Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Four Republican presidential candidates spent a scant seven and a half minutes talking about Detroit, Flint, and manufacturing at a debate held in Detroit Thursday night.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Chanting everything from “Flint lives matter!” to “Nazi scum, off our streets!”, a range of protesters confronted Republican presidential debate-goers in the snow outside Detroit’s Fox Theater Thursday night.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Ohio Governor John Kasich talked strategy in Detroit before the GOP presidential debate there Thursday—though he hardly talked about Michigan at all.

Kasich did say Michigan is “important.” The state holds its primary next Tuesday, and Kasich has campaigned here through the week.

But Kasich said the way things are shaking out, the Republican presidential race is “all coming down to Florida and Ohio.”

NOAA

A group of business, industry, government, and environmental organizations in the Great Lakes region are asking presidential candidates to commit to protecting the lakes.

The coalition asked each candidate yesterday to support a specific list of priorities it calls the Great Lakes Protection & Restoration Platform.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is taking aim at free trade deals like NAFTA and the recent Trans Pacific Partnership. He says they’ve cost the country millions of jobs. And he says it’s a critical difference between him and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Our trade policies have failed,” Sanders said at a press conference today.

Sanders is looking to shore up support among unions and blue collar workers, and says he’s not opposed to trade deals but how they’ve been negotiated by Republican and Democratic administrations. 

Fox Theatre
Bob Jagendorf/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It was just about a year ago when Gov. Rick Snyder was flying around the country, meeting with influential and powerful people, telling the story of Michigan's "comeback."

Those trips came at a time when Snyder was being talked about in some quarters as a possible presidential candidate.

What a difference a year and the Flint water crisis have made. In the heat of an intense electoral season, Snyder is nowhere to be found.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint plans to start digging up lead service lines tomorrow. But today, a contractor paid by a private group got to work doing the same thing on the city’s north side.

Brittani Felton watched from her driveway as workers dug a deep trench in front of her home on Flint’s Alma Avenue. At the bottom of the muddy hole lay the service line connecting Felton’s home to the city water main.

She’s had her water tested, but the results aren’t back yet. 

Gov. Snyder at a press conference in Flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder hired two outside lawyers to assist him with representation in a number of ongoing legal investigations related to the Flint water crisis.

The contracts are with Eugene Driker, a civil defense attorney, and Brian Lennon, a criminal defense attorney.

Ari Adler, spokesman for the Governor, told Crain's Detroit Business and the Detroit Free Press that the outside council will help Gov. Snyder with civil representation and to search and process emails and other records connected to the crisis.

People voting
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are seven primaries or caucuses between now and next Tuesday’s Michigan primary. But candidates and campaigns are already eyeing Michigan as a place to continue their roll or change their fortunes.

It is arguable that no candidate has more at stake in Michigan than Ohio Governor John Kasich. Trailing in the delegate count and yet to win a single primary or caucus, the Republican hopeful needs a win to gain credibility as the not-so-angry alternative to the Donald Trump juggernaut.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The top Democrat in the state House is calling on Gov. Rick Snyder to resign.

State House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, says he should step down “for his actions and inactions pertaining to the Flint water crisis.”

Greimel is the first high-ranking lawmaker to call on Snyder to step down since the scope of Flint’s water crisis became public and the state began action to resolve it. Snyder’s office voluntarily released emails recently that show top aides raised concerns months earlier.

  

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The presidential candidates campaigning in Michigan Wednesday included Republican Marco Rubio, who made a stop at a Macomb County banquet hall.

The Florida Senator accused Republican front-runner Donald Trump of pulling an “elaborate con job” on voters.

He says this is no time to elect someone who “thinks the nuclear triad is a rock band from the eighties.”

“The world is a dangerous place. This is no time for irresponsibility or recklessness,” said Rubio, promising a “Reagan-style re-building of our military” if he’s elected.

  • Chef James Rigato is now a semifinalist for the prestigious award in the category of Best New Restaurant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is hoping Michigan voters will be drawn to him, by Midwestern kinship at least.

The Ohio governor campaigned in Michigan today, a day before Thursday’s big Republican debate in Detroit.

Kasich admitted, to an overflow crowd at a town hall event in Grand Blanc, that Michigan is not usually the most fertile ground for an Ohio politician to seek support. But he urged people to vote for him in next week’s Michigan primary, rather than his Republican rivals from New York, Florida or Texas.

WDET

New numbers show Democrats outspending Republicans on TV ads in Michigan leading up to the March 8 presidential primary.

Next Tuesday’s primary could play a major role in deciding who stays in the race and whose time is up. 

Craig Mauger is with the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.  

He says before Super Tuesday, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had spent more than $2 million on TV ads in Michigan. The Republicans spent less than $200,000 dollars.

But that’s changing.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state Democratic Party chairman says Michigan’s state treasurer should resign or be fired for his handling of Flint’s water crisis.

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon says State Treasurer Nick Khouri made not going back to Detroit water a condition of a deal when the state gave Flint a $7 million loan to get out of debt last April.  

Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In a national study, the state of Michigan finished dead last in the country when it comes to state government transparency and ethics. In categories like political financing, public access to information, lobbying disclosure and ethics enforcement agencies, Michigan’s grade was an “F” from The Center for Public Integrity and the group Global Integrity.

Craig Mauger, the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network joined Stateside to review some of the political spending numbers from 2015.

WFIU / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan corrections workers did not properly document prisoner transfers between October 2013 and September of last year. That’s according to a new report from the Michigan auditor general’s office.

It says workers failed to document key information such as prisoner counts, departure times, and reasons for the transports. It says that made it difficult for the department to monitor the transports.

  • As expected, Governor Snyder has appointed Steven Rhodes as the Detroit Public Schools’ emergency manager.
Detroit bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes.
John Meiu / Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

Gov. Snyder has made it official: Judge Steven Rhodes is the Detroit Public Schools’ fifth emergency manager since 2009.

Rhodes is the retired federal judge who managed Detroit’s bankruptcy case.

New emails from the Snyder administration about the Flint water crisis have been voluntarily released and the revelations have not been kind to Governor Snyder and his inner circle.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A joint state House committee could begin hearings as soon as this week on a scathing audit of a state-run veterans’ home.

Among other things, the report found the Grand Rapids facility was understaffed, and that workers mishandled abuse and neglect complaints and failed to conduct required safety checks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Meijer arranged a donation of 1,500 water filters in Flint last summer but insisted on anonymity and even offered to give gift cards so the state could purchase them.

  • Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's office released another 2,528 pages of emails regarding the Flint water crisis.
Rep. Lisa Lyons speaking in National Harbor, Maryland in 2013
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Last December, in the final hours the Legislature was in session for 2015, a bill passed both Houses and was later signed by Governor Snyder.

That bill had originally been 12 pages, but was replaced by the 53-page Senate Bill 571. Several legislators say they didn't know the contents and the changes, but it still passed. Some legislators say they later regretted voting for it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill into law today giving Flint $30 million to cover the city’s water bills. The governor says people shouldn’t have to pay for water they can’t drink. 

The money will cover 65% of the water bills from the past two years. Flint residents are still responsible for paying city water and sewer fees.   

Pastor Jeffery Hawkins watched as the governor signed the legislation.

“Being a Flint resident myself and having to use the water… it is so great to know that this relief has been done,” says Hawkins.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“We could have done better.”

That’s how Governor Rick Snyder reacted today to questions about revelations his top aides were talking about the need to switch Flint back to Detroit water.  A year before it was done.

After switching to the Flint River in April of 2014, the city’s tap water became contaminated with lead because the river water wasn’t properly treated.  

Emails show top Snyder aides wanted to switch the city away from the Flint River in October of 2014. But that didn’t happen until the fall of 2015.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s new police and fire chiefs are now on the job.

The city’s state oversight board today approved hiring Tim Johnson as Flint’s new top cop and Raymond Barton as Flint’s new fire chief.

Barton is promising changes to the way the city’s undermanned fire department is deployed. He says his predecessor, David Cox, asked too much of Flint’s firefighters.

“Sometimes he put a lot of stress on the firefighters having them work with less,” says Barton.

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city’s budget is balanced for a third straight year.

Duggan laid that budget out for the Detroit City Council Thursday.

Right now, Detroit must stick within strict limits laid out in its post-bankruptcy financial plan when it comes to the just-over-$1 billion general fund budget.

But Duggan says if it can stay true to this next budget, state oversight should ease up.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president to Flint today.

An enthusiastic crowd packed church pews for the town hall meeting. Sanders said the Flint water crisis is a tragedy, but said the city’s not alone. He says cities across the country face a “collapse” of their infrastructure and if a city and the state can’t handle it, then the federal government needs to step in.

“It is my hope the American people will look at Flint and say never again can we allow a community to undergo this,” Sanders told the crowd. 

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