Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

  Today on Stateside:

  • More on a bill that would require cell phone carriers in Michigan to release location information to police in the event of an emergency.
  • The Fisher Building in Detroit is on the auction block.
  • The ice caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Lake Superior.
  • A new book from Andrew Hoffman, How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate
  • Why a teen crisis hotline is communicating by text only.
Provided by Duane Kelley

We want to fill you in on what’s going on with Detroit’s retired firefighters.

These are the men and women who ran into burning buildings, day after day, some of them for decades.

And while they made it through the city’s bankruptcy with their pensions pretty much intact, they lost their health care.

Smart phone.
Johan Larsson / Flickr

The bill, if passed, would require cell phone carriers in Michigan to release location information to police in the event of an emergency.

In short, according to this House Fiscal Agency analysis, the bill does this:

Luca Nonato / Flickr

The Michigan film incentives have been a point of debate for years.

The incentives give film companies cash rebates based on the amount of money they spent in the state to make their movies.

At their peak, film incentives in Michigan would pay production companies 42% of their costs. That's when movie stars like Drew Barrymore, Clint Eastwood, and David Schwimmer started showing up regularly in the state.

WISD hiring drivers after Ann Arbor school bus service cancellation

Mar 4, 2015
School bus traversing the snow.
User Kristin Andrus / flickr.com

Washtenaw Intermediate School District is trying to hire more bus drivers and monitors. That's to avoid a repeat of Monday morning's cancellation of school bus service for Ann Arbor Public Schools. The buses resumed running Monday afternoon.

WISD has also "offered staff compensation incentives to attend work and to stay through the duration of our contracts," said Emma Jackson, WISD's spokesperson.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to Congress.
PBS NewsHour / screenshot from YouTube

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech, a new push toward financial stability for Detroit’s schools and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s decision to sit out Proposal 1.


Adoptions by LGBT parents are at the center of this controversy.
user stevendamrun / Flickr

A state House committee approved the legislation this morning.

The bills would allow agencies that take money from the state for placing children with families to turn away same-sex couples. There would have to be a sincere religious objection and a good-faith effort to refer the couples to another adoption service.

Detroit to get "pay by plate" parking

Mar 4, 2015
wikihow

DETROIT (AP) – Detroit plans to roll out a parking system that uses technology tied to license plates in an effort to improve enforcement efficiency and increase options for payment.

Chief Operating Officer Gary Brown told The Detroit News that a $3 million contract will transform its metering system to “pay-by-plate,” rather than by space.

Today on Stateside:

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his much anticipated speech to Congress today.
  • LaughFest 2015 begins Thursday in Grand Rapids. Teresa Thome talks about her upcoming performance.
  • A Michigan State University professor is using “ambigram” designs to explore creative ways of thinking.
  • There are hundreds of kids aged 13 to 17 in Michigan's adult prisons. What's happening inside those prison walls?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to Congress.
PBS NewsHour / screenshot from YouTube

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his much anticipated speech to Congress today. He made his case against a potential nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran by major powers, including the United States.

Watch the speech here.

Today on Stateside:

  • As the debate over gun rights and regulations continues across the country, Michigan is seeing a surge in women with concealed pistol licenses.
  • The city of Battle Creek was in the CBS spotlight last night. Battle Creek police chief Jim Blocker joined us to talk about the new TV show Battle Creek.
  • Writer & publisher Bill Haney has crossed paths with some fascinating Michiganders. He writes about them in his new book, What They Were Thinking: Reflections of Michigan Difference-Makers.
  • Can Detroit be a "Design Mecca?" Michigan has a higher concentration of industrial designers than any other state.
  • Men are vanishing from the workplaces of America and certainly here in Michigan. That group of men aged 25-to-54 who are not working has more than tripled since the last 1960s.

slemboskilaw.com/

In the future, Michiganders behind in their rent payments may get an email eviction notice.

Currently, initial eviction notices are sent by first class mail. But a bill before the state House Judiciary committee would allow landlords use electronic mail instead.

This week, Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker is likely to become the third Midwest governor in as many years to sign legislation making his state right to work, the 25th in the country.

It was not that long ago that the right to work movement was essentially stalled. In 2011, no state had gone right to work in a decade.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Pension cuts are kicking in for roughly 12,000 city of Detroit retirees.

The 4.5 percent reduction is a result of Detroit's bankruptcy. Pension fund spokeswoman Tina Bassett tells the Detroit Free Press that about 1,450 retirees with very low incomes have qualified for financial help from a separate fund. Some people will get as much as $180.

Michigan works to thwart barrage of cyberattacks

Feb 28, 2015
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan is aiming to invest in cyber security and position itself as a national leader in the field as attacks on governments increase.  

The state receives more than 730,000 attempted attacks daily. That number is rising as hackers aim to collect valuable information from Michigan's networks.

Wikimedia Commons

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark talk about headlines that marked the end of the beginning for some major Michigan issues. Ballot language for the roads funding bill, school money to fill the budget gap, and GOP officials with criminal records are all stories that look like they’re just getting started. 


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials say levels of a potentially harmful chemical in the city's drinking water are now within acceptable limits. 

Flint residents got a shock earlier this year when they learned their tap water had unacceptably high levels of total trihalomethane, a byproduct of chlorine. The city used a large amount to chlorine last summer to treat the city’s water.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Flickr

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-MI, have introduced legislation that addresses the threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes.

Former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

He was called the "accidental congressman" because he was the only Republican on the 2012 primary ballot after incumbent Republican Thad McCotter's campaign imploded from a petition scandal.

Bentivolio went on to win and served two years in Congress until he lost his reelection bid in 2014.

Michigan Legislature
Matthileo / Flickr

Each Thursday we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

This week we discuss the state's revenue shortfall and what it means for the budget this year and down the road.

Michigan's Capitol.
Graham Davis / flickr

State lawmakers have approved diverting surplus school aid revenues to help close a $500 million budget hole.

The legislation would shift $250 million in money originally earmarked for the state’s School Aid Fund.  Another bill in the package would make cuts to several state departments.

GOP House Leader / Flickr

The showdown between President Obama and House Republicans continues as the Department of Homeland Security budget is still not securely funded.

The budget has been attached to Republican's efforts to undo President Obama's executive actions on immigration reform. If Congress can't find a way to divide the two, the funding for Homeland Security will expire tomorrow night at midnight.

There was a big stop on the Detroit post-bankruptcy "tour" this week.

Former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, now-retired federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes, and Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rhodes all sat together at Crain's Newsmakers of the Year lunch to share their insights and hopes for the future.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

At a meeting of business and civic leaders, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan outlined a number of concerns and looming issues facing the city.

Following a speech at the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference, Duggan was interviewed by Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson about challenges ahead.

Today on Stateside:   

Andrew McFarlane / creative commons

There’s a new fight underway at the state Capitol over Michigan’s tax credit for film, TV, and digital video projects. And some advocates for the subsidy say the debate itself is harming efforts to create a thriving Michigan movie and video entertainment business.  

Gov. Rick Snyder has never been a fan of the subsidies and his administration capped them $50 million in the current budget and in his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. 

FLICKR USER COOPERWEB / FLICKR

The 2014 election cycle saw unprecedented fundraising by political action committees in Michigan.

Big With that came a major increase in money raised by so-called Super PACs – the independent-expenditure committees free to accept corporate and union contributions.

This major increase raises fresh alarm over the way big donors and special interests can spend money to influence your vote.

Handguns.
user Ben Re / Flickr

The State House has approved legislation that would overhaul the way Michigan approves concealed pistol licenses.

The legislation would abolish county gun boards which approve the licenses. Those duties would go to county clerks with the State Police conducting background checks.

State Representative Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, says the gun boards sometimes discriminate against applicants.

Flickr user Dennis Skley / Flickr

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote tomorrow on a proposal that could impact the way you use and pay for your Internet.

The debate is around "net neutrality."

earl53 / Morguefile

This week, Jack and Emily talk about another state considering a right-to-work law, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s budget proposal and a new grant to boost skills training in Michigan.


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