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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint police officers blocked water crisis protesters from entering Flint city hall today.

An artists' vision of Little Caesars Arena.
Olympia Entertainment

Last month, Detroit city council approved $34.5 million in bonds to help pay for the Pistons move to Little Caesars Arena. That property-tax money would have gone to schools, but will now be reimbursed to the teams' owners. Now, the NBA and the companies that own the Detroit Pistons and Red Wings have been added to a federal lawsuit against Detroit's public school district.

Activist Robert Davis filed the lawsuit. He says Detroiters should've been allowed to vote on how their tax money is used. Senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry tells "Morning Edition" host Doug Tribou whether he thinks Davis has a chance of winning the case. 


Anna Zvereva / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Michigan’s strong history in the defense sector dates back to Rosie the Riveter in World War II.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) reports the defense sector supports 105,000 jobs in our state, turning out $9 billion in goods and services.

Michigan wants to continue that tradition by landing the new F-35 fighter jet.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Congress is taking a step toward fully restoring funding for a program to clean up pollution in the Great Lakes region.

Federal agencies use Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) resources to target the biggest threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County prosecutors are reviewing the case against a Flint city councilman who allegedly pawned his city issued laptop.

Councilman Eric Mays admits he pawned the laptop for $100. He later reclaimed it. He told a Flint-based web news outlet that he didn’t consider pawning the laptop was “criminal.”

“I think it just shows I’m poor,” Mays told Flint Beat. 

Elissa Slotkin, in blue short holding a microphone, stands in front of a red-and-white striped background.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

The 2018 election is still a ways away. But that hasn’t stopped plenty of hopeful candidates from throwing their hats in the ring.

In a downtown Lansing brew pub, a Democrat with eyes on Michigan’s 8th Congressional District announced her candidacy Monday.

Elissa Slotkin hopes to unseat Republican Mike Bishop. Bishop is expected to run for a third term.

Slotkin said she wants to focus on solutions and a clear plan.

 

Credit: Gage Skidmore / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Democratic Party's stinging loss in the 2016 presidential election has led to much hand-wringing and talk about coming up with a better message that resonates with voters.

Jen Eyer, senior vice president at Vanguard Public Affairs, thinks the latest Democratic messaging attempts prove the party still doesn't "get it."

For example, take the new sticker campaign recently unveiled by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm for House Democrats. One of the slogans reads: “Democrats 2018: I Mean, Have You Seen The Other Guys?”

Samples of various drinking water pipes.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Flint’s problem water pipe records are forcing the city to rely more on a special tool to determine if homes are using lead or copper service lines.

Digging a hole with a backhoe to see if the pipe connecting homes to city water mains is slow and expensive. It's not something a city like Flint, which is replacing thousands of suspect service lines, has time or money to do.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Attorney General Bill Schuette says the Michigan schools superintendent can't withhold state aid from school districts with American Indian mascots or logos. Earlier this year Superintendent Brian Whiston proposed cutting up to 10% of a district's annual payment. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Schuette's opinion on the matter.

They also talk about a ruling that temporarily halts state funding to private schools, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen's federal court nomination delay, and whether the an iconic Detroit hat shop is a casualty of rising downtown rents.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has three dozen new firefighters.  

They were sworn in today.

Family and friends packed the auditorium to see Flint’s newest firemen be sworn in. Some had the honor of pinning on the new firefighters' badges. 

Fire Chief Ray Barton is happy to see the ranks of his department not only increase by 50%, but also grow younger. He says the average age of the new recruits is in the mid-20s, while Flint’s veteran firefighters’ average age is in the mid-40s.

A new study shows that as many as 85% of homes in Detroit might have been taxed at rates that violate the Michigan Constitution.
BasicGov / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit may not get the attention it deserves. In fact, the tax foreclosure crisis didn’t just happen, and it doesn't continue to happen, by unfortunate circumstances. There are decisions behind it. One group says those decisions are illegal.

sign that says flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Genesee County official charged with collecting delinquent taxes says she won't collect money for tax liens placed on homes with overdue water bills. That means Flint homes with delinquent water bills will avoid the threat of foreclosure. 

Flint’s state-appointed Receivership Transition Advisory Board recently ordered the City of Flint to resume placing tax liens on homes that didn’t keep up with their water bills during the time when Flint’s water wasn’t safe to drink or use for bathing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson released her response to a request from the Trump administration’s election commission for voter data on Monday. She agreed to turn over some information but not all, citing Michigan law.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, and Vicki Barnett, a former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator,  joined Stateside to discuss that and other political headlines from the past week.

Stateside 7.7.2017

Jul 7, 2017

  

Today on Stateside, the Genesee County treasurer won't foreclose on homes with unpaid water bills because the "water was poison." And, we hear how treatment and understanding of PTSD are evolving. 

Stateside 7.6.2017

Jul 6, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear how Wayne County may have a national model for prosecuting crimes against the LGBTQ community. And, we learn about a bipartisan effort to take redistricting out of politicians' hands.

Kalamazoo
Public domain

Kalamazoo County plans to issue its own local ID cards starting next year. County commissioners narrowly approved the plan Wednesday.

The county estimates 27,000 residents currently don't have photo IDs. Many business and community leaders back the plan to create new local ID cards for county residents. But others opposed the plan because the cards could be available to some undocumented immigrants.  

County Commissioner John Gisler was one of those opposed. He says he doesn’t agree with current immigration law.

A "vote here" sign
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

"Power to the people."

That slogan so widely used in the 1960s is the driving force behind a push to change the way Michigan draws its legislative and Congressional districts.

The group Voters Not Politicians has firmed up language for a voter petition to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot for November 2018.

The amendment would overhaul Michigan's redistricting process.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has eight teams surveying damage in four mid-Michigan counties hard hit by flooding last month.  

The FEMA assessment will play a large role in the state’s expected request for federal disaster relief.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city council members say the “fix was in” for months before a deal to keep the city on tap water from Detroit was made public.

Councilwoman Kate Fields says she’s obtained an email from a consultant showing the deal with the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) was set in February, months before it was announced to the public in April. 

Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Trump administration has created a commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud. States have been asked for detailed voter information. Michigan's Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says she'll comply with some of the requests, but will not send Michiganders' personal information.  “Morning Edition” host Doug Tribou and senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Johnson’s response to the request.


public domain pictures

It may be audacious, given the current climate in Washington, but U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., has introduced a bill to expand Medicare.

Levin says Medicare should cover vision, dental and hearing problems, which affect many seniors. He says many people don't even realize these conditions are not covered for the elderly, who are the most likely to need treatment for them.

Levin says it's important to improve and expand health insurance in the U.S., not limit it.

Michigan’s long-time and highly regarded elections director is retiring with a dire warning about “dark money.”

“Clearly those who give money, I think, have more influence, doors open easier,” former Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas told It’s Just Politics. He says secret donations are undermining fair and honest elections.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Primary voters in Flint, Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Lansing are among those casting ballots in the August election. In addition to local municipal elections, there are two special primary elections to fill vacant state house seats in August. 

“You know I think we’re going to be in the 13% to 16% overall turnout range,” says Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope.

Swope says absentee ballots are a growing percentage of the vote in the Capitol City.

Stateside 7.3.2017

Jul 3, 2017

Today, Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics team breaks down the latest in state politics, including Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's announcement that Michigan will largely comply with the Trump administration's request for very specific voter data. And, we hear how success started with failure in school for a child of proud Haitian parents. He's now head of design for Fiat Chrysler.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

July 4 is coming up, but it’s not here quite yet. As the grills are fired up and the fireworks prepped, the It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta join Stateside to catch up on what’s happening in Michigan politics this holiday week.

wikipedia/creative commons

Small liquor stores are urging the Michigan Liquor Control Commission not to repeal what's known as the "half-mile rule."

The rule has been in place for 40 years.  It keeps new liquor stores from opening within a half mile of existing liquor stores.

Rishi Makkar is a founding member of United Small Business Owners, as well as a liquor store owner in Grand Rapids.

He say the margin of profit on liquor sales is very low, under 15%, and out of that, stores must pay taxes, credit card charges, and other fees.

sign that says flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sued the City of Flint this week. The state says the city council's refusal to approve a long term deal to buy water from a Detroit-area system endangers a public already troubled by a lead-tainted water crisis. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the lawsuit filed by the state agency that's been blamed for much of Flint's water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A campaign to oust Flint’s mayor from office reached a milestone today.  

This afternoon, recall campaign organizers dropped off nearly nine thousand petition signatures with the Genesee County clerk’s office. If there are enough valid signatures, Flint residents could vote as early as November on the recall.

Ingham County

Michigan cities and towns are hurting for cash. Many have had to cut services like street and sidewalk repair. Some have had to reduce the size of their police and fire departments. 

The usual suspects of municipal finance woes—weak property tax revenues and rising employee retirement costs—share much of the blame.

But today there is another culprit: the state of Michigan itself.

picture of choose life louisiana license plate
msmail / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gov. Rick Snyder has vetoed legislation requiring Michigan to create and sell an anti-abortion fundraising license plate. 

(Read his veto letter here.)

"But SB 163 is not about a license plate," Snyder said in a statement released Friday. "It's about the State of Michigan making a political statement." 

The Republican governor said that political statement could "bitterly divide" millions of residents and was inappropriate for a state-issued plate.

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