural airports in Michigan that are subsidized by the Essential Air Service.
redlegsfan21 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump's proposed budget would eliminate funding for something called the Essential Air Service program.

The EAS began in 1978 to make sure small, remote communities had access to air travel. The federal subsidies help keep them open. 

A third Snyder term?

Apr 17, 2017

Rick Snyder cannot run for governor again because he’s term-limited.

But that doesn’t mean Michigan’s CEO Governor isn’t working on a succession plan. Snyder’s Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley seems to be making moves toward a run for the top job.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will outline her plan for the source of her city’s tap water.

On Tuesday, Flint’s mayor will be joined by federal, state and local officials to release her recommendation for the City of Flint’s long-term primary and back-up water sources.

Prison bars
powelli / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A former camp counselor from suburban Detroit was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for taking nude photos of young boys and posting them online. The judge who sentenced 22-year-old Matthew Kuppe said he thought the sentence was too harsh, but Kuppe's plea deal left him with no choice. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry take a closer look at the case.

They also talk about former state Sen. Virgil Smith's possible bid for a Detroit Council seat, a lawsuit to force state Attorney General Bill Schuette's office to turn over personal emails that discuss public business, and a push to ban  7-day auto insurance plans in Michigan. 

A police officer wearing a body camera
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pennstatelive/32513699213

 


This week’s political roundup examines two instances of government trying to restrict access to information.

Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and former Republican Majority Leader in the state Senate, and Darci McConnell, president & CEO of McConnell Communications, which consults for state Democratic causes and clients, joined Stateside to explain the issues.

Equity PAC

In Grand Rapids there is a new PAC – a political action committee. PACs are formed all the time by politicians, industry groups, and others, to raise money for candidates and advocate for certain political issues.

A group of concerned citizens in the Grand Rapids area decided that if they were going to have any voice in government and policy, they needed a PAC too. 

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio file photo

Lansing's City Council did an about-face last night. 

The Council reversed its earlier unanimous decision to declare Lansing a "sanctuary city". The 5-2 vote means the city is not a sanctuary for immigrants, particularly undocumented immigrants.

The Trump Administration has threatened to punish sanctuary cities by withholding federal funds.

The Michigan and Lansing Chambers of Commerce had been urging Lansing's City Council to rescind that earlier resolution.

Rich Studley, the president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, joined Stateside to explain why they rejected the resolution.

Empty classroom
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Hundreds of Detroit parents angered by school closure threats are having their kids opt out of the state's M-STEP test. They say the standardized tests are used to justify closures. 

The Great Lakes from space.
NASA

The Trump Administration has proposed massive cuts to Great Lakes restoration projects in its 2018 fiscal year budget plan, and Congress should say no.

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